Monday, February 14, 2011

It's Republican Godzilla!!!

When the GOP freshman class came to town, people wondered what they would be like? Would they quickly fall into the arms of lobbyists? Would they quietly wait their turn, putting in their time, carrying water for their leadership? Or would they turn into a conservative Godzilla? Well, bring on the rubber suit, they’ve flexed some pretty powerful muscles this week and Capitol Hill Tower is going down!

The freshman class is 87 strong, and right away everyone knew they were different. Be it rejecting the luxury health insurance plan Congress gives itself to cutting the House budget by $35 million to sleeping in their offices, this group acted upon their rhetoric. And they say things like this, by Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) at CPAC:

“A lot of us freshman don’t really have a lot of knowledge about the ways of Washington – and frankly, we don’t really care.”
But in the scheme of things, these are token gestures, would the freshmen do more? Last week showed they would.

It began with the freshmen tripping up part of the Patriot Act. This provision likely will eventually pass (it failed because of the procedural technique the House used), but everyone was shocked. And what really impressed me about this was that the new class of Tea Party people signaled they were not beholden to sacred cows. Too many Republicans (most in fact) blindly vote for anything marked “security.” This was a resounding response that these new freshmen intend to view all actions in light of the Constitution. Hurray!

Then the big one hit. Goaded on by the Republican Study Committee, which proposed the cuts discussed here, the freshmen demanded that the Republicans include $100 billion in immediate spending cuts, as promised, in the continuing resolution needed to keep the government running. This caught the leadership entirely off guard -- notably Hal Rogers (R-Ky) the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. His original proposal cut only a third ($32 billion) of the figure the freshmen demanded.

And this isn’t even the end of the issue, because the bill now goes to the floor, where individual members can propose amendments to make even more cuts. In other words, Godzilla will get another bite.

What makes this even better, is that the leadership happily got in line with the freshmen! Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ), a leader of the Republican Study Committee, met with House leadership over this issue and said they were “happy with the result” and were “receptive to going higher with cuts.” Rogers too is on board now.

Why the change? Said one insider, the hard-line approach by the freshmen stiffened the backs of the leadership:
“They understand that we will take some arrows from liberal interest groups for whatever we attempt to cut. So, we should be more aggressive.”
This is the exact opposite of the Pelosi years, where a small cabal of hard-left House leaders imposed their policies on willing and unwilling House members. The new dynamic involves a groundswell of House members pushing the leadership in the right direction. That is much more sustainable, and should embolden everyone.

The guy who explains the new relationship best is Rep. Allen West (R-Fla). Patti has been covering much of what West says, and he is impressive (he wowed them at CPAC too). Here’s how he describes the relationship between the freshmen and the leadership:
“We’ve got your back, [now] you’ve got to step out there and take a bold and aggressive look. We’re all part of that crew that said if you make a commitment and make a promise to the American people you got to stand up for it. . . . It’s important that we do the hard work because that’s what folks are expecting us to do.”
This is great. This is how a party is supposed to work, with a unified core of people supporting (and pushing) their leadership to advance party goals. This should stand us well when it comes to (1) improving the number and quality of ideas, (2) avoiding being blindsided by ideas created in a small bubble, and (3) keeping the leadership from failing to follow through.

So let me finish with some bad poetry.
Government tape is red,
Our budgets are too,
Our government's a mess,
We’re counting on you!

Happy Valentines Day everyone!


Joel Farnham said...


This is great news to wake up to.

Joel Farnham said...


Happy Valentine's Day to everyone.

Tennessee Jed said...

I say, bravo to the new class. There is an overused cliche I first heard in Kubrick's movie "Full Metal Jacket." After getting in country, Modine comes across the double bandaliered g.i. who utters "you can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?" The answer initially appears to be: "yes they can!"

Tennessee Jed said...

last Valentine's day dinner was on the beach at Wailea. Nothing that fancy this year; perhaps a '95 Chateau Montelena while viewing the Westminster Kennel Club's 2011 show. And you folks call me a hopeless romantic . . . ;-)

T_Rav said...

Andrew, what were the sections of the Patriot Act that got voted down? Being a national security issue, I wasn't too keen on this, BUT it is encouraging to see the freshmen going after some "sacred cows," as you put it. Hopefully they'll soon move on and strike some big third rails.

