Remember the Republican Revolution?
In 1994 Republicans swept into power on a platform of reform. They would clean up an out of touch Congress they said. They agreed to abide by the same laws they pass for everyone else and enact term limits on committee chairman and on Congress as a whole. Republican congressional leaders told us they would usher in a revolution.
At first, things really looked up. They placed Congress under the laws the rest of us live by. Term limits were passed on committee chairs.
But six years later the revolution never happened.
The laws don’t really apply to Congress as they do to you and me. Hundreds of special exemptions have been granted to members of Congress. Speaker Hastert has also decided that chairmen can simply trade their committees between themselves and hang on to power. Term-limited Rep. Van Hilleary of Tennessee complains, “Now that we’re in the majority the Republican Party doesn’t seem to be interested in [term limits] anymore.”Entrenched Republican incumbents are acting just like the old Democrats.
Some good did come. There are members of Congress, and they’re mostly Republicans, who have voluntarily limited their time in Washington, because they truly believe in a citizen legislature. These members have been a breath of fresh air doing what they believe is right and not playing the usual political games. They could write a book on how to be effective in Washington without selling your soul.
But the GOP leadership is another story. They’re writing a very different book, “How to Become a Minority Party.”
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.