The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Is it the mid-90's all over again?

In the latest edition of Charlie Cook's "Off to the Races," it sure sounds that way. many progressives have sarcastically suggested that it would be a good thing for Tom DeLay to keep his position for a while-- considering the endless reports of corruption that have dogged the House Majority Leader recently. The more that's uncovered, the more Republican members of Congress are implicated in ethical lapses and outright corruption.

Here's a chunk of Cook's column:

. . . over the last week, Democratic leaders seem to have finally found -- or stumbled upon, depending upon one's perspective -- an effective message. The broad theme that Republican Senate and House majorities have shown a pattern of arrogance and abuse of power is one that might prove a winner for them, because a variety of charges can be used to support it with different voters and constituents likely to embrace different justifications.

For some it is the threatened change in Senate rules to end the filibustering of judges, for others, the changes in the House Ethics Committee's chairmanship, membership and rules after Majority Leader Tom DeLay's, R-Texas, admonishment last year, and for yet others it was the Terri Schiavo case, in which Congress stepped into territory previously thought of as the purview of the states and courts.

While Democrats are hardly likely to articulate this thought, there is a pattern of that arrogance of power, an abuse of the minority that Democrats were so guilty of from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, before they lost their majorities in 1994. But now the GOP is the guilty party. I've always felt that if you live in Washington long enough, you'll see just about everything happen at least once, and here it is.

If you listen to the arguments made by Democrats today, they are almost word for word the arguments made by then-Rep. Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., and outraged Republicans members on a regular basis, particularly after the heavy-handed Democratic seating of Rep. Frank McCloskey after the contested Indiana 8th District election in 1984. To me, that election was Fort Sumter, the first real shot in Congress' own not-so-civil war. And if you listen just as closely to the defensive arguments of Republicans today, you will hear the case made by the majority Democrats then: "We are in the majority. We have the responsibility to govern. The minority just wants to yell and scream and throw rocks."

Thanks to The Rampaging COW for sending this to me.