Fewer than 24 hours after House Republicans voted in a secret closed-door meeting to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics, or OCE, they have now reversed course and dropped their bid to kill that agency. If they had succeeded - the OCE - an independent, non-partisan body created in 2008 after a series of Bush-era scandals - would have been stripped of most of its power. More importantly, it would also have been stripped of its independence.
Under the Republican plan, the OCE would have been renamed and placed under the control of the very partisan and very not independent Republican-controlled Ethics Committee. In other words - Republicans were trying to create a situation where members of Congress -- specifically other Republicans -- would get to investigate ethics complaints against themselves. Obviously, that doesn't really jive all that well with that whole "drain the swamp" thing - and once the general public got wind of what Republicans were trying to do, the outcry was almost universal.
Even Donald Trump lightly joined in on the criticism - questioning on Twitter whether this was really the first thing Republicans should be trying to do after taking control of Congress.
"With all that Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the Independent Ethics Watchdog, as unfair as it"
"........may be, their number one act and priority. Focus on tax reform, healthcare and so many other things of far greater importance! #DTS"
Faced with this kind of criticism from the media and Daddy Trump, Republicans then did the only thing they could do, they flip flopped. Earlier this afternoon, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy got everyone together - and soon afterwards, the push to kill the Office of Congressional Ethics was history.
Republicans are now, of course, trying to act like they've learned some big lesson. Mike Simpson of Idaho, for example, told Politico this afternoon that his party "shot itself in the foot".
Let's be honest, though: the only lesson Republicans learned from all this is that they can't do things like this under the glare of the light of day - and today, being congresses first session - was particularly well-lit. Better to slip such things into must-pass legislation moments before a vote. Even Donald Trump had enough political common sense to know that if you're planning to engage in unethical or criminal behavior, you don't announce it on a high-profile day.
What we saw last night when 119 Republicans voted to kill the Office of Congressional Ethics was the real Republican Party.
The apologies we're making today are just a charade to cover up the massive hypocrisy they let slip through.
We also still don't really have a good answer as to why Republicans felt like they needed to kill the OCE right now.
Who's hiding what?
Was the office of ethics about to drop a very large shoe? Is it still dangling?
And why hasn't the compliant corporate media bothered to ask Republicans any of those questions?