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
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
I would like to echo what George F Will talked about in his article for the Washington Post Nov. 7th, entitled “Democrats in Denial”. I would however take his assumption and expand the scope of the people in denial to include the Republican apparatus in general. Below is the link to Mr. Will’s article
From his vantage point overlooking the national scene I agree with his assumption. From my vantage point at the local County level, I see however more than Democrats are in denial as to the just ended election.
There seems to be an undercurrent about the role the Tea Party played in this election throughout the Republican Party. Both the self congratulatory literature put out by the State Party and the narrative of their representatives at the County level do not mention the Tea Party, either pro or con as to its role in the past election. I might add here to buttress my credibility that at the county level in my neck of the woods, the Tea Party was responsible for half of the precinct delegates at our Republican County Convention, and I would add 3/4ths of the excitement about this election and 4/5 of the new faces at the County meetings came directly from the Tea Party or were motivated by what the Tea Party was saying. I was there and know full well how late the State and County Party came to the Tea Party table.
Most of the education of the electorate was spread or disseminated not by the GOP but through the hundreds of individual Tea Parties throughout the country. The anger and frustration of the electorate was focused upon and brought to the fore not by the Republicans but by the Tea Party. This was done almost exclusively through the “Alternate Media” in a remarkable grass roots effort. This buzz was created and fanned by the Tea Party through what the Republican Party dared not do in its blinkered effort to “go along to get along” with the Liberals; namely protest rallies and an in your face to anyone from whatever party who told lies.
I remember when the American Dream was more than two cars in every garage. I remember when the freedom of the average citizen to say what was on their mind to their representative was an integral part of the American Dream. Before the Tea Party brought that to the fore at the rallies and Town Halls, we had forgotten that. Not only forgotten but let it be suborned for “the common good”.
Individual rights and individual freedom is what this election was all about. That is what the Tea Party is all about. That is why people got excited about a talk Alan West gave in October 2009. This talk crystallized the emotions freedom loving Americans had about the “over reaching federal government”.
Here was someone not saying why we as a nation can’t do something, why it is too complicated to undertake, why we must “go along to get along”. Lt. Colonel West was reminding us of the American Dream before McDonalds; reminding us of the power each and every one of us has if we choose to use it.
Well a lot of citizens did flex that Freedom muscle once and then over and over - through repetition that muscle grew. We also had a perfect tool, the alternate media and we exercised that too till we refined our initial attempts into something beautiful.
I think Allen West would agree that now is not the time for newly elected Representatives of the people to “go along to get along” but rather to fix bayonets and charge.
After the charge we will have the perfect opportunity to pick up the pieces and with a clear conscience – with resolve – Finish Taking America back in 2012
Regards, Live Dangerously Be A Conservative