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Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Going to the Mat-With the big deficit numbers as wallpaper, let's pull up Josh's latest essay on fiscal irresponsability. He takes apart my call for a RINO hunt here
He places the blame squarely at the feet of RINOs ("Republicans In Name Only). But if it's a small number number of deviant Repubs, why has the Republican Congress increased the budget by 50% since 1995? Most Republicans, not a select few, have supported these increases. Indeed, the Republican Congress has doubled Bush's spending requests in the past, and his proposed 4% increase is likely to be a floor, not a ceiling to new growth. Nay, if it is the fault of RINOs, then RINOs infested the party. And if RINOs now run the party, the very term becomes contradictory. If a majority of irresponsible Republicans in Congress aren't enough to convince you the party isn't serious, surely the party's leader - the President - is evidence enough. George W. Bush is set to become the biggest spender in the White House since Lyndon Baines Johnson. So we now have most Republican Congressmen, and the party's leader, not only withholding spending cuts, but actually increasing spending faster than Democrats ever dreamed.
Yes, sad but true. Even if the party is only 2/3rds conservative and 1/3 moderate, that conservative majority is often lacking in political courage. I'm not sure if it was The West Wing or The American President where one of the aides, when faced with a lack of willingness to spend political capital, asked "Why not take that 60% approval rating out for a spin?" Why not? They're afraid of being mao-maoed by the left if they cut spending. This isn't anything new; Reagan wasn't exactly a great budget cutter, either. Republicans have historically been fearful of cutting the budget, or even trimming projected increases. I'm seeing the effects of "No Child Left Behind" right now down here; it seems to be hurting the kids it was intended to help-more on that later today. Republicans should push for less federal intervention, not more, both from a fiscal standpoint and from a federalist standpoint.You have too many conservatives who want to keep their political capital in the garage under a blanket for fear it will get dinged up by the liberals and the media and opt for Liberal Lite instead of real reforms. Is the moderate Republican bloc the biggest problem, or are gutless conservatives more of a problem? Josh seems to be plugging for the latter. However, the fewer moderates that are around, the more a conservative victory is achievable. Many reforms are stillborn for the lack of votes; if you can't get a majority of the Senate behind you, let alone 60 votes to break a filibuster, you often don't push too hard. A bigger conservative contingient in Congress will give them a little more spirit, for more things will be possible if there are 45 or 50 conservatives in the Senate rather than 30 or 35.

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