Updated: Feb 16
I lived and worked in Washington, DC in the mid-90s spending a fair amount of time working on Capitol Hill. Working on policy issues meant I saw a lot of letters that were sent to Representatives and Senators on various issues. This was a time when Republican members of Congress were busy on committees working on getting legislation passed. These were serious Republicans doing serious work in Congress. Members like Senators Mark Hatfield, Bob Packwood, Bob Dole, and Representatives like Connie Morella were interested in foreign policy, food stamps, women’s rights, and various other issues. They worked with Democrats in getting legislation signed into law. Sometimes they were able to put their mark on the bills to make it less liberal than it used to be. Even a decade ago, Senators like Susan Collins worked on repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Marco Rubio was part of the “Gang of Eight” that worked on bipartisan immigration reform.
The advent of the Trump era brought a different kind of Member of Congress, especially in the House of Representatives. Truth be told, this didn’t start with Trump, but it seemed to come to full flower during the Trump years. Gone were the serious Republican legislators who put their heads down and become workhorses. In it's place we have a crop of congresspeople that are more interested in tribalism and culture war than they are in representing their district. They care about the culture war so much that they lash out at fellow members of Congress who do anything that might make a Democrat look good.
In this episode, I welcome back Ariel Hill-Davis, the Policy Director for Republican Women for Progress. With populist candidates like JD Vance, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Madison Cawthorn who seem less serious and more pugilistic, you have to wonder, can the GOP ever be a serious governing party again. Ariel thinks there’s still a chance and is working to support candidates who have a chance to defeat incumbents like Greene. With Democrats on track to lose the House of Representatives in November, the hope is to have Representatives in the GOP interested in policy and not owning the libs. Is there still hope for the GOP?