Mar 03 2009

A Backlash Is Brewing

Published by at 2:53 pm under All General Discussions

Lots of news out today about Congress starting the chafe under the liberal spending policies of Obama and the liberal congressional leaders. Top of the list is John McCain’s rightfully negative reaction to this second round of mega ear marks (the first round being found in the massive Spendulus bill just passed):

If it seems like I’m angry, it’s because I am,” McCain said, taking the White House to task for treating the bill as leftover business — and not subject to the full measure of earmark reform promised by candidate Obama. 

“Last year’s business?” McCain asked, incredulous. “The president will sign this appropriations bill into law. It is the president’s business. It is the president of the United States’ business. It is the president of the United States’ business to do what he said — stated — when we were in debate seeking the support of the American people — where he said he would work to eliminate earmarks.” 

“We need earmark reform and when I’m president, I will go line by line to make sure we’re not spending money unwisely,” McCain said, reading back Obama’s words at a debate last fall. “That’s the quote, the promise of the president of the United States made to the American people in a debate with me in Oxford, Miss. So what is brought to the floor today — 9,000 earmarks.…So much for change.” 

Note to the far right: McCain is ALSO expressing the conservative opposition to uncontrolled federal spending. Enough of the backstabbing, now it is time to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with McCain – a powerful and influential Republican.

Second worth noting is a revolt in the House Democrat caucus of conservative democrats from marginal districts:

Democratic Reps. Jim Matheson of Utah and Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona have joined a quiet revolt in the House that could slow some of President Obama’s fast-moving priorities.

The two are among 49 Democrats from congressional districts that backed Republican Sen.John McCain ‘s 2008 presidential race and whose support for the Democratic majority’s progressive agenda is increasingly not assured.

A dozen of them were among 20 House Democrats who voted against the $410 billion discretionary fiscal 2009 spending package (HR 1105) on Feb. 25. Another group later forced House leaders to sideline a contentious bill (HR 1106) to allow bankruptcy judges to modify home loans.

Although only a handful of moderate and conservative Democrats abandoned their leaders during party-line votes on the economic stimulus law (PL 111-5), the group of vulnerable Democrats branded the omnibus spending bill as a budget buster and questioned whether the mortgage bill would raise interest rates on average home-owners and cause some struggling homeowners to rush to bankruptcy.

The defections could cause heartburn for Democratic leaders charged with ushering through Obama’s three biggest priorities: a health care overhaul, a cap-and-trade system to curb carbon emissions and his fiscal 2010 budget blueprint. The president might also have trouble winning their votes for an anticipated second financial bailout package.

Again, conservatives have potential allies in the guise of the impure. These potential allies are not Republicans or even conservative independents like myself. But they can help thwart the liberals.

Even too-left-for-my-tastes David Brooks is sounding the right alarm bells:

But the Obama budget is more than just the sum of its parts. There is, entailed in it, a promiscuous unwillingness to set priorities and accept trade-offs. There is evidence of a party swept up in its own revolutionary fervor — caught up in the self-flattering belief that history has called upon it to solve all problems at once.

So programs are piled on top of each other and we wind up with a gargantuan $3.6 trillion budget. We end up with deficits that, when considered realistically, are $1 trillion a year and stretch as far as the eye can see. We end up with an agenda that is unexceptional in its parts but that, when taken as a whole, represents a social-engineering experiment that is entirely new.

The U.S. has never been a society riven by class resentment. Yet the Obama budget is predicated on a class divide. The president issued a read-my-lips pledge that no new burdens will fall on 95 percent of the American people. All the costs will be borne by the rich and all benefits redistributed downward.

The U.S. has always been a decentralized nation, skeptical of top-down planning. Yet, the current administration concentrates enormous power in Washington, while plan after plan emanates from a small group of understaffed experts.

Those of us who consider ourselves moderates — moderate-conservative, in my case — are forced to confront the reality that Barack Obama is not who we thought he was. His words are responsible; his character is inspiring. But his actions betray a transformational liberalism that should put every centrist on notice. As Clive Crook, an Obama admirer, wrote in The Financial Times, the Obama budget “contains no trace of compromise. It makes no gesture, however small, however costless to its larger agenda, of a bipartisan approach to the great questions it addresses. It is a liberal’s dream of a new New Deal.”

These are prime examples of why the purity wars on the right are a waste of time. These impure voices are doing a fine job of explaining and expressing the lines crossed by the current administration and congressional leaders. To protect America from any more self inflicted damage the conservative coalition needs to be built with assistance from the center left and center right. Only with these people can Obama and Pelosi and Reid be stopped.

It is time folks to build a new conservative coalition that is broader than just the ‘true conservatives in exile’. Perfection will have to come later, right now we need to blunt the raid on American wallets. These people are worthy of an alliance aimed at a worthy cause – if the far right can get control of itself. Now we have a window to begin the process of changing our paths back towards sanity. Let’s not waste this opportunity in the pursuit of purity.

