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Posted on Aug 3, 2008 in Beltway Politics, Campaign '08, Congress, Conservatism, Economy, Government, Party Politics

WSJ: A GOP Choice: Tom Coburn or Ted Stevens (Should there even be a choice?)

On my flight back to Washington, I read a great article in the Wall Street Journal, “A GOP Choice: Tom Coburn or Ted Stevens,” where the WSJ’s John Fund asked a question that has seemed to be the 800-pound gorilla in the room, or at least here in DC.

The first paragraph of Fund’s article get’s right to the point, illustrating the problem that unfortunately hasn’t been taken as seriously as it should have been since the 2006 massacre.

The Republican Party is facing what Ronald Reagan called “a time for choosing.” A real argument is raging over how much it should turn its back on the bad habits that cost it control of Congress in 2006.

One of the biggest problems that I’ve had with the Republican Party over the past few years is the simple fact that when it comes to voting based on true conservative principles, many members of the party will talk a big game, but when it comes time to vote they cave in like a house of cards.

Let’s just recall back to March 13, 2008, where Senator Jim DeMint introduced his “earmark moratorium” to the Senate floor:


While this amendment seemed quite straight forward, and sounds like an easy victory for the GOP to rally together on, it’s interesting to note which Republicans voted against such an important piece of legislation:

Republicans voting against S. Amendment 4347:

  •  Bennett (UT)
  • Bond (MO)
  • Brownback (KS)
  • Bunning (KY)
  • Cochran (MS)
  • Coleman (MN)
  • Collins (ME)
  • Craig (ID)
  • Crapo (ID)
  • Domenici (NM)
  • Gregg (NH)
  • Hagel (NE)
  • Hatch (UT)
  • Hutchinson (TX)
  • Lugar (IN)
  • Murkowski (AK)
  • Roberts (KS)
  • Shelby (AL)
  • Smith (OR)
  • Snowe (ME)
  • Specter (PA)
  • Stevens (AK)
  • Vitter (LA)
  • Voinovich (OH)
  • Warner (VA)
  • Wicker (MS)

It’s crazy to think that there are 26 Republicans who actually voted against this, but those are just facts that had to be faced.

Now, just assume that the party actually came together and rallied behind core issues that didn’t fluctuate from convention to convention, the overall vote would have been much closer to 50 – 50.

The point I’m trying to make by all of this is that the party shouldn’t have to choose between Ted Stevens or Tom Coburn. When it comes to voting on earmarks (wasteful government spending), members of both the House and Senate should all be on the same page – voting nay.

If they can’t come together on even the most fundamental core issues, what’s the point of even having a party?

Some people might disagree with me on this, but I don’t see any value in having “part time Republicans” serving in the Senate. I’d rather the Democrats have a super majority with a small group of principled Republicans bringing reason to the floor each session than deal with some of the the unpredictable RINO’s that we have now.