Part of the reason the GOP won so many seats in the House of Representatives was that Nancy Pelosi’s promise to “clean up the swamp,” was completely forgotten when Democrats took control of government. Top Pelosi lieutenant Charlie Rangel committed nearly a dozen ethics violations and received a slap on the wrist. In fact, he’ll be heading back to Congress in 2011.
Republicans have a different view of how they are going to run congress upon taking control. Whether they have success is yet to be seen, the days of Jack Abramoff and the corruption infested GOP-controlled 109th Congress are fresh in everyone’s’ minds, but the new rules laid out by GOP leadership give conservatives hope for a better 112th Congress. Most of the rules are directly taken from the GOP’s “Pledge to America.”
The rules are heavily influenced by the Tea Party and include a provision that states that all bills must be shown to have constitutional justification before moving forward in the House. Another great rule added to the book is the antithesis of the Democrats silly Pay-Go rule. Pay-go was used to justify all kinds of tax increases during the 111th Congress and it will not be missed. Instead, the GOP is using a Cut-Go rule that will force congressmen to provide for offsetting cuts in spending if they wish to raise spending on a mandatory spending bill. In fact, the Republicans are even picking up transparency measures proposed by Barack Obama that he then discarded as simply campaign fluff. The GOP will allow Americans to actually read and respond to legislation before the House votes on it by giving them three days to read legislation before any vote is taken.
This type of transparency comes from the ground up. Conservatives all across America are responsible for this type of reform and should congratulate themselves for working so hard during the 2010 campaign cycle to put the point across to Congress. In Congress, the Tea Party Caucus, headed by Michelle Bachmann, has already done a tremendous job of influencing the GOP leadership. Without her influence and that of her caucus, these rules may have been worse than Democrats’.
What Americans want is obvious, they are voting with their feet at the state level. The Census showed that Americas are fleeing high-tax, high-regulation states and moving to pro-growth, low-tax states like Texas and Florida. For years the two have been governed under pretty conservative principles, and they are reaping the benefits of that by gaining 4 and 2 house seats respectively. As Michael Barone writes at Human Events “Seven of the nine states that do not levy an income tax grew faster than the national average. The other two, South Dakota and New Hampshire, had the fastest growth in their regions, the Midwest and New England.” Those are pretty irrefutable statistics.
The implications of this population movement are enormous for the outcome of the 2012 presidential election. As the editors of the Wall Street Journal wrote this morning:
the states gaining strength in the Electoral College are usually Republican at the national level. In 2004, John Kerry would have won the presidency in the Electoral College if he had carried Ohio. Under the new Census numbers, in which Ohio will lose two Electoral College votes, that’s no longer true.
No President since Abraham Lincoln has won without winning Ohio. To see its role diminished in electoral politics is stunning, and a sign of the times.
Republicans are already flexing their muscles in Congress, and they haven’t even taken control of the House yet. The failure of the Democrats’ omnibus bill, in a Democrat controlled congress, is very telling. It is going to be a difficult two years for the president. The omnibus contained funding for Obamacare that, now, will not be included in the budget. Once the GOP takes control of the House, it is doubtful such funding will emerge.
You can bet on a bill right out of the gate in the new congress that forces House and Senate members to reaffirm their commitment to Obamacare. Don’t expect any freshmen to vote for Obamacare, and expect to see a few of the old bulls in the Senate waiver on the idea of government controlled healthcare as they look toward their 2012 reelection campaigns (Read: Ben Nelson of Nebraska).
It’s going to be an interesting New Year for sure.