The Fall of Republican Fiscal Conservatism
By Adam C2 Posted in Economy — Comments (61) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
On Friday, the Senate passed a slew of major bills. Looking specificially at the Transportation Bill and Energy Bill it is clear that despite the well-earned reputation of fiscal conservatism, Republicans seem determined to match or surpass the 1960-1980s Democrats on pork barrel politics. In the Senate, the Transportation Bill and the Energy Bill passed by lopsided votes of 91-4 and 76-24. The only silver lining, if it can be called that, is that Democrats generally joined in on the pork barreling thus giving up the chance of winning over good government, anti-pork moderates that put Republicans in power in the 1994 revolution.
In this sad reflection on why Republicans have turned their backs on their original Contract With America to embrace Democratic-style porking, there are a few Republican Senators who deserve praise for putting their names down as opposed to these antics. I present for your praising:
Voted Against Both Bills:
Voted Against Transportation Pork Only:
Voted Against Energy Pork Only:
First of all, congratulations to Arizona for elected two principled fiscal conservatives and New Hampshire for being a close second. Second, Chafee's vote is most likely do to the same reason 17 Dems voted against the bill rather than a love of fiscal conservatism.
Finally, I believe it is imperative that Republicans find a true fiscal conservative to run in 2008 or we will risk losing our claim, earned in 1994, to being the party of good government. The best bet is to find a governor with a strong track record on fiscal issues such as Sanford, Owens, Bush or Pawlenty. But if we do look toward our Senators then three names stand out: McCain, Kyl, and Gregg. While The Deal is turning out to be a good one for Republicans and with most other Republicans signing on to the pork barrel train, Senator McCain's 2008 stock is rising with fiscal conservatives who span across the political spectrum of conservatives and moderates, Republicans and Independents. And these votes give me more reason to believe that McCain is at heart a conservative in the best sense.
Update [2005-7-31 13:9:22 by Adam C]: One quick note: I was very saddened to see my Senator, Mr. Coburn (OK), vote for both bills. I expected much more from him based on his House experience.