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Parts Of Republican Revolution Fade With Age
USA Today ^ | January 20, 2003 | Andrea Stone

Posted on 01/20/2003 7:24:30 PM PST by Red Jones

Parts of Republican Revolution fade with age Mon Jan 20, 7:23 AM ET

Andrea Stone USA TODAY

WASHINGTON -- Eight years after wresting control of the House of Representatives, the party that waged the ''Republican Revolution'' has become somewhat less revolutionary.

House Republicans have grown less enamored with term limits. They have reversed some ethics reforms and rules aimed at budget discipline. Their leaders have tightened their grip on power.

As they begin their fifth two-year congressional session in control of the House, some of the practices Republicans attacked in 1994 after 40 years of Democratic rule don't seem so bad to them after all.

''Republicans have gone native,'' says Ross Baker, a political scientist at Rutgers University in New Jersey. ''They've got a raging case of Potomac Fever. Having won the battle, they don't want to relinquish power.''

The clearest example of that came in the opening moments of the 108th Congress this month. House Republicans forced through nearly 30 rules changes, many of which eased tight restrictions they imposed on themselves in 1994. Among the casualties was the eight-year term limit imposed on the House speaker when Newt Gingrich, the revolution's leader, held the job. Now, House Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois can serve indefinitely.

Longtime Congress-watchers aren't surprised that Republicans are doing things they once condemned. ''They are coming around to the realization that that's what majorities do,'' says Norman Ornstein, a congressional expert at the American Enterprise Institute. ''They were naive.''

Many of the original authors of the GOP's ''Contract with America'' platform in 1994, including Gingrich and his top deputy, Dick Armey, have left office. Gingrich could not be reached for comment. Those who remain feel empowered by November's elections, when Republicans won a Senate majority and widened their House edge.

''It's hard to continue to revolt when you're in charge,'' says Rep. Deborah Pryce of Ohio, head of the House Republican Conference.

Many of the policy goals of the revolution -- cutting taxes, for example -- remain part of the GOP agenda. But there are signs that in other areas the revolution is waning:

* Term limits. Many of the Republicans elected in 1994 pledged to limit their time in office, most often to six years. But they failed to pass a constitutional amendment to limit congressional terms, and in recent years, many Republicans have discarded the notion that the country needs ''citizen lawmakers.''

At least 10 current House Republicans have reneged on term-limit pledges. Among them: George Nethercutt of Washington state, who unseated Speaker Tom Foley, D-Wash., with a vow to limit himself to three terms. Nethercutt is now in his fifth term.

Republicans are demonstrating ''a belief that they are going to stay in the majority,'' says Thomas Mann, a political analyst at the Brookings Institution think tank. ''They have to think less as revolutionaries and more as a party capable of drawing on experience and leadership to reach objectives.''

In one of their first orders of business after taking control, House Republicans voted to limit the speaker's term to eight years and committee chairs to six years. Pryce calls the speaker's term limit ''a 'Newt-ism.' It was not part of the Contract with America.''

Stacie Rumenap, executive director of U.S. Term Limits, an advocacy group, says the change shows that Republicans have ''become part of the insider system.''

The limit on committee chairmanships remains. However, leaders made an exception for Rep. Porter Goss, R-Fla., who was allowed to continue as head of the Intelligence Committee beyond his six-year limit.

* Ethics rules. Strict ethics rules imposed in 1995 have been eased. A new, so-called pizza rule makes it easier for lobbyists to deliver food to congressional offices. It gets around a $50 gift limit set by Republicans five years ago, when they relaxed an earlier rule forbidding all gifts, by allocating the value of the food against the gift limits of all who eat it.

A second change reverses a 1995 rule that discouraged lawmakers from attending charitable events at resorts. Republicans had assailed those trips as free vacations. Junkets that lobbyists pay for are still forbidden.

Armey, now with the advocacy group Citizens for a Sound Economy, jokes that the travel change ''can be put down to the commitment, energy and zeal of the golfers' caucus.''

Matt Keller, legislative director of the watchdog group Common Cause, predicts the rules changes will presage other Republican moves to loosen ethics rules and consolidate power. ''They've been chomping at the bit,'' he says. ''You're going to see extreme arrogance on display . . . the same thing that brought down the Democrats.''

