Mar 03 2009
Lots of news out today about Congress starting the chafe under the liberal spending policies of Obama and the liberal congressional leaders. Top of the list is John McCain’s rightfully negative reaction to this second round of mega ear marks (the first round being found in the massive Spendulus bill just passed):
If it seems like Iâ€™m angry, itâ€™s because I am,â€ McCain said, taking the White House to task for treating the bill as leftover business â€” and not subject to the full measure of earmark reform promised by candidate Obama.Â
â€œLast yearâ€™s business?â€ McCain asked, incredulous. â€œThe president will sign this appropriations bill into law. It is the presidentâ€™s business. It is the president of the United Statesâ€™ business. It is the president of the United Statesâ€™ business to do what he said â€” stated â€” when we were in debate seeking the support of the American people â€” where he said he would work to eliminate earmarks.â€Â
â€œWe need earmark reform and when Iâ€™m president, I will go line by line to make sure weâ€™re not spending money unwisely,â€ McCain said, reading back Obamaâ€™s words at a debate last fall. â€œThatâ€™s the quote, the promise of the president of the United States made to the American people in a debate with me in Oxford, Miss. So what is brought to the floor today â€” 9,000 earmarks.â€¦So much for change.â€Â
Note to the far right: McCain is ALSO expressing the conservative opposition to uncontrolled federal spending. Enough of the backstabbing, now it is time to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with McCain – a powerful and influential Republican.
Second worth noting is a revolt in the House Democrat caucus of conservative democrats from marginal districts:
The two are among 49 Democrats from congressional districts that backed Republican Sen.John McCainÂ ‘s 2008 presidential race and whose support for the Democratic majority’s progressive agenda is increasingly not assured.
A dozen of them were among 20 House Democrats who voted against the $410 billion discretionary fiscal 2009 spending package (HR 1105) on Feb. 25. Another group later forced House leaders to sideline a contentious bill (HR 1106) to allow bankruptcy judges to modify home loans.
Although only a handful of moderate and conservative Democrats abandoned their leaders during party-line votes on the economic stimulus law (PL 111-5), the group of vulnerable Democrats branded the omnibus spending bill as a budget buster and questioned whether the mortgage bill would raise interest rates on average home-owners and cause some struggling homeowners to rush to bankruptcy.
The defections could cause heartburn for Democratic leaders charged with ushering through Obama’s three biggest priorities: a health care overhaul, a cap-and-trade system to curb carbon emissions and his fiscal 2010 budget blueprint. The president might also have trouble winning their votes for an anticipated second financial bailout package.
Again, conservatives have potential allies in the guise of the impure. These potential allies are not Republicans or even conservative independents like myself. But they can help thwart the liberals.
Even too-left-for-my-tastes David Brooks is sounding the right alarm bells:
But the Obama budget is more than just the sum of its parts. There is, entailed in it, a promiscuous unwillingness to set priorities and accept trade-offs. There is evidence of a party swept up in its own revolutionary fervor â€” caught up in the self-flattering belief that history has called upon it to solve all problems at once.
So programs are piled on top of each other and we wind up with a gargantuan $3.6 trillion budget. We end up with deficits that, when considered realistically, are $1 trillion a year and stretch as far as the eye can see. We end up with an agenda that is unexceptional in its parts but that, when taken as a whole, represents a social-engineering experiment that is entirely new.
The U.S. has never been a society riven by class resentment. Yet the Obama budget is predicated on a class divide. The president issued a read-my-lips pledge that no new burdens will fall on 95 percent of the American people. All the costs will be borne by the rich and all benefits redistributed downward.
The U.S. has always been a decentralized nation, skeptical of top-down planning. Yet, the current administration concentrates enormous power in Washington, while plan after plan emanates from a small group of understaffed experts.
Those of us who consider ourselves moderates â€” moderate-conservative, in my case â€” are forced to confront the reality that Barack Obama is not who we thought he was. His words are responsible; his character is inspiring. But his actions betray a transformational liberalism that should put every centrist on notice. As Clive Crook, an Obama admirer, wrote in The Financial Times, the Obama budget â€œcontains no trace of compromise. It makes no gesture, however small, however costless to its larger agenda, of a bipartisan approach to the great questions it addresses. It is a liberalâ€™s dream of a new New Deal.â€
These are prime examples of why the purity wars on the right are a waste of time. These impure voices are doing a fine job of explaining and expressing the lines crossed by the current administration and congressional leaders. To protect America from any more self inflicted damage the conservative coalition needs to be built with assistance from the center left and center right. Only with these people can Obama and Pelosi and Reid be stopped.
It is time folks to build a new conservative coalition that is broader than just the ‘true conservatives in exile’. Perfection will have to come later, right now we need to blunt the raid on American wallets. These people are worthy of an alliance aimed at a worthy cause – if the far right can get control of itself. Now we have a window to begin the process of changing our paths back towards sanity. Let’s not waste this opportunity in the pursuit of purity.