"A Clean Start. Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, spent much of the campaign season vowing that if her party took control in January, the first order of business on day one would be ethics reform. It was a smart selling point to a country sick of Republican abuses. It looks even smarter now that the Democrats have won."
Thus the New York Times editorialized the day after the great Democratic take-over.
Now, barely two weeks after the elections, at least some folks have got to be slapping their forehead, realizing they're watching the same lousy movie they walked out on 12 years ago.
Pelosi's opening act, a failed attempt to install ethically challenged John Murtha as the new Senate Majority Leader, leaves little doubt that for her, the real stuff of ethics and statesmanship is favors, payback, personal loyalty above national interest, and, above all, the personal accumulation of power.
I mean, here's a guy, Murtha, called by one reporter "a master of pork-barrel spending," with ethics problems going back 25 years, that the soon to be first-woman-Speaker of the House, wanted to be her second in command.
Now that House Democrats have repudiated Pelosi's push for Murtha and picked Steny Hoyer as their man, everyone is making nice. It was all for show, they say. Hoyer had the deal sewed up from the beginning. Now that we're past this little bit of unavoidable dirty business, we're all on the same page and ready to be those squeaky clean ethical beings that we promised we'd be.
Now Pelosi is opposing Jane Harman to chair the House Intelligence Committee, who even the New York Times says should be given the job, because she doesn't like her.
This is the new beginning? You have to wonder whether they'll have to install a scratching post by the Speaker's chair after Pelosi is installed.
I've gotten plenty of mail saying "Star, why are you defending these sleazy Republicans. Nancy Pelosi. Tom DeLay. What's the difference? Who cares?"
Here's my point, one I've made before.
The issue is about power. Again, Lord Acton's famous observation that "power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
So-called ethics rules in government are as much show as Nancy Pelosi's election theme of fighting the culture of corruption in Congress. Any rule can be circumvented. Anyone with power will find ways to exercise it, use it to intimidate, and advance a personal agenda.
There is only one way to fight corruption in government and that's to scale down the scope of government and limit the control that politicians have over our lives and money. It's what the founders of this great country had in mind to begin with.
What are the prospects that this will happen in a Democratic regime?
Consider what our new leadership on Capitol Hill is going to look like.
National Journal, the popular and prestigious Washington weekly about government and policy, compiles a Composite Liberal Score, based on voting records, for every senator and congressman. A score of 100 would be a flawless liberal voting record.
Looking over the prospective committee chairmen in the new Democratic House, the average Composite Liberal Score of the chairmen of the 21 standing committees is 78.5. In the leadership we have Pelosi with a rating of 90.2 and Majority Leader-Elect Steny Hoyer at 70.7.
In the Senate, the average Composite Liberal Score for the prospective 20 committee chairmen is 77.4. In the leadership, we have Majority Leader-Elect Harry Reid at 78.2 and Majority Whip-Elect Richard Durbin at 86.8.
What are the chances that this regime who, on average, vote liberal almost 80 percent of the time, is interested in limiting the size of government?
Sure, the current Republican regime has been a disaster in limiting government growth. But at least there are some Republicans who oppose this. Find me a tax cutting, spending cutting, regulation limiting, privatizing Democrat. Good luck.
So, if there is a 10 percent chance of getting smaller government under Republican leadership as opposed to zero chance under Democratic leadership, I'm not indifferent, nor should any caring American be indifferent, to what party is in power. We need Republicans.
Now, here's the nation's to-do list for the next two years. First, limit the damage that the Democrats do. Second, find the real limited government Republicans _- Republicans like Jeff Flake and Mike Pence in the House, or like the governor of South Carolina, Mark Sanford. Get these guys in charge so we can take back the regime and start doing the government downsizing work on which this nation's future depends.