Saturday, November 05, 2005

regrets, they've had a few

Now some Republicans are regretting passing the highway bill, which has more pork in it than the state of Iowa. Consensus is "it seemed like a good idea at the time before Katrina", but that's really wrong -- it was NEVER a good idea.

Arizona GOPster Floyd Flake is really a flake, but I give him credit for having refused to request any special projects for his district in this law. He has the right to be critical.

Majority-Leader-in-the-number-of-outstanding-indictments Tom DeLay apologized for its excesses before the Heritage Foundation yesterday. The seriousness of his apology was undermined by his scurrilous claim that the runaway spending was due to the minority DEMOCRATS. Even conservatives in attendance couldn't believe that one. They know the lack of power the minority party has in Congress nowadays, especially with a White House controlled by the majority party.

Pressure builds on chief porkster Ted Stevens of Alaska; a few weeks ago when conservative Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma moved that the infamous Alaskan Bridge to Nowhere and other projects be killed in order to rebuild I-10 bridges near New Orleans, Stevens went ballistic and threatened to quit the Senate if the motion passed. Unfortunately, it didn't, an opportunity missed. Fun fact: California received the most highway dollars in the bill, and Illinois (home to Speaker Denny Hastert, but at least a big state) was second. Alaska was third with a nice even $1 billion for 120 projects, ahead of major states like New York, Texas, and Florida.

In any case, the regrets to me look a bit like crocodile tears. I think they regret less the money being lavished on pet projects designed to promote the local cults of various senators and congressmen (not just Alaskans), and more the fact that this has added to the growing public perception -- among conservative Republicans as well as the population at large -- that the GOP is maybe even WORSE than the pre-1994 Democrats at larding up the budget. The Republican Party of 2005 -- the party of big government, big deficits, big wars, and big lies.