"My answer to them is, 'Go home.'"
All these complaints lead a path to Tom Davis. His signature is the only one on the subpoena of Terry Schiavo, he raked in hundreds of thousands from drug companies and millions from lobbyists and PACs, and he prevents the Government Reform Committee from cracking down on waste, fraud, and lobbyists influence. Even your conservative friends should vote for Andy Hurst.
The neo-con writers have no trouble identifying the issues that make them reject the current administration: a collapse of committee deliberations, the demise of oversight of the executive branch, the loss of the +óGé¼-£regular order+óGé¼Gäó of rules for debate and legislation, a runaway spending process, and a shrinking legislative calendar. The causes were also not difficult to find: gerrymandered districts, travel and fundraising needs keeping lawmakers away from Washington, the loss of centrists in both parties, quickening news cycles and the reliance on lobbyist-raised cash. +óGé¼-¥ Washington Post, July 13, 2006.
The Post's Howard Kurtz is quite stunned by the line up of writers. Nevertheless, for this new crop of essays, there are nuggets that are so obvious they don+óGé¼Gäót even merit a footnote, such as this by Christopher Buckley, Yale-educated, Skull-and-Bones inducted, Reagan-Bush speechwriting conservative in +óGé¼-¥Let+óGé¼Gäós Quit While We+óGé¼Gäóre Behind.+óGé¼-¥
Six years later, the White House uses the phrase [+óGé¼+ôcompassionate conservative+óGé¼-¥] about as much as it does +óGé¼+ôMission Accomplished.+óGé¼-¥ Six years of record deficits and profligate expansion of entitlement programs. Incompetent expansion, at that: The actual cost of the President+óGé¼Gäós Medicare drug benefit turned out, within months of being enacted, to be roughly one-third more than the stated price. Weren+óGé¼Gäót Republicans supposed to be the ones who were good at accounting? All those years on Wall Street calculating CEO compensation....
How could all that have happened? Surely such problems would not be ignored by Tom Davis's Government Reform Committee that conducts oversight of such errors +óGé¼GÇ£ if not to assign blame, at least to be sure that incompetence by the same government contractors in Iraq, for example, wouldn+óGé¼Gäót be repeated during a Gulf Hurricane?
On Capitol Hill, a Republican Senate and House are now distinguished by+óGé¼GÇ¥or perhaps even synonymous with+óGé¼GÇ¥earmarks, K Street Project, Randy Cunningham (bandit, 12 o+óGé¼Gäóclock high!), Sen. Ted Stevens+óGé¼Gäós $250-million Bridge to Nowhere, Jack Abramoff (Who? Never heard of him), and a Senate Majority Leader who declared, after conducting his own medical evaluation via videotape, that he knew every bit as much about the medical condition of Terry Schiavo as her own doctors and husband. Who knew that conservatism means barging into someone+óGé¼Gäós hospital room like Dr. Frankenstein with defibrillator paddles? In what chapter of Hayek+óGé¼Gäós The Road to Serfdom or Russell Kirk+óGé¼Gäós The Conservative Mind is that principle enunciated?
Terry Schiavo! Isn+óGé¼Gäót that the poor woman subpoenaed by our own Tom Davis? That subpoena, which bears his signature, said, +óGé¼+ôThe Committee will examine nutrition and hydration which incapacitated patients receive as part of their care+óGé¼-ª. If you have any questions regarding this hearing, please contact the committee at 202-225-5074.+óGé¼-¥ I+óGé¼Gäóm sure if she could have read that, she would have wondered which of the two of them was the brain-dead one. Buckley continues:
Who knew, in 2000, that 'compassionate conservatism' meant bigger government, unrestricted government spending, government intrusion in personal matters, government ineptitude, and cronyism in disaster relief? +óGé¼-ª A more accurate term for Mr. Bush's political philosophy might be incontinent conservatism. . . .
