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1 T HE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CONTEMPORARY HOUSE IN AN ENVIRONMENT OF CHANGE By HANS E SCHMEISSER A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2012
2 2012 Hans E. Schmeisser
3 To Shelly, my love, who got me past the finish line and beyond
4 ACKNOWLEDG MENT S I would like to thank my family, mentors and friends that made this accomplishment possible. Wit hout my wife Shelly and son Luke, I would have never been able to complete this work their motivation and love sustained me daily. I a lso want to thank my mom for the countless hours she spent at my childhood kitchen table helping me to study and buildi ng in me a love for learning. This work is also possible my father left for me on a middle school lunch napkin that encouraged me to always face head on the challenges of life. Thank you to Larry, whose guidance through graduate schoo l kept me on the path of one small win after another. To Dr. James Lamar Cox, without you I would have probably ended up a miserable lawyer, never having perused my passion for teaching. Finally, thank you to all my grad school comrades Kim, Dere k, Sean, Chris, and Paulina who made Saturday at T he Swamp the best day of the week.
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 7 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 8 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION: THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CONTEM PORARY HOUSE IN AN ENVIRONMENT OF CHANGE ................................ ................................ ..... 12 A New Majority in the House ................................ ................................ ................... 12 Research Purpose and Dissertation Thesis ................................ ............................ 13 ................................ ................................ ............ 18 Theoretical Perspectives and a History of House Development, 1910 to 1994 ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 18 The 104 th House: Choices and Consequences, 1994 to 1995 ......................... 19 The House in an Environment of Change, 1995 to 2000 ................................ .. 23 A Pattern Repeated: Unity in the Face of Tragedy, 2000 to 2006 .................... 25 Different Majority but Similar Story, 2006 to 2010 ................................ ............ 27 Criticism of Conditional Party Governance ................................ ............................. 29 2 CONCEPTUALIZING THE HOUSE IN AN ENVIRONMENT OF CHANGE ............ 32 Theor etical Perspectives and a History of Congressional Development ................. 32 Theoretical Lenses: Historical Institutionalism, ................................ ....................... 33 American P olitical Development, and the Path of the Republican House ............... 33 From Textbook to Post Reform ................................ ................................ ............... 44 The Post Reform Era ................................ ................................ .............................. 50 The Contemporary Congress: an Era of Party Governance? ................................ 52 Our Criticism of Conditional Party Government ................................ ...................... 59 Summary: Conceptualizing House Majorities in an Environment of Change .......... 62 3 TAKEOVER ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 66 Backgroun d: Gingrich and the Path to the 1994 Election ................................ ........ 67 The 104 th Congress: Republican Party Governance in the House .......................... 79 Takeover Succes sful, But an Unclear Future Ahead ................................ .............. 93 4 EXTENDING THEIR REPUBLIC? ................................ ................................ .......... 97 Make Way for the Republicans!... or, the Revolution that Was ......................... 98
6 104 th to 105 th : What a Difference a Congress Makes ................................ ........... 104 ................................ ................ 113 After the Revolution the Dynamic Environment of the House .............................. 118 5 THE REPUBLICAN HOUSE IN AN ENVIRONMENT OF CHANGE 1995 TO 2000 ................................ ................................ ................................ ...................... 123 After the Fall ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 123 Organizational Structure: Tracing House Leadership Activity, 1994 2000 ............ 124 Lost Lambs of the Revolution : Tracing GOP Membership, 1995 to 2000 ............. 141 A New Solid South: Regional Developments, 1952 to 2000 ................................ 153 Republican House Governance, 1995 2000: ................................ ........................ 162 A Critique of CPG and the View Overtime ................................ ............................ 162 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 172 6 UNITY IN THE FACE OF TRAJEDY? THE REPUBLICAN HOUSE: 2000 TO 2006 ................................ ................................ ................................ ...................... 176 A Return to Party Governance in the House ................................ ......................... 177 Organizational Structure: Tracing House Leadership Activity, 2000 2006 ............ 186 ................................ ................................ .................. 196 Hitching their Wagons: Tracing GOP Membership, 2000 2006 ............................ 199 Republican House Governance, 2001 2006: ................................ ........................ 211 A Critique of CPG and the View Overtime ................................ ............................ 211 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 222 7 A NEW MAJORITY, A NEW HOUSE? THE DEMOCRATIC HOUSE: 2006 TO 2010 ................................ ................................ ................................ ...................... 226 Democrat Takeover ................................ ................................ .............................. 226 A Return to Unified Government ................................ ................................ ........... 239 Considerin g the Democratic House, 2007 to 2010 ................................ ............... 247 ...... 250 8 CONCLUSI ON: LESSONS LEARNED? ................................ ............................... 256 Republicans in a New Era: 1995 Repeated? ................................ ........................ 256 House Governance, 1994 2010: Our Criticism of CPG A Madi sonian View ...... 260 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 267 APPENDIX: DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS ASSESSING PATTERNS OF CHANGE WITHIN THE HOUSE ................................ ................................ ........................... 270 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................. 277 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 289
7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 3 1 Percentage of membership by ideological category ................................ ........... 93 5 1 Leadership of the House, ideology: 1995 2000 ................................ ................ 132 5 2 Lost Lamb committee service: 1995 and 2000 ................................ ................. 152 5 3 Regional breakdown: 1995 2000 ................................ ................................ ...... 160 6 1 Leadership of the Ho use, ideology: 2001 2006 ................................ ................ 188 6 2 Regional breakdown: 2001 2006 ................................ ................................ ...... 210 7 1 Regional distribution, House Democrats: 2007 2010 ................................ ....... 240 A 1 Ideological groupings ................................ ................................ ........................ 273 A 2 Regional breakdown ................................ ................................ ......................... 274 A 3 Congre ssional committees ................................ ................................ ............... 275
8 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 3 1 Republican ideology in the House: 1994 ................................ ............................ 74 3 2 Republican regional distribution: 1994 to 1995 ................................ ................... 80 3 3 Regional distribution, Republican House freshmen: 1995 ................................ .. 81 3 4 House leadership ideology: 1995 ................................ ................................ ....... 84 3 5 Regional distribution, Republican House management structure: 1994 1995 .... 85 3 6 Repu blican House ideological trend: 1995 ................................ ......................... 94 4 1 Budget Cons versus Theo Cons: 1994 2006 ................................ ................... 102 4 2 Budget Cons versus Theo Cons, The So uth: 1994 2006 ................................ 103 5 1 Leadership of the House, regional distribution: 1995 2000 .............................. 139 5 2 deological sub groups: 1996 ............. 142 5 3 Developmental dynamics, freshman revolutionaries: 1995 to 2000 .................. 147 5 4 Ideology of committee chairman overtime: 1995 2000 ................................ ..... 150 5 5 GOP House regional distribution: 1994 to 2000 ................................ ............... 160 5 6 Developmental dynamics, overall Repu blican House: 1995 2000 .................... 166 5 7 Mean House Republican ideology overtime: 1995 2000 ................................ .. 170 5 8 Republican ideological sub groups, 10 6 th Congress ................................ ......... 171 5 9 Republican House ideological trend: 1995 2000 ................................ .............. 174 6 1 Republican House ideological trend: 2002 ................................ ....................... 182 6 2 Average regional distribution, Republican House leadership: 2001 2006 ........ 187 6 3 Ideology of committee chairmen overtime: 2001 2006 ................................ ..... 191 6 4 Leadership versus rank and file ideology: 2002 ................................ ............... 197 6 5 Average regional distribution, House GOP: 2001 2006 ................................ .... 209 6 6 Mean House Republican ideology overtime: 2001 2006 ................................ .. 213
9 6 7 Developmental dynamics, overall Republican House: 2000 2006 ................. 216 6 8 Republican ideological factions: 106 th (99 th Congresses (05 222 6 9 Republican House ideological trend: 1995 2006 ................................ .............. 223 7 1 2006 Democratic party versus 2007 Democratic freshmen, ideology ............... 228 7 2 Democratic regional distribution: 2006 to 2007 ................................ ................ 229 7 3 Regional distribution, Democratic House freshmen: 2007 ................................ 230 7 4 Democratic House ideological trend: 2007 ................................ ....................... 233 7 5 Developmental dynamics, overall Democratic House: 2007 2010 ................. 248 7 6 Democratic House ideological trend: 2010 ................................ ....................... 2 49 7 7 Regional distribution, Republican freshmen: 2011 ................................ ........... 252
10 A bstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillm ent of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CONTEMPORARY HOUSE IN AN ENVIRONMENT OF CHANGE By Hans E. Schmeisser May 2012 Chair: Lawrence C. Dodd Major: Political Science This dissertation consider s the conte mporary U.S. House of Representatives from a historical institutionalist methodological perspective that allows for the identification and examination of patterns of political development within the institution overtime. From t hese patterns, our composite analysis of House majority party dynamics in the post revolution era provides purchase in understanding movements of growth rigidity, crisis, and collapse in the current political arena Focusing on the preference homogeneity tiona l party government thesis, w e evaluate t his chosen operationa l model of House majority parties in terms of its long term s ustainability In doing so, we chart the developmental dynamics of the Republican party from 1994 to 2006 (an d later the Democratic ma jority from 2007 to 2010), illustrating the fluctuating degree to which party members were uniform in their political
11 preferences overtime. In outlining competing tensions within the party caucus, we demonstrate how members react ed to major shifts or crise s that occurred in their operational environment during the ir tenure as House majo rity. From this evidence, we challenge the sustainability of conditional party governance, contributing to the ongoing debate presented by its theoretical detractors. O ur ana lysis of recent House majorities shows that while con ditional party governance is attempted in certain contexts this initial decision becomes increasingly restrictive f or members seeking to pursue their preferenc es in an evolving political climate Employ ing an originally constructed database to trace ideological homogeneity of House majorities in the post revolution era we show that shiftin g environmental context and leadership failure contribute to the unsustainable nature of party governance in a Madis onian system F rom a path dependency per spective, we illustrate that shifts in the very conditions that mak e party governance possible show themselves to be the seeds of future crisis. In the ever changing operational environment of our political system, w e demonstrate that those choosing to take on a party governance oper ational model have found these initial choices increasingly constraining on future actions that must occur in a new ly emerging context.
12 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION: THE DE VELOPMENT OF THE CON T EMPORARY HOUSE IN AN ENVIRONMENT OF CHANG E A New Majority in the House The autumn of 1994 presented for the Democratic party more than a falling of leaves from the trees of Washington D.C., but a falling from political control of the Congress for the first time in nearly half a century. To their surprise, under the leadership and tutelage of Newt Gingrich, the Republican party seized majority status in the House of Representatives after having remained in the minority for so many decades. Unforeseen by most political elites and academics alike, the shock of political revolution took Washington and the halls of higher learning by c omplete surprise. For generations, Democrats had dominated the electoral and legislative landscape within the House of Representat ives by employin g a decentralized, constituency service model of governing built upon committee service and social welfare policy. Yet, with their ideologically unifying document The Contract with America in hand the Republicans accomplished in November o f 1994 a goal that had eluded the party for nearly 50 years: becoming the majority party within Congress. As the election fallout began to settle, both political scientists and media pundits suddenly become the governing party within the legislative branch. When taken together, such evidence Contract their incorporation of southern conservative values, a newly minted (and greatly strengthened) party leadership under Newt Gingrich, and a series of centralizing organizational reforms used to enforce their Revolution led many to be gin arguing that the Republican s success in 1994 was achieved through a strong sense of ideological unity a characteristic that has since been c ommonly employed by
13 both congressional scholars and media observers to define the majority party ( Mayer, 1996; Bruck, 1995). In particular, this rise of an ideologically homogenous Republican caucus to power (in conjunction with other factors such as refor ms to strengthen party leadership and increasingly de ep interparty division) led certain academic camps to argue that the institution of Congress had entered into a new era of legislative operations under a model of conditiona l party government (Aldrich a nd Rhode, 2000; Rohde, 1991). Since the early 1990 s, legislative scholars have been debating about how Revolution in the years that followed, how the contemporary period of legisla tive politics helps the field to understand the development of this institution as it operates overtime. In participating in this dialogue, this dissertation presents a political development narrative account of the Republican tenure as the majority party in the House of Representatives from 1995 to 2006 (as well as an account of the Democratic majority from 2007 to 2010). With an eye for how long term legislative processes have evolved following the post reform era, we seek to understand the political deve lopment of the contemporary House as the institution has operated in an environment of change. Research Purpose and Disse rtation Thesis The purpose of this developmental narrative is to consider academic tensions between the leading explanatory arguments o f the post reform era Congress; namely, the conditional party governance thesis provided by David Rhode and John Aldrich, versus its criticisms and alternative model of constructive partisanship presented by Lawrence Dodd and Bruce Oppenheimer. An investig ation of these tensions forms the foundation our primary research contribution to the broader political development
14 literature : understanding the developmental dynamics of the Republican 1 caucus during its tenure as the majority in the House of Representat ives, and addressing the lessons in an operational environment of change and crisis Our thesis states that the conditional party government model has failed to see most specifically the persistence of intraparty ideological homogeneity are highly dependent upon (1) continued effectiveness of newly empowered party leadership, and (2) long term environmental st ability conducive to a highly partisan organization and its agenda. In creating our contemporary political development account, we employ a path dependency theoretical perspective backed by a series of descriptive statistics 2 that allows this dissertation to chart the dynamics of the Republican House as it evolved overtime. This developmental analysis provides the foundational support of our thesis: The conditional party governance argument presents an illusion of party strength, failing to fully account fo r 1 While the bulk of this dissertation focuses on the Republican House from 1994 2006, we also consider the development of later Democratic (2007 2010) and current Republican majorities. 2 lly constructed database in which a National Journal vote rating, electoral region, leadership position, committee service, and score of each i ndividual Republican House member from 1994 score for Democrats from 2006 2010). Placed on a scale from zero 100, our descriptive statics are calculated using the positions that an individual member took in voting staff and consultants) as compared to every other member of the House in the given year. The lower the score, the less l iberal that individual is on that particular set of policy issues in that particular year; or, one members in the House in any given session (when ranking Democ conservative score, the more liberal the member) We rank Republican members into ideological subgroups from most to least conservative: Ultra Conservative, Strong Conservative, Conservative, Weak Conservative, Patrician (when ranking Democrats, the ideological subgroups range from most to least liberal). For a more complete explanation of our empirical analysis, see the attached appendix.
15 two fundamental realities that limit the sustainability of this framework as an operational model for Congress their stated political agenda despite increased political authority; sec ond (and more significantly), inevitable yet unpredictable fluctuations in the operational environment of the House that repeatedly leave a structurally and ideologically rigid majority party in crisis. This work is purposefully qualitative in nature: The conditional party governance model (which argues that strong party leadership and ideological homogeneity are the dominant factors in explaining legislative behavior in Congress) is highly context specific; as such, we argue that it has failed to see that governance is supported are greatly dependent upon what James Madison might call ent conducive to an organization and its agenda). While the predictive analysis employed to support party governance is compelling, its occurrence is not founded in a permanence of preference homogeneity within the Congress. Rather, in paying close attenti (that is, the affect of previous decisions on newly emerging contexts and issues), we find that party governance and its variable degree of strength within the Republican majority fluctuates as a response to shift s in the operational environment in which the House has operated over the last decades. In tracing the developmental dynamics of contemporary House majorities, we demonstrate that preference homogeneity governa nce is not a permanent feature of House majorities, but a contextually
16 supported factor that exists for short moments in time (often in the wake of crises). While parties who benefit from short term environmental advantages may choose to exploit these mo ments as an opportunity to empower leaders and adopt ideological unity (hence, the illusion of strengthened parties), the preference homogeneity necessary to sustain support for leaders and their party agenda cannot be assumed in an environment of change. Taken together, this study concludes that as the majority party moves forward in time increasingly bombarded by the pressures of governance over a heterogeneous society the preference homogeneity made possible by long exhausted short term advantages wi ll fade. Our developmental narrative allows us to consider the nuance missed in the conditional party governance argument: whereas the par ty governance camp argues and Rhode, 2001 pp. 289; 2009 pp. 233) 3 we show that these conditions have fluctuated in response both to operational environment. In certain circumstances, these outcomes and changes are supportive of party governance (for example, the 1994 Revolution and post 9/11 sessions); in others, each is quite restrictive (for example, 1995 96 government shutdowns and the souring war in Iraq). In all, we argue that in initially embracing a party governance model, House Republicans placed themselves in a highly precarious 3 In reference to the stability of these conditions, Aldrich and Rhode have repeatedly ar pa tterns that our theory describes internally homogeneous and polarized parties with empowered leadership to expect that these patterns will change in the future later 233 ); and finally
17 position while their initial operational surroundings may have been conducive to this action, leadership failure and/or eventual shifts in their environment lead to crisis as their established p olitical brand and operational model became incompatible with their new institutional context. This finding leads to our primary criticism of party governance: because one cannot always depend on upon effective leadership and an advantageous operational en vironment, the sustainability of this operational model is put into question. Through our qualitative analysis, we present a cycle of growth, rigidity, crisis, and collapse that we argue must be considered when seeking to understand this contemporary perio d of legislative political development. The conditional party governance model has not been without other detractors: most clearly articulated by the constructive partisanship model (which argues that sustainable legislative production occurs in periods of moderated partisanship), party for cross cutting issues to arise between members within a majority party (Dodd and Oppenheimer, 1997b; 2001b). Our argument represents an expansion of this criticism and an original contribution to the academic debate: In additionally examining the effect of leadership enhancement and contextual change on the sustainability of intrapa rty ideological homogeneity as considered overtime we cast further doubt on the utility of legislative operations that adopt party governance. In illustrating repeated patterns of development, we show that parties who incorporate this model inevitably fi nd themselves in a progressively insecure position as t hei r operational context shifts in a manner not conducive to their chosen organizational path As such, the findings of this dissertation represent an original contribution to the broader academic criticism that
18 party governance is neither a fully complete theoretical explanation of congressional politics; nor is it a pragmatic model for sustainable legislative operations. Conditional party government while it has been attempted in the post reform era is not a permanent, sustainable fixture of Congress; rather, we present the argument that its occurrence is a context specific facet within the broader development of legislative politics. In assessing the effects of leadership failure and shifting environmental contexts, our argument is developed over a series of six chapters that detail the political development of the House Republicans (and later Democrats) as the majority party moved through time. Theoretical Perspectives and a History of House Development, 1910 to 19 94 To better comp rehend the context of the recent Republican majority, we begin in Chapter 1 with an explanation of our conceptualization of legislative politics when considered overtime. Opening the chapter with a justification of our methodological outlo ok and its utility in grappling with the contemporary political development of the po litical actors in one contextual setting become restrictive on these individuals when operating in future settings, this perspective helps us to understand how embracing party governance becomes problematic in an operational environment of change. Followin g this argument, we look back through history to understand how Congress as an institution has developed overtime since the events of an earlier legislative revolution that being the downfall of strong parties under Speaker Cannon and the rise of
19 committ ee government. In tracing the historical development of the legislative branch during the 20 th century we address the causes and consequences of the reform era in Congres s and introduce the model of conditional party government as a defining framework for the post reform era of intraparty preference homogeneity. After providing this historical account of congressional development, we consider two divergent strains of thought when it comes to conceptual izing the contemporary Congress: the conditional party government thesis, versus the constructive partisanship model again, a criticism of strong party governance 4 Through our descriptive examination of the Republican majority as it operated over the pa st decades, we seek in this dissertation to shed more light on this academic divide; both in terms of each The 104 th House: Choices and Consequences, 1994 to 1995 Once legislative history i s considered and these theoretical concepts are vetted, we chart in Chapters 2 and 3 our analysis of the actions taken by the young Republican majority following their early electoral and legislative successes with the Contract To do so, we begin in C hapt er 3 by detailing the underlying movements within the Republican experience in the House since the late 198 0s examining the methods by which Republicans orchestra ted their takeover of the House. Specifically, we consider two factors within this period tha t not only made the Revolution possible; but more 4 Though we introduce these competing conceptualizations o f the House in Chapter 2, we consider these arguments and criticis ms throughout this dissertation. In doing so, we seek to trace how this academic dialogue has responded to developments in the Congress throughout this contemporary period, and to contribute our own comments in the on going deb ate. Specifically, in questioning the sustainability of in terms of its need to consider the potential for national crisis moments to extend the limit s of party government as an operational model.
20 first, the leadership of Newt Gingrich; second, the political environment surrounding the 1994 activity in the years building up to 1994: his work with the Conservative Opportunity Society, his use of GOPAC and status as minority whip in recruiting deeply conservative candidates, and the influence of his chief supporters in the House (fellow southerners Richard Armey and Tom DeLay of Texas). Importantly, we provide in this chapter an analysis of the Contract in t erms of its employment both in the mid term election, and its later function in the first session of the 104 th Congress. Secondly, we illustrate the favorable environmental context in which the Republicans and their House leaders were operating: the politi Wright, unified government under an inexperienced Democratic Administration, the popular rejection of the Clinton healthcare reform legislation, and the political opportunities of a thawing Having traced the developments leading to the 1994 Revolution we next outline momentous event. In presenting evidence that the new majority sought to take the H long held legislative rules and norms the creation of term limits on the Speake r and committee chairs, the circumventing of committees in the legislative process (for
21 and importance of party loyalty over member seniority in committee assignment), and the establishment of enhanced authority for party leadership (for example; the place of traditional committee work). Of particular importance, t he Contract also demanded drastic policy reform, especially concerning targeted federal spending programs aimed at substantial budgetary reductions. We introduce in these chapters a series of descriptive statistics that analyze mem ber actions and associati ons, address ing the new majority structure, partisan outlook and adopted operational framework. Most importantly, we offer empirical evidence 5 that this new path chosen by the young Republican majority was not only indicative of condit ional party governance; moreover, this moment of high intraparty ideological homogeneity was the primary tool used by party leadership in their efforts to fulfill the mandates of the Contract In providing this analysis of the electoral and legislative act ions taken by the young majority in their first year of revolution style governance during the 104 th Congress, we lay the groundwork fo r our primary research contribution In multiple ways, the Republican Revolution and the reforms that followed represen Republican majority attempted to push the institution down a new developmental path whether the action was the dramatically enhanced powers of the party leadership, the undercuttin g of traditional committee activity, or the demands for radical policy change; 5 See most specifically Figure 3 6 (pg. 75) in which we find a strong negative relationship between the number of members in an ideological subgroup and the degree of ideologi cal liberalism of that subgroup; a finding indicative of the strong intraparty ideological homogeneity necessary for party governance.
22 the new majority sought to remove and reconfigure the chamber in such a way as to remake the structure of the House. Of central importance to contemporary congressional developm ent, these seemingly beneficial choices made by the majority in one context would not necessarily retain their advantage overtime: Despite short term Chapter 4 that this new developmental path would their newly empowered leaders stumbled and their favorable political climate evaporated. We illustrate in Chapter 4 the negative conseque nces of these initial decisions for the Republican Hous e as it entered into a series of budget shutdowns against inter institutional rivals a moderate Senate and Democratic President Bill Clinton. Finding that the new majority did attempt to act in accord with party governance as their chosen operational mod el in the 104 th Congress, we present a discussion of our primary criticism of the conditional party governance model and the sustainability of its requisite the 105 th Co ngress represents the beginning of a defining pattern for the Republican tenure as the House majority. We show that in multiple instances, the Republicans (and later the Democrats) were advantaged by short term circumstances within the political arena. Bas ed upon these favorable conditions and initially successful leadership, the majority adopted an operational model indicative of party governance. Unfortunately for the majority, we illustrate how these conditions were fleeting exposing the tenuous author ity of party leadership and fluctuating levels of preference homogeneity overtime.
23 The House in an Environment of Change, 1995 to 2000 In Chapter 5 we build on our primary criticisms surrounding the conditional party government thesis, again employing o ur series of descriptive statistics to present the Republican as they continued to lead the House from 1995 to 2000. Here, we introduce data to assess t he validity of popular notions concerning persistent high levels of unity wit hin the Republi can House, and present original evidence 6 that outlines a pattern of change that occurred within the conservative majority. Through an examination of the ide ological homogeneity shifts experienced by the Republican House between the 104 th to 106 th congres ses, the failed workings of leadership and organizational structure, and the changing regional assoc iations held by various members; we expand our analysis to see how these constraints evolved overtime from 1995 to 2000. In terms of the post r evolution per iod, this chapter examine s growing disunity within the House GOP, particularly following the 1995 budget debacle with the Cl inton Whitehouse, later impeachment trials and electoral stalemate in 1998 and 2000. From a path dependency perspective, we portray how such defining moments took the Republicans down a course that at first reinforced unity under a clear and authoritative party leadership, but that with time place d pressure on individu al members to pursue incongr uent policy preferences. These events and outcomes present a pattern of development in attempting party governance: The first step in the pattern; in r iding a wave of unity built upon short term f avorable operational conditions and successful leadership action, House 6 See most specifically Figure 5 6 (pg. 142) in which we show the growth and decline of political subgroups within the Republican House in response to choices made and events experienced in the first half of their majority tenure.
24 members make an initial d ecision to empower and follow their party leadership Following this step; newly empowered leadership, in pur s u ing a pr omised ideologically driven (and as such, a politically co ntroversial) policy agenda, make a subsequent choice to employ party governance in an attempt to exploit thes e short term advantages. These two steps are consistent with the conditional party governance model Despite new organizational refor ms to institute party authority we find that these two choices place leaders and their membe rs in a position in which continued party In the third phase of the pattern; f ollowing inappropriate leadership activity and/or unfavorable shifts in the operational condit ions surrounding the issue the party faces political failure on the promised ag enda (this failure is often to the benefit of inter institutional or inter party rivals ). Finally; as a result of failed action, t he party experiences a loss of intraparty ideo logical unity as members scramble to pursue individual preferences rather than those of their defeated party platform Taken together, it is a pattern of growth, rigidity, crisis, and collapse in which initial decisions become future obstacles within a dyn amic operational environment. In concluding this section of our develop mental account, we employ our research to illustrate the ideological unity patterns that have arisen within th e contemporary Republican party as a result of leadership failure and shi fting operational environments following the first days of their majority patterns which show fluctuation and normalization in ideological unity one would not expect if assuming conditional party
25 governance 7 In terms of the contemporary Congress, we dem onstrate that the initial choice to adopt party governance became increasi ngly constraining in future contexts. Whether the constraint was failure to achieve the promised political agenda because of a bumbling party leadership, or an unfavorable shift in t he political environmen t surrounding the House; the conditions necessary to sustain an ideologically and structurally ridged majority party faded overtime. A Pattern Repeated : Unity in the Face of Tragedy 2000 to 2006 In the same theme, C hapter 6 presents a continued account of the Republicans as the majority party in Congress by considering their experience in a post 9/11 era of unified government: As in Chapters 3 and 4 we examine patterns highlighting the development of divisions within the Republicans as they pertain to leadership activities, regionalism, and the ideology of rank and file House members. In response to the 9/11 crisis, we show that the Republican House once again adopted ideological preference patterns 8 and organizational behavior pred icted by the conditional party governance model. Unforeseen by the critics of conditional party governance 9 help to explain the return of intraparty ideological homogeneity re gardless, this 7 See most specifically Figure 5 9 (pg. 149). As compared to the strength of ideological homogeneity in 1995, the Republican party experienced moderation and normalization of m ember preference as it developed overtime and in response to leadership failure and inhospitable environmental shift. 8 See most specifically Figure 6 1 (pg. 157), in which the party following the 9/11 crisis returned to an ideological homogeneity pa ttern similar to that displayed in 1995. 9 Dodd and Oppenheimer argue in 1997 and early 2001 that the conditions necessary for party governance had reached their operational limits. Yet, we find that the constructive partisanship model though we endorse its broader criticisms needs to consider the potential impact of national crisis. Given the ability of such critical moments to change the developmental course of political dynamics, the limits of party government can be extended when dramatic shifts occ ur in the operational environment. The 9/11 crisis and Republican response to the event represent such a shift. As such, we argue that the constructive partisanship model be amended to consider the impact of shifting operational environments and leadership response to these unique moments in time.
26 increased party strength was again unsustainable. The reforms that enhanced party leadership and weakened committee autonomy remained present throughout each Congress since the 104 th When contexts were favorable, parties attempted to utiliz e the reforms in employing party governance so as to take advantage of these conditions. Given the context of the political arena after 9/11, we find that the early 200 0s presented such a moment in time. Several events highlight this re adoption of party g overnance: the removal of term to Majority Leader in reward for party loyalty, and the forcing of controversial legislation by party leadership. This context was exacerbated by a return to united governm ent under a newly strengthened President Bush. In passing the Iraq War resolution, tax cut legislation in 2001 and 2003, and other contentious bills (Medicare Part D, No Child Left Behind, attempted Social Security reform, etc.); we find that t he House GOP their brand. Yet, the advantage gained in the aftermath of crisis was only present in the short term. In each case for the Republican House, we show this initial choi ce was again unwise: despite enhanced authority, the move towards party governance would overtime result in political turmoil as leaders failed to behave appropriately and/or the operational context shifted to become inhospitable. In terms of shifting operational environments, the Republicans were repeatedly battered by an Iraqi quagmire internationally, and Hurricane Katrina domestically. Not only had the Republican scan dal surrounding Majority Leader DeLay cemented in the minds of many voters the
27 failure of Republican leadership. Just as in the first half of their tenure, t he conditions that encouraged party governance began t o turn against the majority who had become en trenched in their adopted operational model As a result, ideological heterogeneity once again defined the conservative majority 10 The period from 2000 to 2006 represents a repeated pattern of development in attempting conditional party governance as was p resented in Chapter 5 : First, s trong partisanship b ased on early external success (i.e. the Republican response to 9/11 tragedies ). Second, a decision to push for a deeply conservative and contentious political agenda su pported by strong partisanship (i.e the War in Iraq) Third, a major defeat or struggle on a newly emerging event caused by a shift in operational context for which the ideological ly polarized party and their leadership was unable to adapt (i.e. Iraq quagmire, Hurricane Katrina, Tom Delay ). Finally, the growth of ideological division and defection away from party unity In all, Cha pter 6 once again presents the i nstability associat ed with the choice to employ conditional party governance Despite short term advantages provided by the 9/11 crisis, we see again a pattern of growth, rigidity, crisis, and collapse in which initial decisions become future obstacles within a dynamic operational environment. Different Majority but Similar Story, 2006 to 2010 In Chapter 7 to provide a more thoro ugh account o f the contemporary Congress we continue our study by conducting a review of the Democratic majority in the House following the fall of the Republicans in 2006. Here we illustrate the developmental 10 See most specifically Figure 6 8 (pg.192). Here we see almost identical patterns of ideological division and preference disunity within the Republican majority in two separate periods following the decision to adopt party governance.
28 dynamics o f the liberal majority from 2006 t o 2010 as compared to earlier periods of cong ressional politics, and consider possible causes of loss during the 2010 midterm elections. Though not a perfect reflection of their conservative counterparts the short tenure of the Democrats in the post Revol ution House mirrors that of the first and second halves of the Republican experience In their first two years, though they had adopted party governance based upon the electoral success of party leaders and a certain degree of ideological unity 11 the Demo crats chose this operational model in the face of divided government. Like the Republicans in the 199 0s the new majority fac ed a separation of powers issue that impeded their political efforts. As had conservatives in 1995 1996, the Democrats pur s u e d a co ntroversial and ideologic ally driven agenda that being immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq a volatile policy choice that put the majority into direct conflict with an adversarial White House. Just as President Clinton before him President Bush was ab le to block the Speaker and broader House leadership from attaining their electoral promises Despite their unity (though not t o the same degree as present in the 104 th Congress ), Democrats experience d the same difficulties as had Republicans in their firs t period as the majority. The second half of their tenure was also comparable to that of the GOP. Similar to the gains made by Republicans in the aftermath of 9/11, Democrats were advantaged in 2008 by an economic crisis that shifted the operational enviro nment into their favor. Further, this return to unifie d government cemented a Yet like we found in the mid 11 See most specifically Figure 7 4 (pg. 203), and our discussion of the efforts by Pelosi and other party leaders. In comparison to Republicans in 1995 and 2002, levels of ideological unity were strong for Democrats as they re ente red majority status, though not as strong as earlier conservatives.
29 200 0s a s this brand began to tarnish in the controversy over healthcare reform and a stagna nt economy members re sponded by disassociation and localization away from party leaders Resembling the ir 2006 election counterpart the 2010 mid terms were much a referendum on the politics of the Obama Administration and Democratic party leadership In all, while their experiences are not exactly the same, we see enough similarities t o again question the sustainability of party governance as a model for House operations. In both peri ods of the Democratic majority the results were much like those of the Republicans before: policy failure (i.e. no troop removal), disunity (following soured healthcare reform), and eventual electora l failure. W e can also say that the ideological trend of the Democrats was similar to that of the Republicans : A t the end of the ir tenure as majority, the ideological spectrum of the Democrats was much more normalized than that of the party in 2007 12 a pattern not expected if assuming conditional party governance Criticism of Conditional Party Governance Finally, we conclude with our overall assessment of the developmental dynamics of the Republican (and later Democratic) majority in the House. In particular, we consider the theoretical and practical implications of our findings as they relate to party governance in the contempora ry Congress, seeking to understand the lessons of 1994 2010 as the nation enters into a new period of Republican control of the House. explain the illusion of sustained part y authority that is, the reforms enacted in 1995 12 See most specifically Figure 7 6 (pg. 218)
30 that enhanced party leadership and weakened committee autonomy remained present throughout each Congress since the 104th. When contexts were favorable, parties attempted to utilize the reforms in employing party governance so as to exploit these conditions. Yet, the advantage gained was only possible in the short term. In each case for the Republican House (and to a certain degree in the Democratic), we show this initial choice was unwise: despite enhanced authority, the move towards party governance would overtime result in political turmoil as leaders failed to behave appropriately and/or the operational context (that had once benefited the ideologically rigid parties) shifted to become inhospitable. The Rhode Aldrich camp is correct: there has been increased ideological homogeneity, there has been increased leadership authority, and these factors have coalesced since the early 199 0s ; but, we show that each of these conditions are dependent upon unique political moments in time. Moreover, each condition is highly unstable; fluctuating in a pattern we show to be repeatedly unfavorable for the majority that seeks to employ the operational model of party governance. As such, our thesis from a historical institutionalism, political development perspective represents a criticism of the sustainability of conditional party governance in the U.S. House of Representatives. This criticism is an endorsement of the Dodd Oppenheimer camp; yet, because the limits of party governance can be extended in the wake of crisis, we argue that the constructive partisanship model be amended to consider the impact of shifting operational environments and leadership response to these unique moments in time. In all, this disser tation presents an original contribution to the debate surrounding the development of contemporary congressional politics. We argue that a party desiring to
31 retain its majority status ought not embrace party governance, but rather a moderated operational s tructure of balance, stability, and productivity that is aware of the dynamic environment in which the House operates.
32 CHAPTER 2 CONCEPTUALIZING THE HOUSE IN AN ENVIRONM ENT OF CHANGE Since habits involve the support of environing conditions, a society, o r some specific group of fellow men Conduct is always shared John Dewey, 1922 Theo retical Perspectives and a History of Congressional Development context this dissertat ion utilizes to investigate and frame the development of the contemporary House of Representatives. We begin with a discussion of our methodological framework, focusing on path dependency theory and its value in grappling with the political development of the House overtime. We conclude this section with a brief discussion of our empirical analysis and related descriptive statistics 1 Next, we trace the history of the House since the downfall of Speaker Cannon in 1910, describing the ebb and flow of the ins titution as it has moved through the committee, reform, and post reform eras. After providing this historical account of congressional development, we consider two divergent strains of thought when it comes to conceptualizing the contemporary Congress: the conditional party government thesis, versus the constructive partisanship model. We conclude this chapter by introducing our primary argument that the conditional party governance model is unsustainable: Intraparty ideological homogeneity is a context spe cific facet within the broader development of legislative politics that is highly dependent on two decidedly variable conditions successful leadership and favorable operational environments. 1 For a complete description of the methodology behind our statistical analysis, see the attached appendix.
33 Theoretical Lenses: Historical Institutionalism, American Political Development, and t he Path of the Republican House Within the discipline of legislative politics, there has been a long standing study of political institutions (Skocpol, 1995). We maintain the methodological value for both qualitative and quantitative scholarship; regardless, we have chosen to approach our theoretical quandary via a developmental narrative supported by a series of descriptive statistics. While c omplex statistical analyses are quite adept at explaining particular political phenomena, this methodology can suffer from a limitation in context; occurs in one momen t of political time. As a result, this focus tends to incorporate a micro view of politics (Rockman, 1994 pp. 144). Our research objective is to understand the development of the contemporary Congress as this institution and those within it changed ov ertime; thus, we argue that a historical institutionalist achieve our academic goal. Further, this methodology allows us to participate in broader academic discussions w ithin the American Political Development sub field of political science. The basic argument underlying the perspective of historical institutionalism is that institutional context matters. Actors within organizations are constrained and shaped by their combination of education, indoctrination, and experience. They are neither stable nor and Olsen, 1984 pp. 739). Political scholars must be attuned to the his tory and development of the institutional context under study, otherwise they risk
34 missing the nuance present within political phenomena: Because mainstream behavioralis t theories focused on the characteristics, attitudes, and behaviors of the individuals and groups themselves to explain political outcomes, they often missed crucial elements of the playing field and thus did not provide answers to the prior questions of w hy these political behaviors, attitudes, and the distribution of resources among contending groups themselves differed from one [institutional context] to the institutional landscap e (Thelen and Steinmo, 1992 pp. 5) In grappling with political quandaries, historical institutionalism tends to take a macro routines, norms, and conventions embedded in t he organizational structure of the polity and Taylor, 1996 pp. 938). As such, historical institutionalists tend analyze politics with an eye for long term processes and critical junctures. Rather than examining issues as distinc t slices of time, historical institutionalists attempt to, and Skocpol, 2002 pp. 693). Three key featu res define this perspective: Seeking broad agendas, historical institutionalists address big, substantive questions. In developing their explanatory arguments, historical institutionalists take time seriously, specifying sequences and tracing transformatio ns and processes of varying scale and temporality. Rather than examining just one institution or political process at a time, historical institutionalists analyze macro contexts, hypothesizing about the combined effects of institutions and process (Pierson and Skocpol, 2002 pp. 695 6) In sum, we have chosen a qualitative, developmental narrative methodology supported by a series of descriptive statistics for this work because politics is a messy business; thus, an appreciation for the slow moving, deepl y complex processes that
35 define institutions and their progress overtime is necessary in explaining political development especially in terms of the contemporary development of the U.S. House. Due to the scope and purpose of this dissertation, this work finds it academic home in contemporary American Political Development. Although it has only been in existence for a relatively short period of time, American Political Development (APD) represents a distinct sub field in political science, and has been cr edited as a leading issues such as the temporal dimension of politics (Gerring, 2003 pp. 82). From a macro, state centered perspective; APD seeks to explain how govern ance changes overtime through an analysis of how political innovations are negotiated with past policy in the generation of new political relationships. Of particular interest to APD is the manner in which the choices made in past governance influences, sh apes, and constrains the practices of emerging and future political processes (Orren and Skowronek, 2002 pp. 722). Because our work pays close attention to how initial decisions made by majority parties both restrict and enhance future governmental prospe cts in the House, this dissertation is well grounded in the APD sub field. Many of the building blocks within the APD literature were formed out of the historical institutionalist methodological framework. Specifically, the attention paid to institutions and temporality lead scholars to begin focusing on the causes, nature, and consequences of key transformative periods in American political history (Kersh, 2005 pp. institut ions as dynamic, path oriented constructions is quite attractive and helpful in understanding political change (Pierson, 2004). For APD, what is needed is a complex
36 perspective that views the past not simply as the accumulation of policies within instituti and Skowronek, 2004 pp. 107 8). For the APD scholar, past political decisions constrain futu re political action. Therefore, to fully appreciate political phenomena within an institution, one must consider its development overtime. and Skowronek (2004), deconstructing multiple orderings of authority (i.e., new vs. old organizational rules, leadership structures, regional associations, etc.) as they fluctuate overtime directs researchers to investigate the historical construction of politics in the simultaneous operation of older and newer instruments of governance. Importantly, these multiple orderings of authority cannot be given moment are going to be a mixed bag of instruments and are likely to weave political contention into their and Skowronek, 2004 pp. 113; 2002 pp. crucial importance to understanding inst itutional development: Change proceeds through the push and pull of differently constituted elements simultaneously engaged within institutions overtime (Orren and Skowronek, 2002 pp. 736). In sum, the rized by this multiple order and Jillson, 1994 pp. 3).
