Marc Thiessen writes about The GOP’s counterinsurgency by spenders
With the departure of Sen. Arlen Specter to the Democratic Party, it seemed as if Republican moderates were a dying breed. All that was left of the troika that put President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus over the top were the women from Maine — Sen. Susan Collins and Sen. Olympia Snowe. But then Sen. Scott Brown arrived in January, and he has hewed a centrist course — recently joining Collins and Snowe in providing the GOP votes needed to pass both President Obama’s big spending “jobs” bill (a.k.a. “son of stimulus”) and his financial regulation bill filled with budget gimmicks that will eventually add more than $5 billion to the deficit. Judging from the comments on Brown’s Facebook page, many Tea Party activists believe they were duped. But the Republican senator from Massachusetts is simply voting like, well, a Massachusetts Republican.
Others may soon join the big-spending ranks. In Delaware, one of the most liberal Republicans in the House, Rep. Mike Castle, is the favorite to become the state’s next senator. And in Illinois, moderate Republican Rep. Mark Kirk holds a narrow lead in the Illinois Senate race for Obama’s seat. Both have weak records on fiscal issues. Castle rates a lowly “C” from the National Taxpayers Union, while Kirk gets a slightly better “C+” rating.
In North Dakota, Republican Gov. John Hoeven has a huge lead over his Democratic opponent and will almost certainly be elected to replace retiring Sen. Byron Dorgan. Hoeven is a solid conservative on many issues, and he would certainly be an improvement over Dorgan. But he is a big spender. According to the Cato Institute, he has raised per capita spending by almost 7 percent annually since 2003. In just two legislative sessions beginning in 2007, Hoeven presided over a whopping 60 percent increase in spending. Last year, North Dakota Democrats even launched ads declaring Hoeven the “biggest spender in North Dakota history.” While he is not a deficit spender, he is not, suffice it to say, a spending hawk in the Tea Party mold.
Then there is Rep. Roy Blunt, who is running slightly ahead Secretary of State Robin Carnahan in Missouri. Like Hoeven, Blunt is a conservative on many fronts — but spending is not one of them. Blunt has been a prolific earmarker during his 12 years in Congress. In 2010 alone, he has requested $153 million in earmarks — prompting Carnahan to swear off all earmarks in a bid to get to the right of Blunt on fiscal issues. Carnahan campaigns as if she were the Tea Party candidate, accusing Blunt of having “become famous for his pork-barrel spending” and calling him a “prodigious porkmeister.”
Senate votes 60-40 to advance jobless benefits legislation
Two Republicans, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, voted to end the filibuster. Ben Nelson of Nebraska was the lone Democrat to break with his party and vote to sustain it.
Lindsey Graham is not wise
No… really… he pretty much admitted it:
Elena Kagan now has at least one Republican vote for confirmation to the Supreme Court: that of Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who said Tuesday that she was not someone he would have chosen “but the person who did choose – President Obama – I think chose wisely.’’
So… if Obama chose wisely… and you would not have chosen her… then that makes your choice… something other than wise.
In the news just now:
Senate Panel Backs Kagan Nomination
The committee vote was 13-6, with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) joining all the panel’s Democrats in supporting Ms. Kagan’s nomination. Last year, Mr. Graham was also the only senator on the committee to break ranks with his party and vote in favor of Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
“I’m going to vote for [Ms. Kagan] because I believe the last election had consequences,” Mr. Graham told the committee shortly before its vote. “This president chose someone who is qualified, who has the experience and knowledge to serve on the Supreme Court.”
He added, “What’s in Elena Kagan’s heart is that of a good person who has a philosophy I disagree with.”
Heart. HEART! Just what a Supreme Court Justice needs, first and foremost.
As the Republicans continue to place themselves as the party of losers maybe Graham could take over the part of the Coach on the road production of Damned Yankees: