House Republican freshmen have suddenly discovered a distaste for demagoguery over Medicare cuts and a desire for civility and calm discussion about the important matters of the day, according to reports in the New York Times' The Caucus blog, Roll Call and the Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire blog: "'Washington is a great place to talk about problems. But as soon as someone starts proposing solutions, everyone attacks the person,' said Rep. James Lankford (R., Okla.)."
It's almost as if the Republican frosh didn't recently sweep themselves into power by hammering the Obama administration for trying to repair the country's health insurance system and grappling with the long term entitlement problems that are largely driven by spiraling health care costs.
Perhaps they have contracted amnesia, or perhaps this is another case of "it's okay if you're a Republican," (IOKIYAR) much like the way Cheney was able to assert that "Reagan proved deficits don't matter," at least until the next time Democrats took the reins of power.
But Democrats are disinclined to fall for this "no backsies" rhetoric this time around:
"House Republican freshmen used false and misleading scare tactics against seniors last year, but are now afraid of the truth: their constituents are outraged that they voted to end Medicare while protecting Big Oil," said Jesse Ferguson, spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
The Caucus blog gets right to the point with its headline: "Republicans Decry Tactics the Party Used in 2009." No, that's not the Onion. The weak Republican response? "Both sides do it." Apparently, though, only one side is allowed to play politics when it comes to, well, politics.
Personally, I would welcome an adult conversation on Capitol Hill, but to have one, you first need to elect grownups to both parties. In the meantime, I will sit back and chuckle as last year's demagogic insurgents are this year's sensitive wilting flowers whose feelings seem to get hurt at the drop of a hat. It brings to mind the aphorism attributed to Finley Peter Dunne: "Politics ain't beanbag."