New GOP team: Is there a moderate in the House?
Extreme? How can you call them extreme?
Republicans in the House of Representatives, I mean. They’re newly re-majoritized and ready for action—or what passes for action in Washington, anyway—come January. In fact, Speaker-in-Waiting John Boehner’s team has already announced its picks for the new Congress’ new committee chairmen—an important step that was immediately followed by the requisite sniping from across the aisle.
“They’re totally extreme!!”
Wrong. They’re not totally extreme. Mostly extreme, maybe—but not totally.
See, I’ve peeked at the list, and I’m here to tell you that those disgruntled Dems are way off base with their—disgruntitude. Sure, you’ve got your crazies—your Darrell Issa of California, for instance, whose career has gone from creating the Viper car alarm (“Please step away from the car!”) to investigating everything that moves in a Democratic administration. (“Please step away from the payroll!”)
Mr. Issa, who’s about to wield the enormously powerful gavel of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, promises to be nonpartisan in his oversight and his reforms. Nobody believes him.
And then you’ve got your Harold Rogers of Kentucky, whose highly successful record of bringing home the pork—hundreds of millions of dollars of pork—was no impediment to being named the new chairman of the House Appropriations Committee—the now supposedly deficit-conscious, earmark-averse Appropriations Committee.
That’s just your everyday, garden-style Capitol Hill hypocrisy at work. (Besides, the two other contenders for the Appropriations Committee job were every bit as porky as Mr. Rogers was.)
So sure, you’ve got your Issas. You’ve got your Rogerses.
Here’s the thing, though: You need to look beyond the Issas and the Rogerses.
And when you look beyond the Issas and the Rogerses, you see sprigs of hope. Teeny-tiny sprigs of hope, but still…
Take, for instance, the selection of Alabama’s Spencer Bachus to chair the House Financial Services Committee. His pick, as The New York Times noted, was hardly a foregone conclusion.
“Mr. Bachus came under fire from some of his colleagues in 2008 when, as the senior Republican on the panel, he was viewed as too cooperative with Democrats on the bank bailout issue.”
That’s right—Spencer Bachus was chosen by his fellow Republicans to chair the Financial Services Committee despite clear evidence that he had cooperated with actual Democrats to try to save America’s banking system!
If that’s not open-minded of them, what is?
Well, maybe this is:
The Republicans chose Fred Upton of Michigan to chair the House Energy and Commerce Committee despite a major blot on his record, too. Despite … well, let the Times tell it:
“Mr. Upton had to beat back some criticism that he was too moderate for the post, as opponents criticized his authorship of a law to require more energy-efficient light bulbs.”
Talk about straying from the fold! You let that sort of thing go on, before you know it, the entire GOP caucus will stop denying global warming!
They haven’t gone that far—yet. (Don’t hold your breath.) And yet they still allowed Fred Upton to ascend to a position of leadership, despite Fred Upton being a known supporter of more energy-efficient light bulbs.
You take your good news wherever you can find it.
Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.