The betrayal by the Tea Party freshmen over the budget deal was disheartening to anyone who thought this new crop of politicians really meant it when they said they came to Washington to change the way business is done, and particularly to my conservative views. It is never surprising when politicians stay in Washington a few years and become corrupted by the powers there. But I did find it astonishing when after only three months, 75% of these freshmen betrayed the voters that sent them there… It usually takes longer.
I offer as a case study my congressman, one Dr. Scott DesJarlais, a “conservative” freshman from the 4th district of Tennessee. This is a guy who said he was keeping his medical practice open because he intended to return to the practice of medicine after two or at the most three terms of service. In his tours of the district and at speeches both at fund raisers and Republican Party meetings, he assured the listeners that he was not part of the “go along to get along” group of politicians that had so disappointed them in the past by refusing to stand on conservative principles. So you might well be as confused as I am when you discover that he went along to get along with a 352 million dollar budget cut!
But a call to his office in Washington revealed where his new found principles came from. In talking with them, it was clear that they had Boehner’s list of excuses for why they just couldn’t (although they really wanted to) vote against this sellout of a budget cut. I heard the whole gamut of excuses. We’re only one half of one third of the government whine, the we got all we could, and on and on. If you’ve heard Boehner explain this sellout just substitute the names and you’ve got it. I found it fascinating that they seemed to sincerely believe that I would buy into those excuses! I also found it very interesting that there was no mention of the debt limit vote. It appears that the good doctor is pre-emptively caving on that vote as well! They also seemed to obsess over the 2012 election, as if a rallying cry of, “We promised you 100 billion in cuts, and settled for 352 million, vote for us!” is going to be a winning argument?!?!?
Here is the good Doctors reply to criticism on his facebook page:
“For those disappointed in the CR vote: If you think we are going to solve these problems in 100 days you are going to be furhter(sic) disappointed. Never lose sight of the importance of 2012. We can only accomplish so much with control of 1/3 of the process. What we change the conversation in Washington from controlling spending to freezing spending to CUTTING spending.” (MY ADDITION) We did nothing to change direction, but boy we got’em talking!
You know, in all the speeches you hear from these “conservative” politicians they just love to invoke the name of President Ronald Reagen… But I never remember Reagen, who was forced to work with a Democrat House and Senate, whine about only being one half of one third of the government. I DO remember President Reagen clearly and forthrightly embrace the conservative view of governance and back it up with decisive action. That part of the Reagen legacy seems to be lost on these folks.
So, we are where we are. We the people who elected these folks are now faced with a dilemma. Do we buy into their excuses and hope for better things in the future, or do we hold them accountable for their betrayal and seek challengers for them in the upcoming primaries? I, for one, do not intend to drop one bead of sweat or spend one dime on supporting this kind of betrayal. In this conservative’s view, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. So it will be interesting to see what the Tea Party organizations around the country and here in Tennessee do. Will they stand or will they cave as well? Stay tuned!