Pryce calls the changes ''fine-tuning'' but agrees they could be seen as hypocritical. ''Some might say lessons have been learned,'' she says. ''Not all the things (the Democrats) did was wrong.''

Among them, apparently, are rules that make it harder for the minority party to propose alternative legislation or move its own bills. The new rules include changes that will strengthen the majority party's power to control the policy agenda.

* Balanced budget. Republicans cited an ''out-of-control'' Democratic-led Congress in their 1995 call for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. But the war on terrorism and President Bush (news - web sites)'s deep tax cuts have silenced the GOP on the issue of deficit spending.

Last week, Republicans reinstated a rule scrapped in 2001, when the federal government was running a budget surplus. The rule allows the House to raise the limit on the $6.4 trillion public debt without holding a separate, and potentially embarrassing, vote.

''We find ourselves in very unusual times. A time of war, a recession,'' Pryce says. ''There was a decision to take that one back.''

Rep. Martin Frost of Texas, the top Democrat on the House Rules Committee, says he knows why. ''Now they've decided the ways Democrats were doing things when we were in control is OK,'' he says. ''They want the perks back. The revolution has grown old.''

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Extended News; Government
KEYWORDS: demopublican; liars; republican; republicrat
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I liked the title that NewsMax gave this, they just said 'Republicrats' and that's the entire title. I also liked the Rutgers professor who says the republicans have gone native.
1 posted on 01/20/2003 7:24:30 PM PST by Red Jones
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To: Red Jones
But, I thought the Republicans can do no wrong.
2 posted on 01/20/2003 7:30:10 PM PST by Sparta (Statism is a mental illness)
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To: Red Jones
It is unrealistic to expect either major party in Congress to depart from conventional wisdom to attempt to change public opinion in seminal ways. It happens on occasion under stress, or with someone like Newt, but it is rare. Typically that is done, if at all, by a president.
3 posted on 01/20/2003 7:30:24 PM PST by Torie
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To: Torie
but nobody's asking the republican party to sell the public on any ideas. We just wish the republicans would conform to what we want. The problem is not with the citizens. The problem is with the people in washington.
4 posted on 01/20/2003 7:43:02 PM PST by Red Jones
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To: Red Jones
No, the "problem" from your point of view is what is the accepted conventional wisdom among the critical mass of voters. Substantial change requires a substantial change in views. To blame Congresspersons for that is quite unfair. Most of them are just trying to survive.
5 posted on 01/20/2003 7:49:58 PM PST by Torie
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To: Torie
What president do you think will do that? GWB? The same GWB that is 110% behind the War on Terror yet will do nothing to protect our borders?
6 posted on 01/20/2003 7:51:19 PM PST by Karsus (TrueFacts=GOOD, GoodFacts=BAD) Humor)
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To: Torie
You are part of the problem.


7 posted on 01/20/2003 7:52:21 PM PST by Karsus (TrueFacts=GOOD, GoodFacts=BAD) Humor)
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To: Karsus
Presidents when they try to change public opinion, pick their shots, based on conviction and politics. Bush hasn't picked immigration as one of his. What he has picked is the war on terror and education and faith based initiatives. You know that is what he cares about, because those are the issues on which he slips on occasion into uncharacteristic eloquence. Bush is not a subtle man by and large. If you don't like his emphases, then do what you have to do. Sure, I would prefer to have more eloquent and imaginative and truly pricinpled risk takers in politics, that are more interested in changing the dynamic of the public square then in their own reelection, and that goes for both side. Do you have any ideas as to how that might be accomplished? I have one, but you won't like it.
8 posted on 01/20/2003 7:58:05 PM PST by Torie
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To: Karsus
Maybe you can post a punch list of which politicians have broken promises which they made, and what they were. You made the assertion, now back it up.
9 posted on 01/20/2003 7:59:23 PM PST by Torie
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To: Torie
Easy. Any politician that said we had a budget surplus and they we paid down the debt LIED and some of those broke their promises to balance the budget. Not since 1960 has the debt level went down.

