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January 16, 2004

Rebellion in the Ranks

Well, it looks like the fabled "base" is getting restless:

National leaders of six conservative organizations yesterday broke with the Republican majorities in the House and Senate, accusing them of spending like "drunken sailors," and had some strong words for President Bush as well.

"The Republican Congress is spending at twice the rate as under Bill Clinton, and President Bush has yet to issue a single veto," Paul M. Weyrich, national chairman of Coalitions for America, said at a news briefing with the other five leaders. "I complained about profligate spending during the Clinton years but never thought I'd have to do so with a Republican in the White House and Republicans controlling the Congress."

Warning of adverse consequences in the November elections, the leaders said the Senate must reject the latest House-passed omnibus spending bill or Mr. Bush should veto the measure.

The President is insulated from this chill by the fact that none of the Democrat contenders can be trusted with national security. If handing the office to one of them increases the likelihood of a catastrophic terrorist attack in America in the near-to-mid future by a factor of three or four, as I would guess, the spending simply pales in comparison. However, I've reached the point, myself, at which I'm not sure how disheartened I'd be to see the legislature go back to the Democrats.

I'm sure there are a number of factors that I haven't considered that make such a thing a bad idea, but between the spending and the myriad slaps in the conservative face from the federal government as it currently stands, it's getting a bit hard to take. Luckily, by virtue of my state, this dynamic doesn't come into play for my next vote; I'm voting Republican for Congress to unseat Pat Kennedy and Democrat (or independent) for Senate to unseat Linc Chafee.

Maybe that's the answer: if one of your federal representatives is a relatively liberal Republican, don't allow party affiliation to justify your voting for him or her. Of course, Linc makes that protest a particularly easy one for me to make.

Posted by Justin Katz at January 16, 2004 9:19 AM

"The President is insulated from this chill by the fact that none of the Democrat contenders can be trusted with national security."

And, I would add, by the fact that none of Democrat contenders is anything other than unspeakably awful on the social issues (and internal party dynamics ensure that this will be so for the foreseeable future). As long as Dems are the party of U.N.-loving gay French abortionists, I will never vote for one.

Even in the field of spending, unless and until major changes in Social Security and Medicare are made, caring about the particular fights over a few tens of billions of dollars in any given year is penny-wisdom and pound-foolishness. And on that key issue, the GOP at least has potential. As for the Dems, their Mediscare demogoguery makes them the problem.

Posted by: Victor Morton at January 16, 2004 9:50 AM


Well, I was trying to find the central distinction between the executive and the legislature; in other words, both are affected by social issues, but the legislature is less integral to national security.

At any rate, it is because the Democrats are "unspeakably awful on the social issues" that we have a problem. That leaves a whole lot of room, and creates a whole lot of pull, for the Republicans to move toward "speakably awful." My musing is whether it's better to tweak them now before the stakes get even higher.

Although, I've said before (somewhere) that driving society is more like driving a boat than a car; turns take a while to show.

Posted by: Justin Katz at January 16, 2004 10:02 AM