NY Times DC reporter Carl Hulse helpfully notes that the vast majority of returning House Republicans have never been the minority party, and that they're in for some wacky good times.
About two-thirds of Republicans returning to the House for the 116th Congress this week have never experienced the exquisite pain of being on the outs in an institution where the party in charge is totally in charge. Majority control runs the gamut from determining the floor agenda to determining access to the prime meeting space. It will be a rude awakening for many who have known only their exalted majority status.
“They say you will have a lot more time on your hands and will vote ‘no’ a lot more often,” said Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who was elected in the 2010 wave that handed control of the House to Republicans in President Barack Obama’s first midterm election.
The reign lasted eight years before the November midterms and the Democratic gain of 40 seats, a thorough beating that many Republicans did not anticipate. Mr. Kinzinger said the culture shift might be hardest on those colleagues who, unlike himself, believed the election was going to turn out quite differently.
“We have come to grips with the shock of the election,” he said, “but the shock of governing will still be a wake-up call for some people.”
Representative Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma and a veteran of stints in both the minority and the majority, groaned when asked what advice he had for his House brethren who had tasted only life on top.
“Oh. Sheesh,” Mr. Cole said, hemming and hawing before advising, only half-jokingly, “Smoke a lot; drink a lot.”
“You are going to get some real disappointment,” he said of his colleagues. “They are going to find out how good they had it in the majority, particularly when we had a Republican Senate, as frustrating as that could be.”
Unlike the Senate, where individual members can exert some influence whether they are in the majority or not, those on the sidelines in the House have few options. After years of being in the know about the House agenda and majority strategy, Republican lawmakers will now struggle to even ascertain what the schedule is.
“You control nothing,” said Representative Peter T. King, the New York Republican who will be experiencing his fourth transition in House power — 1995 to Republican control, 2007 to Democratic supremacy, back to Republicans in 2011 and now another reassertion of Democratic might. “As far as calling the shots, we have nothing like the Senate where one guy can filibuster. You have no recourse.”
Mr. King, a former chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, remembers being shut out of conference rooms when Democrats regained the majority in 2007. Republicans anticipate finding the convenient meeting rooms they took for granted will be off limits.
It's petty, yes. But it's also a metaphor for what Republicans are discovering is happening to their party of casual white supremacy. When you decide that only white men matter, and you're outnumbered...
Well, you lose.