37 In looking to understand the recent era of Republican majority in Congress, the choices made by the GOP in that era, and especially the consequences of those choices; a path dependency theoretical perspective born out of the APD / historical institutionalist methodology allows for a deeper investigation of these matters. As best articulated by Paul Pierson (2000a, 2000b, 2002, 2004) this methodological perspective refers to the dynamics of self reinforcing or positive feedback processes in political systems. Essentially, though the path of institutions and organizations can be easily influenced in their early stages of development; increasing returns theory states that once a particular path becomes established, self reinforcing mechanisms make reversal increasingly difficult. This theory highlights a primary area of concern for those seeking to understand institutional or organizational development: sequencing and timing. Primary to this perspective is that political phenomena do not occur as single isolated moments in time ; rather, the political arena is highly sensitive to external operational context and more aki n to a cinematic series that evolve s and respond s overtime (Pierson, 2004). Though a great number of options may be available to organizations when they first become activ e, large consequences often result from relatively small initial choices. Once a choice is made or direction taken even a seemingly favorable one it can be very difficult (if not impossible) to change course once introduced even in light of future dif ficulties (Pierson, 2000a). In essence, because the order of choices and events they produce make a fundamental difference in determining political outcomes, institutional development is a key factor in both orchestrating and constraining political outcome particular path, they may find it very difficult to reverse course. Political alternatives that
38 pp. 10 11). In the end, because earl ier event based choices remain prominent even in later context, organizational history is critical. Path dependency argues that the institutional arrangements made in the initial stages of development are not only difficult to change, but for a variety of reasons makes organizational reversal unattractive. Once political actors have accepted the new pp. 491 2) argues that they begin making extensive commitments to their organization based on the expectations that these rules will continue; that is, they become increasingly invested in their association. Overtime, this investment leads to adaptation, dramatically increasing the cost of reversal or exit from existing social relationships. From this perspective, initial str uctural decisions even those that show themselves with practice to be suboptimal decisions bec ome self reinforcing overtime. For those scholars investigating the dynamics of organizational evolution 2 these concepts are beneficial in expl (i.e. the tendency for early choices to define and constrain future options) that often characterizes many aspects of political development (Pierson and Skocpol, 2002). on there are large set up costs these can include purchases like computers, or in the case of political parties the costs associated with campaigning. In all, these set up costs are trong incentive learning effects associated with set up costs to be overcome. As the level of 2 Particularly historical institut ionalism and political development scholarship.
39 organizational complexity increases, the process of learning how the inst itution operates provides a significant source of increasing returns. Third, as more and more members adopt the chosen institutional operations, individuals will feel the pressure of coordination effects that is, they will receive increased benefits when they adopt the same option as those chosen by their peers. Finally, once initially chosen options are learned and accepted by the majority of an organization, the group may experience adaptive expectations in which individual activity becomes self fulfill ing. Overtime, Pierson concludes, as social actors make commitments based on exist ing institutions, these initial dependency (2000b pp. 492 3). T he path dependency model is especial ly relevant for understanding political institutions. Specifically, certain factors such as the collective nature of political organizations, the role of formalized rules in governing institutions, the desire for authority to dictate decisions, and the day to day ambiguity of the political arena make the domain of politics especially prone to the increasing returns process ( Pierson, 2000a). In particular, this ambiguity leaves the door wide open for political actors to make mistakes. Whereas certain methodo logical perspectives presuppose political actors to behave under focused rational principles, path dependency allows for a of the perspective: even where actors may be great ly concerned about the future of their efforts when designing institutions, they often make mistakes because of the tremendous complexity of their environment. These issues culminate into what is perhaps the primary characteristic of the political process that lends itself to a path
40 dependency argument: small events can have major consequences that is, political phenomena never occur in a context of isolation (Pierson and Skocpol, 2002 pp. 709). To put it more simply, time advances and shifts inevitably occur. As such, those whose very precarious position. While the issue will be discussed in greate r detail in later chapters, an example of these concepts were hurtle s faced by Gingrich during his time as Speak er in relation to his own recruits. As we illustrate in C hapters 2 and 3 Gingrich traveled the country giving speeches and issuing vide o tapes that sought to train his methods of political cam paigning. In sending out a series of taped messages, Gingrich walked, talked, and thought in a manner that mirrored the words crafted by Gingrich to inspire action. Once in the m ajority, Gingrich used his army to catapult himself to the Speakership and to hammer through a series of institutional reforms to enhance his authority. Yet as we will see Gingrich lost control of the monster: the new Speaker did such a good job crafti corner when going head to head with President Clinton over the budget in 1996. Though Gingrich wanted to pull back on the reins once he saw his budget showdown plans were failing, he was preven ted from doing so because of the rabid demands he The result was crisis in the House. As we demonstrate, the Republican (and later Democrat) majority tenure is littered with multiple analogous experiences.
41 Once established in a political organization, patterns of policy mobilization, the reinforcing dynamics even in t he face of organizational jeopardy: Relative timing, or sequence, matters because self reinforcing processes, playing out over time in political and social life, transform the consequences ng particular periods generate irreversibilities essentially removing certain options from the subsequent menu of political possibilities (Pierson and Skocp ol, 2002 pp. 700 01 emphasis ours ) Despite the stickiness of organizations, path dependency doe s allow for institutional point experience a dramatic systematic or contextual shift what Pierson and others term in which opportuni ties for major institutional reforms appear that establish a new path of organizational development. These junctures are angements on paths or trajectories, which pp. 135). Once the shock subsides, the organizations are stable until the next critical juncture arrives. As such, institutional change is a reality but a process of which is incremental and occurs overtime. A primary example of this phenomenon can be captured by an event central to the House GOP experience: September 11 th 2001. D iscussed in greater detail in Chapter 6 9/11 represents a moment of extreme shock to the nation, which pushed the po litical system down a control over the House despite the fact tha t the party had been losing electoral ground
42 in each previous election. The effect of this and other critical junctures will be a primary focus of this study. From the above examples and others to be addressed, this dissertation recognizes that identifying and examining the triggering events even the small ones which set d evelopment along a particular path are a fruitful source for understanding p these triggering events helps to support our thesis that the conditional party governance model presents an illusion of sustained party authority. We demonstrate that the conditions and reforms cited as indicative of party governance though they remained present in the House following the 104 th Congress fluctuated in their stability overtim e. We present evidence that shows when operational contexts are favorable, majorities attempted to utilize these reforms in employing party governance so as to take advantage of these conditions. Yet, the advantage to be gained was only possible in the sho rt term. In analyzing the contemporary political development of the House, we show the initial choice to embrace party governance was unwise: despite enhanced authority, the move towards party governance would overtime result in political turmoil as le aders failed to behave appropriately and/or the operational context (that had once benefited the ideologically rigid parties) shifted to become inhospitable. While qualitative in nature, our argument is grounded in empirical evidence. Specifically, we out line a series of descriptive statistics to trace the ideological dynamics of contemporary House majorities. are based upon an originally constructed database in which N ational J ournal scores, electoral region, lea dership position, committee service, and seniority status are collected and
43 compiled The most important aspect of this data 2008 (for Democratic House members from 2006 from zero 100, this score is calculated using the manner that an individual member national issues, as selected by the National Journal staff and consultants) as compared to every other member of the House in the given year. The lower the score, the less liberal that individual i s on that particular set of policy issues in that particular year; or, compared to other members in the House in any given session. We categorize our ideological subgroups un der the following labels and scores: Ultra Conservative Republican (0 9), Strong Conservative Republican (10 19), Conservative Republican (20 29), Weak Conservative Republican (30 39), Patrician Republican (40 and higher) 3 In tracing fluctuations within t hese ideological subgroups, we illustrate shifting patterns of development within House majorities following their choice to adopt party governance as an operational model. In employing an APD framework to employ a qualitative historical institutional ist methodology, this dissertation take s on a path dependency perspective in its (and after, Democratic control from 2007 2010) Further, the historical process by w hich this narrative unfolds is 3 Please see our appendix for a more complete explanation of our descriptive statistics.
44 seek to assess congressional politics in the era of a second Republican majority. As stated by Pierson, political science ought turn to history because important aspects of pp. 264) In all, this dissertation employ s a combination of historic al events and original descriptive data to provide a deeper understanding of the causes, activities, and ultimat e consequences of House majority parties from 1994 2010 Clearly, context is key; as such, to properly understand contemporary House majorities we must first consider the historical development of the Congress as a whole post reform era in the American l egislature. From Textbook to Post Reform Altering its legi slative processes within the ebb and flow of the nation it serves, Congress as an institution has been by no means static in its operations. Deriving its name from the way in which many scholarly textbooks traditionally describe the legislative process of by its systematic, straightforward methods of policy enactment T he old textbook process was predictable and linear, with one stage following another in an inevitable sequence ( Sinclair, 20 00 pp. 9). Two fundamental shifts were responsible for the ushering in of the textbook system: the realigning elections of 1894 and 1896, and the rise of the Progressive fissure within the Republican party (Stewart, 2001 pp. 109). After decades of intens e electoral competition, the elections of 1894 and 1896 transformed Congress from an institution characterized by close partisan margins to one in which the Republican party was clearly dominate nationally though the
45 firm. Of importance to these changes were election reforms that sought to prevent voting fraud and regulate party competition. Effectively, reforms such as the Australian ballot (which made it easier for voters to pick and choose among candidates) and the open primary process (which loosened the tie between politicians and parties) broke the hold local party bosses had upon candidate selection. As a result of eased electoral tensions and ballot reforms, turnover in House membership dropped significantly at the onset of the twentieth century. In all, careerism in congressional politics became the norm (Stewart, 2001 pp. 110 12; Polsby, 1968). Beyond careerism, electoral safety allowed individual members of the Republican party greater latitude in their pol itical opinions. Regardless, members of Congress attracted to long term careers found that the power in the House was in the hands of the and file members the personal congressional (Dodd, 1977 pp. 502). With the power to preside over the Rules Committee (thus keeping off the floor any legislation that he personally disapproved), the tenure of Speaker Joe Cannon proved to be a source of imme nse tension within House. With little respect for Progressive Republicans, Cannon employed the powers of his speakership to silence his political opponents and maintain party discipl ine. T came to an end when divisions within the House Republicans led to a revolt against Speaker Cannon in 1910 (Smith and Gamm, 2005) Joining with Democrats, Progressive Republicans stripped Cannon and the office of Speaker as a whole of his control of the Rules Committee, and amended the House rules to provide for election of all standing committees. Overall, between 1910 and 1915, congressional
46 reformers were successful in their attack on party government in the House, overthrowing the Speakership and dispersing congressional power to the standing co mmittees (Dodd, 1977). Stewart summarizes: The House had re established a new institutional equilibrium to replace the one in place before the revolt against Cannon. The party mechanisms that had coordinated the policy making process, periodically using c oercion against reluctant rank and file members, no longer existed. Leadership in the House was dispersed, shared between formal party leaders and the chairmen of the committees (2001 pp. 116) With a set of formalized rules and procedures following this o rganizational shift absent, the two parties adopted the seniority system in organizing the new committee structure. This system had two primary components: (1) Although a member could not simply choose committee assignments, once on a committee, he or she could not be taken off involuntarily, and (2) the member with the longest continuous service on a committee had the right to chair whenever the chairmanship came open (Stewart, 2001 pp. 116). ged was held together by the institutional norms and rules that had been growing up over the preceding decades as congressional turnover had decreased, particularly the norm of pp. 502). Within these elements congressional careerism and the seniority system 2001). lost control over committee assignments and the Rules Committee, and their ability to pp. 5). Further, the size of the House had expanded dramatically: membership increased from 243 in 1860
47 to 435 in 1913. As government became more complex, political expertise and policy e xperience became desired: Congress needed some system of specialized advice in the numerous policy areas facing it access to experts who knew the legislative history of a policy, had studied intensely the policy options, and could make seasoned, reliable government and the seniority system offered solutions to both problems (Dodd and Schott, 1979 pp. 72) In this environment, the era of committee government took hold and flourished. In its early stages (1919 1 946), Deering and Smith (1997) depict a House in which committee leaders gained increased independence as the number of committees and committee influence grew in the wake New Deal programs and World War II. Electorally, Democrats solidified their power, w ith senior southerners taking hold of chairmanships under the seniority system. Politically, central party leaders could not mount a threat to committee autonomy; thus, congressional leadership and accountability remained weak. Policy wise, a structure of legislators, agency personnel, and interest groups (Dodd, 1977). Overtime, problems emerged as jurisdictional lines were blurred, executive oversight fell, and member staffing needs were not met. To resolve these problems, the 1946 Legislative Reorganization Act sought: (1) to streamline the structure of committee government by reducing the total number of standing committees to 19 in the House and 15 in the Senate, (2) direct standing committees to e Budget, and (3) provide individual members with greater staff assistance. Despite these d some of its
48 most glaring shortcomings, but in the end it left committee government intact and pp. 86 9). institutional diffusion of power; it was charac terized by routines and norms. Giving rise to committee government, Congress became defined by the institutionalization of the seniority system, policy apprenticeship / specialization, and careerism. Power was is in the hands of committees and c ommittee chairs, and party influence was at an all time low. Lasting for over fifty years, committee government defined Congress in the first half of the twentieth century. However, the norms and routines that established and dominated the era were also t he foundations of its own undoing. Under the seniority system, conservative s outhern Democrats (whom were continually re elected by the trends began percolating within th e junior wing of the Democratic party, a political split began to emerge within the halls of Congress. These divisions became increas ingly sectional overtime, with n orthern Democrats disagreeing more oft en than not with their senior, s outhern colleagues (R the voting alignment of a majority of Republicans and a majority of s outhern D emocrats against a majority of n orthern Democrats floor, and became an importan 0s the House was characterized by a system of committee government, dominated by a working coalition of southe Rhode, 1991 pp. 5).
49 Despite this trend, change was on th e horizon. Following the elect ion of 1958, a large influx of n orthern liberal Democrats stormed the Congress. In an effort to break the conservative roadblock that preve nted the implementation of their progressive liberals in the 195 0s set in motion a series of events that led in the 196 0s and 197 0s to a fundamental restructuring of con gressional organization and procedure and to a new pp. 107). In the House, where size dictates that more formal and hierarchical rules be placed on individual member action, the reforms of the 197 0s pro duced fundamental change in the institution. As noted, though liberal Democrats made up the majority of the House Democratic Caucus, they lacked seniority and were thus denied leadership positions. In response, liberal Democrats established the Democratic Study Group (DSG), an organization devoted to planning and enacting decentralizing reform. In essence, the DSG came to realize that the power of committee chairs was both formal (the committee structure) and traditional (the norm of seniority and the weakn ess of the party caucus) in nature: more widely were thus directed both at the formal rules of the House and at reform of and Schott, 1979 pp. 113). The liberal Democrats first success came with the 1970 Legislative Reform Act, which required committees to make public all recorded votes, limited the use of proxy votes, allowed a majority of members to call meetings, and encouraged committees to hold open meetings and hearings (Deering and Smith, 1997 pp. 35). Despite these
50 changes, the primary years of reform occurred in 1973 through 1974 under a series of actions known as the Hansen reforms. As noted by Stewart (2001 pp. 122), two of these reforms in the House were most important: The right to make committee assignments was taken away from the Democratic members of the Ways and Means Committee and given to a party committee dominated by the Speaker and other Democratic party leaders. The seniority s ystem was altered to provide for an automatic ballot each Congress to ratify nominees for committee chairs. Informally, members became increasingly willing to allow party leaders the authority to enforce party discipline and set the legislative agenda mor e aggressively (Stewart, 2001). For example, the reforms increased the power of party caucuses by allowing them more time to conduct organizational business, thus increasing the utility of the eform spread power more and Schott, 1979 pp. 116 7). As proof of this transference of power away from committee chairs, three sitting chairman were defeated following attacks on th eir re nomination in 1975. The Post Reform Era The effects of the reform era had far reaching ramifications, both direct and indirect. For example, though reforms made the chairs and members of committees more representative of the party, by reducing the power and autonomy of committees th e reforms made legislating more difficult. As the use of floor amendments rose, carefully crafted in committee were being picked apart on the floor, and floor sessions were st pp. 85). In response, Democrats began looking to the only central leadership left in the chamber their party leaders to
51 r eached the floor, and this involvement increasingly took to form of negotiating substantive changes in the legislation, often at the postcommittee stage, in order to pp. 86). Further, in replace ment of committee government, subcommittee government committee positions, party leaders expanded the committee system; thus, (Deering and Smith, 1997 pp. 42). As a result, the policy process became more (2000) argues that the 197 0s House reforms which permitted multi ple referrals have created a policy process that is characterized by variability rather than uniformity. pp. 18). Further, Binder (2003) argues that the larger the political center and the less polarized the Congress, the greater the cohesive in the post reform era, ideological polarization has stret ched thin the political (2003 pp. 80 1). In terms of electoral politics, the method of coord inated campaigning between win a congressional election or even be remotely competitive, candidates must compete
52 (Herrnson; 2004 pp. 2). In the age of increasingly expensive campaigns, this competition for resources requires candidates to seek party funds, without which most congressional candidates would lose their bids for election. Beyond funding, parties have be come directly involved with elections through broad based efforts in agenda setting, issue advocacy, and parti san mobilization (Herrnson, 2008 ). Together, these developments produced what congressional scholars identify as the post reform Congress: Party leaders have been imbued with increased formal powers and informal duties; thus, as ideology has become more cohesive, parties have increased in their partisanship. Members reap the electoral benefits of decentralized power through sub committee participa tion and floor amendments; consequently, and sub committee jurisdictions are ill defined; as such, party leadership is more necessary in negotiating legislation to and on the floor. Stalemate is a fact of life. In all, the current period of the post The two parties are now more ideologically cohesive than they were in the past generation. Committees still dominate policy making and the seniority still operates. However, members who want to rise to the top of committee mainstream, lest they be passed over for a more loyal committee member when the opportunity arrives (Stewart, 2001 pp. 122) The Contemporary Congress: a n E ra of Party Governance? In response to these changes, the concept of conditional party government has become a (some would argue the ) leading academic explanation of legis lative politics in recent years. As first posited by David Rhode (1991) and later joined by John H. Aldrich (1995) and others (Cox and McCubbins, 1993; to a certain extent Sinclair, 1998 and
53 2006) the argument has been made that the post reform era has pr ovided individual members with increased access to the political process, while leadership resources have been concurrently expanded. Evolving since the days of the reform era, this argument holds that electoral forces have aligned at the national level, r esulting in coalitions of representatives that are more similar within parties and more different between t hem. For the party governance camp, increased homogeneity within the electorate as translated through parties provides the basis for a more aggre ssive use of 197 0s reform granted powers by party leadership. Essentially, the conditiona l party government thesis posits that as diversity shrinks within the ranks of the party but concurrently grows betw een it and its opposition, rank and file members wi ll be less worried about their leaders choosing positions contrary to their own. Thus, the theory goes, these members will be more willing to delegate power to their party leaders (Aldrich and Rhode, 2001 pp. 275). For Rohde, Aldrich, and other adherents to the conditional party government thesis, preference homogeneity is a central condition on which the viability of party governance is determined within a legislative body. Because we focus on investigating patterns of ideological development within intra party groups o n the dynamics of House majorities from 1994 2010, it is to this conditional party government that this dissertation will grapple with heavily. Seeking to challenge Electoral Connection (1974) the party governance camp have argued that a new, more refined view of Cong ress is necessary. As reelection seekers operating in committee gov state s that party governance within
54 Congress is unlikely (due to an organizational system in which individual representatives have little or no personal incentive to support their party programs because they are often insulated b y the committee system f rom the party structure). In opposition, the early 197 0s pp. 270 1). If members are restricted to being independent entrepreneurs concerned about being reelected under the Mayhew model as is argued by the party governance camp then these members will be reluctant to delegate significant power to party leaders for fear that supporting or being id entified with certain policies not in accord with their A key factor must not be missed here : Whereas the conditional party government thesis agrees that a Mayhewian model holds true when a party is ideologically diverse, this diversity is not set in stone and Rhode, 2001 pp. 275). Adherents to the conditional party government thesis believe that particular context in time strengthened committee authority. T hus, entrepreneurial model of weak parties fal ls short in the post reform era: d ue to the substantial reforms that ended the era of committee government (in combination with the demise of southern Democrats) the conditional party government the sis seeks to address the current congressional context by considering the impact of ideological preference homogeneity versus preference conflict within parties themselves. In essence, this camp argues that members no longer operate as singular automatons
55 distinct from their party structure; rather, that partisa nship and enhanced party strength are the hallmarks of congressional politics. Although the conditional party government argument is centrally grounded on the reform era have been increasingly similar within, and differ electoral motivations 4 Rather, if members (especially those members among the majority party) are concerned about being reelected, then it may be to their electoral advantage g iven certain conditions to fall in line behind the party leaders. This model claim s the policy preferences of the candidates selected within the party will be relatively si incentives to support strong parties ( Aldrich and Rhode, 2001 pp. 276). With electoral diversity in check, once in the Congress, this camp theorize s that members will be less worried about leaders choosing policy positions contrary to theirs and will be more willing to delegate significant power to these leaders (2001 pp. 275). Further, this homogeneity is reinforced within the party as the amount of disagreement between it and its opposition grows. In previous eras particularly during the heyday of the Conservative Coalition b etween northern Republican and s outhern Democratic committee chairman the distribution of opinion between the parties was a less significant f actor. In such a situation, the conditional party government model state s that the policy chosen by the minority party would not be very far from that preferred by 4 It should be noted realized. Due to the theoretical scope of this dissertation, however, we wil concerned with member preference once already in the House.
56 majority; therefore, a minority party victory on a bill will not hurt the majority greatly: Aldrich and Rhode, 2001 pp. 275). When party preferences are highly divisive, members of the majority have a greater degree of incentive to empower their leaders to prevent a legislative victory for the minority. Aldrich and Rhode sum nicely: These two considerations preference homogeneity and preference conflict ional party government. As they increase, the theory predicts that party members will be progressively more willing to create strong powers for leaders and to support the exercise of those powers in specific instances. But when diversity grows within parti es, the differences between parties are reduced, members will be reluctant to grant greater powers to leaders. This is the central prediction of CPG (2001 pp. 275 6) argument is highly concerned with the degree of preferenc e homogeneity within and between the two congressional parties. Looking at the politics of the contemporary Congress, the conditional party governance camp views the Republican ascension to power and resulting House operational reforms as the evidence for their stance. Following the 1994 Revolution the camp claim s that Gingrich operated under this model by taking major strides to personally design a new assignment committee to secure passage of the Contract Discussed more systematically in Chapter 3 thi s new assignment committee directly reflected the wishes of the party leadership to such a degree that within a week of the election, it dramatically altered seniority arrangements in key committees. Before most of the newly elected members could even get to Washington, Gingrich simply asserted the right to choose the chairs of major committees without any formal alteration of the party or House rules that he preferred and who he believed would be responsive to
57 the demands of party leadership. Regardles 2001 pp. 286). In fact, cut the budget as much as Gingrich requested. For many in the party governance camp, it seemed that the Republicans entered their tenure operating not under a Mayhewian Though powerful, the conditional party governa nce model is not without its detractors. A leading criticism of the conditional party governance thesis is presented by Dodd and Oppenheimer and their alternative model of constructive partisanship Rather than conceptualizing the House in terms of stable partisanship, constructive partisanship postulates a model that allows for variability of preference homogeneity held by members as they operate overtime. Writing their initial criticism in 1997, Dodd and Oppenheimer state that while the majority party in the House initially sought to pp. 29). The cr iticism posited by this camp is straightforward: due to the institutional limitations of the House and the ever present threat of cross cutting issues, party governance is an unsustainable model. For the constructive partisanship model, party governance is possible but it is difficult (and potentially damaging) for a majority party to maintain. Sustained levels of high preference homogeneity within parties and heterogeneity between them have not been the historical norm within the House (again, the downfa ll
58 changed in the post reform House? For a short time, the constructive partisanship camp th little doubt that in the short run they fueled the move toward united party government in the pp. 41). Regardless, these moves came crashing down as outlined in detail throughout this dissertation, this initial adoption of party governance became increasingly restrictive on House members as majority party leaders bumbled their way through a series of government shutdowns, and as the electoral arena shifted in conjunction with the failed Clinton impeachment trials. Dodd and Oppenheimer argue that while party governance is possible occur only as long as no serious intraparty divisions develop on pressing policy pp. 402). In tracking their tenure overtime, we demonstrate th e realities of this prediction for contemporary House majorities. Dodd and Oppenheimer stake their criticism of party governance on several issues not fully addressed by the leading model. First, party governance is continually threatened by the emergen pp. 402). Though strengthened by new institutional rules, if party leaders force unity on divisive issues, these leaders potentially face a Cannon like revolt. Second, the electoral prospect for an ideo logically rigid party that is tasked with governing a deeply heterogeneous society (1997b pp. governing of a chamber, an American legislative party must cooperate with the other
59 house of Congress and ot pp. 407). Simply put, no matter how strengthened party leaders may be, it is impossible to govern the nation parties ought realize the inhe rent limitations of party governance, and move to embrace constructive partisanship (1997b pp. 406). Such a system utilizes a more moderate form of partisanship to such a degree that it prevents a productive legislative record or cooperation across partisan and inter that the constructive partisanship model represents the appropriate middle ground for parties (whose operate in an institutional environment of change. Our Criticism of Conditional Party Government Given that R hode and Aldrich continue to maintain that their model has remained accurate label for the theory of conditional party government? As stated by the party governance camp in 2009: CPG theory has a number of key features that we have to account for to demonstrate continued applicability: (1) Have intraparty homogeneity and interparty divergence remained high? (2) If so, has the majority party in particular continued to deleg ate strong powers to its leadership? (3) Has the majority leadership continued to exercise its powers to facilitate are that the theoretical account offered by CPG is as applic able in 2008 as it was in 1995 (Aldrich and Rhode, 2009 pp. 233 37) The problem that this dissertation finds with the above assertion is that for each of these key features, though they may be applicable for 1995 and 2008, are not necessarily
60 applicable t o the years in between. On each of these three points, we demonstrate in this dissertation that adherence to party governance has fluctuated with time and in response to constricting issues within the very features the model is structured upon. Building o policy issues, a sustained governing record, and inter institutional relations), we show that the Republicans in fact did struggle greatly between 1995 and 2000: employing our developme ntal narrative and descriptive statistics, we illustrate the resulting ideological disunity within the House majority in response to leadership failure and shifting operational contexts. As such, we argue that within the first half of the Republican majori ty tenure, Dodd and Oppenheimer were quite right to predict that the conditions necessary for party governance had reached their operational limits. Yet, the constructive partisanship model is not without limits of its own. Specifically, this alternative m odel does not fully consider the impact of potential national crisis. Given the ability of such critical moments to change the developmental course of political dynamics, the limits of party government can be extended given dramatic shifts in the operation al environment The 9/11 crisis and Republican response to the event represent such a shift. While our empirical findings endorse its broader criticisms of party governance we argue that the constructiv e partisanship model be expanded to consider the imp act of shifting operational environments and leadership response to these unique moments in time The 9/11 tragedies allowed the weakened majority to return to a party governance model; thus sustaining the Aldrich Rhode thesis despite its apparent weakness es in the late 199 0s Though the conditions necessary for party governance had returned and the
61 Republicans once again adopted it in 2001, we show that the model is not a s ustainable fixture of Congress. Critically, we find that the same pattern that defin ed the Republican House in the first half of their majority tenure returned in the second that is, following a newly favorable political environment in the wake of the 9/11 tragedies, we outline a second pattern of partisan growth, rigidity, crisis, and collapse (To a different degree, we continue to show a similar pattern within the Democratic majority as it existed in the House from 2007 to 2010). In illustrating a repeated pattern of ideological heterogeneity overtime, we present the argument that the occurrence of conditional party governance is a context specific facet within the broader development of legislative politics. Taken together, this dissertation demonstrates that the party governance model highlights an illusion of sustained party authorit y: Intraparty ideological homogeneity is a temporary phenomenon that is highly dependent on two unreliable conditions not fully addressed by the Rhode Aldrich camp successful leadership and favorable operational environments. In certain circumstances, we show that these conditions do favor the majority; as such, the majority reacts by adopting a party governance operational model. Yet, because leaders often fail to achieve their promised potential, and because the environmental stability upon which the Ho use operates is often in flux; these initial decisions prove restrictive overtime. In all, our argument represents an amendment to and expansion of the criticism first outlined by the constructive partisanship camp in 1997. While we confirm that party gov ernance is continually threatened by policy issues that divide the party as stated by Dodd and Oppenheimer, effective leadership and a stable institutional context. A s stated by Aldrich and Rhode
62 themselves, preference diversity within the majority is not a certainty we argue that the same can be said of preference homogeneity, leadership success, and environmental stability. Summary: Conceptualizing House Majoriti es in an Environment of Change In their conclusion concerning the development of congressional politics, Smith and Gamm (2009 pp. thesis and those that desire to employ it as an operati onal model must consider the limitations posed by institutional context. This dissertation lends credence to this gesture: Like others in the discipline, we believe that a deep focus on the processes, relations, and structures of organizations as they ex ist overtime will enable scholars to formulate better theories of politics (Jackson Nexon, 1999; Dodd, 1977). G roup formation and adaptation to the institutions of their making is central to the literature surrounding historical institutionalism broadly, a nd to contemporary co ngressional political development specifically. In recent decades, Congress has started down a new developmental path in terms of its processes, power centers, and policy outcomes. To understand these changes and the impact party gover nance has had upon both the institution and the actors within the legislative body, we seek in the following chapters to critically access the rise and attempted employment of this operational model on the House since the early 199 0s Due to the relationa l nature between parties and their members, we take a developmental narrative approach to understanding competing theories of partisanship in the House. P arties provide for members especially inexperienced members resources that advantage these individ uals in pursuing their political goals. Whether these resources are policy knowledge, bureaucratic connections, campaign finance,
63 electoral platform, etc.; parties play an essential role in the lives of members. In light of congressional norms and institut ional reforms arising since the late 198 0s one branch of the congressional literature has argued that parties are the most important force in the contemporary Congress claiming that preference homogeneity and leadership empowerment have become a stable a nd dominate factor in modern legislative politics (Rhode, 1991). In showing that these very factors have fluctuated in response to shifting conditions of the political arena, we respond with the counter argument that ideologically and structurally rigid ma jority parties will struggle mightily when unfavorable o bject s arise overtime within their operational framework or institutional environment. Whether in Congress or otherwise, g roups are useful to individuals because they enable efficient learning and ac tion: instead of expending the time and energy necessary in conceiving the optimal course of every action encountered, people will resort to simplified rules provided by their group to guide them (Gigerenzer Selten, 2001 pp. 7 9; Todd, 2001 pp. 56 7). Th ese processes work well because groups organize to exploit struc tural regularities within their environment (Mellers, et al.; 20 01 pp. 263). When the ir environment is stable, these rules and guidelines have a high degree of operational utility. Unfortunat ely for human groups, environments are fickle things. Operational environments can dramatically shift overtime, thus causing groups to experience crisis situations. As articulated by a second, competing branch in the congressional literature; groups will Dodd, 1994 pp. 332). Essentially, assuming that internal equilibrium is balanced, political parties will continue to operate at the
64 status quo until contextua l pressures change to such a degree that the party is forced into a period of crisis. Once this cr isis stage is entered into, this camp postulates that ( Dodd, 1994 p p. 332). Presenting an alternative to the conditional party governance thesis, the constructive partisanship model argues that party governance is an unsustainable model due to the ever present threat for cross cutting issues to arise within the majority political party. This dissertation builds upon (and amends) this criticism by further examining the effect of leadership enhancement and contextual change on the sustainability of intraparty ideological homogeneity overtime: Majority parties who organ ize u pon and dogmatically habituate themselves to a particular operational environment will inevitably find themselves in an increasingly precarious position as their external context shifts in a manner not conducive to their chosen organizational path. Simply put, the initial action to embrace ideological and structural rigidity hold s within its creation the see ds of its own destruction. C onditional party government while it has been attempted in the post reform era is not a permanent, sustainable fixture of Congress; rather, we present the argument that its occurrence is a context specific facet within the broader development of legislative politics. Throughout this dissertation, we seek to understand t he developmental dynamics of majority partie s in the c ontemporary Congress; that is, how they form ed their o rganizational structure, how they operate d overtime, and the ways these parties respond ed to the shifting environment they faced. In doing so, we evaluate their chosen operationa l model in terms of its sustainability overtime. Focusing on the preference
65 homogeneity tional party government thesis as we chart the developmental dynamics of the Republican party from 1994 to 2006 (an later the Democratic majority from 2007 to 2010), we illustrate the fluctuating degree to which party members were uniform in terms of their political preferences overtime. Further, we examine the influence of party leadership, depicting the effect of the success and failure of these newly empowered positio ns on rank and file members. In outlining competing tensions within the conservative caucus, we further show how the majority party react ed to major shifts or crises that occurred in their operational environment during the ir tenure as House majo rity. From this evidence, we challenge the sustainability of conditional party governance, contributing to the ongoing debate presented by its theoretical detractors.
66 CHAPTER 3 TAKEOVER We are at a special pla ce in history and cannot fail. Newt Gingrich, follo wing passage of the 1995 appropriations bill In this chapter, we focus on the process by which Republicans came to power in 1994, and the early decisions made by the new majority as they sought to take the House down a new developmental path. We begin by detailing the underlying movements within the Republican experience in the House since the late 198 0s examining the methods by which Republicans orchestra ted their takeover of the House. hip activity in the years building up to 1994, an analysis of the Contract term election and its later function in the first session of the 104 th Congress, and the favorable environmental context in which the Republicans were operating. H aving traced the developments leading to the 1994 Revolution we next outline the initial choices made by the Republican membership in the wake of this momentous event. Here, we discuss arguing that these reforms sought a direct break with long held legislative rules and norms the creation of term limits on the Speaker and committee chairs, the circumventing of committees in the legislative process, and the establishme nt of enhanced authority for party leadership. Of particular importance, the Contract also demanded drastic policy reform, especially concerning targeted federal spending programs aimed at substantial budgetary reductions. Finally, w e introduce in this cha pter a series of descriptive statistics that analyze mem ber actions and associations, address ing the new majority
67 structure, partisan outlook and adopted operational framework. We present empirical evidence that this new path chosen by the young Republican majority was not only indicative of conditional party governance; moreover, this moment of high intraparty ideological homogeneity was the primary tool used by party leadership in their efforts to fulfill the mandates of the Contract Background: Gingrich and the Path to the 1994 Election Though nearly two decades ago, the 1994 election is still referred to by many as the Republican Revolution ; an apt title considering that the party had been continuously in the House minority since 19 and Oppenheimer; 1997 pp. 29). To fully appreciate the development of House Republicans in their tenure as the majority party we begin by considering the historical and political processes that lead to this defining political moment for contemporary legislative politics Beginning with the Republican reform agenda, surveys from the late 198 0s through the early 199 0s showed that the American electorate had become skeptical of their congressional representatives. In part icular, one study found that 60% of institutions, this same survey indicated that these feelings were direc ted disprop ortionately at Congress: only 7% were angry or disgusted about Supreme Court justices, while one third indicated that they felt the same about the pres ident. B efore the 1994 mid term election, these surveys found that 78 % of Americans believed t hat Congress was too far removed from ordinary people, while 86 % believed that Congress was heavily influenced by interest groups when making decisions. Of particular importance, the decline in support for more spending from 1991 1995 was one of the
68 steepe st on record over the past 50 years (Hibbing and Theiss Morse, 1995; Samples pp. 2005, 23 4). Though these trends were reflected in other early polls conducted during the 1994 election year for example, a December 1993 NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showe d that 56% of voters disapproved of Congress, while only 30% approved 0s (Cohen, 1994 pp. spending, rapidly moving in a direction that Congress could not accommodate for ideological and pp. 2005, 24). The Republican response to this context had been yea rs in the making. Though the climax of the story took place in 1994, the Republican Revolution had begun not in electoral victory but in electoral losses. After a disappointing 1982 midterm election in which House Republicans lost twenty six seats, former president Richard Nixon advised pp. 280). Emphatically agreeing, Gingrich created in the 98 th Congress (198 3 1985) a House caucus of young conservative activists named the Conservative Opportunity Society (COS), who sought to erode political confidence in the Democrats while concurrently developing a new set of Republican ideas and programs that would appeal to a majority of voters (Peters, 1997; Edwards, 1999). From the beginning, Gingrich lead with strategy focused on political organizing that in many ways ignored traditional lines of authority: 1989 [election to minority whip]. Then, as now, he recited a four part mantra for
69 political organizing: Define a vision, set the strategy to implement it, prepare notion that a Speaker example of how much the House has changed (Cohen and Browning, 1995 pp. 66) The COS was a dual vision organization that was just as negative as it was positive: on the one hand it sought to tear down De mocratic leadership in the House for abuse of power, on the other the group eagerly trained young state and local conservatives to establish a grassroots Republican organization (Maraniss and Weisskopf, 1996). Specifically, the COS began to confront the De mocratic majority on procedural and policy issues such as a balanced budget amendment, reform of House rules concerning committee structure and leadership tenure, and the line item veto many of the political matters later stated in the Contract with Amer ica ( Dodd and Oppenheimer; 1997). One of the most notable (and politically original) moves of COS was the employment of C With his political organization in hand, Gingrich next considered how to best communicate his revolution took command of an almost empty House floor and condemned the House memb ers were present, but C SPAN. In short order, Gingrich and his fellow Young Turks became television celebrities, and other news media began paying in creasing attention to them (Edwards, 1999 pp. 281). Despite there being few other legislators to hear this rhetoric in the empty chamber, Gingrich and his fellow COS members were able use this and other tactics to enrage had to be struck from the congressional record (Peters, 1997 )
70 Though the Democratic leaders were furious if f act, they forced C SPAN cameras to at times pan across to show an empty floor COS had made its mark: leading conservatives encouraged COS to keep pushing, and even President Reagan noted in his 1984 State of the Union Address the importance of COS using the phrase, control of GOPAC in 1986, transforming it from a fund raising committee for state and local candidates into a hard hitting, national political organization. In doing so, GOPAC served as the body through which new conservative ideas were conceived, refined, and disseminated to the conservative group as a whole: In short order, GOPAC was sending training tapes to thousands of GOP candidates running for federal a s well as state and local office. Among other to recruit, train, and campaign for candidates (Edwards, 1999 pp. 282 3) Gingrich used GOPAC as a recruitment network, traveling across the country to give speeches, lead training sessions, distribute talking points videos, and the like to yo ung conserva tive ideologues who a political reality. What began as an inspirational organization aimed at schooling junior politicians in the ways of campaign techniques through a network of videos and speeches soon turned into a powerhouse of political innovation (Wilcox, 1995). In the of organized, focused, and single minded conservatives who could run for office under a u nified GOP banner in the upcoming 199 0s elections ( Dodd and Oppenheimer, 1997; Peters, 1997). caucus spent an estimated $8 million between 1991 and 1994. But, the money was well
71 spent: through a series of activities aimed at understanding and targeting public opinion, GOPAC established a political network of persistent and consistent conservative politicians, whom spread the new Republican message across the country (Edwards, 1999). Lik aimed at being revolutionary. As reported by one media observer: Gingrich was acting as an entrepreneur, but one who was bent on a political control creating a Republican majority. And the ideology was developed like any commercial product, through market research to determine what customers wanted. GOPAC, therefore commissioned research testing, issues polling, and focus groups. Once ideas were produced, Gingrich was their principle salesman. He gave thousands of speeches, of course, but GOPAC also produced and distributed videotapes (played at GOPAC sessions for the training of candidates) and most important, as it turned out audiotapes of Gingrich (Bruck, 1995 pp. 61) Republi specifically, Gingrich whose district was in Georgia was highly successful in mobilizing southern and southwestern conservative activists. Beyond taking charge of organizing his own p arty, Gingrich took the lead in combating the House Democrats. Under the G objective was to present the Democratic majority as corrupt and label the Congress as ederal Government Most notably, Gingrich who viewed ethics charges as a legitimate political weapon (Rosenson, 2011 pp. 3) himself Speaker Wright in 1988, claiming pp. 241 2). After had committed sixty nine vi olations of the House Rules most of which concerned money Wright collected for his book Reflections of a Public Man Though claiming that
72 the charges were unsubstantiated, Speaker Wright chose to resign so as to spare himse lf and the Democratic party the pain of further investigations. In his resignation from the poisonous environment that had encompassed the House (Peters, 1997; Dodd and Oppenheimer, 1997) Some House s cholars mark the Wright investigation as a turning point for the House in which the seeds of polarized partisanship and character assassina tion politics were planted into the institution: Wright was in part correct in portraying himself as the victim of a political vendetta. There can be no doubt that the partisan acrimony in the House was greater in 1988 and 1989 than at any other time since the reign of Uncle Joe Cannon. Even in the fierce partisan conflict during the Cannon speakership, however, members did not commonly employ attacks upon the personal ethics of other members as a political strategy (Peters, 1997 pp. 278) In the end, Gingrich was rewarded for his combative attacks on the Democratic leadership, and elected by House Republicans in 1989 as their Minority Whip. As Gingrich amassed more control over his minority party, it was clear that an attitude of charged partisanship would continue to grow within the Republican ranks and within the Congress as a whole. Unlike previous Whips, Gingrich spe nt more time building his party than coordinating floor votes. Though the 1992 elections were a return to unified government under the Clinton Administration, there were several factors that Gingrich took advantage of in preparing his party. First, a wave of Democratic retirements in 1992 left a large number of vulnerable first term Democrats open to Republican attack many of them in the GOPAC targeted s dissatisfaction with federal government, and in particul ar Congress. Following the popular anti government campaign of third party Ross Perot in 1992, the Republicans
73 framed the 1994 elections as a referendum on the Democratic party; that is, the mid term election became an ideological contest between the Repub licans who termed and the Democrats This framework was intensified by a third factor, the Clinton Admi national healthcare reform. Led by his wife, then First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, the call for a federally funded healthcare system was widely opposed by the electorate, and even some senior members of the Democratic Congress. Fina lly, and perhaps most importantly, Gingrich was able to unite his opposition Republicans under a single conservative banner: The Contract with America (Peters, 1997). Though most did not foresee the 1994 mid term as a landslide victory for the Republicans many legislative observers did note that high levels of partisanship focused in 1993 on setting new priorities for the national economy, its vigorous partisan divisions ran a cross the range of issues. On social and foreign policy issues, as well as on economic ones, few Members of either party were inclined toward bipartisan and Schneider 1994 pp. 170). This a ttitude i s reflected in Figure 3 1:
74 Figur e 3 1 Republican ideology in the H ouse : 1994 Calculated using a composite ideological voting score based upon actual votes cast in 1994 1 we see here that nearly 60 % of Republican members of the House can be onservative during the year building up to the mid term election. Across three ideological voting dimensions (economic, social, and foreign policy), our originally constructed data shows that House Republicans in the early 199 0s were increasingly ideologic ally homogeneous, dominated by political activity that leaned deeply conservative in its point of view. There remained smaller, though significant group s of more moderated conservatives regardless, weaker conservative groups were considerably diminished in comparison to their more ideological counterparts in the run up to the Revolution 1 See the attached appendix for an explanation of the calculations involved.
