Do Republicans Want to Win a House Majority in 2010?

Trying to micromanage the system over several elections is a dangerous game.

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By Peter Roff, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

Rumor has it that there is some question in GOP circles, as the Daily Caller reported Monday, as to whether or not the Republicans really want to become the majority party in Congress as a result of the 2010 election.

To some, especially those who are already growing accustomed to how easily the words “Speaker Boehner” roll off the tongue, the very idea is heresy. Others apparently are not so sure.

To the latter group, the better outcome of the 2010 election is for the GOP to win back almost enough seats to be a majority--in order to stop truly bad legislation from passing--while keeping Nancy Pelosi in the speaker’s chair in order to run against her in 2012, when the national environment might be even better for the Republicans. [See which industries donated the most to Pelosi.]

Strategies such as this are, of course, nonsensical. Just ask President Mondale.

In an election, two months is a life time. Two years plus is an eternity. Trying to micromanage the system over several elections is a dangerous game--the ceiling can cave in and the floor can collapse at the same time. You have to strike while the iron is hot.

[See a slide show of 11 hot races in November.]

On the other hand, the Republicans in the House, rather than gird themselves for a march to majority, are for the moment behaving as though it's business as usual. Almost to a member they have, some with grumbling enthusiasm, acceded to Boehner’s ban on earmarks. Yet they continue with other aspects of normal business as though the nation is not in crisis.

Rather than go to the floor everyday with legislation that establishes meaningful contrasts to the way the Democrats have mismanaged the economy and the people’s business, members of the GOP seem content to continue to offer relatively meaningless “feel good” resolutions that are of zero legislative value but play well with the folks back home.

Case in point, the non-binding H. Con. Res 284 recognizing “The Dedication and Sacrifice of Special Education Teachers,” sponsored by Republicans Pete Sessions and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (who are both, if memory serves, in the GOP House leadership).

Now it is true that special education teachers are, in the main, very dedicated, hard-working people who often do more than is asked of them. They deserve to be congratulated and their contributions are especially worthy of praise. But with unemployment near 10 percent, the Democratic majority in Congress failing for the first time since the 1974 Budget Act to even offer a budget resolution, President Barack Obama asking for another $50 billion to bail out state and local governments, the Dow on life support and total U.S. indebtedness on track to equal one year’s GDP in just two years time, resolutions recognizing the sacrifice of this group, the contributions of that group and the very special place that good old so-and-so occupies on the national scene just do not seem to be good politics.

[See a roundup of campaign 2010 political cartoons.]

If the Republicans are serious about winning back the majority, the only resolution they should offer between now and the next election is a budget resolution, if for no reason other than to remind everyone that Nancy Pelosi and her Democrats have fallen down on the job and don’t seem to be getting up anytime soon. The Democrats are playing hardball. The GOP needs to get in the game.

  • Check out our editorial cartoons on the 2010 campaigns.
  • See who is donating to your member of Congress.
  • See a slide show of 5 key issues in the 2010 elections.