BASEHOR, Kan.- Kimberley Strassel, in a November 12 Wall Street Journal opinion piece, desperately exhorted the Republican Party to hold the line on earmarks.
I say "desperately" because she admitted that it will be extremely difficult to align big-business Republicans who want every bit of pork and special interest legislation they can gobble up, with the Tea Party, which claims it wants no earmarks at all in the name of fiscal conservatism. What's truly telling from Strassel, whose everyday invective makes her sound like an Ann Coulter wannabe, is this:
Republicans are not going to be able to repeal ObamaCare, are unlikely to be able to permanently extend the Bush tax rates, and will struggle to roll back the worst Obama regulations. But an earmark ban is one exception they can fulfill. Immediately.
From a corporate Republican apologist writing regularly for the WSJ opinion page, that's quite an admission. The rift between the Republican-majority House and Republican Senators is shaping up to become a circular firing squad. As Strassel laments in her closing paragraph, mainstream Republican Senators
...are in the uncomfortable position of having to vote against their leader. Not fun. Then again, the alternative is to vote against the public--which has made its own position crystal clear.
An uncomfortable Republican trickle-down tenet is one that Dick Cheney uttered: "Reagan proved that deficits don't matter." As the economy improves and people slowly go back to work, Republican blather about "deficits" will begin to sputter. Not that deficits are unimportant; they absolutely are and must be dealt with. But deficits are less important to everyday citizens when they're gainfully employed. And "tax cuts" aren't as big a deal when you have income to pay your taxes. So the air will begin to leak out of the Republican argument from numerous holes, and with it the independent voters who aligned themselves with Republicans in the 2010 mid-terms. Newt Gingrich, on Sunday's This Week with Christiane Amanpour admitted as much when he said that Obama has lots of room to run and, with marginal improvement in the unemployment picture in the next 18 months, it will be difficult for Republicans to unseat him in 2012 or maintain their recent electoral gains.