Speaker Boehner

Speaker Boehner

Friday, November 12, 2010

1998 + 2010 = ??

The debate over the nature of the 2010 GOP mandate continues.

This blog has only scratched the surface of what 2010 means. When thinking about 2010, we need to analyze this mandate in the light of past experience. In other words, the GOP need not repeat the past mistakes of either party.

In terms of past mistakes, 1998 jumps to mind. The GOP congress appointed a special prosecutor to investigate Bill Clinton's misdemeanors, which appointment led to impeachment hearings and a half-baked impeachment "trial". The work of the highly zealous special prosecutor, together with the work of the House Government Oversight Committee turned a situation where Slick Willie was clearly wrong into a situation where Slick Willie was the victim.

With Slick Willie giving an Oscar-worthy victim performance, the GOP lost seats in the 1998 midterm election.

One of those losses was particularly painful. My Congressman at the time lost his seat. My congressman was a tightwad fiscal conservative and one of the most hardworking public servants that you will ever meet. In his zeal, he used his time in the well of the House to sing a song parody "Twinkle Twinkle Kenneth Starr". C-SPAN captured the performance, which his ultra-liberal opponent used in massive ad buys. My congressman lost the election. His replacement, Rush Holt, still represents New Jersey's 12th Congressional District. He has the most liberal voting record in the House.

The song became a symbol of the very unpopular impeachment proceedings, Monica Lewinksy (pictured above) enjoyed her fifteen minutes of fame.

The unelected special prosecutor became the face of the GOP. He was an easy target. The GOP lost sight of fiscal restraint because impeachment had put our heads squarely up our derrieres. We never regained our focus. The GOP lost control of the debate, and as a result the public believed that we were more interested in marking Slick Willie with the Scarlet "A" than we were in governing.

I don't say this to place blame on others. Mea culpa: I was on the impeachment bandwagon big time, and even encouraged my congressman to vote to impeach the president.

So when we add 1998 and 2010, what is the sum?

Those of you who said 4008 are mathematically good, but humor challenged. The the sum is that the GOP should tread lightly where investigations of the Obama Administration are concerned, especially any investigation that smacks of impeachment or criminal charges. The public did not give the GOP the House to do that. Any inquiries by congressional committees should be civil and focus on excessive spending and reducing the size of this behemoth we call the federal government.

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