House leaders Hastert, DeLay, and Blunt must have used LBJ tactics with Mike Pence if the Washington Post is correct that Pence is backing down from his criticism of the uncontrolled spending being thrown at the Gulf states. I hope that the Post is wrong or that Pence has figured how to outsmart the leadership. Whatever the case, Hastert, DeLay, and Blunt have forgotten their conservative constituencies and their conservative roots and are acting like Democrats who see their majority in jeopardy and are trying to buy their way out of trouble. My old friend Dave Keene usually gets it right, as he does in his latest Hill column:
Years ago, management guru Tom Peters suggested the slogan of many U.S. corporations might as well be "We're no worse than anybody else." It didn't work for those businesses in a competitive world, and DeLay's new slogan for the House Republicans, which might as well be "We're not quite as bad as the Democrats," isn't going to be much more effective for his party. Washington Republicans may not care much about limiting spending or restraining the growth of government, but the people who hired them and sent them here do.
Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980 because he believed in people rather than government. While he didn't always succeed, he fought for eight years in Washington to deliver on his promises to those who elected him. Today's Republicans ape the Reagan rhetoric, but if their actions mean much they are as different from Reagan as the Republican liberals he vanquished in the early '80s.
Don't you miss Ronald Reagan as much as I do?