On the eve of the official start of the new Congress, Republican members of the House moved to gut Congress independent ethics office, raising questions among ethics watchdogs about the GOP’s commitment to make good on Donald Trump’s promises to “drain the swamp” and hold Washington officials accountable.
In a vote conducted by secret ballot in the House’s Rules Committee Monday night, members voted in favor of an amendment that would absorb the independent Office of Congressional Ethics into the House’s Committee on Ethics, putting the group directly under a committee of members of Congress, whom the office is expected to investigate.
If 2016 was really a “change” election, you would have seen incumbents at all levels defeated as voters opted for something new. Or if it were a “change” election specifically aimed at ousting Democrats and bringing about a new era of Republican rule, you would have seen many Democrats defeated. But neither of those things happened. In the House, only one incumbent Democrat was beaten by a Republican, while six incumbent Republicans lost to Democrats. Ninety-six percent of the seats stayed with the same party that held them before the election. In the Senate, all of the incumbent Democrats won, while two incumbent Republicans lost. Only one incumbent governor was defeated, Republican Pat McCrory of North Carolina. There wasn’t much change in state legislatures around the country either: Republicans took control of three chambers, while Democrats also took control of three chambers.
It won’t matter, of course, because Republicans play by a different set of rules than anyone else. But there’s an important lesson here for Democrats: stop acting like the other party acts in good faith, because it doesn’t. Stop trying to find bi-partisan consensus, because Republicans aren’t going to ever compromise or cooperate, and why should they? They never face any consequences for that behavior from voters or the press, or – especially – from elected Democrats.
Trump is the most unpopular president-elect in history, and the only reason Republicans have a majority in the house is because of gerrymandering. They have no mandate, they have no popular majority. Democrats are the opposition party now, and they need to act like it. Republicans are going to bully and complain and act like petulant children, so treat them like the petulant children they are.
MITCH McCONNELL IS JUST FINE WITH TRUMP SO FAR: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tells Carl Hulse that everything is going just swimmingly:
“No matter what sort of theatrics that go on around the administration, if you look at the decisions that are being made, they are solid — from our perspective — right-of-center things that we would have hoped a new Republican president would have done….during the campaign, there were a lot of questions: Is Trump really a conservative?…But if you look at the steps that have been taken so far, looks good to me.”