Tuesday, October 03, 2006

When Congress Goes Bad

Many conservatives are quite disappointed with our GOP-led Congress. I have written numerous times about Congress’ lack of fiscal restraint. But that isn’t the whole story. This Wall Street Journal Editorial does a fairly good job of expressing the way many conservatives feel about the 109th Congress.

WSJ editors note that congressional Republicans are not running on their accomplishments or even very much on their strengths this fall. Instead, they are coming from a telling position of chiefly campaigning on their opponents’ weaknesses. The reason for this is that the GOP’s accomplishments have been paltry, while their failures have been much more noticeable. WSJ editors cite the failure to “maintain the unity or discipline to achieve nearly any of what they promised in 2004.”

What has the 109th delivered for conservatives? Per the WSJ editors:
  • Two new distinguished Supreme Court justices. They even forced a president to change from a questionable nominee to an outstanding nominee.

  • Funding the war on terror.

  • Extending capital gains rate reductions (temporarily).

  • Terrorist interrogation compromise.

  • Bankruptcy and class action tort reform.

  • A few free trade agreements.
But, on the minus side:
  • Failure to make tax cuts permanent.

  • Blowing it on estate tax reform.

  • No true immigration reform.

  • Wimpiness on Social Security reform.

  • Doing nothing on health care. Even blowing it on modest insurance reforms.

  • Numerous ethics problems. While these exist on both sides of the aisle, GOP ethical issues gall conservatives.

  • Failure to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

  • No line item veto.

  • Etc.
Chief Justice Roberts and Associate Justice Alito are likely to pay significant conservative dividends far beyond the tenure of most members of Congress. WSJ editors call the war on terror “the most important issue of our time.” While the war is not particularly popular, a plurality of Americans understand that successfully prosecuting the war is essential to our long-term national security. And that may be the GOP’s only saving grace in the November elections. Thus, the effort to campaign strongly on this single issue.

While the WSJ editors note multiple reasons for the failures, they suggest that the real problem “is that too many Republicans now believe their purpose in Washington is keeping power for its own sake.” Many negative sayings have been coined about the love of power. These sayings often resonate because there is at least some modicum of truth in them. Those that have fallen into this power trap (including members of Utah’s delegation) should not be returned to Washington this fall, regardless of which party to which they belong.

For many conservative voters this fall, “Vote for me because I’m GOP” may not be enough. And Republicans in Congress have few to blame but themselves.

1 comment:

mark smith said...

I stopped voting republican years ago. I've been voting mostly libertarian except when a race is close. I have problems with libertarians as well, but it's my way of trying to upset the status quo.