Source: GWB Admin website located at

09/30/2000 5,674,178,209,886.86
09/30/1999 5,656,270,901,615.43
09/30/1998 5,526,193,008,897.62
09/30/1997 5,413,146,011,397.34
09/30/1996 5,224,810,939,135.73
09/29/1995 4,973,982,900,709.39
09/30/1994 4,692,749,910,013.32
09/30/1993 4,411,488,883,139.38
09/30/1992 4,064,620,655,521.66
09/30/1991 3,665,303,351,697.03
09/28/1990 3,233,313,451,777.25
09/29/1989 2,857,430,960,187.32
09/30/1988 2,602,337,712,041.16
09/30/1987 2,350,276,890,953.00
09/30/1986 2,125,302,616,658.42
12/31/1985 1,945,941,616,459.88
12/31/1984 1,662,966,000,000.00 *
12/31/1983 1,410,702,000,000.00 *
12/31/1982 1,197,073,000,000.00 *
12/31/1981 1,028,729,000,000.00 *
12/31/1980 930,210,000,000.00 *
12/31/1979 845,116,000,000.00 *
12/29/1978 789,207,000,000.00 *
12/30/1977 718,943,000,000.00 *
12/31/1976 653,544,000,000.00 *
12/31/1975 576,649,000,000.00 *
12/31/1974 492,665,000,000.00 *
12/31/1973 469,898,039,554.70
12/29/1972 449,298,066,119.00
12/31/1971 424,130,961,959.95
12/31/1970 389,158,403,690.26
12/31/1969 368,225,581,254.41
12/31/1968 358,028,625,002.91
12/29/1967 344,663,009,745.18
12/30/1966 329,319,249,366.68
12/31/1965 320,904,110,042.04
12/31/1964 317,940,472,718.38
12/31/1963 309,346,845,059.17
12/31/1962 303,470,080,489.27
12/29/1961 296,168,761,214.92
12/30/1960 290,216,815,241.68

10 posted on 01/20/2003 8:06:57 PM PST by Karsus (TrueFacts=GOOD, GoodFacts=BAD) Humor)
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To: Torie
you're very mistaken. But let's provide concrete examples to prove our points.

Take immigration. The overwhelming majority of american population desires a significantly smaller level of immigration. But the republicans refuse to even try to deliver. At least 9 years ago they had some among them who tried to lower the level of legal immigration. back then it was the democrats who were out of step and the republicans at least almost half in-step. But now both parties are out of step with the american people on immigration.

Ditto with illegal immigration. The republicans are out-of-step with the population on this issue as well.

The american population does not want runaway government spending. But under Bush the growth rate in government has increased dramatically. This occurred before 911. Bush didn't even increase defense spending until after 911. And even after 911 only one third of new government spending is for either defense or homeland security. In fact when the democrats controlled the House of Reps between 1990 and 1994 we had a slightly smaller growth rate in government than when the Republicans controlled the house of reps. So, the republicans are out of step with the american population on this issue also.

One thing the americans do support in overwhelming numbers is they want to preserve the integrity of the social security fund. As you know the revenues coming in for that program are not going to match the expenditures going out as of 2016 per latest estimate. But Bush just agreed to put millions of new recipients onto that program, many of whom don't even live in america. In other words Bush totally and completely destroyed the integrity of that fund just a week or so ago. Bush is way out of step with the americans on this issue. And unlike what you described he didn't try to change the americans' minds, he just arrogantly exercised his will, not our will.

Regarding trade, the americans do not want their manufacturing sectors to be sacrificed. Yet Bush has agreed that our nation shall engage in trade with china when china has their currency pegged at an artificially low exchange rate, thus sabotaging the american interests. Bush is way out of step on this issue also.

So, I just don't see your argument at all. Bush and the Republicans are not even trying to convince the americans of anything. They are simply ruling in a manner that we disapprove of.

But, I guess that if you're going to rule a country, then you need stupid peasants who will believe that up is down or down is up or anything you say so that bloodshed can be kept to a minimum.
11 posted on 01/20/2003 8:07:13 PM PST by Red Jones
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To: Torie
How can you fight the War on Terror if our borders are not protected? Do you think everyone of those people that wish to do us harm are not smart enought to know that is the easiest way to get into our country?

