New York Times: Boehner Gives Freshmen More Goodies
“After several days of dialogue with our new colleagues and an assessment of the objectives the new majority will pursue in the next Congress on behalf of the American people,” said Mr. Boehner and Eric Cantor, his No. 2, in a joint news release, “we have determined that the incoming House GOP freshman class should have two elected representatives at the leadership table and three representatives on the Republican Steering Committee in the 112th Congress.”
Last week, Mr. Boehner announced that the the Republican Steering Committee, a body of 28 members that makes committee assignments, would include two freshmen, rather than the usual single member, and that the elected leadership team, which generally has nine members, would make room for a 10th, also to accommodate a freshman.
Look, I don’t think any American who has paid attention to the political process for the past few years is ready to give soon-to-be House Speaker John Boehner and the GOP a break simply because of the result of this month’s mid-term elections. We all remember what happened during the latter half of the presidency of George W. Bush, when the president and his party abandoned free market principles and embraced spendthrift ways usually embraced more by Democrats.
However, there is something to be said about learning from mistakes, and everything I see going on right now has reinforced my opinion that, yes, this GOP is a different GOP.
Sen. Jim DeMint’s continued crusade to ban earmarks has been embraced by GOP leadership in the House and Senate and could be on its way to reality. (UPDATE: Senate Republicans Vote to Ban Earmarks.) While earmarks are but a drop in the bucket that is our fiscal problems, on a symbolic level more than a practical level, earmarks represent much of what is wrong with the culture of power in perpetuity inside the Beltway. Ending the practice–forcing pet projects in home districts across the country to stand, legislatively, on their own merits rather than being packed into a completely unrelated bill–would go a long way toward ensuring that lawmakers keep their purpose in perspective.
Also, as seen in the linked New York Times piece above, we see that soon-to-be House Speaker John Boehner–always looked upon with added scrutiny by many in the resurgent right–is going out of his way to ensure that new legislators are more involved in leadership roles. The House GOP’s efforts to acclimate freshmen lawmakers have been admirable, and this latest move shows that Boehner and others understand the need for the voice of the American people to be involved in the actions on Capitol Hill going forward.
Contrast this, of course, with the Democratic Party, the leadership for which seems content to maintain the status quo. Over and over again, we’ve heard from Nancy Pelosi and her ilk that the trouncing the Democrats endured this month was not a repudiation of the president or his agenda, or the current House Speaker and her agenda, but rather the manifestation of a disappointment that the Democrats’ agenda was not carried out swiftly enough.
Republicans get it. Democrats do not. From what I can tell, GOP leadership understand that the American people have spoken, and appear as though they will act accordingly. The Democrats, it seems, will be content to just set forth as though nothing happened.