November 17, 2018


Shock of irrelevance awaits House Republicans in minority (David M. Drucker,  November 17, 2018, Washington Examiner)

"There's going to be a real awakening," said Tom Reynolds, a Republican from Buffalo who retired from Congress in 2009 after five terms. Reynolds, now a senior adviser at a D.C. lobbying shop, was chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee in 2006, when Democrats had last flipped the House prior to this year.

The desertion of the Washington press corps is perhaps the biggest culture shock that awaits House Republicans when the 116th Congress convenes in January.

With possession of the speaker's gavel and committee chairmanships, the Republican Party has dictated the terms of legislation in the House. That majority has afforded competing factions of rank-and-file Republicans -- such as the conservative House Freedom Caucus -- the ability to shape or block legislation favored by GOP leadership.

All of that attracts an inordinate amount of media coverage -- coverage that after the midterm elections quickly moved across the aisle to focus on House Democrats as sorted out leadership responsibilities and divvied up the spoils of their Nov. 6 victory. Even President Trump's usual Twitter antics, usually a staple of the topics House Republicans are asked to comment on, weren't enough to halt the exodus.

Michael Steel, who advised Ohio Republican John Boehner, first as House minority leader and then as speaker, compared transitioning to the minority to a superhero losing his powers.

"Going from the majority to the minority in the House is like going from being the Hulk to being Bruce Banner," Steel said. "There's just a huge drop-off in terms of influence, attention, and relevance."

Now they get a chance to actually legislate, if they can work with the majority.

Posted by at November 17, 2018 5:11 PM