28 responses so far

28 Responses to “A Backlash Is Brewing”

  1. I R A Darth Aggie says:

    These potential allies are not Republicans or even conservative independents like myself. But they can help thwart the liberals.

    And they’re going to do what if we’re “mean” to them?

    Vote for porkulus earmarkus? let’s see how they vote first before toasting our new allies, shall we? Let’s see if they can withstand the pressure that Pelosi, Hoyer, and Clyburn bring to bear.

    As Reagan said, trust, but verify.

  2. conman says:


    The issue of earmarks is not a Democratic party issue, it is a problem with the entire Congress. The Republicans had the same amount of earmarks as the Democrats in the omnibus budget package despite the fact that there are far more Democratics in Congress.

    An analysis by Taxpayers for Common Sense found that: “Senate Democrats and Republican ate roughly the same amount from the government trough on a solo [earmark] basis, although Democrats have one and half times as many members. Democratic members secured about $677 million in individual earmarks; Republicans brought home $669 million.”

    And guess who led the entire group – Mississippi Republican Sen. Thad Cochran, who had more than $470 million in 204 earmarks, and Mississippi’s junior Republican, Roger Wicker, pulled in more than $390 million. They were No. 1 and 2.

    While I agree that earmarks are a problem that needs to be addressed, it is hardly a problem unique to the Democrats. Just look around at the current Congressional leaders of the Republican party – they are largely the same group that spent our money like drunken sailors when they were in charge.

  3. GuyFawkes says:

    Hey, look – I’m not banned. Huh. Well, while I’m here, let’s just point out two little facts:

    1) Earmarks are less than 2% of the total omnibus bill.
    2) Republicans are responsible for half of them.

    So, maybe McCain could tell the supposed “party of fiscal responsibility” to put their own house in order first, hmm?

  4. WWS says:


    Is this the change we can believe in???


  5. OLDPUPPYMAX says:

    It’s truly funny to watch Brooks come out from under the ether and notice that Hussein might just not be the hero of the downtrodden, the champion of non-partisan justice and the answer to all the problems of society. It makes me wonder if Brooks will some day understand that he helped elect a thug! Nah.

  6. tunkbob says:

    There are only two highly respected Republican Presidents in the last 100 Years. They were not, “Moderate” Republicans, or Maverick Republicans, nor Compassionate Republicans. They were Conservative Republicans. Dwight Eisenhower, and Ronald Reagan.
    I left the Republican party after Eisenhower, and returned with Reagan. Conservative leaders are the only leaders that have made this party something other then a dull shadow of the Democrats. Name me one Great President, who ever compromised his principles, for the sake of compromise, from either party. There are None.

  7. KauaiBoy says:

    Compromise—the concept has brought such wonderful new terms into our language–like partial birth abortion.

    If your principles are righteous they must not be compromised, otherwise they are not principles but just some nice ideas.

    Compromise works in situations where two rational parties are involved—-when rationality departs, war is often the outcome and sometimes it is necessary.

    Also compromise involves each party giving something up—this Congress has shown compromise means we each get to screw the pooch—win win for them.

  8. conman says:


    I agree that Obama campaigned on earmark reform and that he needs to address the earmark issue. I too will be waiting to see what he does or doesn’t do and judging him accordingly.

    With that being said, I don’t think it is reasonable or realistic to expect him to stop the entire practice of earmarks overnight. Nobody, including McCain, can end earmarks the first month or two in office given how entrenched Congress is on this issue. It will take a lot of political capital and much more time to seriously tackle that issue. Obama has a number of more pressing priorities that require Congressional cooperation and I just don’t think he is prepared to take on Congress over such a contenious issue. You may not agree with his priorities/strategies, but the point is that just because he isn’t taking it on right now, with all of the other problems we are dealing with, doesn’t mean he is abandoning his campaign pledge.

    On that topic, I find it ironic that conservatives are jumping on Obama for not following through on certain campaign pledges. Obama campaigned on a stimulus package, health care reform, education reform, closing Gitmo, etc. And yet now that he is following through on those campaign pledges you have all these conservatives crying about how dangerous, radicial and socialist all of these policies are. It’s as if conservatives forgot that America already heard the ideological/philosophical debates on these issues during the 2008 election and decided that they prefered Obama’s approach. Yet another reason why not just the GOP, but the conservative movement as a whole, is in such dire straits. They still don’t realize that the majority of Americans no longer buy into the standard conservative talking points and yet the conservatives are still out there pushing the same old schtick because they don’t have any new ideas.

  9. Terrye says:

    I consider myself moderate and I was never taken in by Obama. He is a demagogue.

    And AJ is right, now is not the time for conservatives to do their usual circular firing squad. They need to be working on winning some elections and sending Pelosi, Reid and Obama packing.

  10. Terrye says:


    You sound like a ideologue. Reagan once said that if you have the choice between starving and taking half a loaf, take half a loaf and fight for the other half later.

