Thursday, August 04, 2005

GOP Spending Spree

The headline for this front page Washington Post story reads: GOP Embraces New Heights of Spending. The article goes on to describe the latest Congressional spending spree, endorsed by most GOP lawmakers, but ruffling the feathers of the fiscally conservative:
  1. "You have to be courageous to not spend money," said Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), "and we don't have many people who have that courage."

  2. "There's a rising level of frustration with the disconnect between where the vast majority of conservatives are in this country and how Congress is behaving," said former representative Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), whose Club for Growth political action committee finances the campaigns of conservative candidates. "There's going to be a wake-up call sooner or later."

  3. "If you look at fiscal conservatism these days, it's in a sorry state," said Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), one of only eight House members to vote against the $286.5 billion transportation bill that was passed the day before the recess. "Republicans don't even pretend anymore."
Conservative pundits join this dissent. The editors of the National Review, the country's leading conservative magazine lose hope:
Venturing down the dustiest corridors of political memory, we recall a time when people thought a Republican Congress would be a fiscally responsible one. The hour to eulogize that hope has probably passed; but if one wished to drive a final nail in its coffin, it would suffice to adduce two monstrosities of wasteful spending that Congress sent to the president’s desk last Friday.

The editors then speculate about the motives for Bush's apparent decision to sign the spending legislation, and conclude that, whaetever the motives, the cost is high:
He may have resigned himself to the necessity of doing so in order to win congressional support for such administration priorities as the Central American Free Trade Agreement, which was ratified by a razor-thin margin last week. Whether such compromises are necessary as a matter of political expediency is something reasonable people can disagree about. What is clear — and lamentable — is that they erode the credibility Republicans once enjoyed as the spokesmen of fiscal conservatism.


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