- The Washington Times - Monday, January 24, 2011

Congressional Republican leaders such as Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio say they get the message in the last election. Yet they clearly act as if they do not.

The idea that party representatives should intermingle for the State of the Union address does not come out of some new era of Democratic desire for bipartisanship, but purely out of the Democrats’ selfish desire to hide from the public the disparity in the respective parties’ power in the new Congress. Apparently, Mr. McConnell and Mr. Boehner have quickly forgotten how they were treated by the Democrat-controlled Congress - their input on bills summarily ignored, the many times they were physically locked out of meetings and the prevailing imperious attitude of “we won - we’ll do what we want” from President Obama on down.

Although there is ample evidence to the contrary, Republicans foolishly think being fair-minded and conciliatory with Democrats will foster cooperation and civility. Nothing could be further from the truth. If they cannot remember what happened in the 111th Congress, just look at the fallout over the Tucson, Ariz., shootings or the move by Democrats in the Senate to change the rules to prevent “interference” with their agenda by Republican filibusters. Mr. Boehner and Mr. McConnell think they “can make a rattlesnake into a house pet” by being nice. They both need to wake up to reality.

DAVID TOWLE

Ellicott City, Md.