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"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."
Sir Winston Churchill


Would Conservatives Be Better Off With Speaker Pelosi?

Probably not:

Underlying the it-would-be-better-to-lose arguments is the breezy sense that the GOP would have little trouble quickly reclaiming the House. After all, the logic goes, the Democrats will only have the slimmest of majorities -- a few seats at best. But as House Republicans have already proven, it is difficult to dislodge the majority party, even one that holds power by a slim margin. During these last 12 years, the GOP has held on to the House despite never having more than 232 members, and at one point dropping to as few as 221. Incumbency provides the majority party with considerable advantages that enable them to beat back challengers. Indeed, it has taken an increasingly unpopular war, lobbying scandals and high gas prices to bring the Democrats to the brink of power. Should Republicans lose the House, they will likely have to wait for a similar aligning of the stars and planets before they can gain it back.

Finally, the contention that divided government leads to fiscal restraint is unconvincing. It rests heavily on the Reagan and Clinton years, but a look at the year-to-year percentage change of the government portion of gross domestic product suggests that fiscal restraint is far more contingent on the political climate. Most of Reagan's fiscal restraint came in his first two years in office, after his smashing 1980 victory. As the years wore on, and Democrats in the House got better at fighting Reagan, spending began to increase. In the early 1990s, the emergence of the Perot voter -- who was very concerned about the federal budget deficit -- and the scramble of both Clinton and the GOP to woo those voters, led to spending restraint. However, when the deficit became a surplus in 1998, Washington politicians forgot their frugal ways. This resulted in spending increases in 1999 and 2000 that were the highest since 1990 and set the stage for the spending orgy of the Bush years.

These are two solid arguments against.

I vividly remember that when the GOP took the House in 1994, the Dems in Congress and the Dems who make up the media all thought 1996 would be their year. Incumbency is a powerful thing to overcome, and one should not consider passing the benefits of it to the other party lightly.

That said, conservatives need to get some wish list items fulfilled before turning out in Nov.


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