September 30, 2005


McCain economy bloc (Robert Novak, Sep 29, 2005, Townhall)

The Senate was up to its old tricks Monday evening. It prepared to pass, without debate and under a procedure requiring unanimous consent, a federal infusion of $9 billion into state Medicaid programs under the pretext of Katrina relief. The bill, drafted in secret under bipartisan auspices, was stopped cold when Republican Sen. John Ensign voiced his objection.

The bill's Democratic sponsors railed in outrage against Ensign, a 47-year-old first-termer from Las Vegas, Nev., who usually keeps a low profile. But he was not acting alone. Ensign belongs to, and, indeed, originated, a small group of Republicans who intend to stand guard on the Senate floor against such raids on the Treasury as Monday night's failure. The group includes Sen. John McCain, who long has tried to wean Republicans from ever greater federal spending but attracted little support from GOP colleagues until recently.

Fear has enveloped Republicans who see themselves handing the banner of fiscal integrity to the Democrats. The GOP is losing the rhetoric war, even though Democrats mostly push for higher domestic spending, because Republicans, while standing firm against tax hikes, have also declined to cut spending. Fearing the worst in the 2006 and 2008 elections, Republican senators who would not be expected to do so are looking to McCain to lead the party back to fiscal responsibility.

Of course, the candidates of fiscal responsibility in recent years have been Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, Bush I, Perot, Dole, Gore and Kerry. It's a dog of an issue.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 30, 2005 7:28 AM

One man's fiscal responsibility is another man's lack of compassion for the poverty pimps and social service agencies who have grown used to the lavish life style afforded them by our big hearted legislators.

Meanwhile the poor continue to suffer at the very far end of the food chain with no end in sight for them unless somehow a leader emerges who will lead them to self sufficiency and away from dependence on handouts for their survival.

Posted by: erp at September 30, 2005 7:49 AM

You left Clinton off of your list.
While it wasn't a big issue for him, he DID preside over a time of low deficits, and was somewhat active in keeping them low.


While not discounting your point, it's also true that a significant percentage of people who depend on handouts for their survival would die, if forced to sink or swim.

Some people are simply incapable of self-management, regardless of example, experience, or education.

As crazy as it sounds, I know a couple quite well who CANNOT PREDICT the obvious consequences of their current actions, DESPITE having already experienced the EXACT SAME cycle of action-consequence SEVERAL times before.

It's utterly baffling to me, but the phenomenon exists.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 30, 2005 8:18 AM

Michael - Clinton benefited from having a GOP Congress that worked against him, welfare reform that helped reduce the welfare rolls, the bubble, and the Y2K bubble.

As for McCain he does have a somewhat deserved rep for being against govt waste but there are plenty of examples where he was willing to spend tons on his favorite projects (like most Congress critters). And his support for huge white elephant programs like Kyoto like controls need to be factored in. Finally he has shown himself to be one of those fiscal discipline types who prefer to not cut taxes rather than cut spending to balance the budget.

All that said I think it would benefit the GOP if the House and Senate can come up with $100-$200BN in spending cuts to offset Katrina/Rita to help calm down the fiscal conservatives who are ready to jump ship.

Posted by: AWW at September 30, 2005 8:38 AM


And don't forget reinventing the Federal government (ie, halving the size of the military).

As my two primary issues are the GWOT and judges, I am very concerned about the latter with McCain.

Posted by: Rick T. at September 30, 2005 8:58 AM

Michael, I'm not suggesting there aren't people who can never take care of themselves, but I contend they are in the minority and that able-bodied people with normal intelligence must take responsibility for themselves and their families.

Charity should be at the local level so needs can be assessed without the trillion dollar social services nightmare we've built since LBJ's War of Poverty.

Bush's faith based initiative is good, but there are also secular groups like the service clubs, etc. which can be very effective in raising money to help those in need. Help that is toward self-sufficiency, not help that will mire them in endless handouts from one generation to the next.

A President McCain is unthinkable.

Posted by: erp at September 30, 2005 9:50 AM

This is good politics for McCain.

The media has been using "deficits" to beat up on Bush. Fine. President McCain can get right to work on that after he runs on a plank of "fiscal responsibility" (after the Bush Administration has done the heavy lifting on a host of reforms that are much more important) and the media laps it right up.

Posted by: kevin whited at September 30, 2005 10:38 AM

McCain only needs to run on fiscal responsibility in the primary, where, based on your list of primary winners, it appears to work. Heaven help us if he makes it the centerpiece of his general campaign, though.

Posted by: Timothy at September 30, 2005 11:17 AM

I think the prospect of sending 250 billion to the criminals in Louisiana is finally going to cause Republicans to realize that most of us are sick of them. They are just phony liberals hiding under the Stars and Stripes while they toss our money around.

I note that more and more bloggers, webzines, and even some MSM are questioning sending money to proven criminals. What a shock. Maybe, just maybe, the hand out bender is over.

Posted by: Howard Veit at September 30, 2005 11:55 AM


You're kidding yourself from deep within the bubble.

Posted by: oj at September 30, 2005 12:00 PM

"fiscal responsibility ... It's a dog of an issue."

Of course. It is only a critisism used by the party out of power. Once they get in power, they change their tune.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at September 30, 2005 1:21 PM

Everyone is in favor of fiscal austerity as long as the programs over there are cut.

But not the programs over here. These programs are necessary.

(Rationalization, sweet, sweet rationalization.)

Posted by: Mikey at September 30, 2005 1:35 PM