The Countertop Chronicles

"Run by a gun zealot who's too blinded by the NRA" - Sam Penney of

Friday, January 12, 2007

Can I Still Consider Myself A Republican

never mind the fact that I'm really a small l libertarian . . . but as of right know I've got to say no.

Two editorials in the Wall Street Journal explain everything you need to know.

The first is titled GOP Flake Out:

One big test of a new minority is to draw the right lesson from its drubbing at the polls. House Republicans have a long way to go, judging by House Minority Leader John Boehner's decision this week to punish Arizona's Jeff Flake by tossing him off the Judiciary Committee. The offense? Porkbusting.

Mr. Flake should be getting a promotion to the leadership, given how prescient he was in warning his colleagues about the perils of their run-amok "earmarking." He and a few comrades sponsored more than 40 House floor amendments last year to strip pork projects from spending bills. The National Taxpayers Union ranked him the most fiscally conservative member of the House. None of that sits very well with his House colleagues, who blame Mr. Flake for shining public attention on their spendthrift ways. They're especially angry that he talked about this with CBS's "60 Minutes," which chose to run the program on election eve weekend.

A spokesman for Mr. Boehner says Mr. Flake's Judiciary ejection isn't punitive, and is merely the bad luck of the draw now that the GOP has fewer seats in the minority. However, that is hard to credit given that Mr. Flake had more seniority on Judiciary than six other Republicans who didn't lose their seats. Mr. Flake retains seats on two lesser committees.

Meanwhile, Mr. Boehner has asked California's Jerry Lewis to remain the ranking Republican on the Appropriations Committee. As Chairman, Mr. Lewis allowed 13,997 earmarks in the 2005 budget. He is also under investigation for relationships with lobbyists amid allegations of "pay to play" earmarking. The Duke Cunningham payments-for-pork crimes happened on his watch. If Republicans truly believed in limited government, Mr. Flake would be running Appropriations and Mr. Lewis would be a back-bencher.

The other, which Instapundit has reprinted, highlights at least one bright spot for Republicans, South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint

To Speaker Nancy Pelosi's credit, House Democrats recently passed ethics legislation that included provisions making earmarks more transparent. The House bill included a broad definition of earmarks, thereby making it harder to hide them in, say, last-minute conference reports. It also requires Members to file a public disclosure form when they request an earmark, and to state that neither they nor their spouses will financially benefit. It's hard to argue that this is anything but elementary good government.

Unless you are Harry Reid. The ethics reform offered by Senate Democrats contained none of these tougher earmark provisions. So Senate Republicans, led by South Carolina's Jim DeMint, cheekily took the identical language of the House earmark bill and offered it as an amendment to the Senate version. Numerous Democrats instantly denounced it, apparently unaware (or unconcerned) that the language had been sponsored by Ms. Pelosi.

Democrat Dick Durbin then moved to table the amendment, though he lost by 51 to 46. Of the 46 Senators who voted to banish Ms. Pelosi's reform, 38 of them were her fellow Democrats. The seven Republicans who went along with Mr. Reid included some of the GOP's biggest spenders (Trent Lott) and Members of the Appropriations Committee, aka Earmark Central Station. When Senator DeMint then moved to have his amendment accepted by voice vote -- which is customary -- Mr. Durbin objected. The effect of these procedural run-arounds was to give Mr. Reid more time to twist a few more Democratic arms into killing earmark reform.

So, while I can certainly say I am not a Democrat, with the Republican leadership displaying this much distaste for basic republican principles, I really can't imagine doing anythin to support them. And it kills me to say it, but as of right now, I seem to be a Nancy Pelosi supporter (don't worry, I'm sure that will change).



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