Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Minority Spectator

What has gotten into about the gang at the American Spectator lately? They're starting to sound like Cato snobs, or the late Harry Browne, or something.

And who the hell is Quin Hillyer, and where does he come off sliming Tom DeLay as a "socialist"?

[T]he truth is that there is NOTHING in the past several years to show that the House leadership, including the supposedly conservative Tom DeLay, had a fiscally conservative bone in any of their respective (and sometimes corpulent) bodies....I repeat that more than half of the congressional GOP members are utterly worthless - or worse. Frankly, the entire Beltway GOP establishment, at both "ends" of Pennsylvania Avenue, has gone native. A pox on all their houses and their Houses.

Look, it's not as though I'm offering a defense of the 'Pubbies' fiscal stewardship over the past decade. They've been running the whole show for the past six of those ten years, and non-defense, non-homeland security spending, entitlement and discretionary, has exploded on their undivided watch. Between a Congress with no self-control and a President who apparently thinks that "veto" is a brand of snack chip, we've gotten pretty much the opposite budget result of what purists like Hillyer (Yes, I know he's an AS editor; I guess the better question is, where on Earth did they dig him up...?) were evidently hoping for.

I guess the joke was on them. But they can't claim to have been misled, at least not by George W. Bush, who never ran on a small government platform in either of his campaigns. Indeed, one of the crown jewels of Bush's 2000 White House bid was the very same prescription drug entitlement that "Comrade" DeLay strong-armed through the House some years later. I don't know what Hillyer was writing about Dubya back then, but I'll wager it wasn't tiresome indignancies like this.

The cold, cold reality is that the President considers the GWOT to be more important than satiating libertarian green eyeshade fantasies. I don't happen to think that that is necessarily an either/or proposition, but if it was, and keeping majority support for the war on the Hill was critical (and it is), then I'd have to go that way as well.

It would seem that Hillyer doesn't agree. But in a Beltway in which there are big spenders and even bigger spenders, fiscal moral absolutists aren't exactly flush with viable alternatives.

Still, it's like I've been saying, and will doubtless be saying a lot more over the next eight months: Republicans, both in elective office and the grassroots, are their own worst enemies. And if the majority wants to stay in power, fiscal responsibility is something they would be well advised to rediscover. Ditto moral values.

And even the war, on which "endgame conservatives" like myself are becoming increasingly restless.

Hey, I'm no fool. Staying home to cut off my nose to spite my GOP face and letting the Democrats get back in charge would be an unmitigated disaster for every issue across the board - a factor to which the jilted pique of the disgruntled on the Right is blinding them. But in a year in which Democrat motivation can be taken for granted, it's up to Republican leaders to remember their base supporters' distinct lack of pragmatism and not give them any excuse whatsoever to stay home when they're needed the most.

UPDATE: NRO's John Miller, no homer partisan hack he, continues to forecast a 0- to 2-seat pickup for the GOP on the Senate side. That's not exactly "pox," I'm guessing....

ONE MORE UPDATE: And to think that E.J. Dionne actually thinks that the Rockefeller Republican is extinct....

OKAY, I PROMISE, THE VERY LAST UPDATE: I'd love to see ol' Quin's reaction to Jay Cost's take on the Powerful Pacyderm Pork Machine....