75 Perhaps the reason that the Revolution was such a surprise was because it took place in a period of unified government. Importantly, these factors were exacerbated by th is political context: for the first time since 1980, both Congress and the White House were controlled by Democrats; thus, the Republicans could more effectively hold the and Oppenheimer, 2001). As ment this context to their advantage. The legislative process in the post reform House has been increa singly no longer follow a predictive linear process, but are referred to multiple committees before heading to the floor (Sinclair, 2000). In the case of the healthcare bill, Clinton faced a situation in which five House committees and two Senate committe es controlled its fate. With the proposal moving through so many committees, Republican (and even some Democratic) opponents had multiple opportunities to attack the legislation. Placing great trust in their leadership, a united Republican front emerged in an effort to put more partisan pressure on the Clinton proposal. One such example was made by House Mino rity Leader Richard Armey who published an op ed in the Wall Street Journal that illustrated a damaging ed, an d its flow chart that displayed the complexities of the proposed legislation was repeated over and over on television news programs and in other newspapers. Congressional observers reported that the Administration and Democratic leaders were exasperated b y attacks: Wh at does it tell you when 75 per cent of Americans support the proposals Sen. Thomas Daschle, D
76 continued effort t o distort and undermine the legitimate efforts to address pp. 1119) In the end, Clinton was handed a major defeat by the Republicans despite their being unified government, and no version of a healthcare bill was ever voted upon in the Congress (Zelizer, 2004 pp. 253 4) In gearing up for the 1994 campaign against a wounded Administration, Gingrich and GOPAC were adamant about the Republican message and its presentation in terms of its capacity t o both encompass the political demands of the voting public, and the content and language of the Contract were refined with extensive polling as conducted by Frank Luntz (a chief Republican spin doctor), and the advice of sympathetic public policy groups like the Heritage Foundation (Bruck, 1995; Peters, 1999; Edwards, 1999 pp. 297). By June of 1994, many in the GOP were becoming Bill McCollum, R pp. 1618). Following their healthcare victory, a confident Republican party leadership conducted a Maryland retreat to craft their own legislative agenda and policy goals that could be presented to point platform that called for inst itutional reform and conservative legislation to be passed within the first 100 days of a Republican majority in Congress (Zelizer, 2004 pp. 254). In multiple ways, this platform represented a direct break with past legislative politics, seeking to remove and reconstruct the institutional foundations of the House.
77 In a document revealing reminiscent of a landmark presidential signature, the legislative vehicle for achieving the Republican agenda coined The Contract with America was signed by more than 300 Republican legislators and candidates in a public gathering on the Capitol steps six weeks before the mid term election. Republican leadership claimed the event (which was covered by all major news outlets) was conducted in such a manner as the signin they would fulfill their campaign pledges unlike Democrats, who (it was claimed) were pp. 254). In a coordinated effort wove n together through a single message, GOP candidates continued to nationalize the Contract by appearing on daytime television talk shows, the evening news, and on growing non traditional sources such as talk radio. Regardless of these actions, not all membe rs of the GOP were convinced by Gingrich, his tactics, or his Contract While conservative Republicans were comfortable with a confrontational approach to lawmaking, many House moderates expressed their reservations: Most House moderates are willing to ado pt a more aggressive stance, but he 1994 pp. 2211) Further, many saw the Contract as a contradiction in legislative terms: on the one hand it called for tax cuts and tax credits at the same time that it called for a constitutional amendment to require a balanced budget. To compound the issue, the Contract left little room for raising revenue through taxation as any new taxes would require a three fifths vote in the House (Shear, 1994 pp. 2451).
78 Despite some levels of internal division, the conservative legislative agenda generally was a success: The first item applying all laws of the nation to Congress itself was supported by 90% of th e voters; the balanced budget amendment, the line item veto, welfare reform, term limits, the $500 tax credit for children, and an enforceable death penalty all had approximately 80% support; and even the less favorable items of regulatory, litigation, and social security reform had 60% of the public backing (Edwards, 1999). A little over a month later, Gingrich and GOPAC found themselves to be wildly successful at the ballot box as well: on November 8 th 1994 Republicans gained fifty two seats (the largest partisan swing since 1948) and assumed a majority in the House for the first time since the Eisenhower administration. Thirty four incumbent Democrats were defeated, including then Speaker Foley and two senior committee chairmen no Republican incumbent suffered defeat. The Republicans were particularly successful in the s outh: according to some calculations, the GOP turned a 54 64 majority. Taken together, the Revolution produced a 230 204 Republican maj ority in the House (Dodd and Oppenheimer, 2001 pp. 25). He was actively involved in recruiting candidates for office, he provided training for them through GOPAC workshops, he articulated their camp aign themes on audiotapes that most of them drew upon, he planned campaign strategy for the party, he raised vast sums of money for candidates, he organized the incumbent GOP members to contribute to the campaigns of nonincumbent GOP candidates, he planned in short there was no aspect of the Republican effort to elect a House majority that he was not responsible for initiating and leading (Peters, 1999 pp. 50) As such, when the Republicans took hold in the 104 th Congress, the obvious choice for Speaker was none other than Newt Gingrich. In all, Gingrich encompassed a new era in
79 congressional politics: he was different from all previous Speakers because he had created his own majority (Peters, 1999 pp. 50). With t his background, the Republicans entered a new era of governance ideologically united under a singularly powerful leadership structure. The 104 th Congress: Republican Party Governance in the House Through the Contract with America Gingrich had led Republ icans to victory by uniting his party under the banner of congressional reform through a deeply conservative policy platform that sought to attract new conservative voters. In the new Congress, this victory (and the process by which it was achieved) led to two very important changes within the institution first, the establishment of a new electoral base in the s outh 2 ; and second, the structuring of the Republican House as an increasingly ideologically cohesive unit under the direction of a greatly empower ed leadership structure 3 For the Republicans, these two initial factors would largely define their future path as the new majority party in Congress. 2 See Figures 3 2 and 3 3. 3 See Figures 3 4 3 6 ; and Table 3 1
80 Figure 3 2 Republican r egional d istribution: 1994 to 1995 Lo oking at Figure 3 2 4 we see that before the 1994 election, the regional distribution of House GOP seats came from the Mid West, South, and Mid Atlantic states. Our data above mirrors the conventional wisdom that the GOP made huge inroads into the South during the Revolution ; yet, Figure 3 2 also suggests that the distributional balance remained somewhat similar following 1994, with the Mid West and Mid Atlantic states remaining important areas for conservative electoral support. What is interesting about the 1994 election is that while the bigges t wins were in the South, the party made gains not only in this region, but across all geographic regions 5 In 4 For more informa tion on our regional division methodology, see the attached appendix. 5 The number of Freshmen gains were substantial in this election with 73 new Republican members in the 104th Congress. Comparatively, the 101st had 16, the 102nd had 18, and the 103rd ha d 47 new Republican members (Congressional Research Service, 2008).
81 particular, the party nearly doubled its presence in Rocky Mountains and Border states, and saw large gains as well in the Pacific region. The on ly area in which the Republicans did not make significant representational advancement was in the New England region. Below, Figure 3 3 1994. Figure 3 3 Regional distribution, Republican H ouse f res hmen: 1995 Measuring the percentage of victorious Freshmen by region, Figure 3 3 illustrates the significant gain s the party made in the South Clearly, Gingrich whose electoral district was in north Georgia was highly successful in recruiting, traini ng, and funding his fellow southerners in his march towards Capitol Hill.
82 As stated, the Republicans owed much of the 1994 election to inroads the party made in the South over the decades prior to the Revolution 6 For the first time since the Civil War, t The Rise of Southern Republicans the South had become an electoral target for conservatives following the collapse of the C onservative Coalition between Southern Democrats and conservative Republicans. Goldwater campaign, the Reagan Administration ushered in the possibility of a new electoral South in which suburban, upper middle class, evangelical whites could be mobilized under a conservative party banner. Combined with racially motivated reapportionment in redistricting during the 198 0s and early 199 0s many Southern electoral districts became distin ctly homogonous in terms of race. Prior to the 1994 election, Black and Black find that these factors combined to create a favorable the number of presidentially Republi can and very low African American congressional seats increased from twenty eight in 1990 to forty one. In all, Black and Black find that partisanship and much more aggressive part y leadership in recruiting and financing pp. 337). As if to cement this new electoral base into the party, Republicans in the House chose to empower three southerners with party leadership positions: Newt Gingrich from Georgia, Spe aker; Dick Armey from Texas, Majority Party Leader; and Tom Delay 6 T he impact of regionalism on future politi cal development is examined in Chapters 4 and 5
83 from Texas, Majority Whip. Like many of their newly won supporters in cities like Atlanta, Dallas, and Houston; each of these leaders was a white, suburban, middle aged man (Critchlow, 2004) In fact, this leadership structure (especially in terms of experience: the new party leaders were energetic and combative, and had originally succeed the hard way, running as Re publicans in states that had been exceedingly hostile to the GOP for over 100 years (Black and Black, 2002). Beyond Gingrich, other leaders like Armey were characterized in the media themselves spent years working towards a cons ervative movement in the House: do his part to purge Washington of what conservatives view as a rickety tax and afloat by an alliance of zealous liberals, labor unions the Democratic party, and a liberal pp. 8). Uniting under this narrative, these newly empowered party leaders were ideologically linked and organized in such a way as to limit the possibility of internal struggl es over power and to reinforce the move toward a centralized authority in the new GOP majority (Dodd and Oppenheimer, 1997 pp. 43). As is evident in Figure 3 4 the leadership chosen by the newly minted Republican majority was highly conservative. By our calculations, 75 % of House leaders (defined here as members holding party leadership positions including: Majority Leader, Majority Whip, Chief Deputy Majority Whip, Republican Conference Chairman, Republican Vice Conference Chairman, Republican Conference Secretary, Republican Policy Committee
84 Chairman, Leadership Chairman, and NRCC Chairman 7 th Congress. Figure 3 4 Hou se leadership i deology: 1995 Further, as seen in Figure 3 5 members in positions of broader House management (defined here as both elected party leaders and committee chairmen) between 1994 and 1995 shifted away from an organizational structure dominated by members from traditional Republican strongholds in t he Mid Atlantic, to one that took a significantly increased Southern and Mid Western turn in leadership following the Revolution: 7 The Speaker is usually a non voting member of the House; as such, this office is not incorp orated in our calculations of leadership ideology.
85 Figure 3 5 Regional distribution, Republican H ouse management s tructure: 1994 1995 Together, the Gingrich leadership team was relatively solid, and operated from a simple principle that they had developed during their years with the COS out to govern the House in manner strongly indicative of party governance. Even before the 104 th Congress convened in January 1995, the Gingrich team set the stage for Contract based reform within the House. Most specifically, in terms of how the House constructed legislation, Republican leadership called for the elimination of three House committees and a number of subcommittees. In an effort to further erode committee autonomy and influence in the House, all committee and subcommittee re the smooth passage of the
86 Contract (Critchlow, 2004). In all, many newly elected GOP members from 1992 and 1994 believed that they owed in some degree their election to Newt Gingrich and his efforts during the previous decade. Following the lessons represented a relatively homogenous majority within the Republican conference (Dodd and Oppenheimer, 1997a pp. 42). Journalists covering the electi on wrote of the infatuation with Gingrich and his plans following the election: Most Republicans, especially in the afterglow of victory, appear infatuated with Gingrich. In late September, about 350 House GOP candidates came to Washington to sign the Ging rich inspired contract on the Capitol steps. When the candidates and their entourages joined Gingrich for a lavish private dinner that night, participants said, the crowd was in the palm of his than I thought possible three months ago, Newt has assumed the mantle of moral GOP rout may benefit Gingrich and his team in unexpected ways (Cohen, 1994 pp. 2649) As noted by a numbe r of scholars writing in this time peri od, with all of this action taking place before the 104 th Congress even began, it was unsurprising that Speaker elect Gingrich and his team sought to impose a more centralized leadership structure in the new era of Re publican governance (Peters, 1997; Dodd and Oppenheimer, 1997; Koopman, 1996; Aldrich and Rhode, 2000; Zelizer, 2004). The desire to exploit their electoral success in such a way as to change the developmental path of the House cannot be understated: In mu ltiple ways, the Republican Revolution progress of the House upon which the young Republican majority attempted to push the institution down a new developmental path whether the action was the dramatically enhanced powers of the party leadership, the undercutting of traditional committee
87 activity, or the demands for radical policy change; the new majority sought to remove and reconfigure the chamber in such a way as to remake the structu re of the House. In his exhausting review of the American Speakership, Ronald Peters (1997) argues that historically Republicans have often leaned toward more centralized party leadership than Democrats have typically been able to sustain (for example the speakerships of Reed and Cannon). Following the Gingrich model formed in the late 198 0s and early 199 0s and culminating in the Contract with America goal for the 104 th Congress was to transform its culture thoroughly: leadership the Republicans sought to dismantle entirely the power structure the Democrats had put in place during their forty years of uninterrupted control and to replace it with new mechanisms that reflected the culture and values of the Republican party rule to the informal caucuses to the culture of the Republican conference, Gingrich sought to root out every vestige of the Democratic regime and to replace it with a new Republican regime that would be as lasting as the (P eters, 1997 pp. 293 emphasis ours ) Heeding their earlier calls for a focused party leadership structure, once officially endowed as Speaker, Gingrich formed a new leadership team entitled the Advisory Group Armey, Whip Tom Delay, Conference Chair John Boehner, Campaign Committee Chair Bill Paxon, and the SAG Chair Robert Walker. The purpose of this new leadership steering committee was two fold: first it provided a centralized point within the House to ensure the passage of the Contract ; second, it enabled the new Speaker to thwart hurtles within the committee system that had defined the legislative proc ess in previous Congresses. As to the first, SAG formed the basis for a coordinated staff structure within the leadership and between specific committees, helping to mitigate any factionalism with the GOP caucus. Further, the steering committee allowed for a more
88 efficient public thus helping the fledging majority speak with a unified voice (Peters, 1997 pp. 294). In terms of the second purpose, reminiscent of the reform era of the 197 0s the GOP part y leadership took a number of steps in an effort to diminish the legislative authority of the House committee system. The Republican majority held true to their efforts to reform the committee system, eliminating the Merchant Marine and Fisheries Distric t of Colombia and Post Office and Civil Service the House; for example: Armed Services became National Security and Education and Labor became Education and Educational Opportunities ). The elimination of these three committees was not random, in that each had strong relationships with traditionally Democratic interest groups (most centrally federal workers unions tied to Civil Service committees and subcommittees). Beyond elimination, re maining committees had their staff slashed by one third, and leadership often came to determine the placement of key committee staff members. As argued throughout the literature, deep reductions in committee staff have a fundamental impact on committee pow er, as committee activity is often determined by the limits of its resources (Peters, 1997 pp. 295; Deering and Smith, 1997; Dodd and Schott, 1979). In conjunction with total elimination of three committees, staff reductions and leadership placement affor pp. 294 5). Perhaps most important in terms of committee reforms, Peters (1997) notes that team Gingrich was able to use his political capitol garnered in the 1994 electio n to reduce the influence of committees in the name of party governance in four key ways.
89 First, the decentralized Committee on Committees was replaced with a new committee assignment system in which Speaker Gingrich himself controlled (at least indirectly ) one fourth of the assignment votes. Second, with the new power to nominate (or remove) committee chairs, Gingrich was able to employ his assignment influence in circumventing three times seniority placement in favor of junior party loyal members of the Revolution Third, as discussed, committee chair influence was reduced with the party governance in the House, the 104 th Congress forced a three term limit upon all c ommittee chairs. In effect, this term limit in combination with other reforms would prevent committee chairs from amassing power in a manner similar to committee chairs pp. 295). Interestingly, while the new term limits focused on committee chairs, a second limit of eight years this time aimed at the Speaker was also proposed and passed with support of GOP Freshmen. Congressional media observers at the time predicted that these reforms would have a pr ofound impact on the institution: Proposed reforms would fundamentally change the way the House does its business. By weakening committee fiefdoms and consolidating power in the hands of Speaker Gingrich, R Ga., the GOP has ended an era dominated by powerf Contract With America also breaks new ground by setting a national The result will be a series of administrative and procedura l changes more comprehensive than any since the 1946 Legislative Reform Act (Carney, 1995 pp. 156 7) As the new majority came into power these reforms shifted the internal workings of the Congress in three substantial ways: (1) a departure away from the seniority system and
90 towards party loyalty in the selection of committee chairs 8 ; (2) the elimination of certain committees and the placing of limitation on the number of subcommittees; and (3) an increase in appointment authority of the Speaker on the Com mittee on Committees (interestingly, despite the elimination of certain committees and the streamlining of subcommittees, these reforms did not adopt a wholesale realignment of comm ittee jurisdictions as had earlier reforms such as the 1946 Legislative Reo rganization Act) (Aldrich and Rohde, 2009). In all, these reforms significantly enhanced the administrative and procedural authority of the Speaker of the House (Dodd and Oppenheimer, 1997a). In replacement of committee and committee chair influence in the 104 th Congress, passage of the Contract Relying on his brand of managerial style, Gingrich argued that whereas committees may have been traditionally thought of as the work horses of Congress in which members develop area specific policy expertise (Deering and Smith, 1997), these taskforces would be flexible and adaptable units to more efficiently and effectively produce legislation. Regardless of this argument, many observer s felt that the real agenda was to circumvent Democratic opponents from participating in the legislative process so as to maintain party and ideological unity (Peters, 1997; Maraniss and Weisskopf, 1996). While these taskforces consisted of several members from relevant standing committees, each also included several general caucus members and outside interest group advisors loyal to the leadership. In conjunction with the multiple committee government reforms, these taskforces effectively supplanted commit tees in 8 See Figure 5 4
91 the writing and passage of Contract determined to ensure that no committee or sub committee chair could impede the party all aimed at transforming the committee structure; the use of task forces aimed at pp. 294 5). Together, these developments erod ed operational models employed by the federal legislature in pre vious congresses as leaders increasingly influenced bill creation in committees, bypassed committee and post committee bill adjustments, and controlled rules and floor action during debate (Aldrich and Rhode, 2009) A number of other changes were ma de in the halls of Congress that shed light on the nature of the new Republican regime. Compared to previous eras of Congress in which Democrats controlled the day to day operations and services of the House, Republicans took a view not of preservation, bu t elimination: The post office, Folding Room, the barber and beauty shops, and the layers of House administration were reduced to two. The new Office of Chief Administrator was created, reconceptualized on a business model, with each office treated as a small business and pp. 297 8) virtues aggressive personality, the strong backing of fellow southern conservative party leaders Armey and Delay, and nearly lock in step support of Freshme Speaker Newt Gingrich employed his two visions to lead his troops onto the House
92 floor. In all, the Republican party leadership opened the 104 th Congress stressing not just command, but group cohesion and collective action (Peters, 1997; Dodd and Oppenheimer, 1997 a ) In considering the level of ideological cohesion within the party at the start of the 104 th Congress, Table 3 1 below compares the ideological make up of the party before and after the 1994 election. As is discussed in greater detail our appendix thes e five categories separate Republican members of the House in terms of thei r general ideological outlook over a given period of time. Inspired by the methodology employed by Douglas Koopman in his 1996 work Hostile Takeover these categories represent a me dimensions ( economic issue votes, social issue votes, and foreign policy issue votes) as determined by the National Journal ese voting dimen sions provide us with some interesting insights about the Republican party and their first year as the House majority. First, in the sessions immediately before and after the Revolution the party as a whole leaned towards strong levels of conservatism acr oss all three voting dimensions. Sec ond, as expected, the l eadership 9 structure remained consistently conservative during the election year and in the following congressional session. Third, the incoming Freshmen of whom nearly 50 % can be categorized as represent a large conservative voting bloc within the young Republican majority. 9 Leadership Structure is defined here as elected party leadership and committee chairmen in 1995. To provide for comparative consistency, calculations for 1994 are derived from member Nat ional Journal Vote Ratings whom would assume those leadership roles in 1995.
93 Table 3 1 Percentage of membership by ideological c ategory Category 1994 1995 Party Leadership Party Leadership Freshmen Ultra Conservatives 30.90% 41.67% 27.35% 40.74% 25.32% Strong Conservatives 26.97% 16.67% 20.09% 22.22% 24.05% Moderate Conservatives 21.35% 25.00% 21.37% 22.22% 16.46% Weak Conservatives 15.73% 4.17% 16.67% 11.11% 25.32% Patrician Conservatives 5.06% 12.50% 14.53% 3.70% 8.86% Our findings for these two years are supportive of the conditional party governance model which as an organizational strategy requires significant levels of internal ide ological homogeneity. As Table 3 1 and Figure 3 6 (below) demonstrate, the early actions taken by the newly formed Republican caucus fulfill largely the party 10 Takeover Successful, But an Unclear Future Ahead Taken together, the institutional reforms employed in the first days of the 104 th Congress were clearly aimed at strengthening the power and prerogatives of the Speaker (Dodd and Oppenheimer, 1997a pp. 39). Congressional observers and practitioners saw that Gingrich was the clear authority in the first session of the 104 th Congress; as such, this highly centralized leadership structure placed responsibility for policy success directly on his shoulders. Some even referred to Gingrich as the 10 Figure 3 6 and Table 3 1 also indicate the presence of ideological groups within the emerging Republican majority that are more moderate in their voting behavior a significa nt factor that will emerge as the Republican move forward in time. In terms of the party as a whole, though the single largest bloc down can be interpreted to say that these members consistently voted less conservatively than their counterparts. As to Freshmen, though many of the new faces were dee ply southern and deeply given political title at least not when it came to their votes on substantive issues. Even for those in positions of organ between 1994 and 1995, ideological moderates and weaker made up 37 % leadership in 1995.
94 y Cox and McCubbins (1993), who could force his majority in any direction he demanded (Dodd and Oppenheimer, 1997a pp. 43). Figure 3 6 Republican H ouse ideological t rend: 1995 Illustrated above, the overall ideology in the first session of the 104th Congress leaned strongly towards a conservative framework. As seen in Figure 3 6 11 in which a lower liberal ideological score (x axis) indicates a higher degree of conservatism by an individual member the centralization of power in the House was charac terized by a high degree of ideological unity among the overall GOP, leading to a series of early 11 Figure 3 6 logical score following the methodology discussed in the attached appendix. After placing the member in their appropriate ideological range Ultra, Strong, Moderate, Weak, and Patrician Conservative these subgroups were again divided in two by their med ian score. Of those members falling within a particular range, a mean ideological score was a particular sub range, and the average ideological score of those members in that sub range.
95 legislative success for the new majority (in fact, our data here show a very strong negative relationship between the number of members in an ideological rang e, and the level of liberalism in that range; that is, as conservatism decreased, so too did the number of members decrease). It is important to note that these findings are consistent with the conditional party governance model; that is, given the conditi on of a high degree of intraparty ideological unity, the majority chose to adopt an organizational structure defined by strengthened party leadership and increased partisanship. With the majority of their members supportive of a conservative legislative ag enda, it seemed that the takeover of the House was complete. Indeed, from January through April of 1995 deemed by some as the high point of the Revolution (Dodd and Oppenheimer, 1997a) the Republicans successfully acted on a series of major promises ma de in the Contract with America. In terms of the preliminary actions taken by the Republicans to fulfill the Contract the initial decision to employ party unity lead generally to legislative success at least in the House. Of the institutional reforms d iscussed (empowering the Speaker, placing regulatory workforce rules on the House, committee chair term limits, etc.), all but member term limits were passed with high levels of Republican voting cohesion. Without doubt, the first 100 days of the 104 th Con gress were a breathtaking display of party governance at work. With committees out of the way and party lead ership using to craft terms of debate that minimiz ed the opportunity for dissent within the party or obstruction by the Democrats; comp lex legislation including bills on crime, welfare reform, the federal budget, Social Security, defense, illegal drugs, the environment, and taxation all passed the House as products of party leadership
96 negotiations rather than committee deliberations (Crit chlow, 2004 pp. 720; Dodd and Oppenheimer, 1997a pp. 44). In total, with the exception of congressional term limits and missile defense, Speaker Gingrich and his army of followers in the GOP House caucus succeed in passing the entirety of the Contract wi th America The first 100 days seemed to be the first of a new Republican era in Congress and possibly beyond: Backed by a united party and trusted assistants, Gingrich presented the House Republicans as an aggressive, cohesive, and irresistible force that could not fail to create a new Republican era in Congress, which would go on to transform the nation. The size of the 1994 victory seemed to provide the justification for this Republican confidence, and the Contract with America provided the policy agenda that Republicans claimed the public had mandated in the election (Dodd and Oppenheimer, 1997a pp. 44) More importantly for the institution of Congress and fate of the Republican majority, Speaker Gingrich and his followers had clearly sought a direct bre ak with past legislative governance, set ting the party on a new developmental path in the post Revolution House a path that depended greatly on the ideological preference unity of the party he was endowed to lead. The question remains: With all of the pr essures of the all too real potential f or a shift in the operational context of the 104 th and later congresses, how did this initial strategy of party governance shape or constrain the future direction of the Rep ublican House majority? Answering this question and considering its theoretical implications for congressional politics remains the primary focus of this dissertation.
97 CHAPTER 4 EXTENDING THEIR REPU BLIC? Extend the sphere and you take in a greater variet Publius, Fed eralist 10 As the previous chapter illustrated, the new Republican majority met with a great deal of success in the days leading up to the 104 th Congress much of which is attributed to Newt Gingrich, his lea dership team, and their party governance approach to l egislating in the House. T he Revolution of 1994 was a milestone for both the development of Congress as an institution and for those elected members under its dome. Representing a critical juncture in t he history of the House, the post Revolution period took the body and those within it down a new developmental path one that we find placed the young majority in an increasingly precarious position. In this chapter, we present an emerging pattern of beha vior under this new operational system that would continue to shape the Republican House majority as it moved through time. The Revolution and the first days of the 104 th Congress represented an attempt by Republicans to radically reform the House (and mo re broadly the nature of the American political arena itself). In seeking to enforce the promises of the Contract the sought a direct break with long held legislative rules and norms. These breaks included the creation of term li mits on the Speaker and committee chairs (and an attempted term limit on all members), the circumventing and elimination of committees in the legislative process, and the establishment of enhanced authority for party leadership. Of particular importance, t he Contract also demanded drastic policy change in the form of cuts to the federal budget. In seeking to exploit this critical juncture and take the House down a new legislative path, the Republicans sought to
98 remove and reconfigure the chamber in such a w ay as to remake the structure of the institution. Of central importance to contemporary congressional development, these initial choices made by the majority in one context would not retain their luster overtime: Despite short the seeds for future crisis as their newly empowered leaders stumbled and their favorable political climate evaporated. Make W ay f or the Republicans!... or, t Despite the electoral success of 1994, legislatively speaking, the Republicans faced a wholly different opponent in their efforts to pass the Contract with America : themselves. As discussed, via the Co ntract Republican members of Congress and their leadership promised to reform Congress in an effort bring the institution into accord with a smaller government (especially i n terms of the budget) and a more responsive procedural environment in which the institution operated (Rae and Campbell, 1999 pp. 3). To do so, Republicans promised to b ring member term limits to a vote, impose term limits on party leaders, ban gifts to members of Congress, apply civil rights and employment law to Congress, reform legislative processes in committees, and most importantly to reduce spending and balance the federal budget (Samples, 2005 pp. 26; Rae and Campbell, 1999). quickly come to understand the limitations placed upon them by their chosen operational model and broader institutional context.
99 Gingr ich and his party were on a mission to fulfill the promises of the Contract On the agenda for first day of the 104 th Congress: term limits were imposed on party leadership (though the House passed the constitutional amendment prescribing term limits on al l members, it failed to get the required two thirds majority), House staff was drastically reduced, budgeting rules were altered, committee hearings were opened to the public, members enacted a requirement of a three fifths vote to increase taxes, and appl ied to Congress as a body anti discrimination and workplace safety rules. While the Republicans seemed to have an impressive start out of the gate, they soon began stumbling and potential fa ult lines within the young majority began to emerge 1 Looking f irst at term limits for party leaders, committee chairman, and general members of Congress ; the Contract promised to bring the issue to a vote within the 104 th backing of junio r members who strongly supported term limits, the Republican leadership was wary of pushing too hard for universal member term limits as many senior members of the GOP opposed them. Three separate versions of term limits legislation was proposed by the par ty, each with a different number of terms allowed by a House legislator. In an effort to compromise with senior GOP members, party leadership ultimately supported a bill that limited members of the House to six terms, and provided the recommendation that s enators be limited to two terms. Viewed as too generous a limit by junior members, the leader supported bill split the House Republicans from the grass roots groups that had put term limits on the national agenda: In the end, the term limits constitutional amendment fell 63 votes short of 1 Particularly, as seen in Figures 4 1 and 4 2 between newly empowered southern social conservatives and more traditional fiscal conservatives from other regions.
100 passage in the House. This is not to say that term limits reform met with no success. House rules were altered so that committee and sub committee chairs did have term limits imposed upon them; as such, these reforms led t o the retirement of four committee chairman in the House in 2002. Though somewhat successful in this endeavor, many of these term limit reforms have since been overturned, as particularly seen in 2003 when the House removed the se role as speaker (Samples, 2005 pp. 28 9). Beyond term limits, perhaps the biggest failure for congressional Republicans came in the form of budgetary reform: balancing the budget was a key promise of the incoming Republicans, and was viewed as a fundamen tal change in the direction of national governance after 25 consecutive years of budget deficits (Moore, 2005). Without doubt, limiting the size of government via a reduced and balanced b udget was a central feature in the platform. From elimin ating single programs to entire departments, the 104 th Congress promised to reduce taxes, government regulation, and overall federal spending. Specifically, the original Contract with America budget for fiscal year 1996 slated more than 200 programs for te rmination: Some programs were little more than political slush funds for special interest constituencies, such as the Legal Services Corporation, bilingual et also tried to defund programs Ronald Reagan had tried to kill, such as the Economic Development Administration, Amtrak subsidies, federal transit grants, the Appalachian Regional Commission, and maritime subsidies. Most impressive of all, the FY96 House budget called for the elimination of three cabinet departments: Commerce, Education, and Energy (Moore, 2005 pp. 60) How successful was the young Republican majority in this endeavor? For a short ti me, the Republicans did lead the way on budget reform; y et, these reforms were hardly ground breaking. Cuts were made in defense spending (made possible largely by the
101 end of the Cold War), and domestic discretionary spending was brought under some control through changes in federal welfare policy. Despite limi ted government and spending reductions being key policies in the overall platform of the Contract these reforms were not to last: The 1994 Revolution now behind them, congressional Republicans were showing themselves to be short lived in their revolutiona ry ways when it came to fiscal policy issues. Just one electoral cycle after the 1994 upheaval, both defense and domestic discretionary spending began to rise rapidly. Though the Republicans had won control of Congress for the first time in nearly 50 years on the promise to eliminate hundreds of government programs, the majority of those slated in this category remained in effect even today, with higher levels of funding than in 1994. Specifically, by the midpo int of the Bush Administration, unreformed pr ograms include: AmeriCorps : $127 million in 1994, $503 million FY2003 Amtrak : Scheduled to be self sufficient FY2002, Received $1.2 billion FY04 Medicare : Cuts attempted in 1994, Program expanded in 2003 under the Bush $534 billion (estimate) over 10 years for drug benefits Department of Education : Targeted for termination by the Contract increased from $31 billion in FY95 to $63 billion in 2004 with the creation of Bush and party leadership backe (Moore, 2005)
102 Figure 4 1 Budget Cons versus Theo Cons: 1994 2006 What might explain this dramatic change in policy direction? The content of the Contract and the regional gains in 1994 are interesting places to begi n investigating this and other questions about House Republican change overtime. As discussed, the Contract largely side stepped many of the moral issues and social policy reforms pressed for by conservatives new to the party since the 197 0s and Reagan era Focusing on economic policy, the Contract placed the focus of House members squarely on budgetary issues. Thi s focus is reflected in Figure 4 1 in which we use our originally constructed database i to place members within two conservative camps: meaning that their degree of conservatism on fiscal issues was higher than that on moral issues. With the large influx n (who were often deeply morally conservative) the gap between these two broad groups was nearly closed, remaining relatively close in number across the 199 0s or those whose
103 conservatism was deeper in terms of moral issue s than that of fiscal issues took a the Republican majority tenure. This move overtime from a traditional fiscal focus, to a focus upon moral issues may be somewhat explained by the growth of non traditional regional groups within the party. Looking to Figure 4 2 we see that across the entire period of Republican control of the House, a greater percentage of members from the south in each congressional session suppo rted moral issues to a higher degree than fiscal issues (to p ut it another way, members from the south were comparatively more conservative on moral issues, and more liberal on fiscal issues during the entire Republican majority). If there was a broad chan ge in the party in terms of conservatism typology, what developmental dynamics might explain this change following the success of the 104 th session; that is, what sort of change in the political arena might have caused Republicans to behave in this manner? The puzzle presented here is at the heart of our research objective. Figure 4 2 Budget Cons versus Theo Cons, The South: 1994 2006
104 1 04 th to 105 th : What a D ifference a Congress Makes To assess these developments, let us take a dee per look at the interplay of the Republican experience between the 104 th and 105 th Congress. As noted, Gingrich met with some success in passing the reforms in the Contract much in part due to his new his first 100 days, Speaker Gingrich relied heavily on support from conservative congressional Freshmen: over seventy in number, this sub group was directly trained by team Gingrich, and received an unprecedented number of key committee positions once in o ffice. In fact, the new Revolution In all, these junior members constituted a significant voting bloc within of the House Republican conference, and were a core powerbase for Gingrich and other party l eaders. Despite alienated some members of the House GOP from others. Preliminary investigations h ere and in the literature note that there was growing divide between the ju nior, (Rae and Campbell, 1999 pp. 4). Beyond these issues there were institutional hurtles to consider as well. Assuming for the moment that Gingrich and his leaders were able to operate the House from the perspective of party governan ce, successful passage of controversial reforms in their chamber did not guarantee legislative success once bills left the House and were taken up by adjoining political institutions. While G ingrich was able to force some of the more contentious legislation on the shoulders of his junior speed of the proposed implementation was found in the Senate. As Gingrich
105 began pressing his colleagues in the upper chamber to pass the economic reform plan, congressional media observers began to take note of the uphill battle he faced when it came to dealing with the more moderate Senate: Senate, which will determine the fate of all the fine print in the contract? There, the dynamics shift from rah Leader Robert Dole, R Kan., said. Then, with a sly chuc pp. 344). Passage in the Senate was stalled for Senate tends to be a more restrained and delib erative chamber than does the House. Though they controlled the majority in the Senate, with only 54 seats Republicans were not able to overcome filibuster rules necessary to control floor debate. Secondly, the Republicans were not able to secure the numbe rs necessary to pass constitutional amendments. Regardless of their attempts at party governance in the House, particularly when it came to fulfilling the central plank of a balanced budget of powers system proved to be a Revolution Republican agenda would stall came when the balanced budget amendment to the Constitution an integral part of the Contract failed by one vot e to secure the necessary two and Campbell, 1999 pp. 4). The second institutional barrier facing Republicans and one with far greater impact on their then and future majority was the White House. Even if they could steer the Contract through the Senate, implementation of the controversial legislation required presidential approval. Though Gingrich and other party leaders believed President
106 Clinton had been severely weakened in the 1994 mid term election, t heir estimation of mark (Kernell, 2007). A budget showdown was underway. T his dissertation hypothesizes that in a fundamental way, the reaction of the Republican Party to the 1995 1996 budget sho wdown lead to a breakdown in party leadership and unity followed by an increase of ideologically temperate sub groups within the conservative camp. In particular, this dynamic displayed growing incongruence during the first half of the Republican majority tenure those rank and file conservatives that adopted a more moderated tone in reaction to multiple crisis episodes. To see why, a brief look at the events leading up to the budget debate is helpful 2 As argued by Sinclair (2000), lawmaking in Congress has become increasingly unorthodox in the post reform era. Different from the textbook view of Congress, which modeled the legislative process as predictable and linear, the u northodox lawmaking thesis argues that the contemporary policy process is characterized by variability rather than uniformity. A primary example of unorthodox lawmaking comes in the form of omnibus bills often employed by Democrats during their tenure in t he post reform era. As described by Krutz (2001), omnibus legislating is the practice of combining numerous measures from disparate policy areas into one massive bill. Omnibus bills have become increasingly useful institutional tools to pass contentious le gislation that might otherwise fail in the legislative process if left to stand on its own. Though in use 2 We conduct a more complete empirical analysis of this ev ent and its aftermath in Chapter 5 as it relates to shifting operational contexts and related changes in ideological patterns within the House Republican majority.
