Ghosts Of Contracts Past - 1994


(Do as I say, not as I do)

With the latest news about a Republican push for a new Contract With America for the upcoming mid-term elections, I was wondering what ever happened to the other one, the much touted one, the feel-good one, the one that didn't get much past its first 100 days.

Oh, that one. I remember the orgy of "come brother, let us reason together" proclamations that gushed during the first press conference that November in 1994. And remember Dick Armey?

Dick Armey: “When we committed to open process that would allow participation by all our members, giving due respect and the right to participate to both the majority and minority, we anticipated that the minority may flood the floor with amendments and try to slow down, stop the process. In anticipation of that we had a resolve at the time we wrote the Contract that we would be prepared to work seven days a week if necessary, even twenty hours a day if necessary. But there are two things we will not violate – one, is our commitment to an open process, where people are allowed to participate, irrespective of minority or majority status. And two – our commitment to get the work done. We believe a Congress where every member feels their right to participate is fully respected is a Congress that will work smoothly and efficiently. And we expect that to be the case.”

Lofty ideals and bi-partisanship (despite a reporters inquiry if Democratic members would stay on committees the answer was a flat "no") and none of it came much to pass before the Ethics violations would roll out. All that hypocrisy, all those values, all that change.

And they would very much like to do it again.


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