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Perhaps this is what the psychologists call cognitive dissonance — Republicans are now mostly unwilling to hold serious hearings on government spending or mismanagement because so many of them blindly supported Bush-era boondoggles, both foreign and domestic. They are caught in hypocrisy of their own making, with only soundbites left for a platform. The GOP did not even hold hearings on Republican Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn’s annual Waste Report, a longtime staple of reasonable oversight. Only CSPAN’s Book TV gave Coburn a proper forum to discuss his exhaustive research on government waste.
Having one party dominate policy and legislation while the other retreats into mindless and sporadic venting of anger is unhealthy for America. Those who wish to hold power accountable and desire a reasonable dialogue on the role and cost of government in the 21st century must stage an intervention. The elephant in the room is sick, and its infirmity harms all of us.
Scot Faulkner was director of personnel under President Ronald Reagan, chief administrative officer of the House, and is author of “Naked Emperors: The Failure of the Republican Revolution.” Jonathan Riehl is a communications consultant for political campaigns and national nonprofit organizations and teaches communications studies.