107 since the 195 0s omnibus legislating has become increasingly common as complexity nship with the White House (Sinclair, 2000). To summarize the process, while riders are often attempted by members to kill legislative initiatives, omnibus bills are pursued as an an overall bill that is easier for members of Congress and the President to swallow: The bigger bill has its own locus (or multiple loci) of attention and is more likely to have the broad support needed for passage. Omnibus bills are powerful for focusing attention away from controversial items to other main items that enjoy widespread support and/or are seen as necessary like the budget (Krutz, 2001 pp. 5) Overall, omnibus bills provide a method to both manage increasing legislative uncertainty in the post reform C ongress, and to enact policies whose outcome is doubtful in the American system of checks and balances (Krutz, 2001). Despite calls against omnibus legislating in the 1994 campaign referring to them and attempts to reform the budgeting process so as to make it more open to scrutiny, Republican leaders found themselves unable to pass the most contentious fiscal policies despite their majority in the House and Senate (Sinclair, 1999). To combat t his situation, Republican leaders employed the very inevitable obstruction in the Senate, the Republican House leadership and Senate Majority leader Robert Dole were compe lawmaking as their Democratic counterparts in the 103 rd and Campbell, 1999 pp. 4 ). Regardless of prior rejection in the campaign, Republican leadership in the House and Senate chose to util ize omnibus legislating for the same purposes as their Democratic colleagues: due to institutional limitations in Congress, Republicans
108 packaged the most contentious items of the Contract together in a fashion calculated to thwart possible Senate roadblock s and requirements for supermajorities. The legislation form of spending reduc tions towards a 2002 balanced budget), reform of the welfare system, a roll back in environmental legislation (by cutting appropriations to enforcement agencies), and a redirect of federal government activity to the state and local levels. Overall, because the legislation was more attractive to a broader range of senators than was the original Contract this omnibus budget was successful in terms of circumventing institutional minefields in the Senate; yet, Republicans still faced the challenge of a preside ntial veto at the hands of Bill Clinton (Rae and Campbell, 1999 pp. 5). O ne of the most attractive attributes of omnibus legislation is that it nearly always passes: because both contentious policy and district specific pork can easily be added with litt members of C ongress and the president have an interest in their passage. In this way, congressional leaders have historically believed that the packaging of this legislation can b congressional majority particularly in times of divided government (Krutz, 2001) As the budget showdown came to a head, the newly minted Republican majority gave into the pressur e, backing away from their vitriolic campaign criticisms and turning to a leadership believed that packaging the mass of major policy changes in one huge
109 reconciliation pp. 29 30). Gingrich and his fellow Republican leaders went into the 1996 Budget battle believing their forces possessed the upper hand. Perhaps more importantly, after years near rabid demands for federal spending reform could not be quelled even by Gingrich himself. As reported by media observers, for the Freshmen Revolutionaries break your sig pp. 480). Moderation was not a virtue for the early Republican majority (Moore, 1995). With the president seemingly weakened by the 1994 electoral outcome, conservative congressional leadership calculated that the voting public would blame the White House and not Capitol Hill in the event of budget shutdowns. Unfortunately for Gingrich and his caucus, this was not the case. As opportunity to in form the public that Republicans intended to cut popular services such received by the public, as was the harsh public image of Gingrich (Rae and Campbell, 1999 pp. 5). In the end, as Clinton repeatedly vetoed Republican measures that resulted in government shutdowns in November 1995 and again over Christmas and Ne w Years, it was the Republican C ongr ess that was blamed and not the President (Kernell, 2007).
110 Republican leaders realized that they could not use their majorities to push dejected Republicans to reopen the gover that funded federal agencies until after the upcoming 1996 election. Kings of the Hill just budget the centerpiece of the Repu were left without a clear strategy for their reelection efforts. Conversely, Democrats and Campbell, 1999 pp. 5). For junior and senior House Republica ns alike, their leadership had failed them in the most fundamental fashion. s ome might look at the previous opportu nities to define and lead an agenda w ere the underlying cause behind the failed transition to power in the 104 th Congress simply put, once the Republicans had power, they did not know what to do with it. We argue that this is not a complete explanation o f these political developments. Our analysis find s that the difficulties faced were the consequences of the operational choices made by the party itself. Republican leadership had a clear agenda, and well developed plan to enforce it. Inexperience in power may have played a role as there is a steep learning curve in political leadership yet, any potential mistakes made were significantly magnified by the particular conditions and assumptions upon which the new majority structured itself. In her work on the problems with single party predominance in emerging and established democracies, Anderson states that the composition of political parties and
111 party systems (that is, their structure and degree of competiveness) plays a direct role in the facilitation competitive in a pluralist setting. But it has also been shown that nations may develop a strong sing le pp. 767). Anderson presents a comparative analysis of this relationship between party/party system structure and democracy by contrasting the developments of the Argentinean party system to that of the American south before and after the Civil War. Divided between the Radicals and the Peronists, Anderson argues that despite electoral victory in Argentina, a loss of political conflict left the Radicals facing great difficulty in tak ing control of governance: elections and Peronism deprived Radicalism of its two main points of conflict: agitation for an electoral calendar and representation of the masses. Now both m ajor parties agree that elections are desirable and that disappeared (Anderson, 2009 pp. 774) This situation is similar to the fall of the Whig party in 185 0s America: Despite largel y succeeding on their electoral platform in the early 180 0s the Whigs fell into a long period of political decline. This position was worsened as the party lost ground to the newly emerging anti the developed a popular following where the Whigs had failed because they found a new pp. 774). The lesson from this comparative approach for Anderson is that after having won their respective
112 pp. 774). Th ough the Republicans of the 198 0s and 199 0s had been playing opposition politics for more than a generation, we argue that their rise to power and subsequent mistakes were not fully the result of being the majority for the first time in 50 years; rather, w e argue that both the rise and subsequent stumbling are directly related to the operational structure employed by the party. In their attempt to reform and reconfigure legislative politics, the Republicans were saturated in new positions, conflict, and iss ues. Further, leadership had spent years developing a platform and group of candidates that could articulate this message to a popular base. As such, the most specific difference between the Radicals/Whigs and the current Republicans, is that the GOP was a nything but free of political conflict. As illustrated throughout this and the achieving a direct break with past governance not only in terms of radical policy and institu tional reform, but also in terms of their empowerment of party leadership. Their issues and structural reforms were clearly articulated in the Contract candidates swore allegiance to these issues and to Gingrich, and once in office organized themselves in such a way as to force radical change. Divisive political issues defined the Revolution whose public face was that of (the often petulant) Newt Gingrich. The particular problems faced by the contemporary Republicans were the very things that defined th e new majority: radicalism built upon ideological unity and the empowerment of party leadership. As stated, this break with past governance in an effort to take the House down a new institutional path was built upon unsustainable
113 conditions. This is not to say that inexperience at governing did not play a role; rather, stable operational environment greatly exacerbated any missteps that would inevitably occur. A reliance on f leeting circumstances and a false assumption of operational show, even with experience under their belt, the operational structure of future Republicans (and later Dem ocrats) would continue to hamper their development in emerging political contexts. If at F irst ry Impeachment As argued by Sinclair (1999), many Republican members responded to the dramatic shift in their operational environment b y asking of themselves two central questions: First, whether or not the pursuit of the overall agenda would help or hinder their individual reelection efforts in the upcoming campaign. Second, if the course of action most likely to retain a Repu blican majority would result in either severe reelection or in policy costs. Given the differences in their constituencies, individual members answered these questions quite differently; thus, the unity House Republicans had displayed under the Contract be gan to break down. Over the 1996 campaign 3 Republican defections for constituency reasons became more common for example, Northeastern moderates forced a floor vote on a minimum wage increase that the leadership and majority opposed (1999 pp. 39). Outs ide the halls of Congress, the especially for the 104 th Freshmen who desperately sought re election : 3 See, for example, member action as displayed in Figure 5 6 in Chapter 5
114 Dissociation was evident in the reluctance of many R epublicans to link their was the deliberate effort by Republican incumbents, including firebrands of the 1994 freshman class, to use the resources of incumbency programs, constitue incumbents, in fact, intentionally voted against their party in meaningless procedural votes in the House, simply to inflate their overall scores on opposition to the unpopular Speaker Gingrich (Rae and Campbell, 1999 pp. 6) The strategy paid off as the Republicans maintained their majority, but the Revolution was over. Not only was the margin of their majority significantly reduced, but also any Revolutio n was gone. The fallout from the budget debacle left the Republican majority in a very different place just one congres sional cycle into its tenure: There was little consensus within the party on a strategy for the 105 th Congress, nor did members believe t heir own goals were necessarily congruent (Sinclair, 1999). Following the 1995 government shutdowns and 1996 general election, Republican governance in the House went into somewhat of a tailspin. With weakened leadership, Gingrich was less able to contr ol the behavior of individual members within the party. While this period does have some highpoints (banning gifts and applying laws to Congress), it was not revolutionary. As noted, the debate over term limits was a major factor in exposing the rift betwe en senior and junior members of the party. With political legitimacy waning for Republican leaders, individual members turned to institutional mechanisms that helped to minimize their electoral vulnerability. As argued by Samples (2005), congressional Repu because their vision of a reformed Congress had great electoral appeal after nearly 50 years of rule by an entrenched party conservatives had every reason t o unite under a criticism of Democratic political
115 policies Yet, after taking hold of the reins of power, Samples describes a different feeling amongst individual members: After the Republicans came to power, however, the appeal of robust policies over ele ctoral competition must have waned. Those who hold office have another name for competition: vulnerability and defeat. The party in new majority is acting much like the old one (200 5 pp. 33). example in a story that has been repeated in several instances throughout the history of the American political arena, the Revolution of the Republicans was short lived as the revolution have settled into power, become too comfortable with t heir perks and pp. 69 70). The 105 th Congress looked very different from the 104 th : a previously weakened c approval had evaporated, and internal party divisions were becoming increasingly evident. With all of these factors combined, many congressional scholars began to argue that the Republican Revolution had given way to a more traditional model of congressi onal politics. Specifically, due to weakened leadership and a mounting concern for reelection, individual House Republicans began to find that traditional congressional career e committee system, earning their stripes by rising through the ranks of the formal party structure, and developing expertise with the support of a caucus of members with shared interests was indeed useful in achieving some of their personal political go
116 (Rae and Campbell, 1999 pp. 7). Increasing individualism within the narrow majority invited in fighting and the development of factions that party leaders had an increasingly s captured Congress in the 1994 elections, analysts widely proclaimed the triumph of the conservative model of limited government Contract conservatism threatens to splinter int (Starobin, 1995 pp. 3022). Legislatively, intraparty divisions and defections lead to more defeats on the floor. In response, Gingrich attempted a new strategy in which he sought to cultivate relations with Republican moderates, avoided unnecessa ry confrontation with the Clinton Administration, and worked closely with committee chairs. The result of this new strategy was increased division: two dozen conservative der had become too willing to capitulate to President Clinton and the Democrats. Though Gingrich survived this particular coup in the end it was Gingrich who was ultimately blamed by House Republican s for a lackluster campaign. In response to this ima ge, Gingrich turned away from an internal House agenda to tackle external issues head on most specifically, the Clinton Administration and the growing Lewinski scandal. As detailed in the next chapters this decision to attempt control of and be depende nt upon the outcomes of volatile events external to direct House influence would become a model for future action (i.e. the Clinton impeachment, 9/11, Iraq war, etc.), shaping the direction of House activities for the rest of the Republican tenure. In term s of this present issue, following the Kenneth Starr report in which it was alleged that President Clinton had lied under oath about an extra marital affair, Republican
117 leaders attempt a desperate effort to defeat their nemesis in the White House. Though H ouse leadership was successful in using their House voting bloc to impeach the President under charges of perjury and obstruction of justice, their plans again came to ultimate failure on the floor of the Senate: not only did the Senate fail to convict Cli nton voted along with their Democratic counterparts. Clearly the Gingrich agenda had failed and his reign as Speaker was coming to an end As if following the same playbook as used in the Speak Wright case, growing issues surrounding the ethical conduct of Gingrich began to mount. Argued by policy making and vote seeking to the realm of ethic pp. 1). A response to wrongdoing in terms of personal gain; rather, the investigations are the ain. Rosenson explains that the problematic element in these investigations has been the manner in which wrongdoers have exploited their positions to the (often undemocratic) benefit of their respective parties: What was most damaging was not so much [Gin prior to the investigation, but his less than full and enthusiastic display of respect for truth telling during the investigation aggressive pursuit of partisan, political goals, using tax exempt organizations not intended for that purpose (Rosenson, 2011 pp. 18) Causing the intensity of his operational environment to grow dramatically, Gingrich sought a break with past legislative pp. 30). It was these very actions whether they were political revenge for Speaker Wright in the past, or actions
118 taken against leaders (specifically, Majority Leader DeLay) in the future that show the tenuous nature of party governance in the House 4 Central to our argument concerning the unsustainably of party governance as a result of failed party leadership, these political maneuvers would hurt not only the Speaker himself, but the party he was endowed to lead. Under charges of ethics violations and with little support either within his party or with the voters, Gingrich ultimately resigned from Congress and was replaced by a more pr and Campbell, 1999 pp. 7 9). It is important to note that while the Gingrich era had come to an end, many of his lieutenants Armey, DeLay, Boehner, etc. remained in positions of party leadership. Afte r the Revolution t he Dynamic Environment of the House The House Republicans clearly attempted to employ party governance as their operational model in the 104 th Congress; just as clearly, this initial choice became increasingly problematic as their newly empowered leadership failed to achieve a promised political agenda, and as the political environment surrounding the House shifted in a direction unfavorable to the ideologically ridged majority party. Following these events, criticisms of the conditional party governance model began to mount in the literature. Most notably, Dodd and Oppenheimer (1997a, 1997b) rejected the notion of permanent partisanship, stating that multiple constraints presented a threat to th e authority of party leadership even in the partisan period of the Republican Revolution : a 4 Rosenson conclu continue to increase in number. Increasingly partisan elites and a highly competitive electoral landscape are conducive to individual politicians seeking innovative wa ys of achieving political gain, both properly partisanship associated with conditional party governance. We discus s the details and broader implications of the ethical scandals surrounding Speaker Gingric h and Majority Leader DeLay in Chapters 4 and 5 respectively.
119 large majority could make it unlikely that a governing party can maintain internal cohesion overtime, times of close party division could be threatened by the loss of support by just a few members, competitiv e seats may cause members to hesitate in going along with the party in reaching out to centrist voters, and so on From this perspective the greatest threat in attempting to manage Congress via party issues that are critical to the Dodd and Oppenheimer, 1997b pp. 402). In the case of the Republicans and their initial attempt at party go vernance, the critique presented by this camp states that Gingrich and the GOP in effect gambled that their early successes with the Contract Republican agenda that when they turned to fiscal matters they would prevail here as pp. 45). Essentially, House GOP leadership believed that it had compiled enough political capital to not only f orce compliance within their ranks, but more importantly to bully both the Senate and the White House into action. F or Gingrich and his team, t he budget crafted by the 104 th Congress was central to the enduring legacy of the Revolution as the 1994 election had stressed significant budget reductions, the movement towards a balance national budget, and a large tax cut aimed at the average conservat ive voter. Based upon these contextual factors, Gingrich entered the budget making session with optimism for their long term prospects: Gingrich and the House leadership saw the 1996 budget as a political opportunity. It would force the president to either accept a conservative budget and cripple his support within his own party and liberal constituencies or to veto it and lose support with the majority of the party leaders, the defe at of a sitting Democratic president in this manner
120 was the key to gaining control of policy making during the 104 th Congress, winning the White House in 1996, and consolidating a Republican era in American politics (Dodd and Oppenheimer, 1997a pp. 46). Despite this optimism, we have demonstrated that the initial decisions made by Republicans held within them the seeds of future crisis. Though they had the election and early successes with the Contract behind them, with th e fallout of the budget battle, a tarnished GOP leadership never regained their ability to domin ate the policy agenda during the remainder of the Clinton Administration. As we illustrate in the next chapter, growing divergence within the part y would continue to ero de leadership authorit y and expose internal partisan fissures from 1995 to 2000. The result of these developmental dynamics was a changed majority party. I n looking at the early months of the Republican era, Newt Gingrich had a very clear idea of the purpose of the Contract : it was to be used as a tool to bring conservatives together and to focus inexperienced Republican candidates in the 1994 election (Gingrich, 2005 pp. hand, saw the potential of the Contract ct wit h America was the driving force behind the Republican rise to power because it connected Republican members with grass pp. 6). Though this platform was certainly the primary mechanism that propelled congressional Republ icans to power, the ultimate impact of the Revolution fell far short of its intentions (Connelly and Pitney, 1997 ; Crane, 2005 ). Gingrich and other leaders within the House did propel the Republicans into power. Further, they led the charge in managing the House from a perspective of party governance; yet, it was these very actions that with time would prove themselves to be only illusions of strength.
121 In writing ten years after the 1994 election, former Majority Leader Dick Armey provides scholarship w ith some tantalizing insights into the inner workings of the House during the 104 th and 105 th congresses He claims that while Republicans did bring together a broad coalition that challenged the Democratic majority, this coalition was particularly context specific In many ways, Armey argues, the new Republican coalition was possible only because Clinton and his Democratic majority in Congress overreached in their agenda goals (principally in terms of the Clinton health care plan). Because this agenda was v iewed by the electorate as too radical, short term pp. 7). Regardless of these initial electoral opportunities and earl y successes, Armey states that got harder, as we learned that Congress was not a world of small government (Armey, 2005 pp. 8 9). As such, Armey hi mself defines the Revolution and the Contract Through the remainder of this dissertation, we layout the argument that the process of development from the 1994 election to the 105 th Co ngress represents the beginning a defining pattern for the Republican House majority in the post Revolution era. We show that in multiple instances, the Republicans (and later the Democrats) were advantaged by short term issues within the political arena. Based upon these favorable conditions and initially successful leadership, the majority sought to exploit their context in adopting an operational model indicative of party governance. Unfortunately for the majority, we illustrate how these conditions were fleeting
12 2 exposing the tenuous authority of party leadership and fluctuating levels of preference homogeneity overtime. In all, these developmental dynamics support our thesis and expand established criticisms of the Rhode Aldrich model: due to leadershi p failure and shifting operational contexts, conditional party governance is unsustainable. i For Figures 4 1 and 4 2 we measure ideological differentiation between economic and social conservatives in the House by utilizing the three NJ issue based scores (as discussed in our appendix), though in this instance it does so by separating economic and social conservatism. By comparing one of the voting score types against the other, the issue voting dimension examines the possibility of specific levels of ideological focus in the Republican House. This statistic is an operationalized NJ rat ing that relative conservatism on moral issues. Essentially, this comparison measures ideological focus within the conservative spectrum. Following Koopman, the ideological issue voting statistic is operationalized via a straightforward calculation: a ratio in which a particular NJ issue score is used as the denominator under the average of the remaining NJ scores as the numerator. For example, to calculate a Ratio the operation would be the ratio of the NJ social and foreign policy score averaged over the NJ economic score. The higher the ratio, the more liberal the member is on foreign or social policy as compared with economic po licy. Specifically talking about the economic issue voting dimension, conservative on economic and budget issues, identifying those members who devi ate from the New Deal Whereas Koopman limited his study to only the Fiscal Conservatism score, in light of the growth of southern evangelical influence in the House GOP, th is dissertation believes that by expanding on the same methodology, two ratios can be compared in a manner that tests the relative importance of the social voting dimension against the economic for the broader chamber overtime. Thus, two ratios are employe d: Fiscal Conservatism ratio: Moral Conservatism ratio: tendencies ; that is, do members tend to lean toward fiscal conservatism or moral conservatism? Using these calculations, the members will be assigned to an ideological sub faction (as determined by their ideological sub faction. In combination with data presented in later chapters, these ratios will help to determine the existence of ideol ogical development patterns within the Republican House majority as they occurred overtime and in response to shifting operational contexts.
123 CHAPTER 5 THE REPUBLICAN HOUSE IN AN ENVIRONMENT OF CHANGE 1995 TO 2000 We cannot choose our external circumstances, but we can choose how w e respond to them. Epi ctetus, The Art of Living After the Fall Arguing that the conditional party government thesis presents an unsustainable model for legislative politics in the House, t his disserta tion has presented in the previous chapter an emerging pattern of change in th e ideological unity of the Republican party, especially as this change relates to moments of leadership failure and environmental shift within the political arena. From our analysis in C hapters 3 and 4 we can say with confidence that party governance was the operational model adopted by the Republican party as they entered into their majority. Regardless, having traced the effect of these early choices on future action, we presented our argument that this initial adoption constrain ed members as they pursu e d their political agendas following the opening days of the 104 th Congress. In this chapter, we expand our analysis to see how these constraints evolved overtime from 1995 to 2000. In terms of the post Revolution period, this chapter examine s growing disu nity within the House GOP, particularly following the 1995 budget debacle with the Cl inton Whitehouse, later impeachment trials and electoral stalemate in 1998 and 2000 From a the R epublicans down a course that at first reinforced unity under a clear and authoritative party leadership, but that with time place d pressure on individu al members to pursue incongr uent policy preferences. In combination with this develop mental account, we present a series of descriptive statistics that illustrate
124 ideological unity patterns that have arisen within th e contemporary Republican party as a result of leadership failure and shifting operational environments. Once these pattern s of change in ideolo gical unity are presented we conclude with a consideration of an alternative explanation for House legislative behavior again, the constructive partisanship model adding to its criticism of party governance in terms of its sustainability for majority parties in the post reform House Organizational Structure: Tracing House Leadership Activity, 1994 2000 Successful political bodies must be rooted in well defined, coherent institutional rules and procedures; otherwise, the product of that institution be and Jillson, 1989 pp. 34). In the aftermath of the Revolution Republican leadership took this argument to its extre me; a choice that we find had a negative impact on the Republican majorit y when considered overtime. In his exhaustive review of the institutional development and theoretical study of Congress, Charles Stewart (2001) opens his chapter on legislative partie s and leaders noting that political parties are one of the two primary structural features of Congre ss. As evidenced by annual convening action to elect a new Speaker and other administrative offices, Stewart argues that a student of po pomp and circumstance and conclude that the American Congress was much like the other parliaments of the world, wherein the majority party controls the organization of pp. 235). Yet, Stewart quickly turns to posit that such a view might be a mistake: Even in the most strongly partisan eras in American history, national never been able to assume they could corral all their members to walk lockstep on
125 important policy questions. Consequently, the weakness of political parties has always been a puzzle to be addressed by scholars, just as it has been a hurdle to be overcome by party lead ers (2001 pp. 235 6 e mphasis ours ) While scholarshi p, has witnessed increased party leadership empowerment in the As we saw in Chapter 3 the leadership of the Republican Revolution was deeply conservativ e and deeply unified in its ideological perspective. From our calculations in accord with the methodo logy outlined in our appendix the vast majority of those holding official party position 1 and many of those appointed to committee chairmanships during the first session of the 104 th In opposition of this grouping only 4.17% and 12.5% 2 As dis cussed, this ideological homogeneity was the product of Newt Gingrich, Dick Armey, Tom Delay, and other fathers of the COS, GOPAC, and 1994 election campaign most of who were linked both ideologically and regionally 3 From a historical perspective, this early leadership structure that is, its ideological and geographical homogeneity was a new venture. The norm during other Austin was shared by representatives from two 1 Defined as: Majority Leader, Majority Whip, Chief Deputy Whip, Conference Chairman, Conference Vice Chairman, Conference Secretary, Policy Committee Chairman, Committee on Rules Chairman, and NRCC Chairman; Speaker of the House is not included as the Speaker is usually a non voting member of the House. 2 See Figure 3 4 3 See Table 3 1 and Figure 3 5
126 their northern and southern wings through the election of a northerner and a southerner to the two most prominent party leadership pos employed from the New Deal era all the way until the late 198 0s The reason for the Boston Austin connection was simple: it produced a balanced policy and communications network within the Democratic majority that pre vented the leadership the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 197 0s reform era, this balance of power leadership structure shifted overtime from a geographically based to an ideologically based pairing of a chamber liberal and moderate (Stewart, 2001 pp. 256). Regardless of the shift, the goal was the same: internal balance to prevent a slide from one excessive platform or to another. In taking the mantel of power, the new Re publican lea dership chose to take their majority in a new direction. As ha s become clear in our analysis of this period, conditional party governance defined the early days of the Revolution Yet, in taking on had placed itself in a very precarious position. While decentralized House organizational structures such as the committee along, go identified bomb thrower. Further, he used this l eadership brand to provoke a group of young ideologues into believing that the Republican party had been too acquiescent as the minority party, and needed to pursue an overt strategy of discrediting Democratic stewardship of the House. Though it may have s eemed advantageous at the outset of the Republican majority tenure, the early decision to adopt and enhance this
127 organizational structure would prove highly restrictive for both the party and particularly for its leadership. Schickler and Pearson sum nicel y: negotiator in battles with President Clinton. This forced the Speaker into the untenable position of either makin conservative base, particularly the freshman members unconcerned about institutional maintenance or standing firm in showdowns with the charged his withdrawal as a candidate for reelection as Spe aker and his resignation from the House (2005 pp. 208 ) Returning for a moment to consider this summary more fully as it applies to the developmental dynamics 104 th and 105 th Congresses, whereas Gingrich and his followers might have believed that the earl y successes with the Contract with America to have been their defining moment, history has remembered the budget shutdowns and their aftermath long after the individual merits of the Contract have been forgotten. In his analysis of these critical days, Pet ers (1997) writes that Gingrich believed the momentum of the 1994 elections and the accomplishments made by the House in the first weeks of the 104 th Congress would provide the Republicans the opportunity to establish a long term GOP majority at the federa l level. In doing so, the enactment of a seven the House. To achieve this goal, Speaker Gingrich relied upon a key assum ption to overcome a primary hurd le of our separation of pow ers system: He believed that it was Republican Congress was grounded in the view that Clin
128 reelection was to move to the center and to present himself as a leader who could work with an opposition Congress. Gingrich knew that conflict was coming, but in his core, he believed tha t he could force compromise ( 1997 pp. 307 ). While Gingrich was correct that compromise would follow deep conflict, the player positions within this political game would switch before the showdown was over. refor ms had been stymied by moderates in the Senate and by President Clinton (the two being the relatively uncontroversial prohibition of unfunded mandates and the Congressional Accountability Act). Most specifically, having failed to push through Congress a co nstitutional amendment balancing the budget, Gingrich decided it was issue rallied both those Republicans who believed that a balanced budget was essential to fiscal r esponsibility and those who believed balancing the budget meant downsizing pp. 721). Taken together, this choice forced the nation into a series of multi week federal government shutdowns. T his operational path taken by Gingr ich and his team would back the young GOP House into a political corner: not only was Clinton able to move towards the political up against Gingrich and blaming the highly unpopular shutdowns on over zealous ideologues in the House Kernell, 2007), but also Republican leadership began to face internal pressures from within their own ranks that increasingly constrained their legislative agility (for example: To get legislation through both the Hou se and Senate, Gingrich found it necessary to maintain a unified front with GOP presidential frontrunner Bob Dole. Unfortunately for
129 Gingrich, many junior members found Dole too accommodating and ideologically situation). Though the Speaker was being forced by political reality to seek compromise with the President, his own authority within the House was bein g undermined by competing pressures bearing down upon him from the House, Senate, President, and especial ly from the American voter (Maraniss and Weisskopf, 1996 pp. 149). Fearing that he was quickly losing any public mandate garnered from the 1994 election, Gingrich attempted to shift towards the cut in ha lf and increasing Medicare spending to the poor. Though Gingrich may have been able to use this move to regain the political advantage, it was his own troops that prevented him from assuming a more moderate tone. Having spent years being recruited, inculc ated, and elected on the merits of Contract with America this imposingly large and vitriolic group of Freshmen even at the pleading of their leader. Having ra llied them for years against President Clinton, Speaker Gingrich could not now convince his lambs to follow their shepherd in a different direction: By defining the House GOP position on terms initially acceptable to the including 73 freshmen, Gingrich created a severe constraint on his ability to bargain. In setting his goal of a seven year balanced budget in stone, he had established a benchmark against which GOP conservatives would measure any compromise (Peters, 1997 pp. 307 8). Playing a game of political chicken, Speaker Gingrich was losing control of the party monster of his own creation. Observers reported that in one moment, the top House leader would attempt to rally his troops by mouthing off that he would put Clinton liberals
130 in their place; in another, Gingrich would seemingly capitulate in budget negations as a result of being seduced by the charismatic President and atmosphere of the Oval Office. whiner, a little boy who and Weisskopf, 1996 pp. 152). After a rattled Congress returned to session following a backfired series of shutdowns, senior moderates (lead by Senator Dole) pushed a new budget resolution through the Senate. Following a bitter debate in the divided House late April the battle 2004 pp. 721). In the end, despite his history with GOPAC, success in 1994, and czar like authority during the first months of the 104 th House; Ging rich failed to achieve the primary goal of the Revolution : a smaller government and a reduced budget. He and fellow House leadership had showed in media reports of the period: Like a groggy fighter w ho has taken too many punches, the House Republicans are staggering in the congressional ring. As they seek to rally their forces and to prepare for still more political fisticuffs, they seem less unified and less formidable than the fighting team that too k control of the House in January 1995 and won passage of virtually every one of its about their reelection prospects, many Republicans have begun to point fingers (Cohen, 1996 pp. 638) Though Gingrich attracted more attention than any previous speaker, he failed to control himself, his message, and his caucus when pressured by shifts in the political arena. In ar over the
131 government shutdown: the public blamed it on the congressional Republicans by a 2 1 pp. 310). The Revolution was collapsing the mere reference to the word began to fall into disuse by the young majority and many beg an to question the future of the Republican House and its Speaker. Abandoned by his troops and even his leadership (many of whom now saw him, despite his tough talk, as a Despite the move towards an empowered leadership in an atmosphere in which initial conditions seemed favorable for such action, those empowered within this organizational structure were not prepared to operate in an environment in which political conditions can rapidly change Muc h of the literature covering this event places the primary blame of the budget shutdown debacle on the institutional limitations of the House and Speakership that were underestimated by Gingrich. This argument highlights the difficulties encountered by par ty governance as a form of institutional organization in our Madisonian system. Though the Speaker may control the House, its legislative agenda must pass muster in the Senate. Moreover, even in times of high intraparty unity, because the House leadership authority comes from a single congressional district and the sustained consent of their party caucus (and not from the American people writ large), the office of Speaker is a deeply constrained one in comparison to the Presidency. To put it another way, wh ile the Speaker represents a few hundred thousand voters, the President represents a few hundred million. In overestimating himself and underestimating not, in the end, g overn the country from the speakership because the Senate and pp. 309).
132 Table 5 1 Leadership of the House, i deology: 1995 2000 Type 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 Ultra Conservatives 75.00% 62.50% 2 2.22% 22.22% 20.00% 55.56% Strong Conservatives 12.50% 25.00% 33.33% 11.11% 30.00% 11.11% Conservatives 12.50% 0.00% 22.22% 33.33% 20.00% 22.22% Weak Conservatives 0.00% 12.50% 0.00% 22.22% 20.00% 0.00% Patricians 0.00% 0.00% 22.22% 11.11% 10.00% 11.11 % We whole heartedly agree with this argument, but we also see in this budget shutdown narrative a pattern of unity, constraint, and crisis that is pl ayed out repeatedly throughout the Republican majority tenure: Though the path of the Contract may have seemed advantageous in the early stages of the Revolution it was t hese very choices that deeply con strained the majority party as it moved forward through time in an ever shifting political environment. As we see above in Table 5 1 and throughout our narr ative account, in hardening themselves around party unity and enhanced leadership authority, the Republicans placed themselves in a position that did not allow for the organizational flexibility necessary to adapt to their dynamic institutional landscape. Though he and his contract may have propelled the young majority to control of the House; by adopting the Speaker as their mouthpiece, Republicans (junior or senior, growing in such large numbers from non historic geographic regions, Republicans began to be identified publically as increasingly southern and increasingly conservative. Once cast in this mold, the House majority and its leadership found themselve s less an d less able to sustain ideological purity when placed under the immense political pressure exe rted in our turbulent, heterogeneous political system. As seen in Table 5 1 political embarrassment over budget shutdowns and electoral loss in 1996 were followe d with a
133 authority to dictate legislative outcomes As stated by Critchlow: The government shutdowns were a critical misstep by conservatives. Gingrich had underestima ted the strength of a president armed with the veto and the weakness of a House Speaker presiding over a tiny Republican majority. He did not help matters by pushing his agenda in what was widely considered a harsh, argumentative style. The defining image of congressional Republicans appeared to many Americans as a southern led party bent on telling them how they should live and willing to shut down the government to get their way (2004 pp. 721 2). Whether it is mistakes made by leadership or the fervor of junior members, the sustainability of the path laid down by the Contract came into question when the Republicans attempted to force a dee ply conservative agenda upon an unpredictable policy issue that was both external to their direct control and suscepti ble to shifting political winds The adoption of an ideologically driven party governance model placed the party on a path that ended with House conservatives painting themselves into a political corner against a President who proved quite adept at politi cal maneuvering and esulted in pp. 2219). In the end, Table 5 1 and our broader narrative show while they were able to use intraparty ideological homogeneity to propel themselves into power, this author ity was a contextually supported illusion that faded with time. Because they misunderstood (or misused) the limits of their power, the Republican leadership was unable to sustain the legislative agility necessary to succeed on their most important issue thus, the
134 Revolution In the absence of continued environmental provide incentive for both the electorate and representatives to adopt ideolo gical leadership, but moreover wise leadership); the lesson of the Republican majority is that the shifting sands of political time make it extraordinarily difficult for Hou se leaders to maintain a sustained a party governance model. Like the man of v irtu who must realize governance 1997 pp. 318). Despite this failed venture, Republican leadership continued down the path already set before them. Though reeling from their loss, a sexual sc andal in the White House began to show cracks in the Clinton armor, perhaps altering House operational conditions in a way that favored the Republican majority. In response to these potential winds of change, congressional lea down political mo mentum, leadership once again pur s ued a deeply conservative agenda in which they for a second time entered into a head to head fight with the President on a volatile issue external to their control: the impeachment scan dal of 1997 and 1998. As seen in Table 5 1 ; in the aftermath of the budget shutdown crisis, the leadership of the party was devastated and Gingrich had become severely weakened (though he was able to thwart a Cannon like coup against his speakership by a small group of junior caucus members). Having not retained majority of the House for more
135 than two consecutive sessions since 1930, Gingrich abandoned his firebrand public persona and adopted a quite tone in comparison to the last campaign, it was as if Gingrich had fallen off of the political radar entirely. Like lambs wandering away from their shepherd 4 House Republicans abandoned the Contract to adopt behaviors in preparation for the 1996 elections that mirrored the political desires of voters who wer e looking increasingly likely to re elect President Clinton and his agenda: In Washington, House Republicans moved quickly to the political center, passing an increase in federal minimum wage, health insurance portability, and a compromise welfare reform in the political tide was the fact that congressional Republicans raised federal spending for a variety of discretionary programs by about $15 billion above 1995 levels The Republicans were out to save themselves (Peters, 1997 pp. 310 1 emphasis ours ) In the fall of 1996, with the economy racing and deficit falling (not to mention the third party candidacy of Ross Perot), Bill Clinton was re elected with slightly less than a majority vote. For Congress, though they were able to retain their majority, losses in 1996 made the Republican margin as slim as ever. Importantly House Republicans were not the only group dealing with struggles within their camp. Outside of Congress, a re elected Clinton was himself find ing problems in his second term. Though President Clinton had proved adept at convoluting House Republicans and garnering the popularity necessary for re election, his second term was not without its challenges. Though hoping to push for a balanced federal budget on the back of a growing economy, scandal in 1997 placed the Clinton Administration in jeopardy as allegations surfaced surrounding a sexual harassment suit brought against the President for actions taken while still governor of Arkansas. 4 Se e Figure 5 3 in the section below.
136 Following a rejection by the Supreme Court to allow the sitting President to delay this lawsuit until after he left office, Clinton found himself in front of Kenneth Starr and on television in front of the American people. Under oath to tell the truth about matters surrounding the allegation, President Clinto n stated that he days, incontrovertible evidence surfaced in August of 1998 that proved Clinton wa s not but in a lie, President Clinton gave a nationally televised address in which he admitted to the American people that though neither illegal nor detrimental to his a bility to fulfill his oath of office he had engaged in an inappropriate extra marital affair. While his relationships may not have been illegal, what was in question was f perjury; and if so, was i t grounds for impeachment? The question caused a deep rift between both the Congress and the American people: the charges, that he had disgraced his office, and that a failure to pu nish him would be applying a different standard to the president than that he was charged with were rarely prosecuted and that the alleged offenses did not meet the definition of i mpeachable crimes described in the Constitution (Critchlow, 2004 pp. 723) With Republican leadership again bumbling throughout the process, the drama of the impeachment played out in a manner similar to that of the governmental shutdowns. Republi can leade rs charged with heading the House investigation most notably Henry
137 Hyde had themselves engaged in adulterous affairs. To make matters worse, Speaker Gingrich was himself charged during this period with committing ethical violations in regards to his al leged use of tax exempt donations to fund college courses for political activities. Though he was later vindicated by the IRS, Gingrich was branded as a law breaker after being f ined $300,000 by the this investigation 5 From throughout the media, ho wls of hypocrisy were making their way into the living rooms of the American voter: Under pressure to speed up resolution of accusations that he used tax exempt organizations to promote his political agenda, Gingrich has confessed that he acted improperly and mislead the Ethics Committee. On December 21, a four member investigative panel of the committee issued a at neither found Gingrich guilty nor own rules and its 14 month delay before hiring special council. What makes the case extraordinary is that Gingrich virtually defined modern ethics warfare when he brought down Speaker Jim Wright, D Texas, in 1989. Now Gingrich may die at the sword by which he once lived (Cohen and Ca rney, 1997 pp. 60 1 emphasis ours ) Clinton, on the other hand, once again showed his mastery of the executive office the longer the debate ragged, the more he was able to convince the American people that Republicans were once again proving themselves to be ideological obstructionists whom cared more about a right wing agen da than the good of the nation. These ethical scandals in particular the Gingrich investigation highlight the treacherous potential of party governance, and its conditions of ideological homogeneity and raised partisanship. As detailed by Rosenson (2011); in alleged violation of federal 5 Murdoch, a media mogul who was concurrently seeking House legislation to deregulate the broadcast industry. Ironically, these charges were quite similar to those made by Gingrich in his political assassination of then Speaker Wright (Rosenson, 2011).
