OMT One Man's Trash...from Norman Leahy

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 :::

A Failed Intervention

Interventions are a famous technique employed by family and friends to help shock a junkie back into reality. They don't always work. And if the junkie in question happens to be the earmark-addicted GOP Congress, they fail abysmally.

What we have witnessed in these last few weeks is not so much the slow and inevitable decline of a majority party, but a deliberate march toward minority status. The resounding defeat of the Republican Study Committee's budget proposal (admittedly, a gimmick), shows just how deliberate that march really is, even among those who were first elected in the Contract year of 1994:

Rep. Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.), who voted for the budget in 1995 when he was a freshman but voted against it this month, said times have changed.

"It's a different day," he said, explaining that the attacks of Sept. 11 and other events have revealed a national energy crisis. He said that he has been preaching energy independence for years and that the budget policies from 1995 would have gone "backwards on energy independence."

Rep. Phil English (R-Pa.), another member of the class of '95 who voted against the budget he supported more than a decade ago, said he did so not because he doesn't want more savings but because he thought the proposals were not realistic and could give ammunition to political opponents.

Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.), also a member of the class of '95, said he voted no because he felt it would have been unfair to stick "a thumb in the nose" of House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House centrists who spent weeks negotiating the budget resolution that the House eventually adopted. Boehner, however, voted for the conservatives' '95-based budget, as did House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.).

Yes, times have changed, and yes, the nation now faces challenges the 1995 budget never anticipated (even though the RSC specifically exempted several programs that were included in the 1995 original). But perhaps the greatest change is that it's 12 years later...and the Republicans seem more concerned with power than principle. As Jeff Jacoby writes, this shift has undermined the conservative base -- perhaps fatally:

For the party's Reaganite core, the list of outrages is a long one, everything from steel tariffs to McCain-Feingold to gasoline demagoguery. Most troubling of all has been the explosive growth in the size and cost of government. On Bush's watch, the federal budget has grown twice as fast as during the Clinton years. Expenditures this year will come to nearly $24,000 per household -- the most, in real terms, since World War II. Not since Lyndon Johnson was in the White House has spending soared so recklessly.

There are those who will argue that the alternative -- a Democratically-controlled Congress -- would be even worse. Yes, it would.

But it would end the GOP's charade...and perhaps force the Republicans who remain to consider what they stand for, and why.

::: posted by Norman Leahy at 5/31/2006 1 comments


"You know what the fellow said: In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they also produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love -- they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock." -- Orson Welles, The Third Man

"The graveyards are full of indespensable men" -- Charles de Gaulle

"Oh, so Mother Nature needs a favor? Well maybe she should have thought of that when she was besetting us with droughts and floods and poison monkeys. Nature started the fight for survival and now she wants to quit because she's losing. Well I say, hard cheese!" -- Montgomery Burns

"Don't pretend that you know me...cause I don't even know myself" -- The Who

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