Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Republicans Demonstrated Willingness to Relinquish Power

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Republicans Demonstrated Willingness to Relinquish Power

Article excerpt

When is the last time you can recall a national political figure acknowledging that he ought to conduct himself in a more mature fashion?

That was the extraordinary, and appealing, admission of audacious Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich recently. Responding to questions about polls showing that 58 percent of the American people think the U.S. Congress is doing a good job, while only 40 percent approve of the job Gingrich is doing, the speaker agreed that the style he had acquired as a back-bencher was not as statesmanlike as people want to see in a speaker.

He didn't exactly promise to change - everyone who has ever tried to lose weight knows how hard it is to change - but he conceded the problem. By admitting that, in demeanor at least, he lacks maturity, he actually demonstrated maturity.

But matters of style almost shrink to insignificance in the face of the impressive substance the Republicans can point to after 100 days in power.

The press has been skeptical of Republican motives and openly hostile to some Republican goals. Accordingly, the new majority has been denied credit for some of the reforms it has enacted that really are a change from business as usual in the nation's capital.

Any time someone voluntarily relinquishes power - in a board room, on a faculty committee and especially in government - it ought to be news. Upon taking control on Capitol Hill, Republicans voted to live by the laws they enact for everyone else - correcting an outrage that 40 years of Democratic power permitted. They swiftly dismantled one-third of the power structure - committees and committee staff -that they could have taken for their own once achieving a majority. They enacted a line-item veto despite the fact that doing so gives added power to a president of the opposing party. And more than 80 percent of them voted to limit the terms of members of Congress, with many freshman Republicans voting to make term limits retroactive as well.

Much has been made of the fact that the leadership failed to push hard enough on term limits, that its support for the measure was tepid and that its failure to pass a term limits bill amounted to hypocrisy. …

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