*One week ago, a little-known state legislator from Massachusetts may have shattered conventional wisdom in American politics. Coming from behind to grasp the U.S. Senate seat of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), Scott Brown, junior senator-elect, has energized the Republican Party and served as a wake-up call to Democrats nationwide. On the Hilltop, Georgetown University College Republicans Chairman Geoffrey Bible (SFS ’12) sat down with The Hoya to discuss Brown’s win, the ongoing health care debate, and the Republican Party’s chances in November’s congressional midterm elections.*
**How does the consensus among members of the College Republicans today compare with its viewpoints at the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year?**
I would say that we have more hope after the Brown election. Hope is not a word copyrighted by the Democrats. I think we have seen that the American people are frustrated with the Democrats, and what they have tried to do in Congress. They are not listening to the American people, such as when you say things like [Speaker of the House Nancy] Pelosi [D-Calif.] said, that she would be willing to lose House seats in order to pass the health care bill. That’s not listening to the American people; that’s ignoring the American people. It shows that the American people are fed up with what’s happening in Congress. Yes, it’s not helping out the Republicans too much; our approval ratings aren’t going up by much, but we aren’t going anywhere. We’re working hard, and the Democrats have to work just as hard, and they’re going to realize that they can’t just call us the “Party of No” because they are the party of “We’re Going to Spend Your Money and Not Listen to You.”
**Senator-elect Brown won the seat held by Kennedy family members for all but two of the last 57 years. Massachusetts is often considered one of the most liberal states in America. In your opinion, how did Brown win the election?**
[The GU Republicans] chairman two terms [ago] was a Republican from Massachusetts. In every state, there are strong Republican groups. Furthermore, as Senator-elect Brown himself said, the senatorial seat belongs to the people, not to the Kennedy family. It’s ironic that Ted Kennedy’s seat will belong to the man who could quite possibly defeat the bill that will prevent Congress from gaining control of the health care market, one of Kennedy’s goals. People are fed up with what is going on in Congress, and Brown led a campaign that was by the people, and for the people. He didn’t take a policy like Ms. [Martha] Coakley [Brown’s Democratic opponent in the race and the attorney general of Massachusetts], whereby he would spend more time with party officials than shaking the hands of voters. You can’t win elections with that.
**How do you believe the special election will affect other crucial political issues in America?**
One key issue that will be affected is the cap-and-trade bill. Many people don’t realize a cap-and-trade bill was passed in the House. However, that bill had not reached the Senate by the time of the special election. With such a strong portion of the Senate opposing it already, it may never truly show up in the Senate.
The current health care bills floating in Congress were both passed in the respective organs of Congress by small numbers [in the House 220-215, the Senate 60-40, the exact number to avoid filibuster]. How do you believe Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid [D-Nev.] will approach health care in response to the results of the special election?
There has been talk of passing the Senate bill straight through the House, without reconciling it with the House bill, thereby bypassing the Senate. I don’t think they will do that, because there are a lot of Democrats in the House that don’t like that. I think they may also try to reconcile the two bills in the Senate, which would only require a simple majority, but they wouldn’t be able to include many desired provisions in such a bill. I don’t see how they can pass the bill, unless they continue their attempts at pandering, by buying off states with provisions, like what was done with Nebraska, but I don’t see it truly changing. If they truly seek to change the health care system, rather than simply taxing and spending, perhaps things will change, but otherwise, I don’t see things changing. Republicans will join if there is true fiscal change.
**What are some key races to look out for in the 2010 midterm elections?**
I believe that one of the biggest elections that will show if people are fed up with the actions of Congress will be the election in Nevada. Harry Reid, I think will be going down, but I think historically the majority leader of the Senate is the one who suffers the most when people are unhappy with Congress. Another key district to look at will be my own personal district, the 6th Minnesota District, and our Congresswoman, Rep. Michelle Bachmann [R-Minn.]. If she wins her third re-election, after having such a close re-election in 2008, it will be a strong indication that the American people are fed up with what the Democrats are doing in Congress. She is very conservative – a true hero of the Tea Party movement.
Other elections to look for would be the 26 elections looked at by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee that, should the Democrats win, the DCCC believes [would indicate] the nation [is] strongly behind Obama and the current Congress. I believe they have no chance in winning many of those 26 elections.
**What is your response to President Obama’s newly announced reform of the banking industry, in which commercial banks will be forbidden to own hedge funds or private-equity firms?**
I myself am a supporter of the free market. . Meddling within the conditions of the market will simply lead to disaster. His new bill only creates more interference, and his decision to try to restrain the free market and companies that are acting within the system, is not smart financially.
**How would you respond to criticism that the Republican Party is unwilling to cooperate with Obama and his administration?**
It seems to me that the election of 2008 acted as a form of amnesia for the Democratic Party. The Democrats seemed to have imagined themselves working together with President Bush, and [as having] respected him. I don’t believe that was true, and the issues that the Democrats voted on [together with the Republicans] were issues such as the war in Afghanistan. They were all issues that were urgent, and needed to be resolved within days, immediately. The issues that Republicans have been called the “Party of No” on, such as health care, are important issues, of course. However, they are not immediate issues, they are not imminent threats. They need to be debated and discussed. Instead, the atmosphere in Washington, in my opinion, has not been a bipartisan one. Rather, the Democrats have dictated their opinions on the Republicans, including many that are fiscally irresponsible, and dismiss Republican ideas as not being progressive enough for the time period, then painting us as the “Party of No.”
**Do you believe that the Democratic and Republican parties are drifting apart from each other more than ever before?**
We are a very independent country. I think that when one party gains control, many people shift to the other side of the political spectrum. That is one of the things that shows the independence of our nation, that people can change their views. However, I still maintain that the United States, at its core, is a slightly right-leaning country.
*As part two of a series covering on-campus opinions of American politics, The Hoya will interview Georgetown University College Democrats President Bryan Woll (COL ’12) next week.*