John J. Pitney Jr.: The GOP and the Temptation of Hubris





[Mr. Pitney teaches American politics at Claremont McKenna College and is co-author of "American Government and Politics: Deliberation, Democracy, and Citizenship" (Wadsworth, 2010).]

Republicans could still blow it, but as they head toward a likely victory in the midterm election they should consider what it would mean to regain control of the House of Representatives. The perks are great. Several other aspects of power are less enjoyable....

• Above all, power means responsibility. As political scientist William F. Connelly Jr. reminds us in his splendid new book, "James Madison Rules America," no party in the U.S. Congress is ever simply the "opposition." Like it or not, a Republican majority will have to work with the president to pass budgets and conduct the routine business of government.

As the 1995-1996 government shutdowns showed, failures can cause enormous political turmoil. And with vastly larger deficits nowadays, Congress's responsibilities will be heavy indeed....


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