DOUG HECOX: Don't feel badly for the GOP - Tucson Local Media: Editorials

DOUG HECOX: Don't feel badly for the GOP

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Posted: Wednesday, November 12, 2008 12:00 am | Updated: 8:01 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

If you listen closely, you can hear the sound of conservatives weeping. It is faint, but it is there.

The results of the Nov. 4 election, historic to be sure, threw Republicans out of office in numbers not seen since the elections of 1974, when anti-Nixon sentiment swept the nation. Ironically, it was that political tsunami 34 years ago that gave America a young Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.).

It’s funny what the winds of change will blow into your lawn.

Don’t feel badly for the GOP. Indeed, America’s conservatives should be celebrating. For all the Obama campaign’s media-friendly promises of “turning the page,” the next two years will see a Democratic administration failing to lead the Democratic-controlled Congress.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi failed to lead her House of Representatives before, and that isn’t likely to change. Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), the elder statesman of the U.S. Senate, is being pushed aside by that body’s younger powers.

The Republican insurgency – led by the fire-tempered Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the nicotine-stained Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) and the milquetoast Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) – will mount a jihad against the Democratic majority, but little effort will be required. The new Democratic trifecta won’t get very far. The stress fractures are starting and the new Congress hasn’t even met yet.

When the White House and both chambers of Congress are led by the same party, very little of any significance gets accomplished. President Bill Clinton enjoyed two years of majority rule on Capitol Hill, and what was his legislative legacy? Moral failure and an impeachment.

President George W. Bush had six years of majority rule in Congress and little was accomplished there either, except the costly expansion of Medicare, the costlier addition of the Department of Homeland Security and the annoyance of TSA officials rummaging wildly through your luggage.

On some level, there is a measure of comfort this knowledge brings. A lawmaking body so hamstrung by its own good intentions only ensures that nothing will change. The status quo will remain. It’s a safe bet that the token Republican in Obama’s Administration will be Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), the only senator more bland than McConnell and, other than the fence-sitting Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Nebr.), the only Republican who Obama has ever spoken to outside of debates with McCain.

Congressional Republicans spent 40 years in the minority, and the lessons learned in that wilderness led to 28 years of Republican presidencies, the Republican Revolution of 1994 and an impeached Democratic president. In those four decades, Republicans learned to play the role of the loyal opposition very well and will do so again with gusto. If only they had a Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) to show them how to wage the war they now must.

McConnell is no field commander and Boehner is eager but lacks Gingrich’s killer instincts. Once again, the fire in the belly for the Republicans is left to McCain.

So stop weeping, Republicans – with Democratic victories across the nation, Christmas came early for you.The Bill O’Reillys and Rush Limbaughs of the world now have larger and better targets for their daily harangues.

Better yet, young people – said to have voted in record numbers – can finally see the folly of voting for a Democratic ticket whose platform consisted of a single plank that read “I’m not George Bush.” Such a platform is a far cry from the Great Society, and even farther from the New Deal.

The Obama administration is a one-trick pony, with a rider who has never before been in the saddle. Time will prove me right.

The next four years will be interesting, if not comedic, but don’t expect meaningful change any time soon. Democrats in D.C. talk a good game, but that’s about it. It’s up to Congress’ few remaining Republicans to serve as the thin blue line between order and redistributionist-minded chaos.

Can they do it? Yes, they can. Will they need to? Hardly. As the last 60 years have shown, Democrats in Congress can’t legislate their way out of a paper bag – no matter how charming their president is.

Doug Hecox is a professional comedian and writer. His first comedy album, “Vote For Me,” is on sale now.

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