Don't Blame Me - I Voted Conservative
By Leon H Wolf Posted in Republicans — Comments (67) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
First of all, to all five of my regular readers (Hi, Mom!), I apologize for not posting very much over the last few weeks. Apparently, there is actual work involved in getting a law degree, and I've been forced to participate in it. However, in the wake of the recent Republican collapses in the House and Senate on fiscal issues, I thought a few words for our concerned FisCon friends might be appropriate.
I've often wondered what Republicans like Adam C and John Cole must think at times like this - when their party fails an important test on an issue near to their hearts, and they hear the constant bleat of the Press-Democrat telling them that James Dobson is to blame for this phenomenon, and that the social conservatives are selling them down the river. I don't worry so much about Adam and John per se, but I do worry that this obfuscation technique might just be effective on some whose bitterness over spending has finally reached critical mass. It's tempting, when things are not going well, to want to affix blame on someone, and Dobson, et al make an easy target to some degree.
The only problem, of course, with blaming the SoCons for the pork in Congress is that the actual voting records on the bills in question tell a very different story.
More below the fold:
The first thing that I'd like to note is that, while about 7% of the Republican caucus in the House opposed H. R. 4241, 100% of the Democrat caucus opposed the same. Also, the final tally on votes for the Coburn Amendment was 11-4 in favor of the Republicans. I know, at this point, that we're all getting tired of hearing the "better than the Democrats" arguments, but in a very real sense, it's true.
The more important thing I'd like to point out, however, is exactly which Senators took their stand with Coburn on his amendments, and which members of the House supported H. R. 4241.
There are, I think, two convenient bills that can be used to measure who the most socially conservative members of the House and Senate are - the Embryonic Stem Cell bill and the Federal Marriage Amendment. I use those two because they're both relatively recent, and on both bills, social conservatives were in the minority from the get-go. If someone voted against Embryo Destruction and for a Federal Marriage Amendment, it's a fairly good bet that you're dealing with a social conservative. Let's begin, then, with the house.
The first interesting finding is that, of the 19 Republicans were seen as obstructionists to H. R. 4241, only four of them (Johnson, Pickering, Jones and Ehlers) also voted with the majority of their Republican colleagues against the "Stem Cell Enhancement" (Embryo Destruction) bill. Similarly, less than half of these squishies voted with the majority of their colleagues on the Federal Marriage Amendment. The reality is that, while the RSC gets most of its press these days for being a "fiscally" conservative group of Congresspeople, they are in actuality just a "conservative" group of Congresspeople, and their conservatism stretches to all areas of government.
The story in the Senate is even more convincing. Of the 11 Republicans who voted for the Coburn Amendment, there wasn't an Olympia Snowe or a Lincoln Chafee or an Arlen Specter to be found among them. Of the "Gangsters," only two voted in favor of the amendment (Graham and DeWine). Look at the names of the Senators who did support the bill: Kyl, Sessions, Coburn, DeMint. It's a virtual who's who of rabid social conservatives.
Not a single Republican Senator who opposed the Federal Marriage Amendment voted for the Coburn Amendment. Not a single Republican Senator who co-sponsored the latest Embryo Destruction bill voted for the Coburn Amendment.
What's more, when it came time to lead the charge up the hill, it wasn't St. McCain the Pork-Slayer and erstwhile thoughtful "social moderate" who was carrying the banner. It was "lesbians in Southeast Oklahoma" Tom Coburn putting the appropriations from his own state on the line, followed by the aforementioned SoCons. In fact, McCain couldn't even be bothered to show up for the vote.
So the next time some member of the Press-Democrat tries to convince you that the reason spending is out of control is because of the SoCons, think again. We've been behind you the whole time. The reality is that there aren't SoCons and FisCons in the sense that there are two separate groups working together out of convenience for disparate goals. The truth is that there are conservatives (which most elected Republicans are) and then there are liberals dressed as Republicans. The former group is just as likely to stand for the causes that are important to both of us, and the latter group is just as likely to stab either one of us in the back, so long as it advances their own personal agenda.
The bottom line is: don't blame me. I don't vote for social conservatives. I vote for conservatives. Keep the faith and expand the majority, and we can all effectuate our goals.