Looks like the Democrats won't change Washington's "culture of corruption" after all, said Byron York in National Review. After their party swept both houses of Congress in November, incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid vowed to stop wasteful, pork barrel spending, throw out the lobbyists, and run the cleanest Congress in history. But now that the afterglow of the election is fading, "the realities of governing" have set in. Many powerful Democrats who now chair key committees are hinting they'll make no big changes in pork barrel, special interest politics, which helps get incumbents re-elected. But if the Democrats renege on their promises, said The New York Times in an editorial, their resurgence will be short-lived. They promised the voters real reform, and the start of a new term is the time to deliver—before inertia and cynicism set in. For starters, Democrats should create a public integrity office to police Congress, and ban all meals, gifts, and junkets from lobbyists.

Dream on, said Michael Crowley in The New Republic. How can we expect reform from a Congress divided between "dueling agendas"? On one side, Pelosi is feeling strong pressure from the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which wants to cut off funding to Iraq, investigate Bush, and play to the Democrats' liberal base. Opposing them that are New Democrats and "Blue Dog" Southern Democrats who are determined to keep their party firmly in the center. The two factions will clash on budget matters, immigration, and national security—making it unlikely they'll agree on the contentious issue of reforming Congress. To make things more problematic, the House's major committees will be chaired by dogmatic old war horses—66-year-old Barney Frank, 76-year-old Charlie Rangel, and 80-year-old John Dingell—who are fond of the perks of power and influence. What a collection of "parochial interests and gigantic egos," said The New Republic in an editorial, "all conspiring to buck reform."

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