Busted budgets raise ire of GOP base
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
oe McCutchen, meet Alan Blackburn.
Both are fed up. They’re not taking it anymore.
McCutchen, of Ellijay, is widely known and highly regarded in conservative and Republican circles as a passionate advocate for fiscally responsible government. Pork sends him up the wall. Hidden debt dumped on the grandchildren invites his wrath. He’s loyal to Republicans until they cross him on core principles. Then he’s gone. “They’re nice guys,” he says after identifying members of the Georgia congressional delegation, “but I can’t vote for them.” In the U.S. Senate race, he’ll vote for Libertarian Allen Buckley, convinced that incumbent Saxby Chambliss is a big spender, particularly on farm programs.
Alan Blackburn has been a quiet conservative, content to pursue his work on the Georgia Court of Appeals, and argue his ideas among colleagues.
But then came $4 gas —- and the political world crystallized.
Just as House Republicans, prompted by U.S. Reps. Tom Price of Roswell and Lynn Westmoreland of Grantville, were about to crystallize the $4 gas issue for the nation, Georgia’s two senators —- Chambliss and Johnny Isakson —- joined to offer a compromise on offshore exploration that has been widely criticized as providing cover to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Sierra Club Democrats.
Their compromise would allow drilling with state approval more than 50 miles off the coasts of four states —- Georgia, Virginia and the Carolinas —- while raising subsidies for ethanol and other alternative fuels to the tune of $84 billion. Another $30 billion in taxes would be levied on oil companies. Writes Blackburn:
“Like the immigration compromise, it is designed to convince conservatives that the plan accomplishes what they want, while in fact, both plans simply capitulate to the special interest groups who fund the Democrats. If immigration and the drilling ‘compromise’ is their idea of solving problems, then conservatives don’t need them.”
Whoa! When a dyed-in-the-wool fiscal conservative like Joe McCutchen turns to the Libertarian Buckley, and when a conservative jurist is moved to issue a public challenge on a policy issue, it’s time to take notice. The base, part of it at least, is restless.
Buckley will appeal to fiscal conservatives, regardless of their party affiliation. The 47-year-old lawyer and certified public accountant is the voice of the Depression-scarred generation that feared debt and believed that it’s immoral to consume at the expense of children and grandchildren. It’s a rather quaint notion in a self-indulgent age where splurging for immediate consumption is the national sport. Debt? Why worry? The Republican Party was once largely filled with those who considered it their civic duty to come in and tidy up the mess created by free-spending Democrats. At some point, however, they came to conclude that there was no long-term majority to be built being the fiscal disciplinarian. For the most part, they have surrendered.
As Buckley correctly notes, neither Democrats nor Republicans can muster the political will to make cuts. Buckley has charts, drawn from the General Accounting Office and other authoritative sources, spelling out the looming “economic catastrophe.” Between 2000 and 2006, the financial exposure from Medicare, Social Security and other health and pension obligations increased from $20.4 trillion to $50.5 trillion, he says. That amounts to $400,000 per full-time worker.
Analysis of the GAO’s budget simulations by the Peterson Foundation finds that in two decades the 18.3 percent of GDP that the federal government consumes won’t cover interest on debt, Social Security and Medicaid, he says, with accompanying charts.
Can he win the Senate race? No. At most he can take enough votes from Chambliss to deliver victory to Democrat Jim Martin. Given Republican Senate prospects elsewhere, Democrats could wind up with a filibuster-proof majority. That would be enough to swing the courts far left and to create any entitlement liberals want.
No thanks. The stakes are too high.
Ross Perot taught me a lesson about third-party candidacies. None for me.
But Buckley does perform a public service, raising the alarm.
I want change. Not the change that Barack Obama promises. The change I want is to a governing majority that doesn’t steal the quality of life of the next generation to serve this one.