SINK THE EARMARK

Contrary to the claims that the voters’ “war weariness” was the reason the Republicans lost their majority in Congress in the 2006 midterms, the real reason that Republican and moderate voters lost their zest for supporting the GOP is because of the lie that the GOP majority made of their long standing plank of fiscal responsibility. The earmark frenzy and Congressional pork spending that the GOP indulged in, with the Democrat Party gleefully joining in, is what lost them the 2006 elections. Disenchantment with the war, the media’s favorite claim, is not the chief reason the GOP lost the confidence of the American people. After all, the president, not Congress, is the face of this war.

The right of center American voter looked to a GOP controlled Congress that seemed indistinguishable from what we would have with a Democrat controlled legislature and wondered: “why not vote in a real Democrat if what we have are just like them anyway?” So, the American people thought to give the Democrat Party a shot at proving their claims of newfound responsibility. The Republican’s hypocrisy was just too much for conservative voters and the centrists just saw no reason to stick with the GOP.

So, as a result we got the Nancy Pelosi House of Representatives and Harry Reid as majority leader in the Senate.

“Democrats will not disappoint… We pledge to make this the most honest, ethical, and open Congress in history…With integrity, civility, and fiscal responsibility as our guide, Democrats intend to move forward with the agenda for change on which we were elected.”– Incoming Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, Nov. 14th, 2006 as published in the Christian Science Monitor

But, since their embarrassing loss in the last midterms, the GOP has been endeavoring to regain their status as the Party of fiscal responsibility. It hasn’t been easy, mostly because their own voters are so skeptical that their efforts have the ring of authenticity. But, still, it is good the Republicans are at least trying.

Representative Jeff Flake (R, AZ), a long time and leading anti-earmark campaigner, has introduced challenge after challenge in the House to curb earmarks and wild pork spending. In 2005 he had the hearty participation of many Democrats, when they were in the minority, for the cause of fiscal responsibility.

Now, however, since the Democrat Party is in the majority, Representative Flake is increasingly finding that Democrat support for his anti-spending initiatives is fast eroding.

Susan Crabtree of thehill.com takes up the story.

…several Democrats who regularly voted last year for amendments to strip earmarks out of bills are now voting against similar challenges.

Prior to last year’s election, two Democrats, Cooper and Rep. Melissa Bean (Ill.), voted for all 19 of Flake’s anti-earmark amendments. This year, Cooper has supported all 15 of the amendments; while Bean has supported just one of the amendments, the effort to prevent money from being spent on the Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree, a project in Rep. Patrick McHenry’s (R-N.C.) district.

Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah) last year supported 14 of 19 of Flake’s challenges. This year, Matheson has supported only the challenge to McHenry’s earmark.

Democratic Reps. Earl Blumenauer (Ore.), Barney Frank (Mass.) and Gene Taylor (Miss.) each supported five earmark challenges last year. This year, the same Democrats have supported only the effort against McHenry’s request.

And here’s the rub. The Democrats ran as the new Party of fiscal responsibility with Speaker to be Nancy Pelosi claiming that they would be the most “ethical Congress,” the Congress of fiscal responsibility if only the American people would be kind enough to vote them into the majority. Consequently, the American people– at least those claiming to be “moderates” and middle of the roaders — swallowed the lie whole and did, indeed, give Pelosi her majority status.

Sadly, the “new” Party of fiscal responsibility didn’t even give their claims a year before abandoning them.

And now what do we have? We have the same Democrats who finger pointed at the GOP controlled Congress saying that the Republicans were wasting the taxpayers’ money now backing away as fast as their little porcine hooves can backpeddle taking them solidly in the opposite direction of the “fiscal responsibility” they so gravely promised.

Maybe THIS is one of the biggest reasons that this Congress has the lowest approval ratings of any Congress since they began to keep such statistics?

At this stage, the GOP really does have a chance to re-take their rightful place as the Party of fiscal responsibility. But only if more of them join Representative Flake in the quest to sink the earmark. But, if they sit on their hands and only give meager voice to this cause, they miss the chance to really grab back one of the most cherished GOP planks since co-opted by the Democrat Party.

Now is the time for all GOP loyalists and Conservatives to renew their call to their representatives in Congress to take up the cause. But, this time they’d better mean it. The Internet, as it follows the actions of Congress, won’t let the GOP make the claim but not follow up on the promises.

SINK THE EARMARK NOW!

For more information on the campaign to stop porkbarrel spending, visit porkbusters.org. Take the pledge and join the cause.

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