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Follow the GOP Leaders (Out the Door)

If you want a clear illustration of how the GOP's fortunes have changed on Capitol Hill, flash back to this date six years ago. Dennis Hastert (Ill.) was Speaker of a Republican-dominated House, with Majority Whip Tom DeLay (Texas) serving as his chief lieutenant and strategist. Tom Davis (Va.) was in charge of the National Republican Congressional Committee, en route to gaining seats for his party in the 2002 elections. And Trent Lott (Miss.) was Minority Leader in a narrowly divided Senate, poised to take over the chamber when the GOP re-captured control that November.

Now? Hastert and DeLay are gone, and their seats have gone Democratic. Davis is retiring, with his district in serious peril. And Lott resigned last year just in time to preserve his earning power as a lobbyist. His Senate seat now also appears in danger of going Democratic, as the GOP has already lost a House seat as the dominoes have fallen from Lott's departure.

The irony here is that, as members of the leadership, all of these men were expected to put their party's interests ahead of their own. They each barnstormed the country, raising millions of dollars for the GOP, recruiting challenger candidates, bolstering incumbents and preaching the importance of helping the team. Yet each of them, in one way or another, has exited Congress in a fashion that hurt their own party:

1) DeLay became enmeshed in the Jack Abramoff scandal and was indicted by a grand jury in Texas for his fundraising activities, forcing him to surrender his leadership position. At the height of his troubles in 2006, he dropped out of his re-election race too late for the GOP to get another candidate on the ballot. Rep. Nick Lampson (D) won the seat, despite its strong Republican lean.

2) After losing the Speakership when Republicans lost power in 2006, Hastert could have served out the 110th Congress and simply not run for re-election. Instead, he chose to resign in November 2007, precipitating a costly special election when his party could hardly afford it. And to make matters worse, Hastert backed a deeply flawed candidate, Jim Oberweis, to replace him. Oberweis lost the special election in March.

3) Lott, who was exiled from leadership in 2002 but fought his way back to be Majority Whip this Congress, also decided to resign in 2007, conveniently leaving the Senate just before tougher restrictions on lobbying by former members went into effect. He was replaced by Roger Wicker (R), who now appears to be locked in a surprisingly tough fight for November. And Wicker's House seat is gone, having been scooped up by Democrats in another expensive, bruising special election.

4) Davis, at least, is simply retiring, not resigning. But his Northern Virginia seat is in serious danger of going to the Democrats. And Davis has been quite outspoken in criticizing the GOP's current strategy and message. It may take awhile to rebuild the Republican brand, but Davis won't be around to help that effort.

It doesn't end there. Davis' successor as NRCC chairman, Tom Reynolds (N.Y.), is also retiring from a seat that is vulnerable to a takeover. When they ran the campaign arm, both men practically begged their colleagues not to resign or retire, warning against the dangers of open seats. Now that their party is outside of power, they're doing exactly what they counseled against.

Of course, every member leaves Congress at some point; none of these leaders was expected to stick around forever. But they were at least expected to depart in ways that didn't cause extra headaches for their colleagues.

By Ben Pershing  |  May 28, 2008; 10:47 AM ET
Categories:  2008 Campaign , GOP Leaders  
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The fast selfish exit should not surprise anyone. The RNC has turned into the party of selfish practice the last 40 yrs. It is all about winning at any price with out conscience.

Posted by: Debbie in Md | May 28, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

From: Head of State

Wednesday, May 14, 2008
The Change That You Deserve

From the Chicago Tribune:

"The slogan unveiled this week by House Republicans - "Change you deserve" - is already a trademark used by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals to market its antidepressant Effexor XR."

Black Screen.

Fade into:

Scene of a thin grey haired man standing in a green field. Behind him we can see the sun is rising.

"I got the change I deserved with GOP"

Cut to a small child, in a sun dress, who looks up at him and smiles.

"I was tired, listless. I had lost interest in my usual activities--creating false attacks, acting as if I had been unfairly attacked about issues created out of whole cloth, drawing specious historical parallels, fawning over ideologically bankrupt manufactured father figures. Sure, I sent emails claiming that Obama was a Muslim, but had lost the spark, the enjoyment of everyday life."

Cut to a child who rides by on a bicycle, and throws a newspaper on the front porch.

