Paul Jacob

Americans voted for change. So, why does the incoming Congress kick up enough déjà vu to set Denzel Washington spinning all over again?

We’ve seen these guys before — both Democrats and Republicans.

Sure, candidate after candidate ran as a “change agent.” And Americans voted to change party control over both chambers of Congress. The new Congress will even begin by making history with the nation’s first female Speaker of the House.

Yet, will the election really make much difference at all? Will it actually change anything about who rules America?

Within weeks after the election, leaders of both parties signaled “business as usual” on Capitol Hill. Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi had barely caught her breath after talking about high ethical standards when she came out in support of the ethically challenged Rep. John Murtha for Majority Leader over Rep. Steny Hoyer . . . who ultimately won the post.

Of course, a pretext with Congressman Steny Hoyer as the “reform” candidate is laughable. (Since I don’t like to cry.) You might recall that a couple years ago Mr. Hoyer bitterly condemned what he called “back alley” GOP tactics that were “running roughshod over the most basic principles of democracy.”

Hoyer was mostly correct about the GOP tactics. But then, a reporter at Hoyer’s news conference asked him if he was pledging that Democrats, should they take control, would resist similar tactics.

“I am not,” responded Hoyer . . . to hoots and howls.

On the other hand, one would expect a major GOP shake-up after their disastrous election performance. But except for Speaker-to-Go Dennis Hastert, who took himself out of any leadership consideration, the Republican House leaders are largely the same — their ears clearly marked from their busy congressional work of past years.

Just weeks ago I regaled Townhall readers with some of the shady dealings of Senator Harry Reid, who now deals himself in as Democratic Majority Leader. And back by popular demand — at least within the Senate Democratic Caucus — is former Ku Klux Klan organizer and current Senator Robert Byrd, who will serve as President Pro Tempore of the Senate.

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.