We all remember Mary Shelley’s story of the mad scientist who brings his creation to life, only to find that he can’t control it – the monster eventually murders its creator’s brother and wife and generally wreaks havoc before destroying itself.
Something like this seems to be happening with the newly-energized House Republicans, not even three weeks after the election. Their first order of business was to gut their rule that would have required Tom DeLay to step down from his leadership post in the likely event that he should be indicted. It has been widely reported that many members who "secretly" opposed the rule change nonetheless voted for it because they didn’t want DeLay to be mad at them. (Profiles in Courage! I got yer Profiles in Courage right here!)
Then, having abandoned ethics, the House Republicans abandoned national security. The bipartisan bill that would have implemented many of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations has enough votes to pass both the Senate and the House easily. But House Speaker Denny Hastert, after publicly stating his support, refused to allow it to come to a vote after a couple of his chairmen said that they didn’t like it after all (speaking of Profiles in Courage, Mr. Speaker…). Even the personal intervention of both President Bush and Vice President Cheney could not sway these guys.
What makes this particularly astounding is that the Republicans’ relatively small pickup in the House (4 seats) is due almost entirely to Tom DeLay’s probably-illegal redistricting scam in Texas. To call that a mandate for anything (other than gerrymandering) is ludicrous, yet the wacko wing of the Republican party seems more energized than ever, and seems determined to advance the wacko agenda even when it directly conflicts with what Bush wants.
Well, Bush wanted to solidify Republican control over both houses of Congress, and that’s what has happened. But be careful what you wish for, Mr. President. Like Mary Shelley’s monster, it appears that FrankenCongress cannot be easily controlled, and there’s no telling how much havoc it will wreak before it finally self-destructs.