THE TRUE SPIRIT OF '94. Over the weekend, the Post began its (premature) obituary for congressional Republicans with an electoral advisory issued by none other than Joe Scarborough. I�m happy to give Joe credit for showing, both in the Post and in his Washington Monthly piece, the courage to wonder aloud about how the supposed revolution swept in by the 1994 election has so quickly collapsed, as he did in the opening sentences yesterday:

I can't help but feel sorry for my old Republican friends in Congress who are fighting for their political lives. After all, it must be tough explaining to voters at their local Baptist church's Keep Congress Conservative Day that it was their party that took a $155 billion surplus and turned it into a record-setting $400 billion deficit. How exactly does one convince the teeming masses that Republicans deserve to stay in power despite botching a war, doubling the national debt, keeping company with Jack Abramoff, fumbling the response to Hurricane Katrina, expanding the government at record rates, raising cronyism to an art form, playing poker with Duke Cunningham, isolating America and repeatedly electing Tom DeLay as their House majority leader?

But what�s Joe�s solution for his former colleagues? Blame Bush for everything. And that�s where he loses my vote for Conscientious Conservative of the Year.

Sure, Bush deserves plenty of blame. But to make the president the fall guy is to let Joe�s former colleagues off the hook. He shouldn�t be feeling sorry for them for passing these earmark-laden budgets, or letting Bush ignore the laws they pass by issuing dismissive signing statements; he should be pillorying them. You can�t blame members of Congress for not fulfilling their responsibilities by telling them to shift the blame for their inaction and failures to the president so they can survive another two years�and start bailing on their future responsibilities, too.

Save yourself...blame somebody else! On second thought, maybe that does reflect the true spirit of the 1994 revolution.

--Tom Schaller