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A GOP Opportunity Lost

Ed Morrisey writes about an opportunity, to hold extensive debates on legislation on lobbying reform, that the GOP let pass prior to the election. It appears that congressional Democrats will seize the opportunity to do what the GOP failed to do.

We've talked about Pelosi's ability to shoot herself in the foot, amply demonstrated by her support of John Murtha in the leadership elections and the decision to elevate disgraced former federal judge Alcee Hastings to the chair of the Intelligence committee. However, this plan shows that Pelosi and her fellow Democrats will not get everything wrong in this session. The plan to hold extended debate on these initiatives, one at a time, is nothing short of brilliant -- and it will serve as a constant reminder of the opportunity that the GOP let slip away.

In the days following the revelation of the Jack Abramoff corruption scandals, voters pressed Congress for action on lobbyist influence and corruption. Republicans said they supported reform, but did little to pass legislation to address it. Either they felt that the problem wouldn't find enough resonance with voters, or they really didn't want to end some of the lobbyist perqs that came with being in Congress. Either way, they proved themselves tone-deaf and let a golden moment slip by that would have reinforced their connection to the 1994 "revolution".

My guess is that Republicans did not pursue that legislation prior to the election because they did not want to give Democrats a reason to focus on Jack Abramoff, but preferred to steer voter focus to the war on terror and other issues.

Ed goes on to talk about how the Democrats propose making the most of this issue and how even though they risk exposing some anti-reform elements in their party, the potential is there to paint themselves as the party of reform. It will be interesting to see how this one plays out and what role Republicans decide to play.


Comments (8)

If the Republicans continue... (Below threshold)
Gmac:

If the Republicans continue to ignore the problem or resist doing something about it they will continue their soon to be assumed minority status in future elections.

If the republicans have any... (Below threshold)
GeminiChuck:

If the republicans have any sense at all, they will fully embrace the democrat's reform. Should be a non-partisan issue. Its for the good of the country plus it'll be interesting to see which Senators scream the loudest - I'm betting it'll be some old dems.

GC

The Senate did have a vote ... (Below threshold)

The Senate did have a vote in March in the aftermath of the Abramoff scandal to increase transparency in the lobying process and to limit gifts from lobbyists. It passed 90-8. I guess the media was so busy reporting on Abramoff that they didn't realize steps were taken. If it didn't go far enough then it's fine by me to make it even stricter so extensive debates should indeed be held. It wasn't totally ignored though.

Let us see the Dem effort t... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

Let us see the Dem effort to support the Dem candidate against Jefferson (La)...
It will not be enough just to verbally support her...they need to physically go down there..
If Jefferson pulls out a victory...the Dems become as hypocritical as the Repubs...(I will not be stunned, shocked or Surprised)
...I keep looking in my freeaer for $90,000..but all I find are ice cube trays the need refilling....

the person who may or may n... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

the person who may or may not be sold out by the Dems is Karen Carter...

I think the Repubs didn't a... (Below threshold)

I think the Repubs didn't act because they had their chance on the issue and punted then -- and there was no consensus on what more to do, because they all (Rs and Ds) are totally conflicted on the subject and there is too much room for demagoguery from the minority.

Now that the Dems are in control, I think they'll have a tough time producing a bill that goes much further (their chairs haven't had a fair shot at the pig trough -- they need a good half-year to slurp it up) -- I look forward to seeing what the courageous new Majority coms up with!!

If it doesn't do something with earmarking, it's worthless.

The best tactic for the Rep... (Below threshold)

The best tactic for the Republicans is to publicly endorse these reform measures unanimously, and well in advance of floor debate. Then, they can point out the Democrats have nothing to "debate," since everyone agrees already, and are conducting nothing but a dog 'n' pony show for public entertainment.

If they were that smart, though, they would have pushed through reforms on their own when they had the chance.

The GOP still has a great o... (Below threshold)
crosspatch:

The GOP still has a great opportunity. Keep pressing the Democrats on the "ok, so what are you going to do now" angle. Press them on what they are going to do about Iran and North Korea. Press them on what they are going to do about Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq. Keep pressing until they are forced to actually present a plan for all of these issues.

So far all I have seen out of the Democrats is continued sniping at the Republicans and not much of how they plan to address these and other issues.




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