Editorial: House GOP misreads the mandate of Nov. 2Published Wednesday, Jan. 05, 2011
To the victors go the spoils. But as the 112th Congress takes office today, Republican leaders seem inclined to use their new power in ways that do not bode well for the country.
Instead of focusing on joblessness and other pressing priorities, the new GOP majority in the House appears stuck in the past – trying to kill health care reform and investigating alleged misdeeds in the Obama White House.
That is a misreading of the November election, and an irresponsible path that will only waste time on political gamesmanship.
Californians are key members of the GOP vanguard, including Rep. Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield in the third-ranking post of majority whip. They shouldn't need reminding that the economy is their top task, not with more than 2 million Californians still unemployed.
As chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Rep. Darrell Issa of Vista is setting his sights on what he calls "one of the most corrupt" administrations in modern history. Though he tried to backpedal from that ridiculous assertion, he is nonetheless vowing to launch investigations on a wide range of issues: WikiLeaks, corruption in Afghanistan, the housing foreclosure crisis, recalls at the Food and Drug Administration, etc., etc. While Issa says his goal is to root out wasteful spending, not prosecute White House officials, one result could be the same: a parade of top aides spending too much time testifying before his committee.
As one of their first orders of business, House Republican leaders plan a symbolic vote to fully repeal the health care plan. A poke in the eye before Obama gives his State of the Union address, the gambit is unlikely to get through the Senate and would be stopped by the president's veto pen. Republicans plan to try to rescind specific provisions of "Obamacare" and starve it of money. Reps. Dan Lungren of Gold River and Wally Herger of Chico could play major roles in pushing that effort.
Republicans claim they're doing what voters want, but the exit polls from Nov. 2 do not back them up. The election was clearly a referendum on Obama and the economy – 62 percent said it was the most important issue. Only 18 percent picked health care; while half of voters said health reform should be repealed, the other half said it should be left alone or even expanded.
To read the complete editorial, visit www.sacbee.com.