Monday, November 13, 2006

Pork Barrel Politics

Many thanks to good friend Winston Marshall for the porker on the capitol.

Congressman Ignatius Loyola Donnelly (1831-1901) once said “The Democrat Party is like a mule. It has neither pride of ancestry nor hope of posterity.” After the last elections, Donnelly must be turning over in his grave.

Someone else called the GOP “the stupid party.” He may be right.

The GOP swept back into control of the House of Representatives in 1994 after 40 years in the wilderness under the banner of Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America.” The “Contract” promised and delivered tax cuts, welfare reform and balanced budgets (but failed on strengthening the US military and intelligence capabilities).

George Bush became president in 2000 promising smaller government. Then came the massive expansion of Medicare, the Department of Education regulating K-12 schools and spending bills that contained over 15,000 “earmarks” worth hundreds of $Billions in pork barrel spending.

The favorite tool used by the spending profligates is called “earmarks” - the business of demanding that Federal agencies spend our tax dollars to placate favored friends, businesses, donors and lobbyists, approved by the “Cardinals” – the heads of the appropriations committees. Add to this corrupt practice the trips paid for by lobbyists, the hiring of family members at high salaries, steering consulting business to former staffers or outright bribery, and it is little wonder that the American voters decided that “Republicans are no longer good stewards of the US Congress and threw them out.” We expected more of the inheritors of the Gingrich Revolution.

What we need now is a new “21st Century Contract with America.” (Newt Gingrich, Winning the Future, 2005) It starts with leadership. In the House, Speaker Dennis Hastert is out but current Majority Leader John Boehner and Majority Whip Roy Blunt are looking to retain their leadership roles.

Last week Blunt went to the Heritage Foundation to campaign for his retention as whip. He delivered a defense of “earmarking” saying the elimination of earmarks would do “nothing but shift funding decisions from one side of Pennsylvania Ave. to the other.” Boehner and Blunt won’t do if we hope to get our mojo back.

Representative Mike Pence of Indiana, who heads the conservative Republican Study Committee, is challenging Boehner to become House minority leader. Arizona Republican John Shadegg, another member of the RSC, is running for party whip against Blunt.

Pence and Shadegg contend Republicans lost the election because they abandoned the party's commitment to limited government. “We didn't just lose our majority, I believe we lost our way,” said Pence. “Only by making a dramatic turn in the direction of the agenda of the Republican revolution can we hope to attain the majority status again.”

We need to root for Pence and Shadegg.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gotta say, agree that the GOP has lost it's way when it comes to spending. However, I find it remarkable that only since the election that the conservatives just rediscovered this? I smell rats deserting a sinking ship.

5:15 PM  
Blogger fetching jen said...

The rats are not deserting the ship... we've been squeaking all along. It's just now that we've gotten their attention, believe it or not, we're empowered to do something. And our leaders must listen to us or lose their offices... not a bad position to be in.

9:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's interesting that all the wingnuts are now trying to distinguish "conservative" from Republican. This is totally disingenuous. Conservatism has only one definition that matters ....that which 'conservatives' and the leaders they support do when in power....We know conservatism from how it's implemented. And conservatism for the past 6 years boils down to blind loyalty to George Bush. Just like Fidel Castro and Stalin can't be extricated from communism, George Bush cannot be extricated from conservatism. The old canard that conservatism hasn't been implemented correctly is a lie, and you guys know it. The Dobsons and Limbaughs and Hannitys and Felching Hens and Bill Lamas have all wholeheartedly supported this president for the past 6 years, and now we are to believe that the GOP hasn't been conservative enough? Puleeze!

11:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You are so out of touch. The conservative rednecks, Pence and Shadegg, didn't even come close. You need to accept that even the Republicans have had enough of your craziness.

9:22 AM  
Blogger Bill Lama said...

What part of "Bush is a big government liberal" do you not understand? I stood behind the president because of the war, and still do. I like his tax policy and loved his judicial appointments.

But gov't spending - sorry, I'm not happy about that.

6:40 PM  

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