The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

27 September 2005

Elephants, donkeys and pigs

Oh, my.

I've been inclined to think that there isn't that much difference between the Democrats and the Republicans when it comes to shoveling out the governmental largesse. PowerLine's John Hinderaker disagrees:

There is a basic difference between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to pork. No significant portion of the Democratic base objects in principle to ballooning government spending. Moreover, a Democratic politician who brings home the bacon can often attract votes from Republicans who value pork over principle, and thereby get elected even in a Republican-leaning state. (Tom Daschle was a perfect example.) So, for a Democrat, the issue is easy: pork is all good.

Republican Congressmen and Senators are in a different position. A significant number of their voters, probably a majority, prefer smaller government and oppose government waste on principle. Further, almost all Republican politicians have themselves endorsed limited government principles as candidates. So for a Republican politician, the calculus can be different. People like pork — "local issues," as Paul [Mirengoff] says — but in many districts, a Republican politician who offends a big chunk of his base, while looking like a hypocrite in the process, could be in trouble. Besides, most Republican politicians are sincere when they talk about cutting federal spending and eliminating waste. While aware of the political benefit of bacon, they are at best ambivalent about it.

As Jeff Goldstein might say: "BECAUSE OF THE HYPOCRISY!"

There is a definite split between the GOP base and Republican leaders in Congress on this matter — the derision which greeted Tom DeLay's statement that there was no fat left to cut in the federal budget emanated from both sides of the aisle — but it leaves fiscal conservatives with a quandary: how do you curb this stuff? I mean, it's not like they're going to vote Democratic next time around.

There are some serious penny-pinchers in the Senate. Oklahoma's Tom Coburn is one of them. On the other hand, Tom Coburn, to put it charitably, is not what you'd call a consensus-builder.

Posted at 9:44 AM to Political Science Fiction

So, on the one hand, you have DeLay saying, in his opinion, there is no pork in the budget . And on the other, Sen. Inhofe saying, in his opinion, there is "only" about $8 billion worth of pork in his transportation bill. I see the difference, but still not sure what it is. !?!?

Posted by: Mike at 2:14 PM on 27 September 2005

At least $8 billion. :)

DeLay apparently was sent to the woodshed, because this week he's talking about spending cuts, but as always with DeLay, you have to assume that retaining his position is a higher priority than any mere budget matters.

Posted by: CGHill at 2:39 PM on 27 September 2005

Sounds like we have on one hand 'tax and spend' and on the other 'lie and spend'.

Posted by: David Pendracki at 4:05 AM on 28 September 2005