How Republicans Govern

by TChris

Before Republicans took control of the House, Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) complained that Democrats weren't paying adequate attention to Republican concerns. Now that Republicans hold the majority, he's changed his views. Now he understands that the majority has a "responsibility to govern" -- that is, a responsibility to shut out the other half of the country from the governing process.

As chairman of the House Rules Committee, Dreier ... routinely uses his gavel to crush Democrats' efforts to air their proposals, much less enact them. His party writes legislation without Democrats' input, limits Democrats' ability to amend that legislation and prolongs votes in the House for as long as it takes to win. Republicans redraw congressional lines to elect more Republican members and pressure interest groups to hire more Republican lobbyists.

The "responsibility to govern" is something Dreier says he "didn't completely understand" when his party was in the minority. How educational it is to hold the reins of power. Dreier sees things much more clearly now. But is his party, in fact, governing responsibly?

The linked article summarizes some of the ethical missteps of the governing majority, including: accusations that Republicans tried to bribe Nick Smith by offering campaign contributions in exchange for his support of Medicare legislation; Tom Scully's insistence that Richard Foster withhold accurate cost estimates from Congress as it debated the Medicare legislation; Tom DeLay's pressuring of business associations to hire Republicans as lobbyists; and DeLay's illegal solicitation of campaign contributions.

Democrats lost power when the public came to believe that they'd grown complacent and arrogant in office. After a decade of Republican control of the House, the public is feeling much the same way.

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