A GOP Opportunity Lost

Ed Morrisey writes about an opportunity, to hold extensive debates on legislation on lobbying reform, that the GOP let pass prior to the election. It appears that congressional Democrats will seize the opportunity to do what the GOP failed to do.

We’ve talked about Pelosi’s ability to shoot herself in the foot, amply demonstrated by her support of John Murtha in the leadership elections and the decision to elevate disgraced former federal judge Alcee Hastings to the chair of the Intelligence committee. However, this plan shows that Pelosi and her fellow Democrats will not get everything wrong in this session. The plan to hold extended debate on these initiatives, one at a time, is nothing short of brilliant — and it will serve as a constant reminder of the opportunity that the GOP let slip away.

In the days following the revelation of the Jack Abramoff corruption scandals, voters pressed Congress for action on lobbyist influence and corruption. Republicans said they supported reform, but did little to pass legislation to address it. Either they felt that the problem wouldn’t find enough resonance with voters, or they really didn’t want to end some of the lobbyist perqs that came with being in Congress. Either way, they proved themselves tone-deaf and let a golden moment slip by that would have reinforced their connection to the 1994 “revolution”.My guess is that Republicans did not pursue that legislation prior to the election because they did not want to give Democrats a reason to focus on Jack Abramoff, but preferred to steer voter focus to the war on terror and other issues.

Ed goes on to talk about how the Democrats propose making the most of this issue and how even though they risk exposing some anti-reform elements in their party, the potential is there to paint themselves as the party of reform. It will be interesting to see how this one plays out and what role Republicans decide to play.

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