"That's when I found GOP."

Cut to man rowing in a scull across a still river. He turns to the camera, smiles.

"In clinical studies, GOP has been found to increase aggressiveness in the absence of actual provocation in 8 out of 10 users. In most users, the desire to gleefully attack returns in 1 week. Full enthusiasm for invented ideas in two. "

Cut to image of porch swing.

"With GOP, my attention to minor distractions fully returned, until I was again building them into major accusations of flawed character. Once again, my intense focus on pins, buttons, sentences fragments and remote relationships as absolute indications of personal virtue and ability was at its peak. For an entire weekend, I could once again choose the right moment to accuse a candidate of treason without cause--when I was ready, when the time felt right".

Cut to a series of blurred images: long, stringy haired teens in torn jeans and ironic 80's t-shirts lounging by the Washington Monument; picture of John Kerry in a Swift Boat during Vietnam;
Eiffel Tower. Plate of Arugula. During these images, rapid voiceover in female voice:

"GOP may cause monosyllabism, inability to consider two differing concepts at the same time, memory loss or inaccurate recall of recently and repeatedly presented intelligence information, focus on size of automobiles or koro, sequential nicknaming, knowing mischaracterization, hooting. If you have a desire to read the collected works of Ann Coulter that lasts longer than four hours, this may be a sign of a dangerous condition and you should contact your physician immediately."

Cut back to man standing in field. American flag waving in the distance behind him, below a risen sun. A woman walks up beside him, puts her arm around him, and smiles.


"So get the change that you deserve. Talk to your Doctor about GOP. Soon, you'll be walking by the homeless on the street again and saying 'Let them get a job!'

Or better yet--let them get GOP."

Woman smiles.


Head of State

Posted by: Robert Hewson | May 28, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

The rats are gonna get nice and fat before, during and after jumping ship.

When you sell a flawed message with flawed candidates led by a seriously flawed President this is what you get.

There is no corner of the GOP world that doesn't have the stench of a "screw the people" attitude.

You can fool all of the people some of the time and based on the last few Bush dead enders, you can fool a small remnant all of the time.

Apologies to Abe Lincoln.

Posted by: willandjansdad | May 28, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Just being voted out of office or retiring from Congress is not a sufficient consequence for what the Republican leadership has done.

With a Democratic and special interest-free president combined with a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress, we might just be able to see those who deceived us into war, bankrupted our economy, deregulated the banking and mortgage industries, deserted the Constitutional protections of our citizenry and supported corporations in their pillaging of our environment for private profit actually get their COMPLETELY just rewards.

And toward that end, many of us Democrats in Kentucky are doing everything we can to force-retire Senate Minority Leader ("Ditch Mitch") McConnell in the fall.

And the latest Rasmussen poll seems to indicate that just might happen.

Posted by: Carmen Cameron | May 28, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

There is one thing the Republicans in Congress can do to save their party from well-deserved extinction.

Let them lead Congress (with full support from the Democrats) to immediately impeach and remove from office both George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. They should do this next week, and complete it in a matter of a day or two. Discussion is not necessary.

If Senator McCain were to take a leading role in this effort, he might even deserve to be considered a candidate for the Presidency in November.

Otherwise, it would be best if not a single Republican were returned to office this November and the GOP quietly dissolved from its lethal burden of shame, hypocrisy, and irrelevance.

Posted by: LDMJR | May 28, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

The last Republican implosion followed Nixon's criminal escapades. This one is tuned to W's total incompetence and the criminal behavior of so many around him. It's different than the first in that only Nixon and his henchmen fell while this time whole boatloads of sleezy Rovian operatives are crawling back into the woodwork, leaping off their Republican pirate ship or giving up in disgust if they were not criminally involved.

Posted by: Lookinginfromoverseas | May 28, 2008 10:16 PM | Report abuse

At this rate Obama needn't worry about losing Hillary supporters to McCain, as they may be the only people voting for him. Maybe in 2004 the GOP were still a force to be reckoned with, but in 2008, they could lose in a landslide to a sack of diapers. They're the antidote to victory.

For every one of Hillary's people threatening to defect to McCain, there's at least 50 republicans who are NOT going to be voting their ticket this year because frankly, their ticket SUCKS. At the current rate of GOP implosion, Obama may just be able to walk into the presidency.