138 deductable donations for non profit activity to fund a college course that was political in its purposes. Though not found to have broken t he law, the investigation concluded that Gingrich had given the House committee inaccurate information. For the first time in its history, the House voted 395 28 to discipline a Speaker for ethical wrongdoing. In the swirl of 1997, such charges were viewed by the American public as duplicitous and indicative of failed Republican leadership: Perhaps the more important [charge] so much his actions prior to the investigatio n, but his less than fu ll and enthusiastic display of respect for truth telling during the investigation. 011 pp. 18) Again, the important issue here is the political risk taken when engaged in conditional party governance: As an individual member of Congress, Gingrich was embarrassed but eventually vindicated; as the leader and public face of a party founded on hyper partisanship, these events were disastrous. What makes these events particularly important is that they were motivated not by personal gain, but by political as earlier ancial pp. 18). In seeking to form a new model of governance, Gingrich set himself and his party down a perilous path one that came crash ing down as the endowed leader made a series of missteps in his attempts to Chapter 6 such activities were
139 un folds in the ethical scandal surrounding then Majority Leader Tom DeLay and, it c oncludes with similar results. Figure 5 1 Leadership of the House, regional d istribution: 1995 2000 Republican actions against the President once again backfired in t he 1998 in the House during an off year congressional election. Embodying the rise, to manage strong, centralized leadership, abrupt departures Gingrich Speakership never learned how to manage their narrow majori ty in the 2004 pp. 144). For Newt Gingrich, the end had come, and he resigned both his speakership and seat in the
140 Congress: though his standing at the head of a unified party in a polariz ed House inappropriate behavior overtime and failure to adapt to a cha nging political context showed the limits of this operational model (Smith and Gamm, 2009 pp. 157; Dodd and Oppenhe imer, 1997 b fellow southerner Robert Livingston was forced to immediately step down after evidence of his adultery became public. As seen above in Figure 5 1 Republican leadership shifted in its regional s tance post Gingrich. Following the resignation of Gingrich and the Livingston debacle, punch drunk Republicans turned to a quiet man from the mid West to be their Speaker: Dennis Hastert from Illinois. Between the 105 th and 106 th Congresses, House leadersh ip increasingly came from non southern sta tes. In combination with Table 5 1 Figure 5 1 indicates that in the first half of their majority tenure, House leadership was forced by failure on multiple external crises to step back from its Revolution organiza tional structure 6 The question remains: would this move translate into a more muted form of partisanship as the majority entered into a new decade? The Republican party, its leadership, and broader organizational structure were in tatters. In a last gasp during the lame duck session, a shaken House approved two articles of impeachment one for perjury and the second for obstruction of justice and 6 Perplexingly, Republican party leaders chose to again to return to an ideologically rigid stance during the second session of the 106th Congress as seen in Table 5 1 approximately 60% of leaders can be 2000 with junior members see Figure 5 3 This shift towards ide ological homogeneity within these two groups occurs before the broader chamber, which does not do so until 2002, after the 9/11 tragedies see Figures 5 6 and 6 7 While our present analysis does not allow us to empirically comment on this early shift in fluctuation might occur as a result of the 2000 election in which southerner George W. Bush was the l to a more complete understanding of these legislative dynamics.
141 sent the matter to the Senate. Now beyond the control of the House, Senators (many of whose first official a ction was to swear an oath in preparation for the impeachment trial) took up the matter. With the American people now clearly against the Republican majority, the Senate failed to convict on the charges after weeks of testimony and deliberation. Once again the Republicans failed on an issue external to their direct control A feeling of stalemate began to take hold of the Congress. No longer hoping to recapture the revolutionary spirit, House Republicans merely tried to hold on to their majority. With Clin ton off the ballot, the hope for many members was that the 2000 presidential election might provide relief to their ailing majority. Would this new election elections resulted in some of the closest in American political history. The GOP retained control over the House, but the Senate was tie d 50 50. Only Vice President Dick pp. 723 4). Writing in this time of t umult, many congressional observers viewed this as evidence that Gingrich House but merely a period of natural fluctuation between high and low levels of partisanship within Con gress (Dodd and Oppenheimer, 1997 b; 2001b ). Did the fall of Gingrich spell the end of party governance in the House? Before looking to answer this question, let us consider the actions and reactions of rank and file members in these turbulent times. Lost L ambs of the Revolution : Tracing GOP Membership, 1995 to 2000 Like lambs wandering from their shepherd; the governmental shutdowns and increasing electoral uncertainty caused many junior House Republicans to disassociate themselves from their party leadersh ip in the 1996 elections.
142 Figure 5 2 Party Leadership, i deological s ub g roups: 1996 After all of the drama experienced by the F reshme first session s it i s understandable that they would begin to ta ke on different perspectives when it c ame often been more inclined to second guess his decisions than to fall in lin e like obedient soldiers. Most of the Republicans who have begun their second term call themselves pp. 165). Figure 5 2 above illustrates these media observations: though the party leaders hip remained vulnerable Freshmen seemed to react to sudden changes in their environment by of their party leadership. Th ere are a number of powerful theories that help us to understand the actions of these junior conservatives as they moved beyond the first days of the 104 th Congress. In his classic example of the ebbs and flow of the House, Polsby (1968) argues that turno ver in the House has dramatically decreased in the 20 th century, as compared
143 th and 19 th centuries, the turnover of th century, the highest incidence of turnover (37.2 per cent almost double the twentieth century median) pp. 146) For Polsby, this complex institutionalization of careerism and growth of length in House service is the byproduct of a number of developments experienced by the Congress since the czar period of Speaker Cannon. Specifically, the rise of committee governance, the specialization of chairmanships and the seniority system showed that the behavior of members had changed dramat ically overtime. In fact, Polsby goes so far as to say that these developments specifically the seniority system lead to what he termed universalistic and automated decision making within the House: The best evidence we have of a shift away from discre tionary and toward automatic decision making is the growth of seniority as a criterion for determining committee rank and the growth of the practice of deciding of our present pu rposes is that the seniority system an automatic, universally applied, nondiscretionary method of selection is now always used (1968 pp. 160) Polsby, in terms of the overbearing nature of the seniority system, was absolutely correct: as recounted repe atedly in the literature, a central tenet (if not the central tenet) of the committee era of government in Congress was the seniority system. Of course, with time and increasing constraints placed upon junior members by the seniority system, the reform era of 1972 74 brought a large change to the institution. Yet, Polsby the evolution of the House as an institution with longer service goals in mind, members of the Hous e have sh ifted in their behavior Since providing his argument, political science has paid increasing attention to the institutionalization of political
144 careerism in the House, and its effect on the development of the chamber and those within it. While w e have discussed to say about the career ambitions and motivations of members of Congress. Writing in 1979, Rhode attempts to provide a concrete theoretical basis for why certain members seek higher off ice, and to understand the role of ambition and risk in the House. Assuming members are rational, Rhode develops a calculus of decision making for members that considers the value of the higher office, the probability of winning the higher office, and the value of their current House seat (measured, as the article was these situat ional factors measure what he argues that these factors alone do not tell the whole story: take electoral risks in seeking offices, that distinguishes the ambitious politician from the nonambitio pp. 12). As such, Rhode measures these situational factors against a fourth factor risk acceptance and progressive ambition. Given these factors, Rh ode finds that members are more likely to seek career advancement when the probability of winni members to consider a campaign beyond the House. Perhaps most interesting, when ought to look at more than seniority in the House: Party is one consideration; Republicans have less power in the House than Democrats, and their minority status is almost certain to continue; therefore they should be more likely to seek higher office than their majority count
145 committee or subcommittee chairman or ranking members; or whether he is a member of the party leadership (1979 pp. 23). party governance thesis, what is most compelling about these overall findings is that individual members are quite attuned to their operational environment Whether intended or n ot, Rhode here has indicated that members are responsive to the rules of the g ame in the House, making current choices about their behavior that they believe will enhance the prospects of their future agenda. If this is the case, it logical to consider that overtime members will be motivated to change their behavior if such patt erns no longer assist them in fulfi lling their political ambitions. Also focused on this question of careerism, Lawrence Dodd (1986) attempts to explain changes in member activity and institutional development via a theory of congressional cycles. Being t hat a member must master two goals in their careers first, mastery of organizational politics within Congress; second, mastery of electoral politics in their districts e policy making power to have an autonomous and pp. 4). In terms of the organizational nature of their careers, Dodd posits that members will move through four stages as they develop a mastery o f their legislative and electoral skill set. First, member to interact in an effective manner with their colleagues. In order to meet the demands of her constituency, a memb er must also seek to gain the resources and skills that enhance district level electoral security. Combined, these re election skills assist the member in mastering the second stage: policy making. Because policy affects the
146 lives of constituents, and beca use the process involves the ability to bargain with fellow legislato rs, mastery of this stage is of key importance to the member. If a member excels in these stages, she may have the opportunity to pursue the third and fourth stage of development chambe r influence and control, respectively. In these last stages, a member moves from the ability to persuade and bargain with fellow legislators, to increasing control of the organization (i.e. control over the appointments, scheduling of bills, debate rules, etc. that allow the member to shape the policy agenda mastery of these four areas of organizational life reelection, policy making, influence, control primarily pp. 6 7). If true, what then is the relationship between the career cycle and congressional parties? Dodd answers by stating that while parties provide extensive assistance for n and policy making expertise, the party is often in a difficult position: pp. 7). Herein lies the rub: while a new legislator because she has few resources or skills at her disposal will have few initial quarrels with the distribution of power as determined by the organizational structure ; with time, these quarrels will increase to the point wh ere junior and mid career legislators will seek to reform the organizational structure in which they operate: The period immediately following the creation or reorganization of the le gislature will witness very little fragmentation. The new organizational arrangements and the career interests of legislators mesh fairly well. But with the aging of the new generation, the legislature will witness a steady The resu lt is a breakdown in the mechanisms for
147 coordination and leadership of the Congress (Dodd, 1986 pp. 10 11 emphasis ours ) While Dodd successfully tests this theory using it as an explanation for the movement from the committee government model into the r eform and post reform, we argue that this model can be expanded to help us better understand the developmental dynamics Figure 5 3 Developmental dynamics, freshman r evolutionaries: 1995 to 2000 In Fig ure 5 3 we see that the Freshmen class of 1994 shifted their ideological perspective through time as their environment changed around them 7 7 Despite the ideological fluctuations the Freshmen of 1995 have experienced in response to their dynamic environment, over the past two decades they have also experienced generally high ra tes of re election. These rates are on par for all members of Congress in recent history, as average re election rates regularly exceed 85% (Herrnson, 2008). The most interesting finding here is not the re election rates themselves; rather, it is the moder ation in ideology of these members in order to sustain their re election deviate from the party reinforces the candidate centered nature of our congressional sys tem. Congress 105 th 106 th 107 th 108 th 109 th 110 th Average Revolutionary Freshmen Re Election Rate 78% 85% 81% 81% 94% 73% 82% Congressional Average Overtime 85%
148 104 th Con gress, failed budget shutdowns modera ted the tone of many of the most rabid th Congress, we see that parity between ideological subgroups began to emerge, with moderate conservatives having a slight majority w ith the now sophomore group. Interestingly, the number of those members sessions declined dramatically from 1995 highs. These trends reinforce our argument that as operationa their earlier decision to fall in line behind a deeply ideological leadership became increasingly constraining. Responding to this environmental dynamic, they acte d more wonder ed a way from their shepherd in search of greener pastures 8 As seen in the graph displayed in Footnote 8 below Contract towards more traditional district service was a smart d ecision in terms of maintaining their re election chances. These shifts by junior members reflect the careerism that has taken hold of the contemporary House; that is, members junior and senior alike will change their behavior overtime to meet the d emands of their individual electoral environment when As members enter the House, they are finding themselves under increased scrutiny from multiple fronts; whether those fronts are leaders, the me dia, their district, or future political challengers: 8 As no ted above (Footnote 7 ), while this pattern dominates the majority of the post Revolution years, we are perplexed by our data in the final session of this period: as seen above, a majority of the 1994 Perhaps in the build up to the 2000 general election, these members decided to embrace their presidential candidate, Texan George W. Bush. Seeing him as one of their own, it may be logical to s to retain the favor of their Bush supporting district. While our present analysis cannot comment on this particular issue directly, we believe that future consideration of this phenomenon would be helpful to a more complete understanding of these legisla tive dynamics.
149 Those identified as latecomers to an issue or to a cause run the risk of losing support from both sides. Members are being watched much more carefully than they have ever been watched, even though const ituents are not any more knowledgeable or informed than they used to be. Every contribution received, every vote missed, every roll call scale released, every piece of franked mail sent, every joke told, every staffer hired, every trip home not taken now a ll have the potential to be major issues in the next campaign, or the next, or the next. The fact that this attention is more latent than actual is of no practical consequence to the representative. Both encourage the same response (Hibbing, 1991 pp. 18) In reaction individual members have become more attuned to their surroundings as the pressure to maintain a n electorally perfect legislative record has increased. As such, members have increasingly employed sophisticated district level statistical analy sis so as to have an accurate fix on the issue positions of the voters in their district; that is, Hibbing, 1991 pp. 18). In certain con texts, these members find that towing the party line sells; in other contexts, it does not Election are forefront in th e minds of legislators young and experienced In response, members are independently seeking po sitions to bolster their politic al viability, whatever the stage of their career : New members now set up shop quickly in terms of their constituency oriented operations. Polls, political parties, seminars, management guides, focus groups, seasoned staffers delegation colleagues, and common sense all help members to learn very early how to organize and initiate a smoothly running constituency operation. This operation has become routinized almost immediately, with standard trips home, standard response lett ers, and standard procedures for dealing with constituent requests ( Hibbing, 1991 pp. 182) One of the measurable outlets that members can utilize to enhance their political viability is to serve in a committee relevant to their individual needs. Though we argument that committee service is a vital tool for members in achieving their political
150 agenda remains true. Descriptive d ata related to types of committee service s h ow that members both experienced chairmen and junior members moved overtime to better position themselves to achieve their political agendas. Figure 5 4 Ideology of c ommitte e chairman o vertime : 1995 2000 Looking above at Figure 5 4 we see the id eological fluctuations of committee chairs as they moved overtime. T he vast majority of members appointed to be committee chairs in 1995 96 were ideologically cohesive and deeply conservative. Loyal to the party leadership and their platform via the Contra ct these members were rewarded with positions of legislative authority a finding in accord with party governance Not in concurrence with that model, our data show that as time moved forward and the House majority experi enced a series of crises, the ide ology of these chairs moderated. Beginning in 1997 and especially during the 1998 election year, committee chairs deviated from their previously stiff ideological positions to adopt a stance that trended against earlier calls from party leadership. Followi ng the Clinton impeachment debacle,
151 conservative perspective returned in the build up to the 2000 presi dential election more moderated voices were still present. In all, t he experience of these committee chairmen reflects the responsive nature of congressional members to their ever shifting environment. Junior members within these committees felt pressure to change as well: when considered by region, we see across the boar d that those elected in 1994 were largely placed in Constituency Committees. As stated by Deering and Smith (1997) junior members are often placed in these committees so as to assist in reelection efforts looking to Table 5 2 our dat a from 1995 seems t o support this argument as this type of committee is the most populated by Freshmen. As these members strengthened their reelection chances overtime, they also seemed to move in greater numbers towards few of the 104 th congressional Freshmen served in Constituency Committees. Though a portion of this drop is es of committee service overtime remains sound 9 9 Interesting is the committee service advancement of southern members: members from this region more than double their service levels in Prestige Committees and strengthened their presence in Policy Committees. One questions whether or not this phenomenon is the result of being regionally linked to party leadership and electoral base.
152 Table 5 2 Lost Lamb committee s ervice: 1995 and 2000 Region 1995 2000 Prestige Committee Policy Committee Constituency Committee Prestige Committee Policy Committee Constituency Committee 1: Pacif ic 4 6 12 5 2 3 2: Plains & Rocky Mountains 5 3 7 1 2 1 3: Border States 1 4 7 2 2 2 4: Mid West 1 15 15 4 9 6 5: The South 2 15 19 6 23 4 6: Mid Atlantic 3 8 5 2 2 4 7: New England 1 1 2 1 1 0 As a whole, when looking at the ideological fluctuatio ns and association behavior of during the first half of the Republican majority, what we see is a great deal of change as members responded to dramatic shifts in their operational environment. T re knowledgeable of the increased scrutiny they face, but also have more tools at their disposal to help them face these pressures. In terms of the early Republican majority, many junior members (and those senior members seeking committee chairmanships) fo rmulated their careers on the basis that Gingrich and other party leaders would revolutionize Congress and establish a new era of GOP domin ance. W hen their operational environment shifted, these preceding choices placed members into increasingly restrictiv e positions as time moved on: As the au thority of partisan leadership evaporated in the wake of failure, members began to change their political activity. In an excell ent description of his experience as a House m ember David Price (2004) writes that in t his time of political turbulence, neither party clearly dominated the politically shifting landscape. As such, whether it was the Contract itself (in which team against t he Revolution (in which these critics themselves were viewed as overreaching,
153 found it politically profitable to run for Congress by denigrating and running against the insti pp. 2). Moreover, as early as 1997, media reports found that despite Contract promises to e and file public trough to try to steer money in a huge transportation bill towards their d (Wildavsky, 1997 pp. 754). Others later commented on the resurgence of ideological 1995, their majority was large enough that losing a few Northeastern moderate mem pp. 3060). Revolution reflect s the arguments made by Polsby, Rho de, a members were quite responsive to their external environment they marched in lock step with Gingrich and other leadership under the Contract they work ed as a unit to pass the majority of the document s proposals, and they employed their momentum to take on the White House Yet, as the tide t urned against them, these members quickly sought to distance themselves from the party brand they had embraced Constrained by a path upo n which they were walking, these members sou ght to break rank in an effort to secure their individual political future. A New Solid South: Regional Developments, 1952 to 2000 Scholars in the field have long discussed intra party division in terms of regionalism and sectionalism. Having seen that me mber behavior and goals are much reflections of their external environment, we show in this section that district geography continues to impact ideological unity within contemporary House majorities. Historically,
154 Bensel (1984) argues that sectiona lism and sectional stress are at the heart of congressional institutional development: The ebb and flow of political conflict across the American nation has almost always produced the same basic geographical pattern. That pattern, representing the alignments of c ompeting sections, indicates without explaining the structural imperatives of the American political system. These imperatives are rooted in the economic geography of the nation and dictate the spatial form of the political conflict (1984 pp. 6). Char ting the regional partitions shaping congressional politics for over a century, the primary post Industrial Revolution divide identified by Bensel occurred over economic compet ition between the metropolitan industrial north and the rural agricultural south Between the New Deal and Civil Rights eras, a divided Democratic party was able to maintain power via an enduring bipolar coalition between the northern working class and the southern plantation elite. Though seemly disparate, Bensel argues that relation s between these groups coalesced over two factors emerging from the Great Depression: (1) a vast increase in Democratic party controlled executive and bureaucratic discretion in the wave of New Deal policy; and (2) the institutionalization of the legislati ve committee system, which created congressional decentralization that paralleled between the separate factions without exposing or aggravating the policy contradictions pp. 370). This sectional coalition between northern workers and southern landowners remained stable until the passage of civil rights legislation in the 196 0s and the destabilization of the seniority system in the 197 0s Because t hese events eroded the control of southern committee chairman, the sectional stress caused by southern Democrats in the party caucus began to fade. From this vantage, Bensel predicted (correctly) that the level of sectional stress between these regional el ectoral
155 bases would rise again as the nation entered into the late 198 0s yet this time in a 4 pp. 388). The ramifications emerging in this new form of regional polarization would have a profound impact on future congressional politics: while the south remained ideologically conservative, it would also adopt a new party. One of the more interes ting arguments for the causes behind this sectional (2004) recent work in which he argues that congressional institutional evolution is the product of institutionalization, political innovations, socio political mo vements, and technology. Focusing on technology as an explanation of the changes that took place in the south following the New Deal era, Polsby argues that the invention of air conditioning went far to uproot long held political norms. In effect, air cond itioning made the southern climate tolerable for northern and Midwesterners, thus leading to the immigration of Republican voters: The effects of air conditioning began to kick in during the mid 195 0s From 1952 onward, the National Election Studies asked respondents where they were born as well as their party identifications, and so it was possible to track the incidence of northern born Republicans in their samples of southern voting population. These numbers show that starting in the mid 195 0s a very substantial share of the respondents identifying themselves as Republican the South made up as many as half of all Republican voters in 1964 and throughout most of the 197 0s (2004 pp. 86 7) onservative southern voters who had more in common with the national Republican party than with the Democratic coalition), northern migrant v oters made substantial inroads for the Republican party in the 20 years between the 195 0s and 197 0s
156 together, the technological innovation of air conditioning and the social migration of northerners demonstrate for Po lsby a sectional augmentation of Republican strength in the electorate enough to change the partisan landscape in the s outh. Whether or not air conditioning had anything to do with matters, R epublicans have put themselves into a situation similar to tha t of their Democratic counterparts of an earlier generation. That is, in taking on southern geography, the Republicans have 199 0s Connelly and Pitney (1997) find that Republicans from the south and west came to outnumber for the first time Republicans from the northeast and Midwest. These numbers further cemented a non traditional political culture into the GOP as southerners Gingrich, Armey, and Delay made their w ay through the ranks (in fact, in taking over during the 105 th Congress, only one representative from the northeast held an elected leadership position). Connelly and Pitney argue that this dynamic caused, grew nervous about embracing a pp. 700). The level of change that took place in terms of regional shift cannot be understated: in looking specifically at the ascendancy of Republ icans in the south, nothing like they did half a century ago, or as they did as late as the 198 0s pp. 1). Labeling the development as a sort of S curve pattern of R epublican advancement, McKee states that both long term (realigning party identification) and short term (redistricting and the emergence of viable Republican candidates) factors came or southern
157 Republicans. In sowing the seeds of ascendancy, party identifications in the south began shifting due to the Civil Rights and Voting Rights movements of the late 195 0s and 196 0s M any southerners felt abandoned by President Johnson and his supp ort of the Civil Rights Act. As such, they began listening to Goldwater and later Reagan: The 1964 presidential election was a pivotal moment in the South. By voting against the 1964 Civil Rights Act and opposing federal intervention as a means to promote racial equality, the Goldwater campaign sent a clear signal to southern whites who opposed integration. On the Democratic side, revealed his 1964 presidential campaign strategy: w in the election by abandoning the South in favor of a pro civil rights agenda with broad appeal in the rest of the nation ( McKee, 2010 pp. 35 6) southern states of Alabama, G eorgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina. McKee claims that by altering the national parties on the civil rights issue, racial politics became the agent of change that widened the divide between Democrats and white southern resistance coupled with economic conservatism became the foundation upon which to build a competitive Republican Party below the Ma son pp. 42). With long term partisan alignments in flux, McKee states that two short term changes in the political context opened the door for the sudden (and largely unseen) ascendency of Republicanism in the south. The first was the redistricting that occurred for the 1992 elections. In an effort to make Congress more diverse, majority minor ity districts were established throughout southern states. The idea was that if districts were re drawn so as to consist of large minority (in this case, African American) populations, voters in those districts would elect candidates that better reflected their values and interests. While the goals of this plan were noble, they unintentionally created super
158 white majorities in the remaining districts. McKee finds that after the redistricting, with white Democrats crowded out of their former districts, Democ ratic candidates could no longer assemble the bi racial redistricting made it easier for Republicans to construct voting majorities by relying almost entirely on the suppo rt of southern whit pp. 72). Overall, the incumbency advantage of Democrats was seriously challenged by these institutional shifts. Instead of facing this challenge, many candidates for the House simply retired. Combining this context with the development of viabl e Republican candidates under the tutelage of Gingrich, Republicans capitalized on the vulnerabilities of Democrats by offering a unified message under the Contract with America Gingrich and his tactics foreshadow the second short term shift that brought southern Republicanism to the forefront: the emergence of viable candidates. Dividing the periods before and after the Revolution as normal opportunity elections and the 1992 1996 period as high opportunity elections, McKee finds that Republicans became th e most competitive when formerly Democratic seats became open (due either to the retirement or defeat in primary of incumbent Democratic members). In this high opportunity environment, a number of amateur Republican candidates found success. Interestingl highlighted throughout t his dissertation; that is, he concludes that by choosing to become increasingly southern, the Republicans put themselves into a position that would constrain their future a ctions: Republican realignment made possible a national House majority, and yet
159 persis tence of southern excep tionalism makes the region a precarious foundation for building the ba se of a national party (2010 pp. 110). Essentially, by moving beyond its historical platform of limited government and free enterprise to include heavily southern interests prayer in schools, anti abortion issues, gun rights, etc the Republicans set the stage for not only internal discord, but also electoral marginalization of the non southern electorate. Yes, southern votes are ues of one particular sub culture in a broader political arena is a risky venture. Though it propelled them into power, this choice like leadership empowerment and a drive towards ideological purity became an increasingly unsustainable operational mode l. The history of these divides plays a dramatic role in terms of the contemporary Republican majority. Theodore Lowi writes of this new geographical divide within the eastern, Wall Street party. On the other hand, the most numerous elements of the elite, anti eastern, and anti Writing prior to the outcome of the Revolution argument is reflected Figure 5 5 in which we see the geographical distribution of the party from 1994 to 2000:
160 Figure 5 5 GOP House regional d istribution: 1994 to 2000 From a regional and leadership standpoint, the s outh had grown to become the new foundation for conservative politics. Yet, it is not the only region of the nation represented: While the s outh maintained the largest number of representatives on average per session did its particular ideological perspective alienate members from other areas of the count ry? To this question, Table 5 3 shows how the s outh compared on average ideologically to its other regional counterparts from 1995 to 2000: Table 5 3 Regional b reakdown: 1995 2000 Regions Ultra Conservative Strong Conservative Conservative Weak Conservative Patrician Conservati ve Average Ideology The South 15 20 15 4 4 18.90 The Pacific 8 8 8 3 3 21.35 Plains and Rocky Mountains 8 8 5 1 1 17.83 Border States 8 5 3 2 2 16.35 Mid West 5 10 14 9 9 27.35 Mid Atlantic 3 2 5 18 18 37.59 New England 0 0 1 3 3 41.22
161 In any other region in the nation. As the region with the largest number of representatives, al distribution compares to the other regions. Whereas the South, Plains / Rockies, and Boarder States regions lean towards higher levels of conservatism; the Mid West, Mid Atlantic, and New England regions lean towards lower levels of conservatism (with a n average ideological score of 21.35, the Pacific region remains relatively moderate). Taken together, we see the outlines of a regional split within the House Republican party ically conservative South and the ideologically moderate Mid West. During the 199 0s southern conservative regions became more Republican (Barone, 1997); a fact highlighted by the electoral regional division when it came to how southern vs. non southern vo two major parti es in recent elections, the US is separating into two regions, each pp. 748). Having considered multiple aspects of the first half of the Republican majority, what criticisms can be made of party gover nance in the post Revolution House ?
162 Republican House Governance, 1995 2000: A Critique of CPG and the View Overtime In looking at the context of Congress from their then 1997 perspective, Dodd and Oppenheimer ask a question fundamental to the congressi onal scholarship of the post reform era: At issue for the 105 th Congress and thereafter is whether conditional party governme nt will prove to be the dominant pattern in a new partisan order or a transitory phase that is followed by a return to a more mute d partisanship (1997b pp. 394) In expanding upon their criticism of the Rhode Aldrich thesis, this dissertation aims to strengthen their alternative argument that party governance is an unsustainable model for legislative politics. In their initial 19 97 critique Revolution in House: Testing the Limits of Party Government Dodd and Oppenheimer stress that while the early passage of the Contract seemingly supported the conditional party governance thesis, the latter half of the 104 th Congress was anythin g but a highpoint for the Republican House leadership. Most specifically, the showdown over the 1996 budget between Clinton and Gingrich placed the House GOP in an unsteady position that would haunt the majority for years to come. Similar to the discussion of this event as outlined in the present chapter, Dodd eroded: the House itself was stymied when its legislative agenda was taken up in the Senate, the authority of Gingrich came under fire during a critical test of his Spe akership and the overwhelming demands by constituent s for the government to reopen all lead to a huge political victory for the Clinton Admini stration. In the end, they conclude in 1997 that while the GOP sought to operate under a model of party
163 governance, that the institutional and electoral realities of the House placed strong speakership and the Republican revolution was broken. In the process, Gingrich and the Republicans demonstrated the limits of party government in the House, as well as the constitutional vulnerabilities of the speakership that Joseph Cannon had discovered Dodd and Oppenheimer, 1997a pp. 47 8). In a second 1997 argument Congress and the Emerging Order the scholars argue that when looking at conditional party government from a historical perspective, the model has not been the norm for American parties for much of the twenti eth century; ns and preference heterogeneity pp. 394). Yet, Dodd and Oppenheimer admit th at party governance was an apt description of Congress during the late 198 0s and early 199 0s ; given political shifts in the south emerging out of the Civil Rights movement and the Reagan Administration, the hardening of conservative preferences within the Republican ranks during the first two years of the Clinton Administration, and the actions of Gingr ich during the first session of the 104 th Congress Regardless, t he argument is made that party governance in the U.S. Congress is in all political contexts a difficult prospect: because it can occur only when there are no serious intraparty divisions on p ressing policy questions, this method of behavior is both fragile and tentative. Given this criticism, Dodd and Oppenheimer propose an alternative model of Congress. Labeling this model as a constructive partisanship ; under this operational structure the m ajority remains a cohesive bloc, but one that pursues a moderated policy
164 agenda that is more centrist than the party itself (1997b pp. 394). To maintain a majority status, the scholars state that a legislative party must demonstrate the ability to address the cross cutting policy conflicts present in any heterogeneous society and in our separation of powers system. Whereas party governance is both rare and decays contest f pp. 410 1). In many ways, this model can be individual entrepreneurialism, and the extreme of Rhode the constructive partisanship model represents a balanced middle ground for the role of parties in the post reform House. In appreciating the ebb and flow of the institution as t he House moves through time, the constructive partisanship model is argued by this camp to be both accurate in terms of explanation and sustainable in terms of practical legislative application. Following the stalemate elections of 1998 and 2000, Dodd and Oppenheimer return to their critique in early 2001. Here, they again conclude that while the early years of the Republican majority were witness to a number of dramatic events in American are policies, and the im peachment of President Clinton); towards their most far reaching proposals during the Revolution was hampered by their narrowed House majorities, a resurgent Democ ratic minority, a modera te Republican Senate, and the continued popularity of Presi dent Clinton (2001a pp. 21). I mportant for the ir assessment of the party governance model, this period also saw the downfall of
165 Newt Gingrich himself. With a loss in both legislative preference an d personal leadership support the Gingrich era came to a disgraceful end: in the midst an impeachment attack on Clinton that ironically lead to increased voter support for the President, Gin grich facing ethical scandals of his own was forced to resign after the loss of a number of congressional seats in the 1998 elections. For Dodd and Oppenheimer, the belief that the Gingrich leadership model and party governance could lead to a return of czar rule in the House was greatly misplaced: However tempting it may be to conjure up a vision of a modern House run in the smooth and effective manner associated with the strong Speakers of a century ago, in truth the House itself has changed in ways that make such an effort difficult if not impossible (2001a pp. 29 emphasis ours ) I n response to the fallout of 1998, the scholars suggest that the newly placed House leadersh ip 10 under Speaker Hastert shifted away from a party governance model to an increasingly collective and moderated model of constructive partis anship as predicted in 1997. Seeking to establish a legislative record rather than continue to fight for a failed revolution, Dodd and Oppenheimer argue that the House GOP desperately wanted to demonstrate their capacity to govern effectively. With an ov erriding goal of positioning the House Republicans to maintain their majority in the 2000 elections and seek ways to work with the Clinton Administration and influential House Democrats. As such, GOP leadership gave up the fight for across the board tax cuts while concurrently adopting social programs supported by the D emocrats (2001a pp. 39). When taken 10 It should be noted that southerners Dick Armey as Majority Leader and Tom Delay as Majority Whip both of whom were strong Gingrich allies remained in lea dership positions. Particularly in the case of DeLay, this leadership structure would once again place the Republican majority in a precarious position during the 200 0s
166 together the evidence indicated that Republicans were moving away f rom party governance a s they moved through time In looking to our own analysis, Figure 5 6 over the budget, and the fallout the Revolution experienced after the event After having failed to achieve victory in t wo critical national events (i.e. the budget shutdowns and the build 1998 1999 presented a low the same period witnes sed the growth of moderate Figure 5 6 Developmental dynamics, o verall Republican House: 1995 2000 the Contract this degree of unity in legislative conser vatism was abandoned as the overall House moved forward following the governmental shutdowns. In its place, less
167 conservative groups began to grow in number particularly moderate legislators. Inaccurately believing that their operational environment had once more shifted in their favor following an admission by the President of adulterous behavior, House party leaders again pressed forward against their institutional rival during the Clinton i mpeachment process. As seen b y the explosion of ideological moderates in the GOP caucus between 1997 1999, many legislators reacted by turning away from their deeply conservative agenda following these failed attacks against the President. As discussed, these battles betw een the Republican leadership and the President culminated in repeated electoral losses and the retirement of Speaker Gingrich. Perhaps t he most important finding of Figure 5 6 ; by 2000, the three leading ideological camps were at near equal levels within the House GOP, evidencing the disarray the party was faced with interna lly: the Speakership had changed hands the Contract was unfulfilled, derided legislative maneuvers in the form of omnibus budgeting and pork barrel spending had become common place, a had been tarnished. In all, following a series of highly unsuccessful attempts to e xploit volatile events for their political advantage agai nst an institutional rival (again, the budget shutdowns and Clinton Impeachment), Hou se Republicans had chosen to abandon the Revolution in favor of behavior that secured their individual preferences clash, marked by mistrust and bitterness on both sid es, is enormously complicating the perch their self image as anti establishment rebels may make it impossible for them
168 pp. 1500). Go ing into the 2000 election, what had once been viewed as an irresistible force in Washington, the Republican majority in the House was now hanging by a thread. For this dissertation, these events and outcomes present a defining pattern of development for the Republican majority in attempting party governance: The first step in the pattern; in r iding a wave of unity built upon short term f avorable operational conditions and successful leadership action, House members make an initial decision to empower and follow their party leadership Following this step; newly empowered leadership, in pur s u ing a pr omised ideologically driven (and as such, a politically co ntroversial) policy agenda, make a subsequent choice to employ party governance in an attempt to explo it thes e short term advantages. These two steps are consistent with the conditional party governance model Despite new organizational refor ms to institute party authority we find that these two choices place leaders and their members in a position in whi ch continued party success depends on the outcome of issues and In the third phase of the pattern; f ollowing inappropriate leadership activity and/or unfavorable shifts in the operational conditions surrounding the is sue the party faces political failure on the promised ag enda (this failure is often to the benefit of inter institutional or inter party rivals ). Finally; as a result of failed action, t he party experiences a loss of intraparty ideological unity as member s scramble to pursue individual preferences rather than those of their defeated party platform Taken together, it is a pattern of growth, rigidity, crisis, and collapse in which initial decisions become future obstacles within a dynamic operational enviro nment.
169 homogeneity is not a permanent feature of House majorities, but a contextually supported factor that exists for short moments in time (often in the wake of crises). These findings illustrate a particular development given a particular context: While parties who benefit from short term environmental advantages may use these moments as opportunity to empower leaders and ad opt ideological unity, the preference homogeneity necessary to sustain support for leaders and their party agenda cannot be assumed in an environment of change. In examining this evolving developmental pattern, we have shown that as the majority party move s forward in time increasingly bombarded by the pressures of governance over a heterogeneous society the preference homogeneity made possible by long exhausted short term advantages will fade. During the first half of their tenure, this pattern is mo st clearly evidenced in the budget shutdown debacle and later the failed impeachment trial. Though, constitutionally, the House takes the lead in forming an initial budget and in bringing charges of impeachment, it must consider the preferences of competin g institutional powers in the Senate and most importantly the White House in order to avoid the House leadership pursued a deeply conservative and highly contentiou s budget agenda, believing that their internal unity could force the hand of external rivals. As demonstrated, such early decisions placed the Republicans on a highly precarious path. Following this failure, leadership redoubled their efforts against Clint on, attacking him on perjury charges. As we illustrated this dependence on volatile issues external to their
170 control again blew fact, had it not been for another external crisis albeit one that broke in their favor the Republican House majority may have ended far sooner than 2006. Figure 5 7 Mean House Republican ideology o vertime: 1995 2000 When ideological subgroups are taken as an average overtime, Figure 5 7 shows us that w the first half of the Republican majority era, no one ideological perspective clearly commanded control of the House during this period. In fact, our data show that rather than op erating in lock step under the direction of a unified le adership when considered over time the legislative conservatism of individual members was rather dispersed across multiple levels of ideological fervor. With movement away from revolutionary politi cs to politics as usual following the budget shutdowns (and later the
171 Clinton impeachment), these findings lead us to believe that ideological faction within the party even during the early stages of their maj ority was a reality Further, our findings lead us to argue that party governance because it is centrally grounded in sustained ideological homogeneity is an unsustainable model given the realities of governing in the turbulent operational environment of the House. This argument is both an end orsement and expansion of the alternative constructive partisanship model. Figure 5 8 Republican ideological sub g roups, 106 th Congress In looking at Figure 5 8 we see that during the 106 th Congress the Republicans had largely abandoned their once dominant preference for dee ply conservative legislation in favor of preferences that were increasingly moderate in tone. With no particular ideological camp directing the party, the identity of the post Revolution Republican House was ill defined. In the v iew of Dodd and Oppenheimer, and in our
172 own, the initial choice to employ party governance portended dark days for the Republican House: The House and its leadership thus approached the end of the 106 th divisions, uncertain about the future, hobble d by the past, awaiting developments largely beyond their control, and certain only of their ability to make matters worse through misstep and miscalculation (2001a pp. 41) In all, the 2000 election presented the nation with a partisan stalemate not seen since Kennedy / Nixon in 1960. While the Republicans had made a concerted effort to move away from party governance in comparison to earlier sessions, the ultimate impact o f their initial decision to embrace th is operational model had shown itself to be a poor choice during the first half of their majority tenure Summary As seen in Chapter 4 the popularly held view of congressional Republicans as a lock step unit throughout th eir tenure as majority party is no t a complete picture of the House conservatives. While we found ideological homogeneity was present during certain periods from 1995 to 2000, this unity was both diffi cult to maintain, and was dependent on circumstances exigent to the influence and control of the party and its members. In multiple ways, this chapter showed that the story of House Republicans in the first ha lf of their tenure is that while the relative strength of parties has increased in the modern congressional era (as seen in the post Re volution session), t his increase was not a sustainable model upon which to build legislative governance (as seen in the post governmental shutdown and post impeach ment trial periods). As argued by the Rhode Aldrich camp, party governance relies on the cond ition of intraparty ideological homogeneity; yet, because intraparty ideologic al homogeneity is influenced by context, it is logical to view this model of congressional politics as one heavily dependent on a n
173 effective leadership and a favorable ope rationa l environment. From a path dependency per spective, shifts in an organiz a major role in the developmental dynamics of that organization. In the case of the Republican House, though their earlier decisions to support party go vernance dominated by empowered leadership may have seemed prudent following major shifts in their political context (again, the Revolution and Contract ), these initial decisions proved to be increasingly constraining upon members as their environment evol ved w ith time. As such, our evidence in Chapter 4 has presented a defining pattern that took place during the first half of the Republican majority era: strong pa rtisanship in conjunction with short term favorable operational conditions; the empowerment of leaders associated with this initial environment and early agenda success; a decision by leadership t o push for a deeply conservative and contentious political agenda supported by strong partisanship; despite this ideological cohesion, a major defeat on a n event arising in a newly emerging inhospitable context for which leadership is not prepared ; and finally the growth of ideological defection away from party unity.
