Read Paul's bio and previous columns


February 2, 2009

Republicans Oppose Pork-Laden Stimulus; What Do They Expect? A Cookie?


Some conservatives are lavishing House Minority Leader John Boehner and House Republicans with praise for their opposition to the deceitfully labeled “stimulus” package. The fact that, for at least one major piece of legislation, the Republicans in one chamber finally demonstrated loyalty to their principles is indeed good news. But why should they get more than a mere nod from conservatives?


Voting against any unnecessary and wasteful government spending is precisely what congressional Republicans are supposed to do. As members of a party overwhelmingly brought to power by conservatives, elected Republicans are supposed to oppose government enlargement and the welfare state, while continuously pulling government out of our lives and pocketbooks.


When a D student gets an A on a single quiz, no one considers him to be a good student for that reason only. Likewise, the fact that for many years congressional Republicans have acted like moderately restrained Democrats, have wasted taxpayer money on just as much pork as Nancy Pelosi and John Murtha, and have continued to enlarge the federal government does not mean that conservatives should be gushing over them at the first sign of fiscal responsibility.


In a famous and uproarious stand up performance, comedian Chris Rock ridicules those who live with a set of ludicrously low expectations. He mockingly quotes them as demanding credit for taking care of their kids, or having never been to jail. He then responds, “What do you want, a cookie?!”


The response equally applies for any House Republicans who brag about opposing the Democrats’ mammoth waste bill despite having been precisely elected to do so and being expected to do at least as much for conservative principles.


So you opposed this instance of waste, House Republicans. What do you want, a cookie?


Well, they shouldn’t get one. Not yet. Republicans had control of the White House and both houses of Congress for years. Yet they managed to increase federal spending. They expanded the federal government further into education and Medicare territory. They refused to set obstacles to corruption by ending pork. They failed to address the biggest Ponzi scheme of all, Social Security. And they sacrificed excellent conservative candidates by going all out for liberals such as Lincoln Chafee and Wayne Gilchrest, who shamefully turned on the party the second they no longer needed it.


And now, we are supposed to praise them for opposing a trillion-dollar pork bill that was beyond the realm of imagination even months ago?


No, no. Countless conservatives stayed at home during the 2006 and 2008 elections, and many more ceased sending money to the Republican Party years ago. These conservatives have instead directed their funds to a few genuinely conservative politicians, or to organizations that help true conservatives get elected, even at the cost of taking out liberal, big-government Republicans (see: the Club for Growth).


Many more have held on to their cash and activism, awaiting the arrival of someone worth it. One must only compare the McCain campaign’s accounting books, or its rally attendance levels, immediately before and then following Sarah Palin’s selection as vice-presidential nominee in order to weigh the influence of conservative disaffection with the Republican Party. In short, barring a drastic turnaround, conservatives will not forget the past and open up their wallets to Republican leadership for occasionally doing what it was elected to do.


Now there are signs of hope. The fact that genuine conservatives such as Eric Cantor and Mike Pence now occupy leadership positions in the House GOP is most certainly encouraging. The shedding of liberal Republicans in 2006 and 2008 has tightened the Republican message to a somewhat more convincing and conservative platform. And although it is too early to judge, Michael Steele’s election as chairman of the Republican National Committee just might help lead to a revival of the party that America knew in 1994.


But it is not enough. Republicans must rediscover their small government roots in a continuous and noticeable manner in order to win back conservative support. Opposing wasteful Democratic legislation should become the norm instead of an isolated manifestation of bravery. Republicans must do what Republicans are supposed to do. Until then, no cookies for them.

© 2009 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


Click here to talk to our writers and editors about this column and others in our discussion forum.


To e-mail feedback about this column, click here. If you enjoy this writer's work, please contact your local newspapers editors and ask them to carry it.

This is Column # PI151. Request permission to publish here.
Op-Ed Writers
Eric Baerren
Lucia de Vernai
Herman Cain
Dan Calabrese
Bob Franken
Lawrence J. Haas
Paul Ibrahim
Rob Kall
David Karki
Llewellyn King
Gregory D. Lee
David B. Livingstone
Bob Maistros
Rachel Marsden
Nathaniel Shockey
Stephen Silver
Candace Talmadge
Jessica Vozel
Jamie Weinstein
Brett Noel
Feature Writers
Mike Ball
Bob Batz
Cindy Droog
The Laughing Chef
David J. Pollay
Business Writers
D.F. Krause