With the exception of a tiny band of GOP senators led by Tom Coburn, R-OK, and Jim DeMint, R-SC, and House Minority Leader John Boehner, Republican Study Committee chairman Jeb Hensarling and the small caucus of anti-earmark conservatives, the congressional GOP is every bit as addicted to pork-barrel politics as the Democrats, if not even more so.The idea here is that because of the way earmarks are accomplished by Congress, the President is probably not constitutionally bound to spend the money on the earmarked projects. Apparently the President was thinking about signing an executive order that would tell the executive branch agencies not to spend the earmarked money in that way. It seems to me that would be a good thing, but alas, it appears now that the President will continue to join with the corruption of Congress. Reforming the corrupt practices of our government continues to be unlikely, and I should perhaps seek to refuge of the rationally ignorant.
That's why since before Christmas, the White House has dawdled on what ought to be a no-brainer decision and has thus been hearing from a steady procession of congressional GOPers pleading with Bush not to sign the Executive Order, like drug addicts begging the judge not to force them into rehab.
From that perspective, Blunt's actions, the deafening silence of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on the Executive Order, and the determined effort of National Republican Congressional Committee chairman Tom Cole of Oklahoma to get a seat on the House Appropriations Committee instead of supporting efforts to put anti-earmarker Rep. Jeff Flake, R-AZ on the panel are all par for the course.
The problem is the congressional wing of the GOP is all but the second caucus of the Government Party in Washington. Bush wimping out on what could be a milestone in the fight to restore limited government and a tremendous boost for Republican prospects in the 2008 campaign simply reflects the general lack of political courage in the GOP at the national level on spending and entitlements. These people love Big Government and won't take serious actions to reduce its size and scope of power.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008