Friday, February 03, 2006


They just can't help themselves. To Republicans, "reform" is to go to great lengths to change their image, to give the impression that, although they didn't do it, they're really really sorry they got caught, and they won't do it again -- get caught, that is. Then they pass some "red meat" legislation to show they mean it this time -- and continue to march down the same corrupt road.

So Ohio's John Boehner is sitting in Tom DeLay's cat-bird seat after a hard, fought race. Buying $150,000 worth of votes to gain the House Majority Leader seat is pretty cheap for Boehner, who once thought nothing of traversing the House floor, brazenly passing out individual checks to representatives from tobacco lobbyists.

The only good thing about Boehner's "stunning victory" is that DeLay was pushing for fellow Jack Abramoff recipient Roy Blunt. DeLay and Newt Gingrich protege Boehner have clashed for years, and DeLay, hoping to maintain some control by putting his man in the job, appears to be down for the count...

After bribing his peers to vote for him, Boehner said he was "humbled" by their faith in him. He promised to lead Republicans in working on big issues -- visionary issues "that the American people expect us to deal with..."

Speaking of Boehner's list...

Boehner is for amending the Constitution to force prayer in schools, and thinks that, even without such an amendment, federal money should go only to schools that allow prayer.

In February 2004, Boehner voted to force recipients of taxpayer-funded anti-poverty programs to take part in religious activities, and to require these programs to practice employment discrimination.

He led the efforts to separate the "wheat from the chaff" in the Head Start Program by adding a controversial amendment to a bipartisan School Readiness Act, which "allowed federally-funded early-child-care providers to discriminate on religious grounds."

He pushed the Ohio School System to include "Intelligent Design" in its science standards. He is 100 percent in favor of drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, 100 percent for gutting the Endangered Species Act, 100 percent for weakening the National Environmental Policy Act -- and 200 percent against a woman's right to choose...

Republicans insist they're serious about reform. California Representative David Drier, who heads the rules panel, was to have unveiled a reform package last Wednesday, but alas, he missed the deadline because lawmakers said it was too difficult to agree on major changes. Don't look for such a package any time soon.

But they had to do something to show the American people just how serious they are about reform. So they brazenly kicked former lawmakers who are now lobbyists out of the House gym.

Which proves when it comes to reform -- Republicans just can't help themselves.


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