Thursday, March 08, 2007

Hensarling Compares Republicans to Winos

Jeb Hensarling, R-Dallas, chairman of the Republican Study Committee, gave an interview to prior to his speech at the annual CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference). We know that Ann Coulter upstaged him at the conference, but Hensarling's comments in his interview might raise a few eyebrows, as well.

NYSP: So, what went wrong in November?

Hensarling: I don't think it's one reason. But, clearly, a significant portion of the electorate wanted to send President Bush a message on Iraq. There was clearly frustration with the progress in our war. But that, in and of itself, does not explain to totality of the elections.

Since I've been a member of Congress, I believe three members have plead guilty to felonies and have gone off to serve in prison. I haven't found Congress to be any more virtuous or less virtuous than the population as a whole. I haven't found either party to have a monopoly on virtue. But when voters were paying attention, seemingly more Republicans got into ethical challenges than Democrats.

We went to Washington and said we'd be the party of reform. And, so, to have several high-profile cases occur was not helpful to our fortunes. And, for whatever reason, the media seemed to pay a little bit more attention to our folks who were ethically challenged than to their folks that were ethically challenged.

Finally, we went to Washington and said we're going to be the party of accountability, limited government, and fiscal responsibility. And, I think, somewhere along the way, we lost our way. Now, within the last couple of years, I think that Congress has done a lot, in the last Congress, to help reclaim that mantle of fiscal responsibility and limited government. But I think a lot of the damage had been done.

But, to the extent that there is a silver lining in the big gray cloud, I am convinced that the electorate did not shift to the left. It is still a center-right electorate. And they didn't hire the Democrats for what the Democrats believe in. They fired the Republicans, partly as a protest to the policies in Iraq, but more so because they didn't see Republicans living up to their own principles......

NYSP: How is the RCS's roll going to be different in the new Congress?

Hensarling: We're making communications instead of legislation. Listen, we're going to work with Democrats where we can. Our job is not just to say no to whatever they bring to us. I mean, we all know that a broken clock is right twice a day. And, frankly, they are right on what they were doing on earmarking. Now, time will tell if their actions live up to their words. But I complimented them. I applauded them, as did other conservative leaders, when they brought up their earmark reform rule. Now, that's probably about the only thing I've agreed with them on that I can recall off the top of my head. I don't think we'll have common ground with them often.

NYSP: What should conservatives be watching to tell if the Democrats' earmark reform is anything serious?

Hensarling: You'll know it soon when we get into the appropriations process. The Democrats already seem to be engaged in some slight of hand by saying there are no earmarks in a bill if we say there are no earmarks in a bill. Kind of like, if we say the sun comes up in the West and seats in the East it must come up in the West and set in the East.

I'm not personally religiously opposed to earmarks. I think there are good earmarks. But just like the surgeon general might have told the American populous as a whole that perhaps one glass of red wine a day can be good for your health, he really didn't mean that advice for winos. Unfortunately, too many in our conference have not shown that they can handle earmarks responsibly.

It would have been three times worse under Democrat watch, but no one expects Democrats to be fiscally responsible.

Alright, he had to say that last part, even if it isn't true. We've analyzed some of the reasons why conservatives lost control of their fiscal house in previous posts.

It's good to see some conservatives a little bit chastened by the excesses of the previous Congress. But remember that Hensarling voted against restoring pay-go rules earlier this year, along with most of the Texas Republican delegation. So take that renewed commitment to fiscal responsibility with a grain of salt.

1 comment:

JAKinTT said...

Hensarling is just trying to do something to make himself stand out. Even if it means throwing his party under the bus. My hope is we can get a candidate who can get the support of the State Party in 2008 and have a chance to get him out of office. He has done nothing for his district. He is all ego.