Despite the failures, one had the sense that the party at least knew in its heart of hearts that these were failures, either of principle or execution. Today one has no sense, aside from a slight lowering of the swagger-mometer, that the president or the Republican Congress is in the least bit chastened by their debacles. George Tenet's WMD 'slam-dunk,' Vice President Cheney's 'we will be greeted as liberators,' Don Rumsfeld's avidity to promulgate a minimalist military doctrine, together with the tidy theories of a group who call themselves 'neo-conservative' (not one of whom, to my knowledge, has ever worn a military uniform), have thus far: de-stabilized the Middle East; alienated the world community from the United States; empowered North Korea, Iran, and Syria; unleashed sectarian carnage in Iraq among tribes who have been cutting each others' throats for over a thousand years; cost the lives of 2,600 Americans, and the limbs, eyes, organs, spinal cords of another 15,000 -- with no end in sight. But not to worry: Democracy is on the march in the Middle East. . . .
Another writer in the Monthly, Richard A. Viguerie, also brings up one of the featured bills, a budget-busting law that forces the government to overpay for prescription drugs. It was written for Congress by drug lobbyists.
With their record over the past few years, the Big Government Republicans in Washington do not merit the support of conservatives. They have busted the federal budget for generations to come with the prescription-drug benefit and the creation and expansion of other programs.
Tom Davis again! During consideration of the prescription drug Medicare reform bill, Davis got rich from drug company PACs. FEC records show that of the $3.173 million collected from PACs since 1998 for his campaign, almost half a million ($495,929) is from drug and device companies and insurers. Most of the gifts were made during the consideration of the bill, 2003-2005. Of course, that doesn't include payments to his PACs and his wife, and payments made by the drug company lobbyists. Maybe that+óGé¼Gäós next.
They have brought forth a limitless flow of pork for the sole, immoral purpose of holding onto office... They have spent more time seeking the favors of K Street lobbyists than listening to the conservatives who brought them to power. And they have sunk us into the very sort of nation-building war that candidate George W. Bush promised to avoid, while ignoring rising threats such as communist China and the oil-rich +óGé¼+ônew Castro,+óGé¼-¥ Hugo Chavez.
That didn+óGé¼Gäót take long, did it! Do we have an example of sucking up for self-preservation and self-interest in our own back yard? Only 7 lawmakers in Congress have received more money from lobbyists than Tom Davis. Davis got his wife a job making appointments between him and the government contractors paying for contracts. A former staffer also works there for his good friend Don Upson. This summer the Washington Post revealed the company, ICG, to be an unregistered lobbyist.
If only these earmarks went to competent crooks. Take, for example, Davis contributor Mr. Dewberry, who donated $9,600 to Davis, $18,500 to his Victory PACs, another $3,500 to the RNCCC when Davis was head, and threw a couple thousand more to Davis+óGé¼Gäós wife. The payoff was sweet: partaking of the billion-dollar contract for a Hurricane Pam Gulf Hurricane practice run. If only the contractors had been competent. If only they hadn+óGé¼Gäót forgotten to deliver water when the real thing hit.
Jeffrey Hart adds:
Perhaps most damaging to the ideal of conservatism has been the influence of religious ideology. During the fight over whether to remove the feeding tube of Terri Schiavo, a Florida woman who had been in a vegetal state for 15 years, politicians began to say strange and feverish things. +óGé¼+ôShe talks and she laughs, and she expresses happiness and discomfort,+óGé¼-¥ Majority whip Tom DeLay said of a woman for whom cognition of any kind was impossible. (Oxygen deprivation had liquefied her cerebral cortex.) Senate Majority leader Bill Frist examined Schiavo on videotape and deemed her +óGé¼+ôclearly responsive.+óGé¼-¥ As Schiavo+óGé¼Gäós case fought its way through the courts, Republicans savaged judges for consistently sanctioning the removal of Schiavo+óGé¼Gäós feeding tube. +óGé¼+ôThe time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior,+óGé¼-¥ threatened DeLay.
Terry Schiavo again! The time has come for Tom Davis to answer for his behavior.
