Tuesday, October 31, 2006

GOP May Turn on Remnants of Gingrich Era

The Gingrich/DeLay/Hastert era may be coming to a close. After a 14 year run, the Republicans in Congress have lost their way. To be honest, they didn't start out with much of a vision except the sky-is-falling fear-mongering that gave them control of Congress in the first place. In the 90s, Republicans pushed for deficit reduction until DeLay, Karl Rove and yes, George W. Bush, showed them how to feed at the public trough and suddenly we saw deficits as far as the eye can see and the scandals in the halls of Congress began to hit the nightly news at least once a month for over two years.

Here's an article about Dennis Hastert from Raw Story; even Republicans are getting tired of it all:
House Speaker Dennis Hastert is expected by many Republicans to step aside as the GOP's leader if Democrats win big in next week's election. He may be on his way out even if the GOP emerges with a narrow majority.

The No. 2 House Republican, Majority Leader John Boehner of Ohio, is looking very much like a candidate to fill Hastert's shoes even though some Republicans appear to be agitating for fresh faces all around, win or lose.

There's lots of grumbling among Republican insiders over real and imagined leadership lapses. Not the least of those is the way Hastert's office handled - mishandled, some critics say - the Mark Foley page scandal.

Earlier episodes, including changing House rules two years ago to protect former Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, in case he got indicted, helped breed the unhappiness. Interviews with current and former congressional aides, GOP lobbyists and strategists reveal surprisingly widespread discontent with Hastert, suggesting a demoralizing election could cement calls within GOP ranks for new leadership.

So even if the Republicans retain the House, Dennis Hastert may be on the way out. It's embarrassing that they're even considering John Boehner who's been a part of the same do-nothing Republican machine that winks and nods at the nonsense that seems to go on behind closed doors.

Here's a reminder, by the way, about the boastful Tom DeLay who, according to Think Progress, went on the Republican Party's Fox News and had the nerve to say he has no ethical problems:
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has been a busy man these last few years. Whether bribing congressmen, threatening political opponents, vacationing with lobbyists, or gutting House ethics rules, it’s been hard to keep up with all the Hammer’s activities. Here are thirteen highlights from DeLay’s illustrious career:

DELAY KILLED INVESTIGATION INTO LABOR ABUSE IN MARIANAS ISLANDS: In 1998, DeLay helped kill a “congressional fact-finding trip that was being planned as part of an investigation of sweatshop conditions in the garment industry in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.” Jack Abramoff represented the Northern Mariana Islands at the time, aiding them in their quest to avoid U.S. labor laws. To this end, Abramoff flew dozens of lawmakers and their aides for luxurious vacations to the balmy islands, including one 1997-98 New Year’s trip for DeLay and his wife. (It was on this trip that DeLay called Abramoff “one of my closest and dearest friends.”) Later that year, Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) decided to leading a fact-finding investigation into worker abuse in the islands’ garment industry. When DeLay caught wind of the investigation, his office threatened the Hoekstra with loss of his subcommittee chairmanship if he continued.

Read the rest of Think Progress for the other 12 lapses.

The Republicans can't run on Bush's many failures and they can't run on the issues. Today, desperately looking for an issue, Republicans were charging Democrats with prematurely measuring offices for drapes. Just think of the repercussions if the Republicans win. The nation will be saved from new drapes! Is that their October Surprise? It sounds to me like more of the same. And that exactly defines the problem with the Republican Party: more of the same. And that is something our nation cannot afford.


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