Our State House Leadership Woes: Newt’s Perspective

Newt Gingrich devotes the good part of a chapter to eerily similar woes to our current situation in his newest book Real Change (available in the RMG Store).

THE GOP CULTURE OF DEFEAT AND MINORITY STATUS

To understand how Republicans got into their current mess and how badly the Repuclian system has failed, itis essential to remember some history.  the House Republicans last held a stable majority prior to teh election of 1930.  From 1930 to 1994 there were only two elections in which House Republicans had a majority (1946 and 1958).

consider the impact on a party of sixty-plus years in which there were fifteen years of Democratic House control for every year of Republican control.  For Republicans, the impact was devastating.  Those whou could not stand being in a minority in the house ran for the Senate, or for governorships, or took jobs int he executive branch or left politics.

Those who remained comfortably in the minority learned to accept their minority status, to expect to lose elections an votes in the House, and to work with the majority Democrats in a permanent environment where “good” Republicans would not fight to hard and would get rewarded by Democrats for cooperating. In speaker Sam Rayburn’s phrase, “to get along, go along.” that was the culture of the House Republicans when I was elected in 1978, and despite twenty years of work as a member, it remains the culture of too many of the House Republicans today.

Those three paragraphs sum up the situation we find ourselves in today in Massachusetts.  We have leadership in both the House and to some degree the Senate that “gets along, by going along”.  It is time for a change.  

Someone recently emailed me the Statehouse News roundup for July 30, 2008. Remember this is less than two weeks after the MassGOP just filed ethics complaints against Speaker DiMasi.

There were two in the first, zero in the second, three in the third, and three in the fourth. In opposition, there were five votes in the second division. There was no objection to the chair considering no action.

During a brief delay, Speaker DiMasi sat in the second division and chatted with Republicans, receiving a brief shoulder squeeze from Minority Leader Jones.

At 1:29 pm, the chair said that during the course of the emergency preamble, he could ascertain that a quorum was not present. Consequently, he said, that vote would be rendered void.

While his party calls for an ethics investigation against the Speaker, opposition leader Jones should not be giving the Speaker a “brief shoulder squeeze”.

About Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno