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Senate Republicans Split on Earmark Ban

Have they learned nothing from the last two elections?

by
Howard Nemerov

Bio

November 14, 2010 - 12:00 am

What is the attitude of the democrat when political rights are under discussion?

When it is time to vote, apparently the voter is not to be asked for any guarantee of his wisdom. His will and capacity to choose wisely are taken for granted. Can the people be mistaken? Are we not living in an age of enlightenment? What! Are the people always to be kept on leashes? Have they not won their rights by effort and sacrifice? Have they not given ample proof of their intelligence and wisdom? Are they not adults? Are they not capable of judging for themselves? Do they not know what is best for themselves? Is there a class or a man who would be so bold as to set himself above the people, and judge and act for them? No, no, the people are and should be free. They desire to manage their own affairs, and they shall do so.

But when the legislator is finally elected – ah! Then indeed does the tone of his speech undergo a radical change. The people are returned to passiveness, inertness, and unconsciousness; the legislator enters into omnipotence. Now it is for him to initiate, to direct, to propel, and to organize. Mankind has only to submit; the hour of despotism has struck. We now observe this fatal idea: the people who, during the election, were so wise, so moral, and so perfect, now have no tendencies whatever; or if they have any, they are tendencies that lead downward into degradation. ––Frederic Bastiat, The Law, pages 60-61

Politico reports:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is maneuvering behind the scenes to defeat a conservative plan aimed at restricting earmarks, setting up a high-stakes showdown that pits the GOP leader and his “Old Bull” allies against Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and a new breed of conservative senators.

Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe called an earmark ban a “phony issue.” He added: “The ban doesn’t accomplish anything.”

Wrong, Mr. Inhofe.

What it accomplishes is:

  • That you can show the American people some respect.
  • Proving we have not voted in vain, that D.C. politicians are beginning to get it that they work for us.
  • That the people can trust you to carry out our directives as our elected representative.

The American people wanted you to begin dismantling a bloated, corrupt federal government where only the rich and powerful derive any benefit, not to lecture us from your ivory tower about how ignorant we are about your job description.

Let’s turn this around and ask the question from another perspective. If you can’t accomplish something so allegedly insignificant as cleaning up the federal budget a bit by banning earmarks, how can we trust you will do the right thing when political pressures demand you do heavy lifting on something major?

While some in the GOP insist on maintaining a party full of Old Bull, they incessantly repeat history in a manner that bodes ill for America’s future.

Last January, Republicans as the minority party voted en masse against raising the debt ceiling. One day after the election:

U.S. House Speaker-apparent John Boehner pledged the new House majority would listen to the voters who swept the Republicans into power.

But now, in true Bastiat form, Republicans plan to increase the federal debt ceiling to cover this year’s $1.5 trillion deficit. They did this without first preparing a plan to streamline a bloated government, not even by banning earmarks.

McConnell and Inhofe need a brief history lesson.

The 2008 elections were a mandate against business as usual under the GOP and Bush. CNN exit polls showed that only 28% thought Bush was doing a good job, and 48% thought McCain — as leader of the Republican Party by nature of his presidential candidacy — would continue Bush’s policies.

This was one crucial nail in the GOP’s coffin that year.

In 2010, voters didn’t vote so much in favor of the Republican Party as against Obama’s agenda. Politico notes: “Following their midterm rout of Democrats, Republicans are welcoming a big crop of freshmen who criticized earmarks on the campaign trail … .”

Even the BBC admitted that Republicans campaigned with the promise to halt Obama’s agenda. The results are historical fact that their promise played well among the electorate.

McConnell and Inhofe should take this reality to heart, before they set dynamics in motion that return America to 2008.

Former civilian disarmament supporter and medical researcher Howard Nemerov investigates the civil liberty of self-defense and examines the issue of gun control, resulting in his book Four Hundred Years of Gun Control: Why Isn’t It Working? He appears frequently on NRA News as their “unofficial” analyst and was published in the Texas Review of Law and Politics with David Kopel and Carlisle Moody.
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