That Bruce Fein says the "Republican Congress has done nothing to thwart President George W. Bush+óGé¼Gäós alarming usurpations of legislative prerogatives. Instead, it has largely functioned as an echo chamber of the White House."
Republicans have shied from challenging Bush by placing party loyalty above institutional loyalty, contrary to the expectations of the Founding Fathers. They do so in the fear that embarrassing or discrediting a Republican president might reverberate to their political disadvantage in a reverse coat-tail effect.+óGé¼-¥
Sucking up for self-preservation and self-interest! Again I turn to my prime example, Tom Davis and the creative way he makes his living from lobbyists. Need I mention again his rendering the Reform Committee impotent - this time to protect Abramoff, in the name of party loyalty?
Joe Scarborough compares Republican spending to that of a drunken sailor in pre-Katrina in New Orleans. He prefers +óGé¼+ôan assortment of Bourbon Street hookers running the Southern Baptist Convention to having this lot of Republicans controlling America+óGé¼Gäós checkbook for the next two years.+óGé¼-¥
But compare Clinton+óGé¼Gäós 3.4 percent [spending] growth rate to the spending orgy that has dominated Washington since Bush moved into town. With Republicans in charge of both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue, spending growth has averaged 10.4 percent per year. And the GOP+óGé¼Gäós reckless record goes well beyond runaway defense costs. The federal education bureaucracy has exploded by 101 percent since Republicans started running Congress. Spending in the Justice Department over the same period has shot up 131 percent, the Commerce Department 82 percent, the Department of Health and Human Services 81 percent, the State Department 80 percent, the Department of Transportation 65 percent, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development 59 percent. Incredibly, the four bureaucracies once targeted for elimination by the GOP Congress+óGé¼GÇ¥Commerce, Energy, Education, and Housing and Urban Development+óGé¼GÇ¥have enjoyed spending increases of an average of 85 percent.
Surely Tom Davis and the Government Reform Committee would have at least put a finger in the dike by now to stop a little of the overflow spending? Congressman? Might you schedule a hearing on this?
Bruce Bartlett is the most lukewarm of these 7 writers, but even he admits a House controlled by the Democrats +óGé¼+ôwill force a debate on issues that have been swept under the rug, such out-of-control government spending and the coziness between Republicans and K Street, home of Washington+óGé¼Gäós lobbying community.+óGé¼-¥
We+óGé¼Gäóll end where we started, with Christopher Buckley: Where does one go to get back [my Party]? One place comes to mind: the back benches. It+óGé¼Gäós time for a time-out. Time to hand over this sorry enchilada to Hillary and Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden and Charlie Rangel and Harry Reid.... Or, with any luck, to Mark Warner or, what the heck, Al Gore. I+óGé¼Gäóm not much into polar bears, but this heat wave has me thinking the man might be on to something.
I believe that God created and loves all humankind and embraces all of us. I do not think exclusivity with respect to religion is consistent with the message of the Gospels.
Medical researchers believe that early stage stem cells may hold the key to understanding and curing dreadful diseases. I see nothing in the Bible to suggest that cells in a laboratory dish are human beings. The message of the Gospels, as I read them, is that Jesus healed people, even when doing so may have violated the laws of the Sabbath, and that he sent his disciples into the world to "heal every kind of disease." (Matthew 10)
The efforts to politicize gay issues is designed to motivate the base of the Republican Party. So in an election year, there was a vote in Congress on a Constitutional amendment to define marriage. The Constitution concerns the structure of government and its relationship to the American people. The only effort to import social value issues into the Constitution was prohibition and that amendment was repealed after 13 years. I do not believe that politicizing gay issues does anything to protect the institution of marriage. I think that it is divisive for divisiveness' sake and that we should resist it.
By the way, it is true -- Danforth and Cheney were the last two considered for VP by Bush Jr. Danforth was viewed as a moderate, but had a real conservative streak in him -- he fully supported Clarence Thomas, for example.