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Rites of Initiation

Will the freshman Republicans earn ‘strange new respect’?

Nov 29, 2010, Vol. 16, No. 11 • By FRED BARNES
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The 2010 Republicans have en--countered a Washington with one saving grace. Republicans and conservatives now have an infrastructure all their own: newspapers, think tanks, social groups, churches, and plenty of their brethren who came to town and stayed. It’s an alternative to the dominance of liberal institutions, a subculture.

Sean Duffy, a new House member from Wisconsin, forced the chairman of the appropriations committee, David Obey, to retire (or lose), then won Obey’s open seat. Last week, Duffy wrote in Politico that he and the 80-plus members of his Republican class “are ready to change the way Washington does business.”

This is a pipedream. Members of Congress come and go, but the way Washington works has been entrenched for decades. It won’t change, even if earmarks are banned. But if Republicans are unwilling to embrace Washington as it is, there’s another option. They can beat it. Ronald Reagan did.

Fred Barnes is executive editor of The Weekly Standard.

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