Monday, April 10, 2006

Republicans Disturbed By Their Own Reflections

When I first read through this article in The Washington Post I thought that maybe, just maybe the effects of the Kool-Aid were wearing off for Jim VandeHei. He started with this:
The Tom DeLay era is ending much as it began. An entrenched majority, battered by ethical scandals involving its top leaders, is running what many see as a politically polarized and profligate House of Representatives.
I realized VandeHei was still punch drunk when he followed that immediately by calling the levels of Republican corruption "remarkable". While he attributed this comment to unnamed Republicans he doesn't even call them on it. Corruption isn't remarkable. It is embarrassing, appalling, and horrifying. It is not remarkable.

Dick Armey wants to blame this all on Tom DeLay. Now that Tom DeLay is gone (almost) that is convenient. If people buy that line, then the Republicans can claim a clean bill of ethical health and pronounce themselves cured and electable. Not so fast slick Dick.

VandeHei has interviewed others in the GOP who say the problems can't just be attributed to Tom DeLay.

....many others said the problem was much bigger -- and more complicated -- than the excesses of DeLay. They said it was a general sense of hubris and self-preservation that prompted GOP leaders to gradually abandon the tenets of the 1994 revolution: smaller government, accountability, and a new and cleaner way of doing business in Washington.
Admittedly, I would be much happier if VandeHei listed a slew of names for attribution. However, I do understand the desire Republians have to remain unnamed. We've witnessed enough conservative cannibalism* over the several months to sate our appetites for years to come.

The article outlines the corruption and excesses of Democrats prior to the Republican takeover of the house in 1994. It goes on to compare the two situations and repeats what many Democrats have been saying - it took the Republicans only 10 years to reach the level of corruption that it had taken the Democrats 40 years to achieve. While I'm not proud that the Democrats ever achieved any level of corruption, it is appalling that Republicans catapulted themselves so quickly to this achievement.

Republicans may have started out with a strong reform movement, but reform was very quickly forgotten as power and greed took over. the Republicans became more entrenched and accustomed to their position of power, leaders shifted their emphasis from reforming government to consolidating their power and self-preservation. "I do think for both parties -- and it has happened for Republicans now -- there is a risk of majority fatigue where you run out of new ideas," said Ari Fleischer, who worked in Congress in the 1990s before becoming White House spokesman. "The other risk is people's zest for reform yields to their desire to maintain power."

What stands out for me in this quote is that Fleischer thinks the Republicans are experiencing "majority fatigue" after only ten years. It only took them ten years to run out of new ideas. The Democrats experienced "majority fatigue" after 40 years. So, which party has more new ideas? Which party can grow and change as the needs of the American people change?

Keep in mind that this article is quoting Republicans speaking about Republicans. It is also found in a newspaper that has acted more like the PR arm of the White House over the past several years. I'm thinking many Republicans are seeing the light and want to distance themselves from a President and House leadership that have serious ethical and legal problems. I'm also thinking this particular newspaper might see a glimmer of what life could be like November 8th if they continue providing stenographers to the White House.

Update: Many thanks to commenter/blogger Drama Queen at for the phrase conservative cannibalism. I'm not sure if she created it or found it somewhere else, but it works!


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