Monday, May 19, 2008

The GOP at the Trough

By Robert D. Novak Monday, May 19, 2008; The Washington Post

Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, 38 and having served less than five terms, did not leap over a dozen of his seniors to become the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee by bashing GOP leaders. But an angry Ryan delivered unscripted remarks on the House floor last Wednesday as the farm bill neared passage: "This bill is an absence of leadership. This bill shows we are not leading." (link)

Commentary: The story of Republican complicity and lack of leadership on the farm bill is reason for any conservative to be disgruntled and disgusted. The Farm bill is a bad bill. It raises spending by 44% above last year’s level. It contains non-farm pork spending, it subsidizing multimillionaire farmers, it increases food prices to the consumer, it undermines American leadership on trade, and puts farmers in undeveloped countries at a competitive disadvantage and keeps poor countries poor.

The Republican leadership has shown no leadership on this bill. According to Novak, President Bush has promised to veto the bill but let it be known that it would be OK if Republicans “voted their districts.” Apparently Republicans are not going to be pushed hard to sustain the veto.

In the Senate, Republican leader Mitch McConnell is not only supporting the bill but got a provision added to the bill giving special tax breaks to horse farms in his state of Kentucky. In the House, Minority Whip Roy Blunt voted for the bill. In the House, Republicans voted for the bill 100 to 91 and in the Senate, 35 Republicans voted for it and only 13 opposed it.

When Republicans vote like Democrats, why should one care if Republicans lose elections? Maybe it is time for Republicans to take a major beating, do some major soul searching, regroup, and rediscover why they are Republicans.

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