174 Figure 5 9 Republican House ideological t rend: 1995 2000 Figure 5 9 11 above suppo rts our argument: If we remember from Chapter 3 in a finding indicative of party governance, there was a very strong negative relationship in 1995 between the number of members in an ideological sub group, and increased levels of liberalis m on the conserv ative spectrum. When taken across time, this relationship is more normalized; that is, while the Hous e majority leaned towards conservatism during certain moments in this period, ideological rigidity and cohesion lessened as the party responded to a series of dramatic shifts in its operational environment. This ideological pattern is unexpected if one assumes conditional party governance. In many ways, the broad story of the Republican House from 1995 to 2000 is that good fortune is an essential conditio n necessary for party governance. Unfortunately, as 11 Figure 5 9 was constructed using the same methodology as detailed in Chapter 3 see footnote 3 .11 for further clarification.
175 Machiavelli has taught political scientists for generations, those in power cannot depend na is of special importance: the envi ronmental context of the House is at times advantageous and at times disadvantageous for political actors within the institution. As such, rational political actors evenly boun dedly rational actors impacted by the limitations of their operational envir onment ought to organize themselves in such a way as to be responsive to this reality ; that is, one must not mistake an illusion of power for sustained authority
176 CHAPTER 6 UNITY IN THE FACE OF TRAJEDY? THE REPUBLI CAN HOUSE: 2000 TO 2 006 But I can hear y hear from all of us very soon! President George W. Bush, September 14 th 200 1 While Chapter 5 provided an analysis of the Republican experience during the 199 0s era of divided government, this chapter seek s to examine patterns of activity and organizational structure within the House majority as it entered into a new era of unified governance following the 2000 presidential election T his chapter considers the choices (and consequences of those choices) mad e by the majority party in the aftermath of the September 11 th tragedies, the build up to the war in Iraq, and the events surrounding the 2006 mid term elections. Co ntinuing to employ the methodo logies utilized in previous chapters our goal here is to ill ustrate a more complete picture of the developmental dynamics experienced by the Republican party from 1995 2006, and to understand how these dynamics shaped the House in an environment of continual change. Finding that the Republican House majority did r e adopt ideological homogeneity in the aftermath of September 11 th we believe enhances the constructive partisanship model. Simply put, our data show that certain events in this case leadership respon se to a national tragedy can extend the limits of conditional party governance beyond that predicted by Dodd and Oppenheimer in their 1997 to 2001 publications. Taking these possibilities into consideration, we argue, strengthens the explanatory power of the broader constructive partisanship thesis. Despite this return to party governance, we again find that failures by empowered leaders and fleeting environmental conditions represent increasing
177 constraints on individual members who had previously adopted the party brand. From this analysis, we identify a continued pattern of growth, rigidity, crisis, and collapse that we employ to further question the sustainability of the conditional party governance model. A Return to Party Governance in the House The R epublicans entered into the new millennium a very different majority from the Revolution In adopting a centralized, leadership driven organizational structure, the party had made a series of critical missteps on a number of volatile issues. These failures were compounded by a changing political context: gone were the short term advantages that had propelled the party into power they had been replaced by an ever more popular Democratic president who was viewed by many in the electorate as leading the nati on into a new era of economic prosperity. Though they had won back the White House in 2000, the outcome of the race was extremely controversial (if, in the eyes of some, even legitimate). In all, their political majority was more vulnerable than at any pre vious time clearly, this was not a political context conducive to party governance. With stalemate in the air following the 2000 general election, Dodd and Congress and the Emerging Order again predicting the emergence of a new partisan era for Congress. In their 2001 work Assessing the 2000 Elections they state that while the early 199 0s did present an extraordinary period of aggressive partisan ship, political developments during the Republica ns brief majority had lead them to alter and constrain conditional party government over the next decade pp. 367). Because the political context at the start o f the new millennia indicated that
178 p arty gover nance in the House would b e difficult to sustain, they continued to argue more muted, complicated forms of partisanship Congress may h ave to move beyond strict conditional party government and embrace a constructive partisanship that demonstrates its capacity to govern pp. 367 8 emphasis ours ). With just a five seat majority in the House after 1998 and fears of being labeled uctive partisanship show ed signs of becoming a reality As reported by media observers during the run up to the 2000 elections : legislative agenda this year, and they have rallied around it. The list includes items that cater to their conservative base such as curbs on abortion and measured tax cuts White House. The agenda also included items traditional ly associated with Democrats, such as providing prescription drug benefits to senior citizens and increasing the minimum wage. President Clinton may not ultimately sign these GOP flavored initiatives into law, but at least the Republicans can say they are moving popular legislation (Baumann, 2000 pp. 1414) Continuing to hammer conditional party government as at best a fragile and tentative possibility, Dodd and Oppenheimer state that as seat distribution in the House became more closely divided follo wing the 1998 and 2000 elections, the necessary condition of membership coordination and vote cohesion would become an increasingly difficult p roposition (this argument was quite prophetic, as Jim Jeffords would soon after publication of their work jump fr om the Republican party and give control of the Senate back to the Democrats). In this context, the arising o f cross ould Returning to earlier arg uments addressed by Lowi, Dodd and Opp enheimer point out that in 2000 the most critical test facing the Republicans would be their ability to sustain
179 a coalition between social conservatives in the south, and the more traditional fiscal conservatives from the nor th and west. Though they admit in 2001 that many of the reservations they expressed in 1997 concerning centralized party government have persisted, Dodd and Oppenheimer continued to insist that conditional party government is a highly difficult meth od of legislative politics to maintain. In a heterogeneous nation as the United States, policy conflicts seldom remain polarized in ways that reinforce distinctive preference homogeneity: The longer the Republicans are in power in Congress, the harder it m ay be to suppress their internal party differences and the more likely it is that a wedge issue will arise to divide them and tear conditional party government difficult governing t asks for its party leaders and complicate the continuation of conditional party government (2001b pp. 382) As seen earlier 1 the House was ripe with ideological division, and any such wedge issue could have been incredibly detrimental to the sustained coh esion of the majority party. At the then mid point of their tenure as the majority party in the Hous e, Dodd and Oppenheimer suggest that while conditional party government may have been an apt description of the Republican majority in the early 199 0s ; give n their present context, following this behavioral model would neither present an easy road for the House Republicans, nor is it necessarily a prudent model for any majority party in the House to follow overtime. Even with a Republi can Administration, they assert the potential that the conditions necessary for party governance could evaporate. Though there was unified government with the election of George W. Bush and the placement of Dick Cheney in the Senate as a tie breaking vote, the margin of majority in 2000 was razor thin. 1 See Figure 5 6
180 Regardless, Dodd and Oppenheimer note that Bush expected the Congress to act as though he had won a landslide victory. While this agenda presented some new programs that were avoided in the Contract with America (most notably the so cially programs to receive federal money) the focus of the Bush Administration was on fulfilling a central plank sought for throughout the 1 99 0s : tax cuts. Evidencing th e tensions in the House, even this issue was quite divisive within the party: While conservative House Republicans wanted even larger tax cuts, moderates in the party favor ed smaller ones so as to leave revenues available for the funding other programs suc h as education (2005b pp. 30 looking so neat and tidy. House and Senate Republicans are already disagreeing among thems elves and in some case, with their Republican President about how pp. 879). These divisions became more complex as the Senate came under t he control of the Democrats the economy and tax revenues continued to deteri ratings began to decline: As members returned from the recess in the first week of September, gloom was descending on House Republicans, as they contemplated the All such concerns pointed to an early end to Republican control ( Dodd and Oppenheimer, 2005b pp. 31 emphasis ours ) In all, Dodd and Oppenheimer note that worry, division, and the fear of failure defined the Republican majority during the first session of the 107 th Congress. It seemed that their 1997 predictions were proving correct conditional party governance in the Ho use
181 was just a transitory phase that was quickly yielding to more muted forms of partisanship. As w ith all works of scholarship, Dodd and Oppenheimer writing in early 2001 could not have predicted the future events of that year: Despite the fallout of 1998 and the stalemate of 2000, the operational conditions of the House Republicans would take a dramatic shift in the fall of 2001. Due to this shift and the response of Republican constructive partisanship model. Dodd and Oppenheimer argue in 1997 and early 2001 that the conditions necessary for party governance had reached their operational limits. Yet, we find that the constructive partisanship model though we endorse i t s broader criticisms did not fully consider the potential impact of national crisis. Given the ability of such critical moments to change the developmental course of political dynamics, our data show that the limits of party government can be extended w hen dramatic shifts occur in the operational environment The 9/11 crisis and Republican response to the event represent such a shift. As such, we argue that the constructive partisanship model be extended to consider the impact of shifting operational en vironments and leadership response to these unique moments in time Because t he environmental context in whic h the House operates is itself dynamic we have shown (critically of the conditional party governance model) that ideological homogeneity cannot be assumed to remain static Our empirical analysis in this chapter finds that the same is true of ideological heterogeneity: At times the House dynamic enhances the attractiveness of party unity and strengthened leadership. The terror attacks of 9/11 repre sented such a context, causing members to unite under the
182 vision of a powerful and ideologically driven leadership a leadership, who, could now again exercise the reforms instituted during the Gingrich era With just a slight majority, Republicans were a ble to exploit the crisis to divert attention away from budget issues, world a focus which proved to be electorally viable for Con gress in 2002 (Critchlow, 2004). F igure 6 1 Republican House ideological t rend: 2002 Did 9/11 reopen the return of party gove the House did return to ideological homogeneity within the majority party under the direction of party leadership As seen in Fi gure 6 1; in the session following the 9/11 tragedies, Republicans returned to intra party ideological homogeneity. Whereas the ideological
183 trend of 2000 was more normalized 2 (a finding not in accord with the conditional party governance model) a strong n egative relationship between the number of Republican members in an ideological range and the level of liberalism in that range became the norm in the second session of the 107 th Congress. In many ways, the ideological make up the 2002 House was quite simi lar to that of the 1995 House 3 Yet, the story is more complicated: the primary difference between this second phase of the Republican tenure and the first was that the post 9/11 era occurred in a period of unified government. Now that the Congress had a f riend and not a rival in the White House in combination with political upheaval following terrorist attacks the difficulties and divisions of the 1998 and 2000 elections were quickly forgotten. In short, partisanship reigned in this new operational con text. Though the re were differences from the Gingrich era, in that the leadership of the party was now on a Speaker and a President patterns analogous to those found in the first years of the House Republican majority occurred once again during the second short term advantages now in their favor House Republicans and their leadership began to once more embrace an operational model predicted by the conditional party government thesis. Under the Madisonian system of chec ks and balances, each institution is (theoretically, at least) supposed to compete with other institutions as legislation is created and enforced. With divided government the rule more than exception, this quasi filtering system has been the historical nor m for example, the deep partisan 2 See Figure 5 9 3 See Figure 3 6
184 rancor that poisoned the legislative executive relationship of the 199 0s Yet, following the 9/11 tragedy, unified party government gave way to a House whose leadership foreign an d domestic: Strong House leadership has coincided with close working relations with the White House to attain develop legislation that could pass with wide Republican support, s uch as the tax cuts (Schickler and Pearson, 2005 pp. 221) In ma ny ways, this legislative strategy mirrored the Contract most specifics of agenda were attractive to a broad number of members (r egi onally and career wise), and were supported by a large percentage of the electorate still reeling administration, the Republican members of the House once again brand ed themselves under a centralized mark, empowering their leaders to make broad policy decisions of which they initially embraced. As we argue in this chapter, this repeated unification under and dependence upon empowered leadership was a mistake similar to the one made in 1995; that is, an excess of ideological rigidity once again place d Re publicans in a very tenuous position. T he operational context of a unified government and an external crisis was advantageous (though, only in the short term) to their preference agenda, fostering a cooperative development that returned the Republican majority to party governance. In branding themselves under the Bush Administration, this dynamic tied the future success of House members directly to the leadership succes ses (and as we shall see, the failures) of the President and party leadership Similar to the early days of the
185 Revolution and easy passage of the Contract this operational environment proved rubble of the Twin Towers and his resolute leadership in the weeks following rallied the spir its of a shaken American people. Further, ks on education issues, and a series of tax cuts hardened support of the conservative electoral base. Together, these factors combined to advance Republican gains in the 2002 congressional election; leading Speaker Hastert to announce that congressional Re publicans would run as a united party with a common record in the 2004 presidential contest (Schickler and Pearson, 2005 pp. 222). Following the successful 2002 elections, House GOP members made moves to strengthen the prerogative of party leaders: First not only was Hastert allowed to Congress term limit. Second, with the retirement of Dick Armey, the majority caucus entrusted former Gingrich ally Tom DeLay with the post of Major ity Leader (Roy Blunt, DeLay firm supporter, was elected Majority Whip). Though this relationship between the House and the White House was not without strain 4 a second period of party governance had taken hold in the House this time by party leaders increasingly following the conservative will of President Bush: Most major legislative initiatives emerge from the White House, not Capitol heir continued majority party control, centralization on Capitol Hill is unlikely to coincide with a 4 As evidenced by such contentious issues as the Medicare prescription drug benefit bill vote in which party leaders employed various tools for example, holding t he vote open for an extraordinary length of time to pressure rank and file members into forcing the divisive bill through the House.
186 reassertion of congressional prerogatives vis a vis the White House (Schickler and Pearson, 2005 pp. 223 4) In sum, the House GOP, their leaders, and the the same unified conservative brand. Having organized themselves again via an empowered command structure under the direction of party leaders (in this case, due to unified government, a structure in which party lea ders controlled the agenda of the House as guided by the President), would the Republican House majority experience a fate similar to that as experienced during the 199 0s ? Simply put, yes. Organizational Structure: Tracing House Leadership Activity, 2000 2 006 Having witnessed a dramatic change in the role of the Speaker with the ascension of Jim Wright and Newt Gingrich, scholarship covering the 199 0s gestured that the House may have entered into a new Cannon like era of czar rule (Aldrich and Rhode, 2000; Cox and struggles and ultimate fall, competing research began to posit arguments that such be havior had peaked under the Republican Speaker and that his successor would most probably return the House to a structure more (Dodd and Oppenheimer, 2001a; Connelly and Pitney, 1997) The shutting down of government, the impeachment of a president, and the fall of Gingrich put the 106 th Congress and especially House Republicans in a state of near shock. As such, many predicted that the next Speaker would behave in a manner much different than that of recent House leaders: like Speakership had been pected to proceed in more collegial manner, helping the House Republicans regroup, find their legislative bearings, and compete for reelection
187 Dodd and Oppenheimer, 2009 pp. 28 9). Did reality meet expectation? Fig ure 6 2 Average r egional distribution, Republican House l eadership: 2001 2006 T hough his speakership came to an abrupt and embarrassing e nd following the 1998 elections, election of a new Speaker : Dennis Hastert. At face value, Hastert was anything but Gingrich he was not from the s outh, he had never before served the party in an elected leadership position, and he was known for a quiet demeanor and a tolerance for compromise. In f act, as we see above in Figure 6 2 this new leadership team was western region. Beyond region, other differences abounded: Whereas Gingrich was a fire brand, Hastert had a me dia reputation as a behind the scenes consensus builder (Ca rney, Foerstel, and Taylor, 1998) Others in the literature backed this early
188 Ill., initially seemed to be a very different leader Not only did he follow through on his promises to allow committee chairs more independence and to act with the advice of a much wider range of Republicans, but he proved to be nearly invisible in and Gamm, 2009 pp. 158). As he entered the Speakership, many media observers commented that the Gingrich model of leadership driven partisanship would not remain the operational norm in the post Revolution faded memory. J. Dennis Hastert, h is lower than low key successor, took great pains to and Serafini, 1999 pp. 48). Despite these differences in personality t ranslate into a more muted form of partisanship; that is given the new operational context presented in the post 9/11 period, Hastert did not deviate radically from Gingrich, Table 6 1 Leadership of th e House, i deology: 2001 2006 Type 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 Ultra Conservatives 33.33% 44.44% 44.44% 62.50% 0.00% 25.00% Strong Conservatives 55.56% 22.22% 33.33% 12.50% 75.00% 50.00% Conservatives 11.11% 11.11% 22.22% 12.50% 0.00% 0.00% Weak Conse rvatives 0.00% 22.22% 0.00% 12.50% 25.00% 25.00% Patricians 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% Looking to Table 6 1, following the 9/11 bombings, House leadership once again chose to embrace a deeply rigid, deeply conservative ideological perspective: in 2002, two up to the 2004 presidential
189 elections: in that session, 62 % With the operational environment of the House now in their favor, and the powers formed by previous DeLay advancing to Majority Leader and Roy Blunt as Majority Whip), Hastert and fellow leaders chose to continue down the organizational and operational path established i n the first days of 1995. Institutional rules from the Revolution th e party governance model: c ommittee chair term limits remained in place (compounded by the fact that the term limit on the Speaker was itself repealed), and party loyalty not seniority remained an essential factor for career advancement (for example, senior members in the Government Reform and the Resources committee were passed over in favor of more junior, ideologically pure members). Further, Hastert al so pressured members into ideological conformity though often in closed Ill., pleaded for unity and legislative pp. 1592). In multiple ways recent literature has argued that those in Republican leadership positions gained and maintained their status through loyalty to the p arty and to its political ag enda whether that loyalty took the form floor voting record, legislative or committee activity, or financial support to the electoral efforts of rank and file members ( Aldrich and Rhode, 2009 ) For example, the new Speaker wen t so far as to establish
190 bills that did not already have a majority of Republica ns approve the measure (Schickler and Pearson, 2005 pp. 210; 2009 pp. 171). Overall, this return to party governance was enhanced in 2000 by the election of a Republican president, and the 9/11 crisis that Once a new Republican president was elected in 2000, the House leadership reverted to the form predicted by the [conditional party government] thesis. Hastert and his second in command, majority leader Tom DeLay R e, set strategy on measures important to the new administration, insisted on timely committee action, and proved quite willing to twist arms (Smith and Gamm, 2009 pp. 158). Beyond Table 6 1 our data reinforces this argument in other ways; for example, in terms of the expectations placed upon committee chairman. As we saw before 5 ideological loyalty was a marker for those advancing to committee chairmanships in 1995 (though, as discussed, the ideological fervor of committee chairs lessened as the operatio nal context shifted in the 199 0s ). Looking to F igure 6 3 during the second half Conservati 199 0s indicates that committee chairman were less independent, and expected to tow the party line. 5 See Figure 5 4
191 Figure 6 3 Ideology of committee c hairmen o vertime: 2001 2006 Party governance had once again been adopted by the Republican party in this succeeding period of their House majority; yet, the patterns that defined the first half of their experience woul d also come to define their second. In terms of their initial foray with party governance the Republican Revolution based upon its goals of radical change within the Congress sought to operate not from a balanced geographic or ideological position, bu t from a unit position singularly guided by the dictates of the Contract Whereas the party had historically experienced an internal division between erased internal strife at least for a time. In considering this development, scholars have continued to debate both the existence and effect of increased party stre ngth: various academic camps have arisen since the early 199 0s defining themselves by their views on party unity activity, and effectiveness. While some scholars again, Testing the Limits of Party Governance deeply questioned the effectiveness of party governance, others have outright rejected the
192 notion. Perhaps most vocal in opposi tion to the effect of party leadership upon Pivotal Politics (1998), in which the scholar argues that high levels of party unity do not necessarily mean that congressional parties are in fact strong. That is, unity is not the product of the party intending to act towards an objective as a unit, but simply because members will naturally sort themselves according to their preset ideological perspective. As such, Krehbiel argues that for leadership driven partisan ship to take place, party leaders must take active steps to achieve a level of unity beyond that which normally occurs in the chamber. we find that such leadership activity did in fact take place d uring this period of the Republican majority most specifically when it came to the passage of Medicare Part D. Following the 9/11 tragedies, the vast majority of rank and file House Schickler and Pearson (2005), certain major legislative issues for both ideological and electoral motivations gave many GOP members pause before readily supporting their party leaders. Following months of legislative maneuvering, the Bush Administration and cha mber leaders made a final push to place legislation providing prescription were high: as reported by congressional observers in the media, President Bush was pressuring c delivers on promises [to extend benefits], and thus score a win on what historically had a Republic pp.
193 2608). As a new multi billion dollar entitlement program, th e problem for many members with the Medicare bill was that it went against traditional Republican principles of fiscal c onservatism Faced with a near unified Democratic opposition and a very slim majority, the leadership knew that it had few votes to spare. Moreover, many House Republicans openly balked not only at the proposed Part D plan, but also at similar funding in the build up to the final vote (for example, leaders were forced in the summer of 2003 to extend time on a measure, allowing them to scramble for the votes needed thwart off Democratic amendments to the 2004 Health and Human services appropriations bills). To make matters worse, a preliminary vote on the Medicare bill revealed a 215 219 defeat against new funding. To overcome this situation, House leaders emplo yed an ., Republican leaders held open the vote on the Medicare prescription drug bill for nearly three hours until the votes totals shifted from a 215 219 defeat to a 220 215 passage. nough and P earson, 2005 pp. 210 11). Similar to the experience of the 199 0s this effort on behalf of the leadership backfired against the majority: though Speaker Hastert convinced divided conservative member s that support immediately, however, the law was criticized as being too confusing for its beneficiaries to understand and too oriented toward the interest of pharmaceutica l and insurance and Oppenheimer, 2009 pp. 33).
194 Though the most public, the Medicare Part D was not the only instance in which party leadership took aggressive measures to ensure unity on votes during this congressional period. We have al ready seen that following the election of 1994, Speaker Gingrich took drastic steps in seeking to force the Contract 6 Beyond these reforms; Hastert, DeLay, and others used not only career advancement as a method to pressure member obedience; but also mone y for campaigns and reelection (Stewart, 2001) It is well documented that campaigns for the House of Representatives have become dramatically more expensive in the modern era often costing candidates multiple millions o f dollars to remain competitive (H errnson, 2008; Goidel, Gross, and Shields, 1999) In the search for funds, members often turn to their party for financial support. As reported by Herrnson, in the 2006 House congressional elections, the Democrats distributed approximately $606,000 in cont ributions and $8.8 million in coordinated expenditures; whereas the Republicans distributed $975,000 in contributions and approximately $4.7 million in coordinated expenditures. Herrnson argues that such large coordinated expenditures are of great importan pp. 101). One example of this f orm party involvement occurred during the Clinton impeachment trial: Reports surfaced that messages were being sent throughout the House and to party activists that a moderate Republican defector considering voting against the charges of impeachment could 6 As discussed, he demanded that members of the Republican caucus sign a letter of fealty to the Contrac t; he both established new rules limiting the number of terms for chairman, and bypassed the norms of the committee system entirely by nominating three junior members to three key chair positions; office.
195 expect future campaign contributions to evaporate and be transferred to challengers during the next primary race. Though denied by then Majority Whip Tom DeLay moderate Republicans voted overwhelmingly to impeach President Clinton. As argued by Stewart, t his episode suggests that ideological divergence may have been kept in check in the Republican House by threats of undercutting vital campaign funding (2001 pp. 260). During the post 9/11 Republican majority, scholars hint at other events in which party l eadership is accused of employing pressure via campaign funding in this case, the issue was a promise to fund rather than a threat to remove. Related to the controversial vote on Medicare Part D, moderate Republicans had charged that in exchange for th eir vote money would be offered to their campaign coffers. In particular, Representative Nick Smith (R voted against the new program and later issued a statement for some observers the continued pressure placed on members by their party leadership during the Republican m ajority era other examples of pressure from this vote include two junior Republicans who switched their votes at 6 a.m. after receiving heated phone calls directly from President Bush (Schickler and Pearson, 2005 pp. 210; Cohen, et al., 2004 pp. 82; Se rafini, et al., 2003). Whatever the level of force in these particular instances parties have grown to become important sources for much needed campaign funds and support
196 In all, during certain periods, supporting the party agenda and leadership driven efforts was to the benefit of individual members (and perhaps, in some instances like the Medicare Part D vote, harmful to them if they did not). Yet, these periods are fleeting, with time leaving those who supported an ideological agenda in a precarious p osition. A Lesson Depicting the ideological breakdown of House leadership vs. the broader majo rity caucus in 2002, we seen in Figure 6 4 below that leadership was initially successful in returning members to a level of homogene ity that largely reflected their own. While there were moderate sub groups present, a near majority of rank and file members the post 9/11 House (in fact, there is a perfect rank order from most conservative to least conservative in terms of membe rship level).As seen in Figure 6 4 (and throughout th e data previously presented ), the House and its leadership have experienced in particular periods high levels of ideol ogical homogeneity (i.e., following the Revolution and 9/11) Further Hastert, DeLay, and other Republican leaders became increasingly involved the introduction, development, and passage of legislative policy. These findings are consistent with the condit ional party government thesis yet, these findings are linked to one particular context in time. W hile party governance may be an accurate description of the House in certain periods it is an illusion of party authority; that is, the model is unsustainab le overtime.
197 Figure 6 4 Leadership versus rank and file i deology: 2002 Because political parties have the ability to provide collective goods that individuals could not provide on their own (i.e. a coherent and highly recognizable political platform, legislative development experience, resource connections with special interest groups, campaign finance, etc.), individual legislators may in certain circumstances be heavily benefited by association with and loyalty to the political party most releva particular could be thought of as analogous to a franchise system in the private business sector: branding. In his broad review of congressional politics, Stewart provides a robust anal ogy that helps in understanding the practical role of parties for individual members of the national legislature: The role of parties in this view is much like that of a national office of a e by franchising thousands of stores that offer a uniformly high quality product anywhere in the United States. Achieving this uniform high quality is no easy task. Each store owner, at least in theory, has an incentive to free ride ation: cutting corners, lowering costs, luring in unsuspecting customers, and making even more money. The contract but contains mechanisms to enforce the contract (like inspectors a nd auditors) and punish non compliance (2001 pp. 266)
198 In a context where conditions are ripe for party governance, as seen in 1994 and again in late 2001, rank and file members are more willing to give leaders increased authority to try and create, as Ste pp. 266). In doing so, these members also give leadership the power to pressure reluctant members to maintain a uniform public front. In all, t is popular, for example the presentation of the Contract with America or during crisis post 9/11, it behooves many conditions shift and leaders fail; thus, there is the very real possibility that the external context in which the party operates will no longer be conducive for the brand enshrined in the past. raised: While Stewart discusses problems with individual franchisees free riding and cutting corners, what happens when the tables are turned? That is, what happens when the problem with the franchise brand is not with the individual operator, but with the is an incorrect one given the current market or broad economic context, what measures ought the individual owner/operators take? Sell the franchise and get out of business all ustees? C ontinuing the logic of this analogy from a different angle helps us to understand the broader impact and primary pitfalls of conditional party governance especially from
199 a historical institutionalist, path dependency perspective : W hile the init ial operational context of the institution may present to members conditions favorable for enhancing leadership power so as to gain the moves forward across time, context is bound to change. If this is th e case, and leadership does not respond (or, as we have seen, responds incorrectly) to changes in the opera tional environment, the initial decision by those who have chosen to align them selves with the brand will find that their choice proves to be increas ingly restrictive if not outright harmful operational environment shifts and previous decisions no longer fit current institutional operational context, crisis will ensue. To survive this critical moment, the organization will theoretically, at least experience shifts in its developmenta l dynamics away from its previous structure. For the Republican leadership and rank and file members, this theory became reality for the House majority on a number of occasions; most specifically during showdowns with President Clinton over budget shutdowns and impeachment trials, and later with President Bush and the increasingly negative view of post 9/11 actions taken at home and in Iraq. As party gov ernance becomes increasingly institutionalized, when shif ts occur and they will members begin to que stion the utility of their party. Hitching their Wagons: Tracing GOP Membership, 2000 2006 the collective image of a party is negative, party candidates lose out on election day more than if the party image pp. e broader party and its activities from 2001 to 2006. By considering the story of members during second half of
200 the Republican tenure, this period will help us to be tter understand the effects that the initial decision to adopt party g overnance had upon th e rank and file especially as they and their political agendas matured wit h time. In this section, we take a focused look at the responses of members in the House majority towards the defining events of the post 9/11 era so as to examine the lessons from this experience as the party moved through time. F ollowing the 9/11 tragedies, the Republican party returned to a state of ideological unity under the leadership of President Bush. In cementing this relationship with the President, Congress chose to gran 2001). Bush took this authority to its limit th Bush unblinkingly described his mission as power to legislate, but the President in the past year has flexed all the muscles the pp. 230). Though the party experienced initial success, it once again found itself embroiled in an external crisis growing more difficult and unpopular as time progressed: the war in Iraq. Beginning with his first address to the joint s ession of Congress after taking the oath of office in 2001, Bush b egan promoting the idea of exportin g freedom throughout the world particularly in the Middle East. In the wake of 9/11, the President altered this call to action to include not only spreading peace, but more importantly protecting the American people fro m terrorism (most specifically from those seeking to use chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons against American citizens).
201 Less than two years after the invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001, the administration began to shift its attention away from al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden, focusing instead upon Iraq and Saddam Hussein. In his speeches, weekly radio addresses and meetings wi th congressional leadership; P resident Bush repeatedly stres ossession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), his brutal treatment of the Iraqi people, and his unwillingness to cooperate with United Nations resolutions. On March 19, 2003, the Bush administration announced that U.S. military forces were stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people, and to defend the world from grave argument resonated with the American people with broad (though cert ainly divisive) support However, this preliminary public support for the war quickly eroded warnings that Iraq ac tively possessed WMD were found to be inaccurate. In response, political challengers and the public began to question the relationsh ip between Iraq, al Qaeda, and other terrorist groups associated with 9/11. To compound these issues, what looked like post war victory degenerated into an insurgent lead civil war, despite As American casualties began to mount, public support continued to decline. Regardless of its unpopularity, the Bush administration insisted that the war was the right thing to do, given the realities of a post 9/11 world. Clearly, the war in Iraq placed increasing pressure on Republicans as they entered into the 2004 election season. To combat this situation, congressional leaders took a stance similar to that tak en in the years after the budget shutdown and
202 impeachment debacles 1998. D uring the second s ession of the 108 th Congress, leaders controversial issues such as extending tax cuts to the middle class and married couples. In terms of foreign policy, House leaders remained leaders also considered various recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission though this action occurred only after heavy pressure from political commentators and Democratic rivals (Dodd and Oppenheimer, 2009 pp. 34). Despite growing struggles and popular discontent about the war in Iraq, George W. B ush was victorious over John Kerry as the voters viewed the latter as too weak on terrorism and the former more closely aligned to traditional domestic values. J ournalists following the election commented that much of the support for Bush and conservative candidates stemmed from congressional redistricting 7 and from multiple state popular referendums that put conservative leaning issues such as gay marriage amendments on the general election ballot (Cohen and Baumann, 2004). In any case, the Republicans had won they maintained unified control of the federal government and even picked up a three seat gain in the House. Having maintained a successful record in two election cycles, many conservatives believed that they had an electoral mandate. In fact, duri ng his victory speech, Bush stated that he had earned political capitol, and he intended to use it. Based upon these outcomes, House Republicans pursued a three pronged strategy that they believed 7 Occurring in Texas, this redistricting was later found to be illegal, leading to the downfall and arrest of then Majority Leader Tom DeLay.
203 would propel them into long term control of the House: (1) continued support of Bush and the war on terrorism, (2) endorsement of Tom DeLay as heir apparent of the Speakership, and (3) reform of domestic social welfare programs most specifically Social Security ( Dodd and Oppenheimer, 2009 ). Unfortunately for the majority, the operational environment of the House was about to take a dramatic shift fo r which the ideologically rigid caucus was not prepared. Before the next election cycle, the Republicans would fail in each of these cases, and their time as House maj ority would come to an end. T he Republicans of the 109 th Congress stumbled out of the gate as they sought spending programs. Similar to their earlier attempts with Medicare Part D in which the party sought to co opt a historically Democratic e lectoral stronghold, Republican leaders argued that individual American citizens ought be allowed to privatize their Social Security taxes at least partially. Democrats were quick to counter that such a move would jeopa that the proposed move was not motivated by reform, but by greedy corporations seeking to profit from privatized governmental monies. In the en d, Republicans having been cast as cronies for Wall Street special interests were forced to retreat on the issue. Failure to reform Social Security caused the 109 th Congress to sputter on other ideologically driven issues as well: Efforts to reform So cial Security had gone by the wayside early and were followed over the next eighteen months by many other failures, including reform of lobbying and ethics rules, reform of immigration policies, reducing
204 estate taxes, and a range of measures popular with s ocial conservatives (Dodd and Oppenheimer, 2009 pp. 34). Another factor leading to trouble for the 109 th Congress was its hierarchical dependence on party leadership to pass legislation a system which came crashing down with fall of its Majority Leade r. Having helped to engineer their victory in 2004, the first session of the 109 th House was eager to embrace its party leadership, especially the deeply ideological Tom DeLay of Texas. Employing controversial techniques to increase the viability of conser vative candidates in his home state DeLay were not only essential to the success enjoyed by House Republicans in 2004, but also lead to an increase in the number of southern conservative caucus members. Though this pseudo gerrymandering produced the largest number unified districts since the 195 0s DeLay of counterparts (w ho sought in late 2004 to bring the issue to the attention of the House Ethics Committee). Assisted by Texas Democrat s who successfully charged DeLay in state court with felony money laundering 8 Republicans began to fear a repeat of the Gingrich ethics scandals of the late 199 0s Embarrassingly, DeLay was booked by Texas police and pictures of his mug shot were carried in all major media outlets. Following an indictment on campaign finance related charges of misconduct in Texas, conservatives knew that they could no longer protect their party leader though the process played out for more than a year, Tom DeLay resigned h is position and seat just months before the 2006 elections. Reliance on DeLay proved to be devastating for the 8 A second charge of criminal conspiracy to violate state la w was dismissed by a Texas state judge. Though the charges had not yet gone to trial, in accord with House rules regulating member felony indictments, DeLay stepped down from his leadership post (Rosenson, 2011).
205 Republicans. No longer able to depend on strong leadership, conservative members conducted a desperate search to maintain legislative balance as they approached the mid term elections. Preferring stability to a total restructuring of the leadership, House DeLay confidant Roy Blunt to remain as Majority Whip. Further, they elected form er Gingrich protg John Boehner of Ohio to the position of Majority leader. In all, this continued support of leadership in league with Tom DeLay was seen by many as a lost opportunity for the Republican House to change their course as they headed down th e path towards the midterm elections (Dodd and Oppenheimer, 2009 pp. 34 7). In terms of leadership fallout and platform turmoil, the 109 th Congress began looking eerily similar to those of the late 199 0s As argued those sessions exposed the risks assoc iated with organizing the House via party governance; that is, from a pa th dependency perspective, adoption of a unified agenda under an empowered leadership that is initially viewed as an optimal choice becomes increasingly restrictive as time progresses and operational environments shift. As in the first half of the ir House majority, Republicans in 2005 were again finding themselves in an increasingly difficult position. Importantly, the DeLay scandal and its consequences mirrored that of Gingrich: Like t he former Speaker, improper political gain (as opposed to personal) was failed leadership in terms of political scandal reemphasizes the treacherous path taken when attempt ing party governance: Cases involving political gain have become increasingly numerous in the American Congressional context, relative to other types of cases. Their impact on the fortunes of the involved politicians, and on the fortunes of their parties,
206 congressional careers ended due to their boundary pushing pursuit of political gain. These cases not only affected the individuals who were the target of the investigations, but they also affecte success (Rosenson, 2011 pp. 29 emphasis ours) Pressured by the need to reinforce party dominance and ideological homogeneity, the Majority Leader took aggressive steps in an effort to acquire unethical campaign contributions. Just a Compounding the issue for the 109 th majority was the fact that Republicans had not only embraced strong leadership via the tarnished Tom DeLay ; more importantly, they had come to depend once again on the success of a volatile issue external to their control: the sustained popularity of the President and the war in Iraq. Despite the fact that the President h on a returning U.S. aircraft carrier, the war became more unpopular as casualties mounted, the fighting escalated, and WMD were not found. Similar to the budget shutdowns of 1996 and the impeachment trial of 1998 9 the Iraq conflict and broader war on terror finally caught up with President Bush and his party whether the debate concerned criticism of pre emptive strike, the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib prisons, or failure to plan for post regime change fighting; the President and congressional majority were being hammered upon on all political fronts. Even though the public came to believe that the President and his conservative supporters were leading the natio n headlong into a quagmire, congressional Republicans refused to cut funding for the war or demand changes in leadership or 9 Though, of course, opposite as this new e xternal issue played out in a period of unified government; thus requiring presidential success and not failure as in the 1990s period of divided government.
207 such as secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld made him appear intransigent and even and Oppenheimer, 2009 pp. 35). bserver could have predicted: Hurricane Katrina in the fall of 2005. As the nation watched the city of New Orleans descend into Hobbesian disarray, the President failed to act with the decisiveness displayed in the early days of the 9/11 tragedy. A prime e xample of how leaders can falter, and how an operational environment can dramatically shift in a way the impedes the success of an organization built upon the foundations of a previous context; Hurricane Katrina cemented the perception of many voters that the Bush Administration and his supporters in Congress were incompetent to lead the nation either internationally or domestically: Just as Hurricane Katrina ripped through the Gulf Coast, it also tore the crisis, after the nation looked is in tatters. Old racial wounds have also been re exposed by Katrina, and anxiety over the direction of the country has risen to heights not hit in nearly a decade. And the American leadership class seems more intent on pursuing partisan goals than on pulling together (Barnes, 2005 pp. 2806). Followed in real time by the DeLay resignation and Mark Foley scandal 10 the Democratic opposition saw its op portunity to strike in the 2006 mid term elections. Employing these back to back debacles to orchestrate the election as a referendum on Republican dominance since the Clinton era, Democrats effectively 10 This scandal involved Florida House Republican Foley whom resigned from Congress after allegatio ns surfaced that he had with some awareness by party leaders engaged in unscrupulous relationships with young male House pages.
