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Moderate Republicans: Break Away and Make This Deal Happen

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By Christopher Hahn on January 1, 2013

In the Federalist Papers (No. 51), our Founding Fathers talked about the positive impact that ambition counteracting ambition would have on our republic. We could use some of that ambition right about now.

On New Year’s Day, only 88 House Republicans voted in favor of passing the Senate’s fiscal cliff patch, a legislative compromise that passed the U.S. Senate 89-8. It’s clear the House GOP is dominated by severe conservatives who believe that any and all tax increases are bad. But why do moderate Republicans put up with this?

I don’t understand what’s stopping moderate Republicans from assembling 20 or so of their colleagues, crossing the aisle and cutting their own deal? It happens in state legislatures every day. We have a Congress, not a Parliament. You don’t need the majority of the majority to pass a bill — you need a majority of the House.

My message to those moderate Republicans in the House of Representatives is simple: Step up and take control of the House! The wingnuts are ruining your party and ruining our nation. Cross the aisle, talk to Nancy Pelosi, make a deal.

If you need an example of how that works, look no further than New York. When State Senate Democrats were unhappy with how their party ran the state’s upper chamber, they picked up the phone and formed a coalition with Republicans. State government has never run smoother.


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I know there are good Republicans in the House, men and woman who came to Washington to make a difference, to govern. What we have now in the House GOP is a large vocal group of obstructionists, most of whom were elected in the 2010 midterms landslide.

Admit it, moderate Republicans, many of the GOP members elected in 2010 are people who you wouldn’t want to have meetings with before they were elected, and now they control your political future and the future of the nation’s economic health. It’s time to dismiss them before the voters in your district dismiss you. And believe me, they will dismiss you — not them.

If you’re a moderate Republican, you likely come from a swing district in a blue state. You’re in play and will be held accountable if the chaos that has been the 112th Congress continues into the 113th. Form a moderate caucus, call the leader and make a deal. Leave the wingnuts where they belong, in your rear-view mirror. There has to be an ambitious Republican among you who would like to raise your national profile. How great would you look if you were responsible for getting Washington to work again, even a little?

It’s your ambition that got you to Congress in the first place. Put it to good use for your constituents and our nation. Counteract the ambition of the Class of 2010, who only wish to obstruct. Do it now before it’s too late.

The next cliff is just around the corner.

Christopher Hahn is a Democratic political analyst. Follow @christopherhahn.

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