Incidentally, I saw a liberal friend of mine on Facebook over the weekend, bemoaning the fact that NPR and PBS might be defunded. Given all the crowing a year or two ago about the wonderful welfare state Obama would be bringing about, things like this are welcome indeed.

StanH said...

I love our new class of Reps, they rock!

I saw Jack Lew, office of OMB this AM on Fox & Friends, convoluted doesn’t even begin to describe that special brand of Washington hilarity. These jerks submit a $3.7 Trillion budget $1.7 Trillion dollar deficit in one year but have the courage to claim a savings over 10 years of $1.1 Trillion…hmmm, I think the “Voodoo Economics” that GHW Bush spoke of (debate with Reagan 1980) so many years ago has arrived.

I heard a wonderful stat this AM on the radio, if you spent a $100,000.00 per hour 24/7, how long would it take to spend $1.7 Trillion, our deficit?

1826 years!

Hey guys, call your Reps today, let'em know how you feel.

CrispyRice said...

Welcome news, indeed! I'm really happy to hear that they are putting their money where their mouth is. Yay.

Writer X said...

LOVE that comment by Kristi Noem! I'd like that on a candy heart, please. :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Joel Happy Valentine's Day to you too, and to all our readers!

Yeah, I thought you'd like this news. The freshmen class really is excelling in a lot of ways. Many of them wowed the CPAC people and they've really shown that they aren't like the prior "gonna change Washington" types, who got to Washington and fell in love with the place.

AndrewPrice said...

BTW... for dog lovers, don't forget that Westminster starts tonight! USA Network...

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, The world needs more romantics! I will most definitely be watching Westminster -- just posted a reminder (before I saw your comment).

I think you're right about the talk the talk v. walk the walk distinction. Many politicians talk a good game, but few ever walk it. And so far, this class not only seems to walk it, but they're willing to demand that others walk with them. That excites me!

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, Even funnier, aren't we told repeatedly that there's no point in defunding them because they can stand on their own? (A ridiculous argument if you ask me, but one the media loves to make to try to convince the public that this would be a waste of time.)

The three Patriot Act provisions were:

1. A provision allowing roving wiretaps which allows monitoring multiple phones -- I don't think that's a big deal.

2. The so-called "library records" provision, which lets the FBI get access to "any tangible thing" relevant to a terrorism investigation. Catchalls like that are where laws get abused.

3. The third is the "lone-wolf" provision which allows the FBI to treat people with no terrorist history and no terror group ties as if they had such ties. Basically, this is permission to go fishing.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, It takes a very twisted understanding of the world to be able to claim that massive deficit spending somehow will result in savings. It's even more obnoxious that they can include yearly increases in these budgets and then claim that they can't find any cuts. Take out this years 10% increase and you get $370 billion!

I have a lot of hopes for this freshmen class, let's hope they finally bring sanity back to Washington!

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, And don't forget, that's our money they're trying to save! This is good news indeed. Let's hope that the good news keep on coming!

AndrewPrice said...

Writer X, That would be great on candy hearts! LOL!

I love the attitude as well. That's exactly what we need in Washington, people who don't care that "this is how it's always been done." Because how it's always been done, is a trap used by the system to preserve itself!

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, By the way, note that these are provisions the Democrats have been whining about since they were passed under Bush, but somehow they never managed to get rid of them or even vote against them until now... now that they know their vote won't ultimately matter as the Republicans will eventually get these passed.

That's the kind of thing liberals should be paying attention to, that the Democrats talk big, but only act when on things like this when their votes don't matter.

Ed said...

Cool cool cool! I love this freshman class! Let's hope they get even bolder as they get more experience.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, I concur. . . cool, cool, cool! LOL! Let's hope this is just the beginning!

BevfromNYC said...

So now ODL wants to play budget hardball. Good - I think that the Freshman and the Repubs should accept every one of his budget cuts and all of the Repubs. Call his bluff and keep finding other cuts to be made. We have got to start somewhere because everyone is going to try to save their individual pet projects. We've all got to hurt a little.

The Libs are goin' crazy - (my links never work...)

Unknown said...