208 argued to the American voter that the party which cla imed traditional American values conservative agenda built upon an ideological cohesion that seemed beneficial to party and individual member alike. Unfortunately for the party, Republicans for a second time now found themselves in a highly precarious and politically vulnerable position as their operational enviro nment shifted under their feet. Swamped by the path chosen years before, Republicans were unable to adapt to th is new context; yet, the Democrats were poised to pounce. Whether the advertisement stated that Bush lied about the rational for the Iraq war, that DeLay was a criminal, that Kat not care about poor people, or that Foley an d those in oversight were demeaning the House; the message was clear: the Republican majority must be removed. Voicing similar rhetoric as that broadcast by Newt Gingrich in 1994, Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic House leaders (in particular, future Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel) piloted the Democratic minority back into control of Congress in the 2006 mid term elections. Combined with selective recruitment of moderate Democratic candidates on a district by district basis, public dissatisfaction with t he Iraq war and overall Republican governance lead to a return of congressional power into the hands of the Democratic party As in the first years of their majority tenure, House Republicans came to understand the realities of Congress: le adership failure combined with dramatic shifts in the external environment can force striking change in the developmental dynamics of the legislative institution. The pattern here is similar to that experienced from 1994 to 2000 first, an event or crisis that favored the party and allowed leaders to utilize
209 institutional powers to enhance their authority (i.e., the 9/11 tragedies); second, the adoption of ideological homogeneity within the party and heterogeneity between that forces a deeply divisive poli cy external to their direct control (i.e., the Iraq war); third, leadership missteps and/or a shift in the external envir onment that proves un favor able the adopted policy (i.e., the failure to find WMD, deepening conflict and casualties in the overall war on terror, and Hurricane Katrina fallout); and fin ally, from a path dependency per spective, the inability of the party to shift in the face of change due to the rigid struct ure of the organization. Compounding this pattern the party had isolated itself re gionally: following 2006, the GOP held the smallest share of non s outhern seats in (Brownstein, 2010). As seen below in Figure 6 5 the Republican party was very much the par ty of the south. Figure 6 5 Average regional d istribution, House GOP: 2001 2006
210 T his regional isolation is linked to increased conservatism for the broader party Looking to Table 6 2 we see a pattern similar to that of the 199 0s in which the south was not only the largest region, but also one of its most conservative. Table 6 2 Regional b reakdown: 2001 2006 Regions Ultra Conservative Strong Conservative Conservative Weak Conservative Patrician Conservative Average Mean Ideology The South 16 22 17 7 3 18.52 The Pacific 3 8 8 4 2 22.41 Plains and Rocky Mountains 5 7 6 4 2 20.77 Border States 7 8 4 2 3 18.27 Mid West 5 11 11 14 11 27.84 Mid Atlantic 1 3 5 9 15 36.20 New England 0 0 0 1 4 47.53 Taken together, we and others in the literatur e see a pattern of collapse owed to a perception by the American public of policy failure at the hands of Republicans (Dodd and Oppenheimer, 2009 pp. 421). The House GOP had agai n taken on a conservative brand; a choice that served them well in wake of tr avesty, but also a choice that proved increasingly restrictive overtime. W hile conditional party governance is a reality of the contemporary Congress, it is only a reality in certain contexts. As we have shown, these contexts are fleeting, making party gov ernance a n unsustainable model. Mann an d Ornstein (2009) illustrate the limits of this model for parties seeking long term control of the Congress : That argument was put to the test by American voters on November 7, 2006. By deposing Republican majorities in both the House and Senate, in as decisive a midterm vote for change (a national vote swing of 5.3 percentage points, producing Democratic gains of thirty seats in the House and six in the Senate) as one can imagine in our uncompetitive electoral terrain an angry electorate created a necessary condition for revitalizing the first branch of government and restoring some semblance of balance among the central political institutions of American democracy (2009 pp. 54)
211 Overtime, the conditions that encourag ed party governance began t o turn against the majority who had become entrenched in their adopted operational model. External shifts have defined the Republican tenure in Congress: just as Gingrich and Armey before them, Speaker Hastert and majority leader DeLay used their external environment to construct and institutionalize a highly homogeneous and deeply conservative voting caucus; yet, their downfall came with a failure to adapt to changes in the environment that once supported them: As had been the c ase with Gingrich, electoral failure in this case, failure readily attributed to an unpopular president meant that the House and 2006 changes in the House Republican leadership requ ires moving beyond policy and party polarization to electoral concerns. In both cases, public displeasure with the performance of the Republicans as expressed in election outcomes generated disagreements among Republicans about how to respond (Smith an d Gamm, 2009 pp. 158 9) From our path dependency per spective, the lesson of the Republican tenure as House majority is that early decisions with time can become the seeds of future problems Having now investigated two periods of control, we have twic e illustrated a pattern within the Republican experiment with conditional party government that allows us to question both the explanatory power and sustainability of this model for a party with long term political ambitions. Republican House Governance, 2001 2006: A Critique of CPG and the View Overtime As stated earlier, with all works of scholarship, Dodd and Oppenheimer writing in early 2001 could not have predicted the future events of that year. Though it seemed that continuing to employ a poli cy of party governance would inevitably catch up to the Republicans, the aftermath of the September 11 th 2001 bombings changed
212 the face of politics in America. Rallying around their president, the American people supported Republic an George W. Bush with a 90 % approval rate which translated into Republican Party held half the governorships in the country, expanded its margin in the House, and, most significant, recap tured the Senate. Democrats and Republicans alike and Baumann, 2002 pp. 3268). In this new political reality, Republican leadership no longer had to depend on party moderates to get legislation onto a friend Looking at Figure 6 6 our data show the dramatic shifts the party experienced following 9/11. Taken overtime, the ideologically dispersed party sharpened in comparison to the 199 0s s 11 As argued above, following this critical political juncture this data indicates a return to conditiona l party governance in the House. T he newly energized Republicans choose to take a similar path to that as they had following the Revolution of 1994. 11 seen in Figure 6 6 (in comp arison to similar measures taken in the 199 0s ) is due to the extended period of time that the House successfully operated under party governance between late 2001 and early 2005. In the previous decade, the party successfully employed this model only in 19 95. We believe that party governance operated for a longer period in the 200 0s due to terrorism fears and unified government between the House and Bush Administration. Further research in this area would help to confirm this variance.
213 Figure 6 6 Mean House Republican ideology o vertime: 2001 2006 In light of the return to party governance in the House, the party governance camp seemed justified in its academic standing. Moreover, the primary critics of this model in the constructiv e partisanship camp felt the pressure moderates now beco ming an endangered species, the camp felt forced to reconsider their assertions made in 1997 increase in intrapar ty homogeneity and interparty polarization in both the House and Senate. It is likely that those changes will affect the internal workings of the House and Dodd and Oppenheimer, 2005a pp. xxvi). With an i ncrease in size and the emergence of an increasingly polarized majority, the Republican House leadership had far fewer obstacles in its path. Moreover, the leadership found new ways to force unity
214 DeLay though highly controversial (and later found to be il legal) were fundamental to Re publican electoral success : Mr. DeLay and two associates channeled $190,000 in corporate donations in 2002 to several Republican candidates for the [State of Texas] Legi Donations were seen as critical in the Republican takeover of the Legislature that year. Once they had control, state Republican leaders pushed through a controversial Congressional redist ricting plan engineered by Mr. DeLay that sent more Republicans to Congress in 2004 (McKinley, 2011) In response to these developments Dodd and Oppenheimer took a strikingly different view of the Republican Party in 2004, arguing that the polarized Hou se majority was pp. xxix). It seemed as though t he fate of the Republican majority had change d with the fate of broader America following September 11 th 2001. With an astron omically high approval rating by the American electorate, and broad support for war against Afghanistan and al Qaeda in th e name of anti terrorism; the Dodd Oppenheimer camp state that 9/11 affected the U.S. Congress more fundamentally than most federal in stitutions. Not only did both houses of Congress and both parties come together to Terror. More importantly, this period of crisis allowed Republicans an electorally just ified explanation for sustained fiscal and economic woes, and for certain domestic policies that previously would have been deemed imprudent or untenable for example, pp. 31 2). In all, Dodd and Oppenheimer argue that the fallout of 9/11 utterly changed the political playfield in a way that highly advantaged the Republican majority in Congress:
215 As Congress acted in response to 9/11, it returned to its domestic agenda but di tical fallout of the terrorist attack would aid the Republicans in Congress (2005b pp. 32) With a new political context in place, the conditions had returned to allow for party governance in the House. Moreover, the Republ icans choose to once again embrac e this model. Both chambers in Congress and the White House now in southern, strongly conservative Republican hands, Dodd and Oppenheimer seem to turn away from their criticisms of 1997; presenting themselves as tentatively supporting the notion that condi tional party government accurately described the Republican House majority What had changed for this camp? The scholars outline four methods by which Republican leadership attempted to operate under conditional party government: first, career advancement (particularly committee chairmanship) was directly related to party loyalty 12 ; second, omnibus legislation had been employed to limit roll call votes on divisive issues; and third, defection was prevented by limiting Democratic participation in policy devel opment (tangentially leading to increased distrust and incivility between parties). While not directly the product of leadership maneuvering, a fourth issue the threat of member defection was also minimized because the Republican moderates had rarely b een united against legislative efforts. In all, these factors combined to make the Republican leadership more successful in dealing with Republican moderates than amazingly successful over the past decade in achieving their policy goals, especially given the 12 As indicated in Fig ures 5 4 and 6 3
216 narrowness of their majorit pp. 49 50 emphasis ours ). Faced with such changes in political context, Dodd and Oppenhei mer for the first time in their scholarship serie s state tha t the conditional party government thesis accurately describes how Republicans have operated much of the time over the past decade (2005b pp. 47 8 emphasis ours ). Figure 6 7 Developmental dynamics, o verall Republican House: 2000 20 06 We can understand why the constructive partisanship camp felt pressure to back down from their initial criticisms of party governance in the House: w ith issues such as the war with Iraq broiling, party polarization in the House was at an al l time high. With the re election of Bush and member gains in the House, it seemed as though the predictions of the conditional party government model had come to fruition. Regardless,
217 we find that Republican developmental dynamics during this period continue to reinf orce our argument that party governance due to leadership failure and a fleeting operational environment remains an unsustainable model when considered overtime Looking at Figure 6 7 to r ule the House followi ng 9/11 (in fact, the data show a perfect order from most to least conservative in terms of size in the 2002 session). As argued above, these newly empowered conservatives once again took the House down a path that sought deeply conser vative and highly contentious issues Yet, as in earlier periods of their majority, the success of these volatile issues depended on circumstances external to their direct influence ; that is, the outcome of these choices depended again on wise leadersh ip and friendly operational contexts. The result of these early decisions was similar to that of the 199 0s as the war in Iraq soured between 2004 and 2005 so too did House Re publican unity. Seen in Figure 6 7 as moderate conservatives became the larges t camps made their voice heard. In all, the developmental dynamics of the Republica n House leading up to the 109 th tenure. Interestingly, it is at this moment that we see a fracture within the Dodd Oppenheimer camp itself. Writing alone, Dodd (2005) provided a warning to the
218 Republican party still riding high from the 2004 election : the critical tasks of all modern congresses has been to establish an organizational structure and legislative development process that concurrently provides individual members with satisfying and meaningful input into policy decisions while also maintaining the independence and integrity of the institution as a whole. In the case of the House Republicans in 2004, following the re election of President Bush, Dodd argu es that the Republicans put themselves in a very uncertain position. By accepting heavy in volvement by party leaders following the Revolution of 1994 an d a Republican president following 9/11 in the policymaking process, the Republican party has found success in the short run in terms of majority status. Yet, with the maturation of individual members and their individual demands in combination with the ever present threat of change in the political individual autonomy and col lective governance that comes as the rewards and pp. 438 9). As they had done in the 199 0s the House leadership had once again placed the party in a position in which success depended on the outcome of issues and conditions external to their control. As n and within the GOP House. R eported by media obs ervers during the darkest days of the said second term Rep. Tom Cole, R as quietly arisen an issue of
219 pp. 970). Based on the evidence, we argue the Republican House has consiste ntly chosen to exploit shor t term advantages, external issues, and crises to make possible the passage of their legislative agenda. In multiple cases the government shutdowns of 1995 1996, the Clinton impeachment, September 11 th 2001, the success of a wartime president, and so on the Republican House has time and again defined its internal dynamics by political events external to itself. As argued in Chapter 4 the negative consequences of these decisions are not simply the result of inexperience. This is not to say that inexperi ence at governing did not play a role; rather, our argument is that the greatly exacerbated any missteps that would inevitably occur. Moreover, having now led the nation u nder two Administrations and multiple congresses, the Republican House could no longer plead governing ignorance. The particular problems faced by the contemporary Republicans were the very choices that defined the new majority: ideological unity and the empowerment of party leadership built upon favorable operational environments. When issues or crises bro k e Contract and the 9/11 bombings, the party appears to unite ideologically, trust its party leadersh ip, and begin pursuing a highly homogeneous and deeply conservative agenda. And yet, thes e initial decisions then bind the party as it moves towards the future. In the budget battles, it was the near rabid goal of political revolution that drove the party to ignore its institutional limitations and attack a president on his home turf and to continue the attacks long after failure
220 was eminent. Regardless, the party leadership again attempted to bring down their institutional rival through an impeachment tr ial that nearly cost the Republicans their chamber majority (it did in fact, cost the GOP their Speaker ). In the following Congress, the party fragmented as individual members began to seek legislative successes for their own benefit and not for the overal l party. These losses produced a pattern that has come to define the Republican House: strong partisanship based on early external success, a decision to push for a deeply conservative and contentious political agenda supported by strong partisanship, a m ajor defeat on a newly emerging external event (caused by a shift in operational context for which the ideological ly polarized party and their leadership was unable to adapt), and finally the growth of ideological division and defection away from pa rty unity. As seen in Figures 5 6 and 6 7 what saved the Republican majority following the first half of their tenure was the aftermath of 9/11: before these tragedies, the House GOP seemed destined to lose their majority in 2002. Afterwards, the Republicans returned to an aggressive organizational operating structure Further, they turned once more towards a deeply conservative and contentious political agenda dependent on successful leadership and the nature of conditions external to their own control. Yet, the pattern experienced by the Republicans in the 199 0s again repeated itself. This dependency on external conditions finally began catching up to the majority party in early 2005. As quoted above, t prescript ion drug program flared up tensions within House: though Bush convinced House leadership that the policy would establish a legislative record that reached out to senior citizens, the program was instantly criticized as being too confusing for
221 beneficiaries and too intertwined with business interests in the private sector. To make matters worse, party leadership fumbled any chances at Social Security reform. Most important, the Iraq War began crumbling around the President, eroding voter support for the Repu was further enhanced in August of 2005, as Hurricane Katrina was interpreted by the nation as showing that the unified Republican federal government was incapable of leading and protecting the nation Internally, the House suffered a severe blow as majority leader Tom DeLay was arrested and indicted on allegations of illegal campaign finance activity. With the fall of DeLay dependency upon party leadership within the House m ajority began to unravel not to mention loss in support from the electorate who was growing increasingly distrustful of leading Republican politicians in general. Democrats pounced on the floundering party, and the voters were paying attention: ic House candidates link Republican incumbents to Bush proposals on issues s passage of energy legislation that, they argue, result ed in pp. 24) Overall, as seen in Figure 6 8 the ideological breakdown of the 109 th Congress looks eerily similar to that of the 106 th Congress as individual members sought out individual pref erences over that of the party agenda. With the conditions for party governance now against them, the Republican s braced for a painful 2006 midterm election. In all, the Republican majority in the House of Representatives ended barely a decade after it its
222 Figure 6 8 Republican ideological f actions: 106 th (99 th C ongresses (05 Summary In tracing leadership activities, rank and f ile responses, and regional growth; we have witnessed a developmental pattern repeate d in two periods of Republican majority in the House. In light of this tumultuous 12 year status of the Republicans following their Revolution what are we to make of their tenure as the majority party in Congress as they stumbled from external crisis to e xternal crisis? Constructed in a manner analogous to Fig ure 3 6 in Chapter 3 Figure 6 9 below illustrates the overall ideological trend within the Republican House from 1995 to 2006. If we remember from Chapter 3 the trend in the first year of their maj ority showed the Republicans to be concurrently highly unified and highly conservative in fact, that year showed a near perfect negative relationship between the number of members in an ideological range, and the level of liberalism in that range (i.e. a s conservatism decreased, so too did the number of members decrease). A similar pattern was depicted above in Figure 6 1 as the party again adopted party governance following the wake of the 9/11 tragedies. When isolated, these two years do reinforce the b ehavioral
223 predictions of the conditional party government model. When placed in a broader context, our empirical analysis shows a different story. Figure 6 9 Republican House ideological t rend: 1995 2006 T aken overtime, we see in Figure 6 9 that while the i deology is skewed towards stronger levels of conservatism, the behavior of the overall House GOP is much more normalized than during the first year of the Revolution or the post 9/11 session. In tracing the development of the Republican House across its tenure, we have shown repeated patterns in which a significant number of individual members deviated from conservative ideological puritanism. This finding leads us to conclude that party governance in the House because of its necessary condition of sustained intraparty ideological homogeneity is unsustainable as a permanent legislative model
224 The reforms that enhanced party leadership and weakened committee aut onomy remained present throughout each Congress since the 104 th When contexts were favorable, parties attempted to utilize the reforms in employing party governance so as to take advantage of these conditions. Yet, the advantage gained was only possible i n the short term. In each case for the Republican House, we show this initial choice was unwise: despite enhanced authority, the move towards party governance would overtime result in political turmoil as leaders failed to behave appropriately and/or t he operational context (that had once benefited the ideologically rigid party) shifted to become inhospitable. In Chapter 5 and Chapter 6 we have found that ideological divisions did exist in the Republican House. What is most interesting about the se findings is the pattern that it reveals about the party as it behaved overtime. From a path dependency framework, we have shown that early decisions by Republican leadership and rank and file members have proven detrimental to the overall success of the party. This finding represents an endorsement of the Dodd Oppenheimer criticism that party governance is a fragile, tentative, and transitory phase in legislative politics. Our findings also represent an amendment and expansion of this criticism: As artic ulated by the constructive partisanship model, parties must remain mindful of potential cross cutting issues and institutional limitations; further, as we have shown, they must be attuned to the dangers involved in the empowerment of leadership and relianc e upon short term political advantages. We have depicted repeatedly that such behavior, though it may be beneficial at one moment, cannot be assumed to remain conducive in future contexts.
225 On the assumption of sustained ideological unity, the party govern ance model represents an illusion of party authority. I n pursuit of a highly controversial and deeply conservative agenda that is dependent on the success of issues and events b eyond their control, the Republican party has repeatedly failed to consider not only the fundamental threat of cross cutting issues within our heterogeneous society and the institutional limits of our Madisonian system but also the fact that the House operates in an environment of constant sometimes dramatic change Even if one can assume that no cross cutting issues are present, a unified party in on e institution of government must consider its actions in light of the preferences and veto point powers of its fellow federal bodies. Moreover as this chapter repeatedly illustrate s even when fellow institutions are friendly, the operational environment may not be. Following our historical institutionalist model i n tracing the political development of the House GOP from 1994 to 2006, we have shown that failure of party leadership to prepare for these multiple constraint s resulted in substantial damage to sustained Republican party achievement in the Congress. The lesson of the Republican experience is that sustained success is not the product full bore brute partisanship, but of an organizational structure that seeks pragmatic debate and compromise, and that is ever aware of the dynamic political arena in which it operates The question remains: As the Democrats took control of the Hou se in 2006, would they hee d the lesson?
226 CH APTER 7 A NEW MAJORITY, A NE W HOUSE? THE DEMOCRA TIC HOUSE: 2006 TO 2 010 come together and finish t he job for the American people. President Obama, 2010 State of the Unio n Address Having traced the development of the Republican majority as it operated overtime, we seek in this chapter to provide a more complete account o f the contemporary Congress. To do so, we follow our earlier analysis by conducting a review of the Demo cratic majority in the House following their electoral victory over the Republicans in 2006. Here we discuss the developmental dynamics o f the liberal majority from 2006 to 2010 as compared to earlier periods of cong ressional politics, and consider possibl e causes of loss during the 2010 midterm elections. Though not a perfect reflection of their conservative counterparts the short tenure of the Democrats in the post Revolution House mirrors that of the first and second halves of the Republican experience Democrat Takeover With the Republicans having lost their majority status just 12 years after the Revolution we seek to understand in what ways the Congress changed (or did not change) as the Democratic party returned to power. Because of its recent occu rrence, we are limited in the scope of our analysis by both the clarity of the data, and simply the lack of time between a number of historic events 1 and our present study neces sary to develop a fuller per spective and appreciation of the current politi cal environment Regardless, we attempt to posit an analysis of the D emocratic majority (and return of 1 Including international economic collapse, the election of the first African American president Barack Obama, and now the abrupt return of House Republicans to power in 2011.
227 the current Republican majority in the 2010 election) as it pertains to the lessons learned by the Republican experience from 1994 to 2006. The first q uestion to be examined is straightforward: How did the Democrats win? The second to what consequence did this victory have on their later governance of the House is a bit more complex. Like the Republicans of 1994, the Democrats were advantaged by a combination of short term forces and electoral astuteness by party leadersh ip. As discussed in Chapter 6 leadership folly and unfavorable external events primarily the war in Iraq, Hurricane Ka trina, scandal surrounding Majority L eader DeLay etc. lea d to tremendous public dissatisfaction with Republican unified government. Employing a strategy similar the GOPAC operatives of 1994 (though certainly not to the same extent as the Gingrich machine), Democratic leaders took advantage of this context by cam paigning on party wide platform that concurrently sought to label Republicans as the party of corruption and the Democrats as the party of constructive reform. A pseudo Contract with America Nancy Pelosi orche strated the election on the promise that withi n the first one hundred hours of a Democratic party controlled Congress, that she would ensure the passage of six popular reforms which Contract (in which candidates staged a public pl edge and signature of fidelity to the list of conservative planks), this evolving campaign platform was nonetheless a product of party leaders, and was employed as a tool to organize candidates an d motivate voters. Some in the literature have argued that P elosi was different than other party leaders before her. First, if successful, she would become the first woman Speaker of the House. Further, having been raised on the east coast but successfully representing San Francisco,
228 many believed that she possesse d a wider perspective than some of her colleagues. Unlike Gingrich (who sought to build an ideological army), Pelosi also showed herself to be open towards compromise as the campaign for 2006 played out (Peters and Rosenthal, 2010). Though employing simila r electoral tactics as their Republican counterparts the then minority leader promised that if victorious, the polarization that had plagued the 200 0s would be replaced by an attitude of bi partisanship. As if to bolster this promise, Pe losi sought to rec ruit candidates that did not necessarily fit with popularly assumed ideological norms of the Democratic party: many were ideological moderates, and some especially from the south were quite conservative (Pearson and Schickler, 2009). Figure 7 1 20 06 Democratic party versus 2007 Democratic freshmen, i deology As seen in Figure 7 1 the newl y elected Democrats were remarkably moderate as compared to the broader House Democratic caucus: Whereas the Democrats in 2006 were on average moderate to strong liberals, more than 53 % of Democratic Freshmen Weak liberals into the party is related to the regional advances made in the 2006 election. Looking to Figure 7 2 we see that not only did Democrats make gains across all
229 geograp hic areas (including strongholds in the mid Atlantic an d New England regions); but also significant gains in more conservative regions such as the south and mid west. Figure 7 2 Democratic regio nal d istribution: 2006 to 2007 In all, Pelosi and her followers were able to capitalize on the tremendous dissatisfaction that the voters had with President Bush and congressional Republicans from across the nation; in doing so, party leadership chose t o concurrently purs u e a national reform agenda, and to support a number of moderate candidates voicing a bi partisan tone. Taken together the Democrats seemed poised to take on a hybrid 2 : six p 2 House such as committee service, seniority, regional diversity, etc.; while concurrently continuing
230 significant support from the other side of the partisan aisle. They also pledged to do business differently inside Congress by bolstering ethics standards and enforcement, restoring pay as you go budget discipline, revi ving congressional oversight of the executive, improving civility between the parties, and returning to regular order in the legislative process (Mann and Ornstein, 2009 pp. 54 5) As seen in Figure 7 3 t his hybrid operational / cross regional campaign wa s quite successful: after more than a decade as the minority party in Congress, Democrats gained thirty seats in the House and six in the Senate enough to bring them control of both legislative chambers. Like Republicans in 1994, no Democratic incumbent lost re election. Given the se conditions and ambitions, would the Democratic party operate according to a hybrid organizational model now that they had returned to power? Figure 7 3 Regional distribution, Democratic House f reshmen: 2007 In many ways, the newly empowered Democrats in the first days of the 110 th Congress acted not in accord with a hybrid model, but in a manner similar to their Republican counterparts in the 104 th House Democrats elected Contract Pelosi acted on her election pledges
231 fire manner, the bills increased the minimum wage, implemented recommendations of the 9/11 Commission that President Bush had ignored, promoted stem cell research and drug price neg ot iations by the Medicare program, and cut tax benefits for energy and Oppenheimer, 2009 p p. 44). Even with this momentum, the moderate Steny Hoyer (perhaps as a result of having recruited ideologically moderate Freshmen). Pelosi chose to put the setback behind her, and sought to cultivate a course of teamwork between herself and fellow leaders (Pearson and Schickler, 2009). The new team was as follows: Majority Leader Hoyer MD, a moderate who could communicate across the caucus; Majority Whip James Clyburn SC, the highest ranking African American in the party; Democratic Caucus Chair Rahm Emanuel IL, a rising star with tremendous fundraising abilities and experience as a str ategist for the Clinton Administration; and Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Christopher Van Hollen MD, whom proved his value in moving several Democratic challengers successfully into GOP incumbent seats. Perhaps not the Gener al cohesive: Each of these Democratic leaders voted with the party more often than the their colleagues, fre quently attending their fund raisers and raising money candidates (Pearson and Schickler, 2009 pp. 175)
232 Consider ing these early successes and difficulties together, Dodd and Oppenheimer (2009) argue that Pelosi showed herself to be a pragmatist Speaker, able to take early her pa Regardless, the operational context in which the new House found itself remained polarized, subject to incongruent authority structures still in place from years past : President Bush and his veto pen remained in White House, Senator John M confront the same lessons learned by earlier House majorities who found their legislation stymied by a ag enda, the new majority faced difficulty even outright failure in achieving a major legislative victory (for example, on such issues as a time table for troop withdrawal in tem cell research, etc.). Sensing the tension, Republicans employed a tactic from the Democratic play book by attempting to define the 110 th With the short term electoral advantages of 2006 now behind them, a razor thin Democrat ic majority feared that political tumult might return the Republicans to power (Dodd and Oppenheimer, 2009 pp. 43 6). As a result, Pelosi and rank and file members abandoned earlier calls for civility, and began pushing for an aggressive party line stance that sought to use polarization as an electoral tool. As seen in Figure 7 4 ; while perha ps not as ideologically cohesive show in the young Democratic majority a negative relationship between the number of members in an i deological range, and the level of conservatism in that range; that is, as
233 liberalism decreased, so too did the number of members decrease. In comparison to 1994 3 strength is weaker than that of Republicans (that is, different ideological sub groups have greater parity in terms of numbers); nonetheless, the new majority was certainly more liberal than it was conservative. Figure 7 4 Democratic House ideological t rend: 2007 In a ll, the chances for significant change from politics as usual quickly diminished in the first session of the 110 th Congress 4 : Even though a clear and powerful rejection of the status quo in Washington was a necessary condition for mending the broken branc h, it was far from House ensured no letup in the permanent campaign. Both parties had ample incentive to use the legislative process to improve their political position for the 20 08 elections (Mann and Ornstein, 2009 pp. 55) 3 See Figure 3 6 4 One bright spot of these developments was a return to normalized oversight relations between Capitol Hill and the White House. With divided government again in place, the legislature had the political incentive necessary to challenge executive action (Mann and Orenstein, 2009)
234 The result of these developments, despite their campaign assurances, was a return to party governance in the Democratic House. In multiple ways, the new Democratic majority continued to employ the same ope rational model as had the Republicans in earlier years. Democratic leaders quickly learned that promises of bi partisanship and civility were a non starter in the House. In their limited success with the first 100 days agenda, Democrats opted to side line minority members even those who might not have been ideologically opposed to the overall direction of Democratic the Speaker remained highly involved in agenda setting, committee activity, and the overall legislative development process like Hastert and Gingrich before her, Pelosi directly negotiated the details of major legislation within the House caucus, with the Senate, and even with the Bush White House. Further, Spea ker Pelosi chose to conti nue undercut ting the authority of the committee system by keeping in place Republican initiated term limits on committee chairs 5 (Smith and Gamm, 2009). Further, with the south still much in Republican hands, the historical regional division within the Dem ocratic party diminished in the 110 th Congress. Overall (though not to as high a degree as with the Republican majority ) young House Democrats and Speaker Pelosi did not deviate greatly from the conditional party governance model employed by their Republi can predecessors: As the session progressed and agenda became more controversial, opposition tactics in the House and frustrations with the Senate led the House Democratic majority to embrace many of the same unorthodox means (circumventing standing commit tees, writing closed rules, using the 5 Though, it must be added that this continuance of diminished committee authority was somewhat most Democrat chaired all standing committees (Smith and Gamm 2009).
235 suspension calendar, waiving layover requirements, avoiding the conference process) that Republicans had employed to advance their agenda. The number and percentage of restrictive rules that Democratic leaders used to control debate and amending activity on the House floor rivaled the degree of control and departure from regular order that their Republican predecessors exercised (Mann and Ornst ein, 2009 pp. 60 1 emphasis ours ) While the characters were different, the narrative remained the same: Speaker Pelosi enjoyed a relatively cohesive and appreciative caucus, she was willing to stunt committee and minority involvement, and she focused the House strategy on achieving ideologically grounded reform. In total, the ne w Democratic party was leader and ideology driven in both agenda and process (Pearson and Schickler, 2009 pp. 167). The narrative remained the same in another way: Democrats having continued to utilize party governance to initiate their organizational s tructure, found themselves in a great deal of difficulty in the 110 th Congress. O n nearly every major issue especially withdrawal from Iraq the Democratic majority failed to accomplish its agenda. In fact, just as with the Republican majority in the fa ce of divided government Democrats were time and again forced to resort to omnibus bills in order to move any legislation forward. Iraq provides a good example of how this dynamic developed : Though ending the war and removing troops was a centerpiece of t he 2006 elections, the new Democratic majority was never successful in forcing a timeline of action. Given the realities of the ouse budgeting authority to follow a war spending Though Pelosi was able to cut deals with multiple members of her party in return for legislative support, the Democratic funding bill was ultimately vetoed because of its included troop withdrawal timeline. So as not be viewed by the electorate as
236 withholding money necessary for the safety of the troops, Democratic leaders bowed to presidential authority and decided to remove any bi nding benchmarks for the war. In response to the outrage voiced by many antiwar members and voters, Pelosi made several different attempts to separate funding and timeline resolutions, each of which were later altered by a filibustering Senate (Pearson and Schickler, 2009 pp. 168 170). As the Republicans of the 104 th Congress discovered, it is very difficult to manage the atter the unity of the majority. In these developments, we see t rends within the 110 th Congress similar to that of the pattern and resulting difficulties experienced between the 1995 to 2000 period of divided government and party governance under Republican leadership. Taken together the early days of the new Democrat ic majority looked much lik e those faced by their conservative counterparts Despite the acrid political climate, the Democratic majority found its salvation in a number of external events that enhanced their political chances in the 2008 general elec tion: first, the continued unpopularity of the Bush Administration; second, the infectious charisma of the Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama; third, an economic collapse blamed by many upon Republican deregulation policies. Though House Democrat s were unable to force President Bush to change direction in Iraq, troop withdrawal remained a top priority with many liberal and independent voters. In reaction, leading candidates for the 2008 Democratic nomination took stands against the war though to differing degrees. Most notably, the debate fell to frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama: having originally voted to authorize the war in Iraq,
237 Senator Clinton was hampered throughout primaries on this fundamental issue. On the other hand, Senato r Obama, having entered the Senate years after the Iraq war began, stated that he had always disagreed with the President on the issue, and would pull the troops out of the region if elected president. In the end, primary voters chose to support arismatic vision and his calls for dramatic change in Washington. T his hard line policy touted by Obama in the primaries became somewhat of an object to overcome in the general campaign. With the Republican nomination of John McCain a decorated Vietnam veteran and POW Americans began taking note of the Iraqi insurgent forces. Like 2004, the 2008 presidential election was shaping up to be a referendum on Iraq and the broader w ar on terrorism. Sensing the tension over international policy, congressional Republicans sought to bolster their election efforts by focusing on domestic issues, specifically the growing U.S. economy. Claiming that their policies of tax cuts, deficit spen ding on the war, and deregulation of industrial and corporate interests had stimulated a new era of U.S. economic expansion (particularly in the face of terrorist threats), Republicans hoped that a strong housing, job, and stock m arket at the end of the Bu sh presidency would translate into support for their domestic agenda. Though most political candidates and observers going into the late summer of 2008 believed that Iraq and economic growth would become the focal points of the elections, none had predicte d the crisis that would engulf the nation and broader world. lined. For decades, deregulation policies in the United States had allowed for the use of so fort to boost home ownership rates in the nation.
238 Financial institutions at home and around the world saw the profitability of these risky transactions, and began flooding the home market with adjustable rate mortgages, one hundred percent financing produc ts, and other dicey schemes that placed millions of individuals in homes that they could not afford. Coupled with the practice of mortgage backed securities, this expansion was extremely dangerous; yet, regulators allowed the practice that was seemingly ge nerating a new era of economic prosperity. In the end, the bubble was unsustainable and drove the U.S. and other industrialized nations into near depression. A combination of skyrocketing gas prices and rising unemployment in the summer of 2008 acted as ca talysts suddenly, more and more people were unable to afford payments on their homes, especially those with adjustable rates. Home prices plummeted causing easy credit, the lubricant of the economy, to vanish without warning: Mortgage defaults were occur ring so widely, and housing prices in the United States were falling so fast, that many of the most reputable financial firms in the nation and the world faced imminent collapse when mortgages they held in the United States lost much of their value. Such a collapse, in crippling the solvency of banks, insurance companies, and the mortgage industry, threatened a financial meltdown that could almost overnight throw the world into prolonged depression (Dodd and Oppenheimer, 2009 pp. 422) With this shift in th e operational environment of Congress and the White House came a shift in the election of 2008 one that would seal the fate of both political parties. Having branded themselves as the party of the very deregulation, tax cuts, and deficit spending polici es that many believed were the cause of the financial crisis, earlier Republican arguments that showcased the Bush era economy became electoral wounds for GOP candidates across the nation. Further, perhaps not understanding the reality or severity of the c ollapse, House Republicans in September of 2008 attempted to block President Bush from working with Democrats to pass a crucially vital bi partisan
239 economic rescue plan. Week by week the economic news worsened, and the American voter looked for a new hope independent (and even many conservative) voters disenchanted with the politics of the 200 0s Like the election of with the imminent collapse of life opportunities, and reinforcing the sense of governing incompetence that had haunted the Republicans in the 2006 elections, the sadness and seriousness of the cri sis brought Democrats their first united party government since and Oppenheimer, 2009 pp. 422). Like the Republicans before, Democrats benefited electorally from a national crisis. In all, the party increased in majority, gaining twenty one se ats in the House, and seven seats in the Senate. Further, the nation once again returned to unified government as Obama took the oath of office in January of 2009. A Return to Unified Government cal period, the Democratic party stumbled throughout the 111 th Congress, and Republicans returned to power in 2010 in what many conservatives argue was a mid term election against President Obama. While these events are quite recent and scholarship has not had the distance or data to consider them fully, we attempt a preliminary investigation of the 111 th Congress, its developmental dynamics, and discuss how this experience informs our broader analysis of legislat ive development As the 111 th Congress open economic crisis was not yet fully understood by congressional members and President Obama. Compounding the issue, Democratic majorities remained comparatively sl im.
