G.O.P. POWER PLAY
WaPo’s cover story by that title makes the case that the Republican leadership in the House is just as bad as that of the Democrats of years past:
Nearly 10 years after winning control of the House by vowing a fairer and more open Congress, Republicans have tossed aside many of the institutional reforms they promised, increasingly employing hard-nosed tactics they decried a decade ago, according to numerous lawmakers and scholars.
Among the reforms championed by an earlier generation of House Republicans, and subsequently dropped or weakened: term limits for rank-and-file members as well as committee chairmen; stricter ethics laws; and greater power for individual members and the minority party.
Republicans have instead consolidated power in the hands of a few leaders, most notably Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (Ill.) and Majority Leader Tom DeLay (Tex.). In the process, the authority of committee chairmen and the influence of rank-and-file members have waned.
While this isn’t surprising, given the contentious political climate we’re in, it is rather a shame. As a theoretical matter, each of the 435 Representatives should be equal, as they all represent a single Congressional District. In reality, I’m not sure it was ever that way.