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Republicans in the Good Old Days

They were just as conservative.

Jun 17, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 38 • By JAY COST
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Of course, backbench House members are not the driving force of government, per the design of the Framers. It remains to be seen how the Republican party as a whole will deal with the nation’s growing cynicism and crumbling political economy. In the meantime, it is easy to appreciate why those most dedicated to the status quo​—​like the New York Times editorial page​​—​​would be aghast at doubters, such as some House Republicans, and would readily identify them as the cause, rather than a consequence, of the government’s problems.

The future is largely uncertain, but there are a few points to be confident about. For starters, conservative Republicans will continue to oppose liberal Democrats, just as they have for generations. This opposition will be most intense in the House of Representatives. Liberal Democrats will vent their frustration using invectives like “radical” and “dangerous.” They will dutifully forget that old Republicans similarly appalled previous generations of left-wing reformers, and they will long for the good old days when the GOP was sensible and moderate. Thus, in 30 years, wherever the nation finds itself, we can rest assured that the New York Times will bemoan the leadership of the GOP and look back longingly at the tenures of Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

Jay Cost is a staff writer at The Weekly Standard.

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