240 T hese issues may have been somewhat am eliorated by growing regional homogeneity of House Democratic members: With the s outh in Republican hands (McCain won southern states by an average of seven percentage points), Democrats had become an Eastern and Western party (Obama in these regions won b y twenty one and fourteen percentage points, respectively) (Balz, 2009). As seen in Table 7 1 ; the mid Atlantic, mid west, and Pacific regions had become the main hubs for Democratic representation. With a more regionally cohesive party and an ideologicall y friendly White House in place, the Democrats entered the political unknown with multiple options at their disposal. Table 7 1 Regional d istribution, House Democrats: 2007 2010 Region 2007 2008 2009 2010 Average Size Pacific 46 47 47 47 18.29% Plains and Rocky Mountains 11 15 13 13 5.06% Border States 18 22 22 20 7.99% Mid West 45 55 52 52 19.88% The South 43 51 49 50 18.82% Mid Atlantic 49 56 57 57 21.36% New England 21 23 22 22 8.60% Gesturing towards these possibilities, Dodd and Oppenheimer (2009 pp. 431 2) s tate that the party could choose between two general strategies at the start of 2009. The first would be to move quickly on a substantial reform agenda tha t domestically included historic heal thcare and environmental legislation and in ternationally the ending of the Iraq war. This reform optio n was preferred by ideological members of the House, many of whom believed that these issues were at the root of the economic c ollapse On the other hand, some advocated a slower, long term approac h that was more bi partisan in nature. Such a strategy would encompass a series of stimulus packages that
241 provided funds to public works projects and ailing industries, and broader financial support unemployment benefits, foods stamps, etc. for those c itizens out of work Once the economic crisis settled, more ambitious reform could be sought. Each option came with risk: moving quickly and unilaterally risked uniting Republicans in opposition of reform, moving slowly and with bi partisanship risked miss ing momentum and opportunity for change. By and large, Democrats began with the second approach, passing a second $787 billion bail out to fund infrastructure revitalization and to save industries such as General Motors in the first months of the Obama Ad ministration. As the party moved forward, Democrats began taking on more controversial issues most specifically, healthcare reform in an effort to sus tain momentum for policy change. Yet, as the party pushed through historical reform, the unpredictabil ity of crisis undercut their electoral future. Nearly a year since taking office, Obama was still facing a sputtering economy despite the efforts of a second series of bailouts. Claiming that the primary causal factor of individual bankruptcy was uninsure d medical care, Obama pressed forward on the broadest expansion of healthcare reform since the Clinton Administration in 1993. While passage of the reform bill was successful in fact, the reform was not only the m the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011), but also the most substantial overhaul of healthcare since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid coaster year of negotiations, political combat, hearings delving into the minuti ae of health care, and a near death political experience (New York Ti mes Editorial Board, 2011). T he Obama White House chose to let
242 Congress have a substantial amount of influence in the creation and development of the bill. This action resulted in the development of three separate bills: (1) in the House, a public option plan that included a tax on higher income earners and penalties for businesses that did not insure th plan in favor of bipartisan support. The th ree bills were immediately viewed by liberal supporters as either too confusing or too limited, and by conservative detractors as a government takeover of medicine. Town hall meetings began springing up across the country, criticizing the President and Dem ocratic members of Congress. Republican political actors and conservative commentators (as they had done in 1993 4) pounced on the President with a series of messages that demonized the prop osed legislation some going so far as to co actions akin to those in Nazi Germany. The vitriol ran so high that when the President Obama gave a speech to a joint session of Congress in September, House Republican Joe Wilson interrupted the Chief began to fear that he had lost control of the reform effort, just as had President Clinton nearly twenty years before (New York Times Editorial Board, 2011). Elector ally, these actions against health care reform seemed to be working. healthcare reform efforts, the first cracks for the majority became apparent in 2009 nd New Jersey. In each case, the election broke for Republican candidates: Robert McDonnell and
243 Chris Christie, respectively (Balz, 2009). As a result, Democratic moderates in the House grew increasingly wary that support for the reform would harm their re election efforts in 2010. Promising that she would allow these so reconsider the bill in conference committee with the Senate, Speaker Pelosi was able to persuade just enough members to pass a last minute reform bill on Nove mber 7 th with a 220 215 divided vote. It was unclear when the Senate would take up the House resolution, and what changes it would make (CNN Politics, 2009). Before bringing the bill to a vote, Majority Leader Reid was forced to consider multiple legislat ive changes to acquire a 60 vote minimum necessary to prevent a Republican filibuster in the Senate. To maintain quorum, Reid dropped any expansion of Medicare to those under 65 (to appease Senator Lieberman) and removed language that would strip the insur ance industry of its anti trust exemption (to gain the support of Senator Nelson). The altered bill passed on a 60 39 party line vote following twenty five days of debate and negotiation. Unfortunately for Democrats, matters were greatly complicated by the death of Senator Ted Kennedy. In a reproach against the reform legislation that critics were replace Kennedy. Such an action would allow Republicans to employ a filibuster wh en legislation returned from the House in conference. Congressional Democrats seemed to be in a no win situation. Obama made a final from reform. Not now. Not when we are so
244 Occurring on February 25 th the meeting was a non starter: Republicans refused to support the reform effort and promised a filibuster, and Democrats threatened to utilize an unpopular budget reconciliation bill an action that under Sen ate rules requires only a majority vote In the end, Repub licans called the Democrats bluff, and leaders chose to force the reform through the Senate via highly controversial reconciliation rules: Republicans railed against the tactic, saying Democrats were using a ugh; Democrats replied by listing all the major bills the Republicans had passed via reconciliation when they were in the majority, including the Medicare drug plan and both Bush tax cuts (New York Times Editorial Board, 2011) In the end, the bill passed t he House 220 207 and the Senate 56 43. President Obama signed the controversial legislation March 23 rd 2010. Together, it was claimed by the President that the new law would expand healthcare coverage to thirty two million uninsured Americans, would cost $940 billion over ten years (but would be paid for by only those Americans earning more than $250,000 per year), and would reduce the federal deficit by $1.2 trillion dollars over a twenty year period (Jackson and Nolen, 2010). Regardless of the President outraged. In particular, a grassroots movement of anti government conservatives who began to coalesce against perceived gro wth in national debt, taxation, and governmental social welfare programs. A self described decentralized outcry against government, this group the primacy of th does pursue a platform focused upon federal spending: It demands fiscal policies that limits government, restrains spending, and promotes market reforms for social
245 programs; it rallies against government support of healthcare, any form of tax hikes, and federal regulation of businesses via cap and trade policies and the like (Armey and Kibbe, 2010). T he Tea Party does not classify itself as a Republican sub group; in fact, by fielding i ts own group of candidates, the grassroots movement successfully challenged a number of Republican incumbents in 2010 primary races in states including New York, Delaware, Colorado, Nevada, Kentucky, and Alaska (Muskal, 2010). The victories of these deeply conservative candidates over long standing Rep. Mike Castle of Deleware, raised questions not only about the vulnerability of ut the unity of the GOP. This is not to say that House Republicans were not seeking to take advantage of House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio and other party leaders in troduced in the weeks building up to the election a pseudo Contract Pledge was similar to its 1994 counterpart in that Republicans propo sed a variety of ideas that would reform congressional operations. Briefly, the Pledge sought to require Congress to cite the specific constitutional authority that undergirds each piece of legislation, to make sure that legislative measures are passed ind ividually rather than collectively, to make open committee meetings, and to reduce spending on legislative operations. As to specific policies, the Pledge promised to hold votes that would overturn newly passed healthcare reforms, keep in place Bush era ta x cuts, freeze the hiring of federal employees, end increases to most domestic spending programs, and
246 prevent any future spending under the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP). The Pledge was different from the Contract in certain respects: it was not in troduced with the fan fair Gingrich employed in 1994, candidates were not forced to publicly sign the document, it did not propose any new term limits, and focused more on security and anti terrorism funding (Bacon, 2010). Continued economic d istress, a c ontentious and controversially passed health care reform law, and growing federal debt all weighed heavily on the public opinion of President Obama and the electoral viability of congressional Democrats as the 2010 midterm election loomed. Polls indicated t reversed: whereas Obama won the popular vote by a 53 % to 46 % margin and the House Democrats by an average of 54 % to 43 % ; data in the weeks running up the November midterm showed Republicans leading on a generic ballot que ) by an average of 49 % to 42 % All together, it was projected that 90 Democratic held House seats were at risk (Whitesides, 2010). Looking at these conditions in the days be fore the vote, likely to win more perhaps many more than the 39 seats they need for a majority in the House and might, if they get lucky, win the 10 seats they need for a majority in the nd 2010 these predictions came to fruition as the Republicans swept the Democrats and returned as the majority party in the House of Representatives (though they failed to take a majority in the Senat e) In total, Republican incumbents lost in only two races (Charles Djou of Hawaii, and Joseph Cao of Louisiana) and the party gained 63 seats from districts across the nation. Perhaps
247 hardest hit were first and s econd term House Democrats, who Pelosi had hoped in 2006 and 2008 would represent the beginning of a new era for the party (Tumulty, 2010). Considering the Democratic House, 2007 to 2010 In several ways, the short tenure of the Democrats in the post Revolution House mirrors that of the first and s econd halve s of the Republicans In their first two years, though they had adopted party governance based upon the electoral success of leadership and a certain degree of ideological unity 6 the Democrats were operating in an environment of divided govern ment. Like their conservative counterparts from 1995 2000, the new majority f aced a separation of powers hurd le that consistently hampered their efforts. As had Republicans in 1995 1996, the Democrats pursued a controversial and ideologic ally driven agenda that being immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq a volatile policy choice that was external to their direct control. Like President Clinton before him, President Bush was able to employ the powers at his disposal to prevent the Speaker and broader Hous e leadership from claiming their objective. Despite their unity (though not to the same degree as Republicans), Democrats experience d the same difficulties as had Republicans in their first period as the majority. The second half of their tenure was also related to that of the GOP. Similar to the gains made by Republicans in the aftermath of 9/11, Democrats were advantaged in 2008 by an economic crisis that reshaped their operational environment. In this return to unified government, House members (whether they wanted it or not) were attached to 6 See Figure 7 4 and the discussion of the efforts by Pelosi and other party leaders. In comparison to Republicans in 1995 and 2002, levels of ideological unity were strong for Democrats as they re entered majority status, though not as strong as earlier conservatives.
248 surrounding healthcare reform, members re sponded by disassociation and localization away from party leaders Like the ir 2006 election counterpart the 2010 mid terms were much a referendum on the politics of the Obama Administration and Democratic party leadership Figure 7 5 Developmental dynamics, o verall Democratic House: 2007 2010 As seen in Figure 7 5 though there was relati ve parity between ideological sub groups throughout the 110 th Speaker and later their popular presidential candidate in 2008 Believing that victory was within their grasp in the general electio n new calls for removing the troops from Iraq and providing legislation for universal healthcare rang out at numerous political rallies. Yet, as the young President would struggle in his first months in office, many Democratic House members abandoned a de eply liberal stance (as seen by the 10), taking on a more moderate ideological
249 10) in fear that an unpopular president would harm their electoral chances in his first mid term. Figure 7 6 Democratic House ideological t rend: 2010 In all, while their experiences are not exactly the same, we see enough similarities between the two majorities t o again question the sustainability of party governanc e as a model for House operations. In both periods of the Democratic experience, the results were much like those of the Republicans before: policy failure (i.e. no troop removal), disunity (following soured healthcare reform), and eventual electora l failu re. W e can also say that the ideological trend of the Democrats was similar to that of the Republicans 7 : as seen in Figure 7 6 at the end of their tenure as majority, the ideological spectrum of the Democrats was much more normalized than that of the part y in 2007 8 W e take caution in making hard line inferences from this much too recent 7 See Figures 5 9 and 6 9 8 See Figure 7 4
250 experience; regardless, o ur narrative and initial data allow s us to posit gestures that help inform and support our broader analysis of governance in the post Revolution H ouse Republicans Return to Power: A Return to Party Governance in the House? As the dust settled, Obama looked much like Clinton two decades before him: rebuked at the mid point of his first term following a controversial (though this time successful) push for healthcare legislative reform now facing an opposition majority in the House Further, the new House majority seemingly swept into power with the same force of Gingrich Revolution in the early 199 0s in fact, the Republicans won more seats in 20 10 than they had under Gingrich. The question for many congression al scholars and observers is whether or not 2010 will turn out to be 1994 repeated. Though we are still in the midst of this momentous change, we can posit certain similarities and differenc most important co mparison between the 1994 and 2010 elections is that despite the lar ger margin of victory, there is an absence of a political revolu tion on several levels: 2010 did not have a Ging rich figure that united a disjointed party stuck decades in the minority, the campaign did not present a unifying national platform to the degree of the Contract regional shifts in ideological and leadership perspective were not as pronounced, and the par ty itself faced internal division from a new group radical the 2010 mid term election does not seem at the outset t o be the Revolution for the GOP that had occurred decade s earlier. Looking first at the way the party won, while Gingrich spent years building his majority from the ground up through candidate recruitment, training, and policy
251 development; current leaders inherited much of their caucus and legislative agenda. F urther, while Bill Clinton was certainly a target in 1994, the Revolution sought to move beyond a single president and towards a carte blanch e reformation and restructuring of federal institutions and national governance. On the other hand, 2010 presented a more aggressive attack on one person in its focus on defeating Barack Obama and overturning his agenda. There was a thirst for change in the wake of economic worry and controversial legislation, but it was not so much a public commitment to wholes ale ref orm as it was a rebuke of Obama policy. Beyond campaign focus, the leadership team itself is different. Compared to Gingrich and DeLay, leaders seem to be less in the spotlight, more willing to take a decreased vocal role. Also, whereas team Gingrich wa s regionally homogeneous, the new party leadership consisting of John Boehner OH as Speaker, Eric Cantor VA as Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy CA as Majority Whip, Jeb Hensarling TX as Conference Chairman, and Tom Price GA as Policy Committee Chairman is somewhat more regionally diverse in its representation. Further, there is ideological division within the party leadership structure: whereas Boehner has shown himself willing to work with the Obama Administration, Cantor has aligned himself with ideolo gically uncompromising Tea Partiers. Regardless of these dif ferences between 1994 and 2010, leaders did take advantage of the challenges facing the nation to unite their party members and voters During the campaign, leadership funneled millions of dollar s to various candidates in competitive districts: the National Republican Congressional Committee raised more than $107 million for its House candidates, spent $54 million on television advertising in 90 different districts across the nation, and funded th e costs for 358 field staffers to
252 manage campaigns in each of the congressional districts targeted by the GOP (Par kinson, 2010). I f placed back into power, leaders indicated that they would be willing fight the President to ensure passage of their supposed mandate. These threats included shutting down the government and refusing to increase the national debt limit if the President would not agree to spending cuts and policy change. Regionally, both party leadership and victorious challengers too k on a somew hat more diverse perspective Whereas gains were made predominately in the south in 1994, gains were made across the nation in 201 0 in fact, as seen in Figure 7 7 there were an equal number of seats picked up in the mid west as in the south, and substan tial gains were made in the more moderate mid Atlantic. Figure 7 7 Regional distribution, Republican f reshmen: 2011 Perhaps the most interesting development that differentiates 1994 from 2010 is the potential for internal disunity As we saw at the en d of their tenure in 2006,
253 ideological cohesion within the party began to degenerate as individual members scrambled to position themselves for re election. These divides have since been compounded by the growth of the ultra Party Patriot response to growing national debt, economic bail out packages, and Obama Administration reform policies (most specifically healthcare). Though many supporters of the movement may have affiliated with Republicans in the past, this groundswel l was also created in reaction to perceived failure in the GOP during the Clinton and later Bush years. In fact, when it comes to competing against Republicans in primary races, the and Ki bbe, 2010). Specifically era, Tea Party candidates successfully chal lenged Republican incumbents in a number of races ac ross the nation: The tea party rejected [Bush] Administration spending, overreach and immigration proposals, among other items, and has become only too willing to say so. In doing this, the tea party allowed the Republican establishment itself to get out from streak, is not only anti government, but also largely secular in its focus. I n rallying against the policies of Republican incumbents, the Tea Party did not show a grea t deal of public support for evangelical groups within the GOP: The rise of a new conservative grass roots fueled by a secular revulsion at government spending is stirring fears among leaders of the old conservative grass roots, the evangelical Christian r ight. A reeling economy and the massive bank bailout and stimulus plan were the triggers for a resurgence in support for the Republican Party and the rise of the tea party movement. eva
254 While some in the movement argued that a third party should be formed, candidates instead chose to seek nomination in Republican primaries, runni ng against both the policies of the Obama Administration and earlier GOP. Tea Party candidates experienced a large degree of success in primary and general election victories, so large in fact that some pundits went as far as to claim that t he Republican victory in the House was the product of Tea Party efforts: Though Democrats barnstormed into Congress in huge numbers over the reaching legislation passed under the current admin istration fueled a crop of candidates vowing to bring a renewed model of small government conservatism to Washington. The most visible and vocal driver of that political breed has been the Tea Party, which aggravated several GOP primary contests by backing non establishment candidates who, in many in getting Republicans out to the polls (FOX News editorial board, 2010) Calculating exact numbers of Tea Party candidate victories is difficu lt as affiliation was a declaration of ideas rather than with an official party other than Republican but based upon Tea Party Conference endorsement, estimates account that Tea Party candidates where responsible for ten new seat victories in the House and five in the Senate (Shoichet and race), the grassroots movement claimed victory and a mandate in the legislature. Mark Meckler, co founder of the Tea Party Patriots movement went as far as to state that success meant more than victory over Obama, but victory over establishm ent
255 ld our and Travis, 2010). What does this victory mean for governance in the 112 th Congress? While it is too early to make definitive arguments, the day after the election portended an interesting future for congressional Republicans. In his press conference after it became known that the House would return to Republican hands, future Speaker John Boehner spending instead of increasing it, reduc ing the size of government instead of increasing Tea Party movement, it was clear to House party leadership that this junior group would certainly be a force within the leg islative process. How far the group would push the Repu blicans to the right in a period of divided government remains an evolving question. When asked if gridlock and stalemate would reign, Rand Paul newly elected Senator of Kentucky and Tea Party hero Despite this statement, and two very close calls i n the summer of 2011, gridlock has remained a threat rather than absolute certainty. With difficult political issues and a struggling economy still on the horizon, what lessons would (and should) congressional Republicans take from the developmental dynamics of their history as they moved forward again as House majority? It is to this question and our normative response that we take up in our conclusion
256 CHAPTER 8 CONCLUSION : LESSONS LEARNED? Bec ause the House worked its will Speaker Boehner, in res ponse to why the Hous e and President Obama agreed to continuing resolutions during 2011 budget negotiations. Republicans in a New E ra: 1995 Repeated? As Republicans have once more become the majority party in the House following a sweeping electio n, will they again seek to employ party governance as their operational model? The early evidence remains mixed. Signs that the parties could work together came as early as the economic crash of 2008. Despite years as bitter rivals, Republicans and Democrats came together in a decisive manner in attempting to defuse the crisis, and did so in the face of apprehension among members of both parties. Republican leaders faced the toughest time with the issue though minority leader Boehner was never able to corral a m ajority of Republica ns, he was able to ensure bi economic rescue plan. As the Republicans returned to power in 2010 Obama appealed executive relations in a n ew period of divided government (Associated Press, 2010). Reiterating this message, newly elected Speaker Boehner stated that it was one of his top priorities to lower the partisan pressure in the House and to avoid a government shutdown over the budget: Boehner has said he hopes to avoid a government shutdown. He was in the Republican leadership in 1995 when Gingrich forced the last one, and he remembers and Newton Small, 2010). Further, President Obam a in the weeks after the election invited Boehner and other congressional leaders from both parties to the White House to discuss the economy, tax
257 cuts, unemployment insurance, and the passage of a new nuclear arms treaty with Russia (Grier, 2010). While t here were heated debates in the lame duck session, the Obama Administration and the House Republicans were able to achieve enough compromise so as to find consensus on divisive Bush era t a lame end of the congressional session for President liken to a second stimulus bill that will juice the economy and reduce serving 2010) T hese compromises on the part of the House and President did not necessarily indicate a move ment away from party governance. D espite these moves to the middle, the battle lines had already been drawn: Just as in 1995, if the House and President could not come up with agreement or comprise for the federal budget, the national government would shut down. As the 112 th Congress was being sworn in, members and the nation alike were looking to March 4 th 2011, the day that if a budget deal could not be made the nation would again experience government shutdown at the hands of a Republican House and D Speaker Boehner reiterated what many had already concluded: the House was prepared to go toe to toe with the President. Interestingly, the House leadership may not have be en as hard line as these words (an d those quoted above) indicated. I n the coming weeks, a series of continuing resolutions were agreed upon, effectively postponing shutdown. In each of the resolutions, cuts were a compromise between the legislative and exe cutive rivals:
258 As approved Feb. 19, the House passed package of spending cuts proposed to reduce nonemergency appropriations this year by $1.026 a shutdown, the second of which will expire next Friday. In each case, savings have been included that make up a $10 billion down payment toward what both sides hope will be a final deal soon (Rogers and Sherman, 2011) I deological zealots within the Republican House still argued that these cuts did not go far enough and they were willing to shutdown the government to prove their point. It seemed that 2011 was going to be 1995 repeated. Yet, the context today is differen t than in years past: yes, there was a large election sweep, but there was also division (though loud) is somewhat independent of the broader conservative House caucus bot h in terms of their election status and their ideological rigidity. Unlike 1994 in which leadership image, Speaker Boehner and the Tea Party Freshman do not have these ties in fact, they ma y be in opposition of each other: GOP lawmakers need to do Thursday is walk outside the Capitol, where per haps hundreds of tea party protesters will be urging congressional House Speaker Boehner will quietly try to figure out how to negotiate emocrats and President Obama (Cogan and Sherman, 2011) This division is further evidenced by the discord displayed between Boehner (who looks to be more moderate willing to work with the President) and Majority Leader Cantor (who looks to be more cons ervative term continuing resolution,
259 the full $61 bi and Sherman, 2011). In the end, though the two sides took the debate to the very edge, the House and President were able to come to a last minute compromise that pulled the nation back from the brink of shutdown. Why? With the Tea Party demanding deep cutbacks across the board, why would Republicans compromise? We cannot say for certain, but perhaps the Republican leadership and broader majority lea rned the lessons of their history; that is, having experienced dramatic defeat on the same issue in a similar environmental context over a decade before, Republicans may have taken on a more moderate approach to legislating. As Dodd and Oppenheimer stated a decade ago, competing forms of rational behavior may arise and result in more muted, complicated forms of partisanship. The compromise over the budget shows that maybe the House is moving away from its Revolution past and towards a more moderate form of partisanship. From our analysis over the preceding chapters, we think this is a good thing. Other evidence by members of the Tea Party themselves shows that even these modern e editors of Newsweek and The Daily Beast (October, 2011), many of the most visible Tea Partiers have shown their desire for constituency specific pork projects: Majority Leader Cantor has sought out funding for high speed rail for his district, Governor R ick
260 Te companies in his home state of Ohio. Other members of the Republican congressional caucus privately seeking federal monies for projects they publically deride include House Maj ority Whip Kevin McCarthy; House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton; Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa; Representatives Alan West, Ron Paul, Mike Enzi, and Steve King; and Senator John McCain. Yet, with deeply troubling issu es such as the conflict in Afghanistan and Libya, and unrelenting economic distress; only time will tell if Republicans adopt a new operational model in the House. House Governance, 1994 2010: Our Criticism of CP G A Madisonian View Over the previous six chapters, we have employed a historical institutionalist methodological framework to construct a developmental narrative account of the Republi can (and later Democratic) House to understand the way in which governance within this institution has changed overtime. From this contemporary American Political Development analysis, we have criticized the sustainability of conditional party governance a s a model for legislative operations in the House: because it fails to consider the limitations of leadership and the shifting nature of the congressional operational environment, we argue that the model presents a contextually dependent illusion of party strength. This analysis represents an endorsement and contribution to the alternative model of constructive partisanship: Despite increased institutional authority, we have shown that parties must be aware not only of the threats presented by cross cutting issues (as indicated by Dodd and Oppenheimer), but also the
261 combined threats of leadership failure and inevitable change in relation to shifting environmental operational contexts. lusion of sustained party authority. In seeking to break from past legislative politics, the Republican reforms enacted in 1995 that enhanced party leadership and weakened committee autonomy remained present throughout each Congress since the 104 th When c ontexts were favorable, parties attempted to utilize the reforms in employing party governance so as to take advantage of these conditions. Yet, the advantage gained was only possible in the short term. In each case for the Republican House (and to a certa in degree in the Democratic), we show this initial choice was unwise: despite enhanced authority, the move towards party governance would overtime result in political turmoil as leaders failed to behave appropriately and/or the operational context (tha t had once benefited the ideologically rigid parties) shifted to become inhospitable. The Rhode Aldrich camp is correct: there has been increased ideological homogeneity, there has been increased leadership authority, and these factors have coalesced since the early 199 0s ; but we show that each of these conditions are dependent upon unique political moments in time. Moreover, each condition is highly unstable; fluctuating in a pattern we show to be repeatedly unfavorable for the majority that seeks to empl oy the operational model of party governance. As such, our thesis from a historical institutionalism, political development perspective represents a criticism of the sustainability of conditional party governance in the U.S. House of Representatives. W e argue that a party desiring to retain its majority status ought not seek to embrace party
262 governance, but rather a moderated operational structure of balance, stability, and productivity. Our thesis is squarely grounded in a Madisonian system of American federal institut ions too unstable, that the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties, and that measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justic e and rights of the Madison foreshadows in Federalist 10 the dangers that arise in a governing system dominated by one particular ideological objective (1999 pp. 45). Madis on argues that faction in a free and heterogeneous society is a natural occurrence (unless, of course, liberty is removed or the citizenry is given the same opinions and interests the first cond option both as impractical as it is unwise). Madison argues that centralization of interests is a real and potentially dangerous possibility, given certain conditions. Because the causes of m everywhere brought in to those who both study and practice politics must be aware that social volatility increases as acrimony condenses (1999 pp. 47). Madison wr ites that centralized passions have, much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co operate for their pp. 47). The greater the centraliza tion of passion and interest; then, the greater the volatility faced pp.
263 conditional centralization of interest is a political possibility, but that this centralization is unsustainable as it makes social organizations proportionally more volatile. Regardless, Madison argues that faction can be both controlled and used as a tool to pr omote liberty itself. Thoug h his concern in Federalist Paper 10 was the advantage of a large republic in controlling the violent tendency of faction, i arguments to an institutional context of associated th ough divergent individuals in our case, the House of Re presentat ives and its two major parties interesting theories about organizational relationships begin to take shape; especially as those theories pertain to our findings concerning the developmental dynamics of the Republican majority in an era of party governance. Simply put, the characteristics associated with adverse to sustainable governance. Take for example the role of leadership While conditional party gover nment highlights a stronger role for party leadership, Madison encourages that one takes clashing interests and render them all subservient to the public good. Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm pp. 48 emphasis ours ). If such is the es of leadership fai lure and its negative effect on ran k and file members: whether it is government shutdowns, impeachment, an unpopular war, ethical scandal, or bungled ces in a hierarchal homogeneous organization are often harmed. The solution Madison
264 seeks for controlling these issues within org anizations is startling: enhanced leadership authority is not the answer to strife. Rather, it is the inclusion of more and mor e factions into the organization: Extend the sphere and you take in a greater variety of parties and interests; you make it less probable that a majority of the whole will have a common motive to invade the rights of other citizens; or if such a common mot ive exists, it will be more difficult for all who feel it to discover their own strength and act in unison with each other (1999 pp. 51) The point here advocated by Madison is that a strong reliance on leadership and high levels of organizational centrali zation cannot be depended upon as a method of institutional association first, good leaders are hard to find; second, those in leadership positions often work to foment agendas or interests particular to a narrow cause failure on which is detrimental t o the broader organization. In conjunction with a separation of powers system, centralized leadership and high levels of polarization present for Madison and us an impracticable and uncertain organization al mode l. From the lessons learned via our analy sis of the Republican experience, we argue for a Madisonian view of congressional operations; that is, we advocate an organizational structure which encourages increased competition of ideas rather than rigid ideological doctrine. The lesson for the post Revolution House is straightforward: As the parties enter ed into majority status ( or as Madison might put it, exte nded their sphere of influence), adopting an organizational structure that encouraged strong party leadership, increased intraparty ideologic al homogeneity, and amplified inte rparty polarization was not a wise choice. As a party takes on institutional control in becoming the majority n you extend your sphere of influence, you take
265 difficult as one moves forward through time i n an ever changing environment. Having failed to heed the warning of Federalist 10, recent House majorities have suffered this painful lesson. I n founding their organizational structure upon strong party leadership and ideological rigidity the parties pla ced themselves upon a very precarious, and as we have demonstrated unsustainable path The conditional party government model and our thesis present diverging viewpoints on partisan organization within political institutions. On the one hand, the Rhode Aldrich camp argue that given proper conditions most specifically increased ideological homogeneity within parties and increased ideological heterogeneity between them rank and file members will be more willing to place trust in their party leadership As such, the theory argues that parties will become more centralized both in terms of organization and policy preference. While we have shown that parties in the contemporary Congress did attempt to follow this model in certain contexts, its sustainabili ty was fleeting. This dissertation has found due to leadership failure and shifting operational conditions that this initial choice becomes increasingly constraining overtime; as such, the model is unsustainable. Employing our developmental narrative and originally collected empirical data; t his dissertation argues that our thesis can be applied as a critique against party governance: we have shown that long platform and internal workings are dominated by one ideological perspective to such a degree that the party becomes inflexible in the face of an ever changing political arena
266 I n the case of contemporary parties and the viability of party governance, the issue for congressional scholars durin g the post Revolution era has and ti majorities Other camps see this assumption of permanent partisanship as highly problematic. C onditional party governance may b e a n accurate explanation for the House in certain contexts ; regardless, conditional party governance as a model for legislative behavior both sets the stage for governmental inaction, and places the party in power in a very tenuous political position with voters: Strong and polarized parties in Congress are seen as the culprit, not the solution to policy inaction. Watching the endless partisan squabbles and poor policy performance on Capitol Hill, the nation now yearns for a n end to polarized politics for greater ideological compatibility between the parties that will aid cross party negotiations and for policy centrists in Congress who will push policy compromise (Dodd and Schraufnagel, 2009 pp. 395) Such re alities lead t his alternative camp to attest that the normative attributes of moderated party governance provide a better model for legislative parties in power: mixed government could well reach policy decisions in a more electorally responsive, broadly informed, deliberative, and yet party based manner than is the case for either Dodd and Schraufnagel, 2009 pp. 414). O ur analysis over the proceeding chapters supp ort s this very argument. B y adopting a party governance model in 1994 and then reaff irming it again following the 9/ 11 terrorist attacks, the early choices made by House Republicans help to explain the limited legislative accomplishments of the conservativ e Revolution and the ir relatively short tenure as the majority party in Congress. Our analysis take
267 model to its next step: we show that not only has intraparty ideological unity (a primary condition for party governance) fluctuated wit h time; moreover, we have shown that it does so in response to leadership folly and shifting external conditions for which the rigid operational mo argument of limited policy success in combination with our analysis of party deve lopmental dynamics we believe helps scholarship to further understand the limits of party governance in the House. Summary Aldrich, Rhode, and other adherents to their academic camp continue to argue that the contemporary Congress remains defined by t he conditions necessary for party governance. Citing the continuation of partisan structures and preference homogeneity that have sought to centralize the House since the 199 0s this camp claims an accurate description of the post Revolution House (Aldrich and Rhode, 2009) Yet, our analysis raises a number of critical issue s concerning party governance (first) as an explanatory theory and (second) its sustainability as an operational model. As to the first, whereas intraparty ideological homogeneity is a p party governance, we have shown repeated patterns of development in which intraparty homogeneity has fluctuated overtime in response to crisis (often of its own creation). At some junctures, ideological homoge neity increases; at others, it decreases. This fluctuation overtime has lead to our second issue: party governance has shown itself to be heavily dependent on sustained leadership acumen and favorable operat ional context We have shown that when strengthen ed leaders fail or when the political context shifts, the choices made early on by members become s increasingly problematic with time.
268 As stated by Smith and Gamm (2009 pp. 162), the conditional party governance the institutional context and the forces that environment, context matters. In the case of the House, our pa th dependency per spective states that when groups habitua te themselves to a chosen operational model, these decisions may later prove restrictive on future actions. Alluded t o in the conclusion of Chapter 2 Our hunch is that centralization occurs when the parties are polarized, elector al conditions are favorable to the majority party, and the institutional context permits control of legislative outcomes by a centralized majority party pp. 162 emphasis ours). We argue that our analysis over the preceding pages provides a great deal of support to t these scholars and others cautious of party governance in particular, we argue for a reconsideration of party governance via our criticisms and the alternatives provided the constructive partisanship model As ar gued by this alternative camp, cross cutting issues will always represent a threat to the sustainability of party governance. As argued by this dissertation, additional threats further aggravate the tentative and fragile nature of this model: We have found that the s governance also include a favorable operational context and wise leadership. Along with intraparty homogeneity, these factors must remain present within the institution for party governance to remain an effective o perational model as such, we have demonstrated that contextual change and leadership failure leads to stress on those who continue to employ this operational model within the dynamic environment of the Congress
269 This dissertation considers the contempor ary congressional House from a historical institutionalist methodological perspective that allows us to identify and examine patterns of political development within the institution overtime. From t hese patterns, our composite analysis of t he dynamics of H ouse majority partie s provides purchase in understanding movements of growth rigidity, crisis, and collapse in the current political arena. Our analysis of the Republican House (and later Democratic House) shows that while con ditional party governance is attempted in certain contexts this initial decision becomes increasingly restrictive for members seeking to pursue their preferences overtime. As such we show that because of shiftin g environmental context and leadership failure conditional party govern ance is unsustainable in our Madisonian system of governance F rom a path dependency per spective, shifts in the very conditions that make party governance possible have shown themselves to be the seeds of future crisis. In the ever changing operational env ironment of our political system, we have demonstrated that those choosing to take on a party governance operational model have overtime found these initial choices increasingly constraining on future actions that must occur in a new context. In the e nd, the patterns of development illustrated in this dissertation lead us to posit the conclusion that future majority parties ought not choose to operate in accord with an organizational model that demands and relies upon intraparty ideological homogeneity ; rather, parties ought seek to be more agile, operating in accord with a view that recognizes the dangers of hyper partisanship If parties do not learn the lessons of the past, adopt ing a more moderated operational model, they will with time continue to be engulfed by crisis.
270 APPENDIX : DESCRIPTIVE STATISTI CS ASSESSING PATTERN S OF CHANGE WITHIN THE HOUSE Mirroring data collection methods that have been employ ed by previous literature, this dissertation has developed descriptive measures to identify w here individual representatives fit on a conservative spectrum; from this spectrum, we seek to better understand the influence fluctuating levels of ideological unity have had upon recent, current, and future congressional activity. Much of the motivation (1996) review of the House Republican experience between 1980 and 1995. In this study, Koopman attempts to identify patterns of ideological unity and faction within the Republican Party, to place individu al Republican House members within their respective location on a conservative spectrum, and finally to understand the impact these groupings had on the governing experience for the then minority party. To identify these relationships and place members acc ordingly, the primary data source Koopman employed were voting statistics as compiled by the National Journal ( NJ ). This data source is of high utility as it provides a robust and parsimonious breakdown of the type of conservative an individual House Repub lican actually is based upon individual legislative behavior as compared to all other members of Congress within the House. Of high importance for Koopman (and ourselves), this data source and its findings are easily understood and approached by a broad audience of readers, including those outside of political science and academia in general. As noted by the NJ and discussed by Koopman, on an annual basis since 1981, the NJ has compiled ratings for every member of Congress on three ranges of policy: socia l, economic, and foreign policy. The selection of votes to be rated is determined by journal staff in consultation with
271 special interest groups and other organizations that rank members of Congress. A licy area is compiled and compared against other members of Congress (Koopman, 1996 pp. 163 4). The primary data source for this dissertation was gathered from the National annual Almanac of American Politics (1994 2010). Edited by Michael Barone and Richard E. Cohen, the Almanac contains a wealth of information well suited for this dataset. Emulating Koopma are based upon an originally constructed database in which NJ scores, electoral re gion, leadership position, committee service, and seniority status are collected and compiled. pp. 20 1) methodology, this model divides the NJ statics into two parts: caucus ideological voting patterns and member association a nd behavior groupings Both parts are formulated using individual member voting behavior on economic, social, and foreign policy issues as they develop by session overtime; the individual associations and behaviors data also includes electoral region data, party leadership vs. rank and file groups, and committee service associations. These NJ As noted in the Almanac : rating system is an objective method of analyzing con compiled a list of congressional roll call votes and classified them as either then ranked according to the relative liber liberal percentage score means that the member voted more liberal than that percentage of his colleagues in that issue for the given year (2010, 14) e of each individual Republican House member from 1994 2008 (for Democratic House members from 2006
272 placement on a liberal spectrum). Placed on a scale from zero 100, this score is ca by the National Journal staff and consultants) as compared to every other member of th e House in the given year relative to three policy issues social, economic, and foreign policy. The lower the score, the less liberal that individual is on that particular set of policy issues in that particular year; or, one could say, the lower the mem the more conservative that member is compared to other members in the House in any given session. The caucus ideological voting patterns represent overall voting activities of the full Republican caucus in the House and are employed to form broad ideological comparisons of the GOP overtime. Following Koopman, the NJ ratings are operationalized by creating a mean score from the three issue based scores. Whereas Koopman formed his broad ideological divisions on a 15 point scale where mean NJ the findings of this study required that this scale be modified to accommodate for the proliferation of deeply conservative members who scored extremely low across all three issue dimensions. For th e purposes of this dissertation, the caucus ideological patterns are broken down to
273 illustrate the divisions between five broad but distinct ideological groups within the Republican majority from 1995 2006 1 : Table A 1 Ideological g roupings Ideological Classification Composite Score Range Ultra Conservative Republican 0 9 Strong Conservative Republican 10 19 Conservative Republican 20 29 Weak Conservative Republican 30 39 Patrician Republican 40 + The deviation from the Koopman model was n ot arbitrary. Though his model is very divides within the Republican party before they became the majority. While he correctly predicted the increase of conservative membe rs under the Gingrich leadership model, he could not have known how far to the right the party would attempt to move beginning in 1995. Differentiating the exploding number of those members whom voted a mean ideological rmative in this study of broad ideological factions. For the purposes of this dissertation, this data and its fluctuations are presented in a series of descriptive figures that compare the relative strength of each ideological sub group as they existed ove rtime. In combination with our qualitative developmental they developed overtime, this dissertati on comes to a series of criticisms against the conditional party governance model Thi s data is further considered via an analysis of member electoral regions and associations. To access these changes, this dataset includes the regional affiliation of 1 To maintain comparative consistency, the same categories are employed in our discussion the statistics. Thus, the difference between the two ideological groupings is not in degree, but in kind.
274 each Congress from 1994 breakdown is as follows: Table A 2 Regional b reakdown Region States Pacific Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington Plains and Rocky Mountains Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming Boarder Stat es Arizona, New Mexico, Texas Mid West Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin The South Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia Mid Atlan tic Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia New England Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont In looking further at member associations, Koopman conducts a brief investigation of committee activity by members as they progress throughout their representational certain types of committees, Koopman tallies committee service of each member according to the categ ories described by Christopher Deering and Steven Smith in their seminal work Committees in Congress (1990 2 ): prestige, policy, and constituency. In their chapter on member goals and committee assignments, Deering and Smith persuasively argue that committe e assignments are important to individual members, and in many ways (due to re election factors, policy interests, and prestige motivations) Institutionally, because their composition greatly shapes policy outcomes (though to a 2 in Congress, published in 1997.
275 lesser degree since the decline of the mid century era of committee government), the authors argue that committees remain important to leaders tasked with organizing the House and to the party groups that increas pp. 59 60). Briefly, Deering and Smith (and followed by Koopman) break their committee type s into three categories, as seen in the Table A.3 below 3 Table A 3 Congressional c ommittees Committee Type Committees Prestige Committee Appropriations, Budget, Rules, Ways and Means Policy Committee Banking, Education and Labor, Energy and Commerce, Foreign Affairs, Judiciary, Government Operations Constituency Committee Agricultural, Interior, Public Works, Science Space and P restige committees are those that remain distinctively infl uential in House m eyes (1997 pp. 63). Overall, prestige committees are the most coveted assignment for members, making them valuable for reasons beyond constituency service or individual policy interests. In opposition, policy committees are just that: committees d efined by the prominence of members attracted to th em by issued based motivations (1997 pp. 72). While these members maintain their re election interests by serving on a second committee specifically related to the characteristics of their district, these members are more experienced, multi term representatives with well established positions on major issues. Finally, constituency committees make up the third category. Seen as 3 While certain committee names changed overtime to reflect the policy stances of the Republicans during their majority, to maintain methodological consistency, current author calculations have maintained the original categories developed by Deering and Smith and later employed by Koopman by recording new committee titles under their former names.
276 extensions of their districts, members on these committees are highly motivated by constituency service and re election concerns. The jurisdiction of these committees tends to be m ore particularized than others (1997 pp. 74 5). As such, these committees are often viewed as the pork barrel committees of the House. Emulating Koopman, t his dissertation takes a simple count of committee association, in which members are assigned a number equal to the number of committee memberships they have in each committee type. These counts are then used to determine if a certain type or group of Repu blican is more or less likely to serve on any particular type of committee, and how member service fluctuates overtime. In combination with regional affiliation, seniority or leadership status, and broad ideologi cal caucus data; this data help s to chart id eological development pa tterns within the Republican House majority as they occurred overtime and in response to shifting operational contexts.
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289 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Hans E. Schmeisser, the son of two University of Florida alumni, was born in Winter Park, Florida. Moving to Georgia at a young age, Hans grew up in the Atlanta suburbs of Gwinnett County. After graduating from Collins Hill High School in 1998, Hans attended Mercer University in Macon Georgia. Graduating Magna c um Laude in 2002 wit h a Bachelor of Arts in political s cience, Hans was also a founding b rother of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity while at Mercer. Meeting his future wife, then Shelly Sumner, during those years; Hans chose to continue his education at the University of Florida. After earning a Master of Arts in political s cience in 2008, Hans began writing his dissertation. While a doctoral c andidate, Hans accepted a tenure track position at Working a t the small liberal arts college since 2009, Hans truly enjoys being in the classroom especially when he gets to teach his students about the polit American governmental institutions. In August of 2011, Hans and his wife welc omed their first son, Luke. Having completed his doctorate in the spring of 2012, he look s forward to a successful academic career