This is like having the worlds most advanced weapons systems then giving the people guarding them pop guns. It doesn't matter how advanced those weapons are if some one with an AK can just take out the guards then destroy your weapons with sub 100 explosive...
12 posted on 01/20/2003 8:09:46 PM PST by Karsus (TrueFacts=GOOD, GoodFacts=BAD) Humor)
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To: Torie
yeah, right, goerge bush cares about education. tell me another lie!!! George bush doubled spending on the department of education, from 30 billion to over 60 billion. This department of education only protects and enables the dysfunctional status quo schools. For 60 billion dollars goerge bush could have given $6,000 vouchers to 10 million kids. This would've revolutionized education system in america and been the beginning of the end for dysfunctional public school monopolies. This would've been a huge boon for education. But bush used that money instead to pay expensive bureaucrats in expensive suburban washington to dole out ridiculous rules that all the real educators say is making it more difficult to do their jobs. Yeah, bush puts education as a high priority. Nonsense, the guy is a liberal. This is not what we wanted when we elected him.
13 posted on 01/20/2003 8:13:33 PM PST by Red Jones
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To: Karsus
I suspect your numbers include internal debt held by the social security trust fund. Calm down, and stop using the word "lied" so reckleesly. In any event, you post is off topic.
14 posted on 01/20/2003 8:22:35 PM PST by Torie
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To: Red Jones
Your post has almost no nexus with the objective facts. I will leave it at that.
15 posted on 01/20/2003 8:23:49 PM PST by Torie
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To: Torie
or with someone like Newt,

Which is why conservatives had to run him out of town.  There is nothing more dangerous than an honest man.
16 posted on 01/20/2003 8:33:24 PM PST by gcruse (When faced with two evils, pick the one you haven't tried)
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To: Torie
The SS debt is debt that will have to be paid back.

And you asked for the information, so you have no room to complain that it is off topic.

17 posted on 01/20/2003 8:36:45 PM PST by Karsus (TrueFacts=GOOD, GoodFacts=BAD) Humor)
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To: Torie
my post, I presume you mean #13, is 100% accurate with facts and exactly correct as well. The public education systems used across the nation for grades 1-12 are largely dysfunctional. Any fool who cares one lick for education in america will readily admit this. Yet bush does nothing to build an alternative. he shores up the failing system by empowering the same tired worn out broken dumb bureaucrats who run this system, he only succeeds at strengthening the tyranny and strengthening our resolve to over-turn the apple cart.

Question: if rich liberals wanted to create a situation where only people growing up in upper income exclusive suburban communities (country club bush republican types of communities) wanted their own children to be dominant in the future and to screen out people of lesser socio-economic stature, then how would they do it? Well, they'd do it with the type of a public school system we have now, where the children of lower income people and middle income people even are simply not allowed to have good schools and we spend all the money we can on dysfunctional schools for those people in order to frustrate their efforts as a people. That is how they would do it and that is exactly what the rich liberal bush is doing. I call him a rich liberal because he was born rich, and because he's a liberal. Don't pay any attention to his speeches. Watch what he does.

18 posted on 01/20/2003 10:58:20 PM PST by Red Jones
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To: Torie
bush is the one spending money like a drunken sailor. They're projecting now 300 billion a year in red ink. I guess rich George Bush has it under control though. His rich family is going to pay it back right, it's not our children or grand children who have to pay it back, it's the bush family right?

So, you're a pretty arrogant fellow, you told that karsus fellow that he didn't have his facts right. But, no the growth rate in federal spending went up dramtically in 2001. I've read it's double digit growth rate, fastest since mid 60's. And this liar bush promised us in the campaign of 2000 that he believed in a smaller government than the dems. But when he got in office he spent money faster than the dems. This man is a liar. We should all understand this.

And when we elect liars, then we're helping our nation to become a third world country.
19 posted on 01/20/2003 11:02:58 PM PST by Red Jones
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To: Red Jones
I see this thread's not participating in the fund-raising efforts. That's nice.

But the only good thing anyone can say about George Bush is that his name is not Bill Clinton, Al Gore or Hillary Clinton.

George Bush's father did a lot of damage to the american economy. Anyone who looks closely at his record should conclude that it was done with malice. Nobody could accidentally do that damage. It was malice instead on his part.

The Bush/Clinton/Bush axis of bad trade policy is driving manufacturing out of business in america and bringing on a depression.

We've got to do better. I recommend we vote 'no' on every single incumbent who displeases us regardless of the party affiliation. We should not be re-electing 98% of incumbents. When we do that the will of the people doesn't matter. If we only re-elected 30%, then the people would rule this country because the politicians would fear the people. We need to throw the republicans bums and the democrat bums both out of office routinely. Sending them back just because they're not a dem is in today's politics a sure recipe for disaster.
20 posted on 01/20/2003 11:19:35 PM PST by Red Jones
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