Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Live by the pork, die by the pork

Republicans find themselves between a rock and a hard place of their own making. They recently passed a highway bill that was so packed full of fat that it needed a quadruple bypass to get to the President's desk for his signature. This, understandably, pissed off fiscal conservatives such as myself. Now they are faced with the clean up bill for Hurricane Katrina, which congressional leaders are "hoping" will cost less than the highway bill.

Here's the conundrum. Congressional Republicans are already somewhat vulnerable looking going into the 2006 mid-term elections. Having this additional pile of debt for Katrina is not going to help them with their Conservative base. Don't get me wrong, it isn't that Conservatives are opposed to aiding the Gulf region (although some true Federalist types may), but rather that this spending is made worse by the pork that Republican congressional leaders have been rolling around in. So the alternative is to go back and cut some fat that has already been approved. That isn't going to help them with Joe Sixpack. Yeah, old Joe would probably happily hold off on that bike trail a while if it was presented to him as the money being better spent helping people in the Gulf. But that isn't how Democrats will spin it. They'll spin it in a way that will make the Republican in that district look like a boob who can't manage a budget. So they have a choice-they can piss off the Conservative base of the party, or they can piss off the less politically engaged, swingish type voter. Guess who they'll choose?

That's correct, they'll choose the base because they know the conservatives in the base will stick with them longer than Joe Sixpack will. That's reasonable on occasion, but I'm beginning to wonder how long the conservatives will take this from the Republican party. Someday, possibly as soon as November of 2006, Conservatives will be sitting over the lifeless body of the Republican party with the defribrilator paddles in hand and we'll wonder: Is this even worth it? After all, the party lived by the pork, and maybe it should die by it.

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