The New York Times, on its Sunday editorial page, notes that it’s a lot more difficult to govern than to obstruct — but if Republicans go ahead with their promise to choose the second, easier path, they will be the losers in the end:
Many Americans who voted this fall expressed a deep mistrust of government. House Republicans’ triumphalist vows to tie up the Obama administration with nonstop investigations and obstructionist budget crimping are not going to allay those voters’ concerns — or solve any of the country’s problems.
“I want seven hearings a week, times 40 weeks,” exulted Representative Darrell Issa, who is in line to take the gavel of the House government oversight committee.
This combativeness from the new House majority is an early symptom of its preference for politicking over the tougher job of governing in hard times. Its plans already feature the low cunning of snipping budget lines so the Internal Revenue Service cannot enforce key provisions of the health care reform law. …
The new majority will showcase hearings devoted to what Representative Fred Upton, the ranking Republican on the energy committee, called a “war on the regulatory state.” What he means by that is the Environmental Protection Agency’s daring to accept scientific evidence that human activity is driving global warming. Similar hearings, rooted in the vindictive rhetoric of the 2010 campaign, are likely for the new consumer protection bureau, immigration enforcement, and more.
Inevitably, the White House is reported ready to add a platoon of lawyers to defend against the kind of endless harassment the Clinton administration suffered in the last Republican ascendancy. Surely Republican leaders must know that their past Inspector Javert binge helped snuff out their majority, even though it was abetted by President Clinton’s personal misbehavior.