Friday, November 12, 2010


The Republican Earmark Moratorium

Why it will fail; and Where DeMint went wrong.

During the last Senate session a ban on earmarks was voted on by the entire Senate and was defeated. Everyone knew it would lose even if all the Republicans voted for it so they did.

They looked good then and can say today that they were part of the Conservative Revolution that swept the last election.

Now there is another vote by some Senators coming up on Earmarks. This is quite a different vote however.

At first blush, I said great, we have to start cutting spending and stopping corruption through lobbyists etc. that banning earmarks seem to facilitate. I also am a fan of Sen. Jim DeMint who put forth this measure because of the tireless effort he made during the last election backing Conservative candidates early on when no one else gave them a chance; his proposal in the RSC seemed like a “slam dunk”.

That is the courageous leadership I was looking for.

Then another Senator whom I greatly admire for his courage came out against DeMint’s “earmark moratorium” that is in front of the Senate Republican Caucus (RSC). That Senator is Jim Inofe from Oklahoma. I admire him because he is one of the most conservative Senators and he was the lone, loud and unafraid voice against the whole “Global Warming” hysteria – Way before it was cool.

That also is the courageous leadership I was looking for.

The link below from Politico sums up the obvious.
Now I’ll sum up the obvious.
1. This is only a vote within the Republican Caucus or Conference as they call it.
A. The Dems will still be free to earmark to our pocketbooks disdain.
2. It will be a secret vote so the public will not know who voted for or against the measure only the outcome will be known.
A. Individuals will not be held accountable, but the Party will be next time they try to raise this issue.
3. The outcome will be non binding on the members.
A. This will lead directly charges of Republican hypocrisy by the left and they will be right.

Obviously I’m conflicted. I assume some of the RSC are also wondering what to do. Initially it was Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell who came out against the DeMint moratorium. That was the first voice of dissent I heard and I immediately chalked it up to the power struggle going on within the Republican Party between the insurgent “Tea Party”/conservative wing led by Sen. DeMint and the established Republican leadership aka Sen. McConnell. I obviously sided with DeMint.

But when I saw Sen. Inofe coming out against it and on the side of McConnell I knew it was more than just a political power squabble.

According to Politico, Sen. Inofe is passing around to the members of the RSC a 20 page essay on the reasons not to vote for the moratorium. I would love to read it, but it hasn’t been made public yet.


I still am conflicted, but I understand the issues better now after some research.
I don’t know the workings of the SRC but I hope they have a way that DeMint and Inofe/McConnell can compromise and change the measure to one that would force a vote in the entire Senate on Earmarks that will be open and binding on all members.

A statement needs to be made against earmarks, but this proposal as written seems as if it could actually be unproductive in the fight against earmarks and a distraction in the main fight - to cut spending.

The first Politico article I linked seemed confident that the DeMint measure would pass. Since Senator Jim Inofe joined the fray I’m sure the measure will go down to defeat. The reason I believe this is that now Sen. Inofe has provided the political and more importantly the ideological cover to those who needed it to vote against it.

The second Politico article I linked talked of Sen. Inofe promising very specific spending cuts in a bill he was going to introduce Monday. This tells me that he thinks the whole earmark thing is detracting from some very “specific” spending cuts the Senate should be taking up. On this I agree too.

We should keep our eyes on the target which is to shrink the size of government in our lives. Until we have the Senate and the Presidency behind us we must not get distracted with the likes of this. Yes Earmarks increase spending but cutting only Republican earmarks seems counterproductive. We would be better served to cut all earmarks including the executive earmarks in the likes of those found in the Stimulus Bill.

Regards, Live Dangerously Be A Conservative

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