January 5, 2005 [LINK]

GOP ethics relapse?

On the first day of the 109th Congress, the Republican House leadership pushed through a revision to that body's ethics rules that requires at least one member of each party to agree before any investigation can go forward. This marked a partial retreat from the principled stand that Rep. Joel Hefley (R-Colo.) had taken, and he now says he expects to lose his post as chairman of the House ethics committee. See Washington Post. It's certainly not the best way to start off a new year of legislating. Perhaps the Republicans are driving home the point that they have given up trying to work with the Democrats in Congress. Personally I wouldn't have a problem with going along with a hardball strategy if I were more confident that the congressional Republicans are serious about enacting comprehensive reforms to entitlements programs, fixing the medical liability insurance mess, etc. Radical reforms are not generally based on widespread consensus, and I happen to believe that stiff, unpopular measures aimed at making our economy more free and more market-friendly are absolutely necessary. Some toes will get stepped on in the process, and many Democrats will scream bloody murder. It's a shame.