The Republicans have a reputation for being disciplined and that reputation extends to the Republicans members of the House and Senate. The GOP Congressional members move largely in formation. Today that formation resembles a bunch of lemmings moving to perdition.
After a huge layoff, if I still had my job, but many of my colleagues did not, irrespective of the industry, when I got to my desk the next day, I would have to take a long and hard look at my own survivability. I would close the door and sit down and rethink what career issues were at stake for me. If I was a GOP member of Congress (or a Dem, too) I would take a long, hard, and frank look at myself and wonder if I should walk in lock step with anyone, except for those who determine whether or not I keep my job. I would look at those who no longer around and take a lesson.
Did the voters who put me in office put me there to be a GOP rubber stamp? I might have been swept in by a GOP tide and my State or District may have gone for George W. Bush, but did they want we to be one of the lemmings? When does discipline begin to become corrosive?
The Democrats are very far right of where they were a generation ago. It isn't that the country has suddenly shifted to "liberal" values. No. Then I look at Lincoln Chaffee, and he's out. It's not about the politics. It's about the party. It's about the way that Congress isn't doing its job. It is no longer behaving like one of the branches of government.
If this were a corporation, it would be equivalent to terminating an employee who is content to just sit around and sign off on everything without adding value. We've seen it in industry where the Board of Directors or the top management team kowtows to the boss. The word in my parent's generations for this was "being a yes man."
I would realize on the morning after that there is a way to disagree while still being loyal. I would recognize that the electorate (beyond the base) had come out to register their displeasure with those who did not demonstrate that they had a bit of a spine. I would understand that George W. Bush is a lame duck. I would know that "staying the course" has been repudiated at the polls, although I would know there are those who will continue to advocate it until the bitter end in November, 2008.
The vote on November 7, 2006, was in part a message to Congress that ideology was not as important as getting to work. If I were a Senator or Representative, I would know that a wakeup call had been sent out for us to get off our collective duffs and do the job we were getting perks and pay to perform.
I would know that George W. Bush and his inner circle are marching into history, but that my own career might span a number of terms well beyond that.
At one point coat tails can turn into anchors and loyalty can backfire if it appears I am not thinking for myself and not listening to the electorate.
I would know that in two, four, or six years I would be measured by what I had done and not purely on loyalty to the White House. The clock would be ticking and it would be the first day of the rest of my career.