27 September 2005
Elephants, donkeys and pigs
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