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Why the Republicans are in trouble in ’06
Posted by: McQ on Monday, October 24, 2005

The reason is really fairly simple. USA Today notes that there was a hot session on the old Senate floor last week:
But national survival wasn't what had legislators inflamed last week. Instead, the rhetoric became overheated when Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., violated an unwritten rule. He dared to advance a measure to trim some of his colleagues' expensive and unnecessary pet projects from a budget bill.
Coburn's sin? He suggested the pork-laden Highway Bill be trimmed to pay for hurricane relief. And specifically, he suggested first among those cuts should be the planned travesty in Alaska popularly known as the "bridge to nowhere":
Ground hasn't been broken yet, but the infamous "bridge to nowhere" that would connect Ketchikan, Alaska, to an offshore island where only 50 people live, appears to be indestructible. The highway bill allots $223 million for that project and $229 million for another boondoggle bridge near Anchorage. Coburn wanted to withdraw funds for the bridges and shift $75 million to rebuild a Louisiana bridge damaged by Hurricane Katrina. It should be a no-brainer that the needs of the devastated Gulf Coast are greater.
For suggesting this he was all but tarred, feathered and run out of Washington ... by fellow Republicans. Key among them was Alaska's Ted Stevens, author of the earmark which would authorize the funds for the bridge:
Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, was personally insulted, however. Alaska, which ranks No. 1 in per capita federal spending, was being unjustly singled out, he argued. The 37-year Senate veteran threatened to resign and "be taken out of here on a stretcher" if the Senate killed off perhaps the most egregious example of wasteful spending in the massive highway bill.
I'm sorry, but that's simply disgusting. Oh that we could have seen video of Stevens being carried out on a stretcher after his resignation. But Senators would have none of Coburn's rational and logical suggestion. Cut spending? The horror! Spend responsibly? How would they ever be reelected? Be good stewards of the taxpayer's money? Why start now?!
Senators were so moved by Stevens' sense of outrage — or the idea that their own pet projects could be next — that they voted 82-15 to keep funding the bridges. The Senate also refused to defund a $500,000 sculpture park in Seattle and $950,000 for a Nebraska museum parking facility.
Don't forget those are only a couple of the 6,371 earmarks within the bill in question.

Yes, the Democrats probably voted in the majority to keep the spending in place. But they're Democrats and that's expected of them. What needs to be noted is the majority of Republicans also voted to keep the pork flowing.

And the loser? Why you, dear taxpayer, of course. Now you get to not only fund the projects that will help reelect these profligates but you also get to pick up the tab for hurricane relief.

When '06 comes around remember this phrase: "Gridlock is good".

Then make it happen.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Who’da thunk it ... voting for Democrats to get spending under control. Maybe that will turn out the real fiscal conservatives for the ’08 elections, of whatever party.
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
No thanks. We had enough of Dem gridlock. That’s why Daschle is a private citizen now...
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Coburn for Senate Majority Leader?

Naw, for totally different reasons he’d be as effective as Frist. Frist has no spine, Coburn would just have Republicans deliberately dissenting with their votes... too bad.
Written By: Dave
URL: http://
“Yes, the Democrats probably voted in the majority to keep the spending in place. But they’re Democrats and that’s expected of them.”
“When ’06 comes around remember this phrase: "Gridlock is good".

Then make it happen.”
I get your example (the 82 – 15 vote) of why “gridlock” won’t work because the Democrats will vote with the Republicans to keep spending in place. I agree. What I don’t see is how, after citing this egregious example of how the “gridlock” concept for spending is bogus, you then turn around and call for it. Call for the election of Democrats if you will, but phony slogans like “Gridlock is good” …? Gridlock on social issues, maybe. On spending? No way.
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
Gee Bob ... maybe you missed it ... the whole point is to vote ’em out. The Republicans in the Senate that is ...

Then, for at least two years, you have majority Democrats in the Senate trying to spend more money and the Republicans trying to hang on to their seats turning back into fiscal conservatives and, who knows, since they’ll be Democrat spending bills (which should be natually opposed by conservative, less spending Republicans), Bush might actually find it in himself to veto one or two or twelve before ’08.

As Jon pointed out, indications are those claiming to be Reps in Congress now are simply bible-thumping Democrats ... they’re certainly not conservative Republicans. So what’s the diff?
Written By: McQ
Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll have any more luck trying to vote out Mike Castle in 2006 than I did in 2004, 2002, 2000, or 1998.
Written By: Joe R. the Unabrewer
Alaska Senator Ted Stevens threatened to resign if Coburns amendment passed. Man, I’m sure glad that didn’t happen! Stevens is trying to pass Robert Byrd with the amouint of pork, but old shakey has him beat every which way.
Written By: Abu Qa’ Qa
URL: http://
Gridlock helps to bring some semblance of sanity to fiscal issues as well as social ones, and I do have to agree that gridlock is probably our best bet at this time. A split executive and legislature during the Clinton era helped control the growth of spending. The first thing the Republicans did when they controlled both branches of government was to suspend the ’pay-go’ rules that helped to limit growth in the 90s. Republicans held Clinton to task for spending, but Clinton also submitted budgets that were much more fiscally responsible than anything Bush has ever submitted, even before the Republicans in the legislature got a hold of them.

I have to agree with the call for gridlock here... its really the best choice at this point.

Also I think that a blow to Republicans in the 2006 mid-terms would help to energize the more moderate and fiscally responsible portions of the party, which may give us the oppourtunity for a quality Republican Presidential candidate in 08. As the Democrats resorted to a (relative) centrist in Clinton after years of losses to the Republicans, Republicans may be forced to do the same if a Democratic comeback occurs in 06.
Written By: Rosensteel
URL: http://

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