Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Serial Republicide

The GOP in Congress is crazy; the GOP base is crazy. Both are determined, it seems, to consume each other, bleepcan the entire party, and surrender to the country to the Democrats to run completely into the ground.

Just behold these quotes from John Fund and Hugh Hewitt:

Republicans faced a time for choosing last week, when Senate Democrats brought to the floor an ethics "reform" bill that may make it easier for Congress to dole out pork-barrel spending. In the words of GOP Senator Tom Coburn, the bill "not only failed to drain the swamp, but gave the alligators new rights."

Rather than block the legislation and insist on better reforms, image-sensitive Republicans largely backed the bill. Have they learned anything?

Right enough; I took them to task for the same thing last week.

But there are lines that should not be crossed. Fund wastes no time in soaring past them:

They lost control of Congress last year in no small measure because the GOP had become identified with the culture of pork-barrel spending, frittering away the American people's former confidence in them on fiscal issues.

I would call it a small measure, myself. Iraq-fatigue was a much bigger factor in that debacle. It has to be, because for the mental balance of this party, it's better to have lost the center over a war we've heretofore refused to win than to have thrown away control of Congress ourselves over a matter of empty fiscal symbolism that we KNOW the Democrats would only make worse.

Hey, I'm as anti-pork as the next right-winger, but let's keep our eyes on the big picture, can't we?

Evidently not:

The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds Democrats lead Republicans by sixteen points on controlling government spending and by nine points on taxes. The Republicans have their work cut out for them if they want to win back public confidence; but their behavior on the ethics bill shows they still don't get it.

I don't care how pork-addicted Republicans got - this is simply irrational. What have the Democrats EVER done to create the notion that they are more tight-fisted than we are? Or that they'll do more to hold taxes down? I don't care how short public attention spans are, there is no way this poll can be legit.

The only explanation I can fathom is that the public has taken a left turn and wants MORE government spending, MORE pork, MORE earmarks, and to pay MORE taxes to fund it all. If that's the case, blocking earmark reform would have made the GOP's fiscal unpopularity worse, not better, and going along with it will yield them nothing because they're simply me-tooing the Donks. In which case we're in a heap 'o trouble.

But that's not Fund's conclusion:

But if pork remains part of the GOP governing model, it's one that voters are starting to reject. In exit polls last year, those who actually showed up to vote reported that political corruption was a more important issue than the war in Iraq.

That, then, should auger to the GOP's benefit, since it is now the Democrats who are in power and therefore the Democrats who should take the brunt of public anger against this sham of an "ethics" bill. If Republicans didn't help themselves by trying to block it, well, the Democrats didn't do that last election cycle either, and they still reaped the benefits.

Of course, they spewed forth a lot of trademark pious BS rhetoric they never had any intention of living up to, as their make-believe "reform" bill proves. Could Republicans turn those tables and reap similar results?

Not according to Double H:

What will happen is that every Democrat in every Senate race will run against Stevens, and quite successfully. Democratic voters don't get exercised over earmarks, and some not even over Tammany Hall-style graft. But the GOP base won't have it, and if the Congressional GOP circles the wagons around its compromised members, the base will be on the outside firing in.

And that will end earmarks and rein in government spending HOW, exactly? You're seriously suggesting that we're going to slit our own political throats AGAIN? For the second consecutive election? Piss the country away into a permanent de facto Castroite/Chavezian left-wing autocracy where conservatism is driven underground and into functional extinction just to "teach the Republicans ANOTHER lesson" that they clearly didn't learn last November, and thus may not be CAPABLE of learning?

Am I the only Pachyderm who still remembers that there are more important things than petty graft? Can't we wait to commit political suicide as a party until AFTER the war is won? And is that worth it even THEN when the price of national competitiveness may just be putting up with the fiscal grease that is, after all, not the disease but the symptom of a Big Government edifice that the last decade ought to have amply demonstrated cannot be torn down?

Our choice is not between Big Government and small government. It is between Big Government and BIGGER Government. Because it is NEVER going to get smaller.

We can accept that, try to curtail its size by attrition over time, and put up with the occasional Ted Stevens, Don Young, Duke Cunningham, et al. Or we can engage in an endless fratricidal purge that will end up giving us precisely what we claim not to want: runaway tax hikes, runaway federal spending, and runaway pork.

We'll be in permanent exile. Our country will be in economic ruins. But we'll be squeaky-clean "morally" pure.

Doesn't seem like an even trade to me.