Believe it or not, there is a Republican left with some credibility on fighting wasteful spending by our Congress — Senator Tom Coburn. Senator Coburn has been consistent in this area, but unfortunately many of his colleagues have refused to follow his lead, and that of other senators like SC’s Jim DeMint. There aren’t enough fiscal conservatives in Congress, and we have seen the negative results when Democrats and Republicans agree to waste our money. Now there are many so-called wise men, telling the Republicans that we are losing because we aren’t compassionate enough, or that we need to abandon the ideal of limited government completely to gain the favor of those independents and moderates. Even people who started out believing that government is the problem have changed their minds to be more tolerant of activist government — including Newt Gingrich. It is an almost irresistible proposal — that there can be a way to merge the activist government policies of the left with the free-market impulses of the right. I’m not convinced that this is the case, or if it is possible, that Newt has come up with the right balance.
Here’s a sample of what Senator Coburn had to say:
As congressional Republicans contemplate the prospect of an electoral disaster this November, much is being written about the supposed soul-searching in the Republican Party. A more accurate description of our state is paralysis and denial.
Many Republicans are waiting for a consultant or party elder to come down from the mountain and, in Moses-like fashion, deliver an agenda and talking points on stone tablets. But the burning bush, so to speak, is delivering a blindingly simple message: Behave like Republicans.
Unfortunately, too many in our party are not yet ready to return to the path of limited government. Instead, we are being told our message must be deficient because, after all, we should be winning in certain areas just by being Republicans. Yet being a Republican isn’t good enough anymore. Voters are tired of buying a GOP package and finding a big-government liberal agenda inside. What we need is not new advertising, but truth in advertising.
Truth in advertising. That “compassionate conservatism” is a euphemism for wasting our money on more worthy causes than the stuff the Democrats want to waste our money on. That we need to get back to what Republicans said we believed about reducing earmarks and government bloat. That we should be principled enough to hold our fellow Republicans accountable when they forget what kind of message got them where they are today. Like Senator Coburn said, “spending other people’s money isn’t compassionate”. There’s nothing wrong with heartless conservatism when it eliminates excuses for out of control spending and massive pork projects.
This is where Republicans have gone wrong. The voters didn’t reject conservatism, they rejected dishonesty. Republicans promoted one agenda and delivered something different. The scandals sure didn’t help us, but at the end of the day those who stayed home in 2006 and those who voted for Democrats sent the same message. Republicans didn’t deliver what they promised, and they deserved to lose. Congressional Republicans still haven’t gotten the message. They are blaming their losses on the stubborn conservatives who refuse to abandon principle to win elections. Some of our “leaders” have suggested that we need to expand our coalition to include independents and moderates, and that we should do this by watering down our governing philosophy so that those people agree with us. As long they keep following that dimwitted advice, Republicans will keep losing elections.