    And Reagan was not without principle. But politics is not a philosophy, it is not a religion, it is not some exercise in esoteric thought.

    It is about numbers and demographics and coalitions.

  11. Redteam says:

    Democratic members secured about $677 million in individual earmarks; Republicans brought home $669 million.
    ” And guess who led the entire group – Mississippi Republican Sen. Thad Cochran, who had more than $470 million in 204 earmarks, and Mississippi’s junior Republican, Roger Wicker, pulled in more than $390 million. They were No. 1 and 2.

    Conguy, your math skills match your reasoning ability.

    Did you really mean that $470 mill and $390 mill totals to less than $669 mill? Only two senators got ‘more’ than the ‘total’ ? wow?

  12. GuyFawkes says:


    Please educate yourself on how earmarks are assigned. Specifically, please learn what “individual earmarks” means. Then, you can sit at the adult table again.


    Total individual earmarks = $677M + $669M

    Total earmarks in the bill = $6B

    Your homework is to figure out how that works.

  13. Neo says:

    Seems the Obama budget has $1.5 trillion in savings by not having 10 more years of the Iraqi “Surge” .. something that even Bush hadn’t planned on.

    With accounting like this, you too can be a trillionaire.

  14. marksbbr says:

    If I remember correctly, there were plans even before the election to draw down troop levels in Iraq. Given that more Iraqi provinces, if not most, are now under Iraqi control (including Anbar), there would have been less need for “Surge” levels.

    I hope you realize that keeping up to 50,000 troops in Iraq has a price tag. As great as the American soldier is, he/she is not going to risk their life defending your freedom for free (however, they will always be underpaid for what they do).

    No, there will not be a “surge” in Iraq anymore. However, there will be a surge in Afghanistan. And that, again, will have a price tag. Question is, how much will it be? Hopefully Petraeus will have more control as CentCom commander.

    Obama’s fiscal policy is like planning on paying off your credit card by spending more and working less.

  15. Redteam says:

    Guy, one of the two

    It was conguy that had the problems. He said the Repubs had
    669 TOTAL, but two of them alone had over 800M

    tell him about his math skills.

    You should just crawl back into your hole.

  16. UNRR says:

    This post has been linked for the HOT5 Daily 3/4/2009, at The Unreligious Right

  17. GuyFawkes says:

    Redteam, I am greatly amused at how proud you are of your own stunning ignorance. You don’t know the first frickin’ thing about earmarks, or about this bill – but will that stop you from forming an opinion on it? Hell no!

    And the best part is that you are simply too stupid to realize how stupid you actually are.

  18. Redteam says:

    Guy, ok brilliance, here is the exact quote from the other gay, er, guy. Resolve it for all of us. tell me how the 470 and 390 fit within the 669. I pointed this out before, but apparently your reading comprehension is non existent.

    Democratic members secured about $677 million in individual earmarks; Republicans brought home $669 million.”
    And guess who led the entire group – Mississippi Republican Sen. Thad Cochran, who had more than $470 million in 204 earmarks, and Mississippi’s junior Republican, Roger Wicker, pulled in more than $390 million.

  19. Frogg says:

    Finally some sense coming back to the halls of Congress:

    Moderates uneasy with Obama plan (14 Dem Senators)

    By MANU RAJU | 3/3/09 8:15 PM EST

    Moderate and conservative Democrats in the Senate are starting to choke over the massive spending and tax increases in President Barack Obama’s budget plans and have begun plotting to increase their influence over the agenda of a president who is turning out to be much more liberal than they are.

    A group of 14 Senate Democrats and one independent huddled behind closed doors on Tuesday, discussing how centrists in that chamber can assert more leverage on the major policy debates that will dominate this Congress.

    Afterward, some in attendance made plain that they are getting jitters over the cost and expansive reach of Obama’s $3.6 trillion budget proposal.

    If the moderate Democrats in the Senate are willing to work with moderate Republicans — as Bayh said they are eager to do — they will negate the White House’s ability to portray opposition to Obama’s spending as partisan obstructionism

  20. missy1 says:

    Thad Cochran had 154 solo earmarks, @ $375,481,560. Co-sponsored 108, @ $694,114,500. Total earmarks 262 @ $1,069,596,060.

    You can find exactly who the sponsors are, how many, how much and what for at the following site.

    I looked at Cochran’s because he is who everyone is focusing on, maybe you may want to check his out and decide if they are as evil as his peers let on.

    Earmarks have become a political dirty word tossed back and forth as a way to smear the sponsors, not even taking into consideration what they are for, they need to be examined on an individual basis.

    Are earmarks abused and need to be reigned in? you bet. But, not all of them are wrong and many have served to benefit necessary public projects in states that do not get a good return on what tax dollars they send to DC or states that are impoverished.

    Here’s an opportunity to study the earmarks, e-mail/call the sponsors and tell them to remove the offensive ones or start listing them and the sponsor on blogs to get the bad attention they deserve.