Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The more things change...

The Democrats decisively won this month's elections promising change and Republican leaders are promising to change their ways as a result. Don't hold your breath.

Yesterday, the Senate Republican Caucus met and easily voted down a series of rule changes proposed by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) that would have included imposing term limits on GOP leaders (defeated 36-5) and also the party's seats on the powerful Appropriations Committee (defeated 36-4). Then, the Senators reappointed roughly the same group of leaders that presided pre-Nov. 4. In other words, nothing changed and the system continues to be rigged against it.

Sen. DeMint told The Hill that term limits would "reduce the concentration of power and get more members involved." Yes, he's right, that is what term limits do. Term limits open up seats and permit greater access, share power and hands-on knowledge with a wider group of people, and bring a wider range of ideas and experience to governmental bodies.

DeMint also noted that "Change is hard, and I didn't expect to win." Unfortunately, he was right in this case too.

But don't worry. Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) assures us that changes in the rules or the leadership aren't necessary and, in fact, that the changes were hardly discussed by the caucus. The Republicans lost due to "circumstances out of our control," he said.