Posted by: Gina in Chicago | May 29, 2008 2:17 AM | Report abuse

I think the republicans are going to get what they richly deserve. Abe must be spinning in his grave. What has happened to his party, but then, what has happened to our congress. Lots of pols are to blame for this mess, both parties included.

Posted by: Bill | May 29, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

And the story left out the best connection to the Abramoff scandal. Notwithstanding his business partner and he murdered the Greek cruise line owner, after he discovered their bank fraud papers with no down payment to buy in and control his company.
We left out the Florida US Congressman Feeney, who like the movie the Silent Storm, thought he got away with his lied about Scotland trip for three years.

Funny, the FBI had interviews with the Stategum group-Abrami, Schnick, Gonzalez and Drake who had done all the campaign fundraising with the REID Ga and Abramoff money for camapigns state and federal.

Mysteriously, the three men were supposed to be part of a murder gay suicide, execpt they all slept with women a week before dying. A Bush right wing N.C. blog started the gay murder rumor.
Maybe the feds didnt believe it either, that is why Bush's soldier still has an FBI investigation hanging over him while he goes into the re-election in Florida.

Posted by: theloneconsumer | May 29, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

There is a multi-billion dollar per year scandal that is part of the Abramoff Scandal. Most of the media have remained silent, usually because the media owners have benefitted from this dimension of the scandal - they can substitute "fresh young (inexpensive and imported) young blood" for experienced American technical professionals. Microsoft was the biggest promoter, spending about $100 million in political expenses between 1995 and 2000. Microsoft helped procure three Microsoft-friendly changes to H-1B legislation in 1996, 1998, and 2000. Jack Abramoff and his team played crucial roles. Rep. Tom DeLay, profiled above, played a starring role.

"High tech" firms exploit the very wide loopholes in H-1B legislation (that employers designed in 1990.) The H-1B visa program is bloated - with over 1.1 million visa admissions between 2000 and 2002, and was characterized by Nobel prize winning economist Milton Friedman in 2002 as a "government subsidy" since it provides employers access to high-skilled immigrants at below-market wages. For WP readers that want to learn more about the corrupt H-1B program, please refer to this article published in January, 2008, "The Greedy Gates Immigration Gambit,"

All of the leading presidential candidates from BOTH parties have expressed strong support for the controversial H-1B visa program. This is a likely consequence of the large campaign contributions that we have been hearing about.

I wonder if these candidates, or their handlers, are aware of the public anger against these forms of corporate welfare.

When I asked Rep. Tom Davis, III from the audience at a Town Hall meeting in Vienna, VA on 8 March 2008, he affirmed his infamous quote .... In Spring 2000, Davis was a major supporter of pending legislation which would increase the H-1B quota. Davis commented, "This is not a popular bill with the public. It's popular with the CEOs...This is a very important issue for the high-tech executives who give the money." - National Journal, May 5, 2000 and New York Daily News, May 3, 2000 (Davis extended his remarks on 8 March 2008 by sharing about how he sat down with Bill Gates, III and explained how important this was. - Davis was then head of the RNCC, as noted in the blog posting)

For U.S. citizens that want to make a positive difference in demanding reforms of the H-1B Visa program - that opposes American values such as fairness and freedom, please use the free citizen activism tools at

Posted by: Dr. Gene Nelson | May 29, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

obama remains the best hope of those who hate america...all the founding fathers dream will be lost in obama,SAD DAY for America indeed.

Posted by: allan beltran | May 29, 2008 10:08 PM | Report abuse

obama remains the best hope of those who hate america...all the founding fathers dream will be lost in obama,SAD DAY for America indeed.

Pardon? You spelled Amerika wrong. Yep, those who ADORED slavery so much that they enshrined it in the Constitution will have their dream shattered. Is that a bad thing? Yep, you'll have to call a N**** Mr President. Is that a bad thing? Yep, Indian massacres won't be allowed and invasions to steal oil and impose religious doctrines on others won't happen without the GOP's Amerikan dreamers. Now there's only one question. Why is it that Nazis always link the anti-American crapola the GOP spews as somehow patriotic? Amerca is about FREEDOM from tyranny and war, not the imposition of both on innocents.

Posted by: ManyAndVaried | May 30, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

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