I know I mentioned this before, but it's worth repeating. We're up against a deadline on the debt ceiling. As you've pointed out, we have a strong and determined freshman class, and a new Republican leadership in the House willing to listen to them. Unlike the previous "crisis" during Clinton's term, the public is fully aware of the deadly nature of our debt and deficits, and they voted to fix it. If push comes to shove, the Republicans should hold the line and refuse to raise the ceiling without major budget-cutting. And unlike the previous time, if the government has to shut down, this time the public will put the blame squarely where it belongs--on the President and his spendthrift party. I can't wait to see how this turns out.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I totally agree with calling his bluff. We should take every cut he offers and then add our own!

What are they going crazy about? Don't tell me they think he's actually submitted a cheapskate budget?

Here's your link:

Crazy Huffers

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I can't wait to see how this turns out either.

We've actually got two great moments to exploit here. First, is the continuing resolution, without which the government stops running. That's due first. Then you've got the debt ceiling vote, which comes shortly thereafter. Both are chances to stare down the Democrats and get these cuts. I hope the Republicans hold the line!

T_Rav said...

Andrew, in that case, there's no reason not to defund them. I really can't wait until the leftist nuts start sputtering, "But...but...Big Bird!"

Thanks for the info on the Patriot Act stuff. I think some of those "catchall" provisions wouldn't be nearly as controversial if they were just amended slightly to be a little more specific. But I'm not an expert.

Pittsburgh Enigma said...

Good stuff!

You gotta love it when the HuffPo'ers turn on their own:

"Obama is now officially a liar and a plutocrat."

And speaking of heart-shaped candy, here's my favorite link for Valentine's Day:


AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, The problem with the catchalls is that they're always put in with the idea that the authorities will use them wisely. But that never happens. Once the authorities discover that it's an easy way to get around the pesky requirements of other laws, they start using the catchalls almost exclusively. Moreover, they use them for things no one ever thought they would be used for.

For example, RICO was designed to stop the mob. But once prosecutors realized they could use it's catchalls to go after virtually anyone, they started using it against things like abortion protestors. . . and the courts let them because the provisions they used were meant to have a lot of discretion in them.

On the defunding issue, it is ridiculous that anyone would argue that they don't need the funds, so we shouldn't stop handing them over. In fact, that's really stupid. But the MSM never seems to notice, they just mindlessly repeat both statements.

AndrewPrice said...

Pitts, I haven't had a chance to follow Bev's link, but I'm sensing a great deal of joy at the other end of it! The bloom really is off the Obama rose. LOL!

I like those Bittersweets! That truly is a candy for the cynical age.

BevfromNYC said...

After reading comments on the HuffPo article, I am actually getting concerned that the Left may get it into their collective heads that they need to riot like the Egyptians (no song lyric pun intended).

BevfromNYC said...

Pitts - Loved the link until I read the candies! You're just a Valentine curmudgeon...LOL!

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Let them riot. I'm sure Obama can soothe them with his inspired words. LOL!

Could you imagine hard-core leftists in the street protesting a nearly-as-hard-core leftist president? That would be one for the Book of Ironic History.

patti said...

thanks for the link! i love west and his stunning backbone. i pray he doesn't disappoint (i have a feeling he won't).

AndrewPrice said...

Patti, I have a feeling he won't either. He strikes me as a very serious man who knows what's he doing and believes in what he's doing.

AndrewPrice said...

FYI, They're rioting in Iran now! :-)

DUQ said...

I'm loving what I'm seeing out of the freshmen. I hope they can keep it up and that the other Republicans follow them.

DUQ said...

Also, I saw that they did pass the Patriot Act, as you said they would. But I agree with you, the point was made.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

That is outstanding news Andrew!
Go go! The stealin's gotta go!
Go go Godzilla (R)!
To paraphrase BOC. :^)

Re Iran: Unfortunately, the Iranian military has no problems shooting protesters.
And I doubt Obama will support the Iranian people like he did Egypt's. He never did before.

AndrewPrice said...

USS Ben, I think that is crucial difference between the Egypt and Iran, that the Iranian military will shoot protestors without a second thought, whereas the Egyptians did a great job of just keeping things peaceful.

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