It simply cannot return to the status quo
By Frank Salvato
web posted May 24, 2010
If there is one thing that I have learned in my over 30-years of existing within the political realm it is that if the political world aligns to present the Republican Party with an opportunity to advance on Liberal Democrats and Progressives in government, somehow, someway, they always manage to find a way to shoot themselves in the foot. This point in history is no exception.
During the last election cycle, Republicans railed against the Democrats about earmarks, special interest spending and fiscal irresponsibility. Many rolled their eyes in amusement citing the fiscal irresponsibility of the Republican controlled Congress dating back to approximately 2000, just after the "Republican Revolution." Yet close to half the electorate recognized that a fiscally debauched decade of Republican spending wasn't comparable to the steady and consistent tax-and-spend policies of the Democrat Party dating back to before the turn of the 20th Century.
Democrats – and Progressives masquerading as Democrats – were forced to feign frugality where their platform was concerned and slightly more than half the electorate ate-up the media spoon-fed "hope and change" canard, thus empowering the most Progressive Executive and Legislative Branches in recent US history.
I say feigned because, as we are all now well aware, Progressives in control of Congress – aided and directed by a spendthrift Obama Administration – have spent taxpayer monies more liberally, irresponsibly and politically than at any other point in American history. The super-sizing of TARP, the pork-laden, special interest bonanza that was the Stimulus Bill and the behemoth expansion of federal government that was the Healthcare Bill, are only three major pieces of spending legislation among many that have delivered our country to the brink of insolvency.
In fact, the outrage of a deceived electorate – outrage present on both sides of the political spectrum and across all party lines – literally produced the potent and extremely effective Tea Party Movement; a majority of American people who are angry, exhausted and determined to expunge wastrel politicians from elected office; politicians who consistently put the well-being of their political parties before the execution of good government; political miscreants who have bastardized public service into opportunistic, self-enriching professional careers.
Proof that the American people are done tolerating the political status quo has been evidenced in every election since the Tea Party Movement emerged onto the main political stage. From Scott Brown's capturing of Ted Kennedy's Massachusetts Senate seat, to Arlen Specter being retired by Pennsylvania's Democrats, to Arkansas's Blanche Lincoln's forced run-off election to Rand Paul's victory in Kentucky, to Bob Bennett's third-place finish in the Utah Republican Convention, incumbents from both parties, along with the inside-the-beltway political intelligencia have been struck dumbfounded at the potency of the Tea Party Movement. It has been proven to be as potent and effective on the Left as it is on the Right, the message being clear: no more politics as usual.
It is for this reason that I was stunned, but not wholly surprised, to hear that some Republican Congressmen were starting to quibble about the longevity of the moratorium on earmarks.
The Hill, a publication focused on covering the goings-on on Capitol Hill, reported:
"House Republicans in line to chair important committees want less-stringent earmark spending rules next year, when they hope to be in control of the chamber.
"Senior Republicans are pushing for a policy that would allow earmarks, the provisions lawmakers insert in spending bills to fund projects in their districts, but would make the process more transparent. House GOP leaders imposed a temporary moratorium on all earmarks in March in a bid to demonstrate fiscal discipline in an election year.
"That moratorium expires at the end of the year, when a new policy will be put in place, said Rep. John Mica (R-FL), ranking member on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
"'It is just a moratorium, it's not a total ban,' he said.
"Mica said it was more important to have a consistent 'protocol on what's acceptable' for earmarks than to have a complete prohibition on them.
"Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA), the top Republican on the Appropriations Committee, has backed the one-year moratorium but has also defended lawmakers' right to earmark money for specific projects."
Just as Republicans were about to be able to reclaim the mantle of fiscal responsibility, Mica and Lewis – and Lord knows how many others – are making the incredibly destructive blunder of attempting to return to the grotesque and completely unacceptable "ways of old."
How thick can those elected to office from the Republican Party actually be? At a moment in time when the overwhelming majority of voters – both from the Left and the Right – are screaming that they don't want anything to do with the status quo, two senior congressional Republicans float the idea of extinguishing the moratorium on earmarks? Can anyone think of anything more lacking in political vision, more destructive from a public relations standpoint and politically eviscerating than to suggest returning to the practice of earmarking money for special interest projects in home districts?
It is infuriating to think – and disheartening to have to believe – that at a time when the American people would be more prone to support legislation mandating that every proposed piece of legislation be considered on a stand-alone basis, we are saddled with professional politicians within the Republican Party so set in the ways of the "good-old-boy-bring-home-the-pork-to-bribe-the-constituents" status quo that they are unwilling to acquiesce to the will of the people – or perhaps incapable of seeing the philosophical light of our Founders and Framers as to the true meaning of government and public service.
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) would be wise to harshly and publicly rebuke Congressmen Mica and Lewis for their comments. In doing so he would go on record as disavowing the inside-the-beltway status quo while indicating that under his leadership the House Republicans will be reinvesting in the will of the American people. An action such as this would go a long way to persuading not only wary Republicans but Tea Party Independents and Democrats, that Republicans are worthy of reclaiming the mantle of fiscal responsibility.
In a time when our nation stands of the brink of bankruptcy, should Republican leadership allow a return to earmarks, special interest spending and fiscal irresponsibility (such as it was under House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-IL), it would be a good bet that the GOP would never be able to regain the trust of the American people where fiscal responsibility is concerned – ever – and that dooms our nation to a future of Socialist Democracy and global government at the hands of ruthless Progressivism.
It can be said, without reservation, that Republicans clinging to the fiscal processes of old (earmarks, special interest spending and fiscal irresponsibility) are playing Russian Roulette with America's future. God save us all.
Frank Salvato is the Executive Director and Director of Terrorism Research for BasicsProject.org a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(c)(3) research and education initiative. His writing has been recognized by the US House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention. His organization, BasicsProject.org, partnered in producing the original national symposium series addressing the root causes of radical Islamist terrorism. He is a member of the International Analyst Network. He also serves as the managing editor for The New Media Journal. Mr. Salvato has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor on FOX News Channel, and is a regular guest on talk radio including on The Captain's America Radio Show airing on AM1220 WSRQ and on the Internet catering to the US Armed Forces around the world and on The Roth Show with Dr. Laurie Roth syndicated nationally on the USA Radio Network. His opinion-editorials have been published by The American Enterprise Institute, The Washington Times & Human Events and are syndicated nationally. He is occasionally quoted in The Federalist. Mr. Salvato is available for public speaking engagements. He can be contacted at email@example.com.