Mark Steyn has a brilliant and must-read article about how the Republican Revolutionaries of 1994 have become that which they campaigned against. Here’s a portion:
Last week, something very unusual happened: There was a story out of Washington that didn’t reflect badly on the Republican Party’s competence or self-discipline. It was about a Democrat! Fellow from Louisiana called William Jefferson. Corruption investigation. Don’t worry, if you’re too distracted by “American Idol,” it’s not hard to follow, you just need to know one little visual image: According to an FBI affidavit, this Democrat congressman was caught on video taking a hundred-grand bribe from a government informer and then storing it in his freezer. That’s what the scandal’s supposed to be: Democrat Icecapades of 2006. All the GOP had to do was keep out of the way and let Jefferson and his Dem defenders skate across the thin ice like Tonya Harding with her lumpy tights full of used twenties. It was a perfect story: No Republicans need be harmed in the making of this scandal.
So what does Hastert do? He and the House Republican leadership intervene in the case on behalf of the Democrat: They’re strenuously objecting to the FBI having the appalling lese majeste to go to court, obtain a warrant and search Jefferson’s office. In constitutional terms, they claim it violates the separation of powers. In political terms, they’re climbing right into the Frigidaire with Jefferson’s crisp chilled billfold. What does the Republican base’s despair with Congress boil down to? That the Gingrich revolutionaries have turned into the pampered potentates of pre-1994 Washington, a remote insulated arrogant elite interested only in protecting the privileges of the permanent governing class. But how best to confirm it? Hmm. What about if we send the Republican speaker out to argue that congressmen are beyond the jurisdiction of U.S. law-enforcement agencies?
After all, the GOP’s 1994 Contract with America stated pretty plainly that henceforth “all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply equally to the Congress.”
But that was a long time ago, wasn’t it?
Steyn then writes of Congress’ inverted view of congressional immunity. Although the Constitution prevents members of Congress from being arrested for anything they say on the floor of the House or Senate, they didn’t use that immunity to speak the truth about the Senate’s immigration bill. Instead they portrayed this bill as being America’s saving grace for its immigration problem when in reality it will only exacerbate it.
Be sure to read Mark Steyn’s piece.