A Club Too Exclusive
Republican Party rules the White House, as well as a majority
in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, which means
the party is flying so high that only Republicans can muck
the Club for Growth, a group of supply-side economists on
a jihad to bury Republicans they don't deem to be pure enough.
Given a choice between half a loaf and none, the club says:
last week, the club's new president Rep. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.,
announced a campaign to send a "gentle message" to three
Republicans -- Sen. Lincoln Chafee, R-R.I., Rep. Joe Schwarz,
R-Mich., and Sherwood Boehlert, R-N.Y. -- by airing ads
in their districts telling voters to urge their lawmaker
to support private savings accounts as part of a Social
Security reform package.
cares if no one knows what will be in the Social Security
reform package suggested by President Bush in concept but
with no details? Not the club.
Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., who supports the concept of investment
accounts, had the right approach when he told the Los Angeles
Times that until a solid plan is in place, "you've got a
lot of people debating empty boxes." Which makes the club,
as self-appointed enforcer for the GOP, the enforcer of
support for empty boxes.
Friday, Toomey told Chris Matthews of MSNBC's "Hardball,"
"One of the things the Club for Growth does very well is
that it sometimes instills some political courage where
it is needed on Capitol Hill."
contraire, only cowardice or stupidity could prompt a member
to sign onto a reform package that doesn't exist.
"I don't see any downside," said club Executive Director
David Keating. The ads aren't "critical" of the three Repubs
-- not as critical as past club campaigns, which really
hammered wayward Repubs. This is a nice way of getting their
attention and drawing them to the light.
what if the Bush plan isn't fiscally sound -- which is supposed
to be important to the club? Does it then run ads taking
back the old ads?
also a California Club for Growth. A Club for Growth in
California, where John Kerry beat George W. Bush by 10 points
and every statewide elected official is a Democrat -- except
for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Next, they'll try to grow
wheat in a sunless room.
Assemblyman Tony Strickland, who heads the California branch,
said his group may well go after any Republican who votes
for tax increases. "We will hold legislators accountable
if they raises taxes," he explained.
ignore the math, I countered, citing the need to win two-thirds
of the votes in the Assembly and Senate, which are heavily
Democratic. No, Strickland responded, the last three budgets
had no broad tax increase -- even when there was a Democratic
governor. True, I note, but those were not balanced budgets,
they were borrow-big budgets.
what frustrates me," said state GOP Vice Chairman Jim Hartman.
"I actually supported Ronald Reagan for president in 1976
against Gerald Ford. I consider myself a mainstream conservative
Republican, but I'm also a Republican who can look at election
results and recognize the realities in this state and what
it takes to get elected in this state." Hartman opposes
any effort to go after moderate Republicans, or Republicans
who cut deals.
club's Keating is a Reaganite, too.
there's anything that Republicans agree on, if there's a
common thread, it's Reaganite economic policies, pro-growth
policies and fiscal responsibility," Keating continued.
"If a Republican doesn't vote that way, I don't see anything
wrong" with backing another Republican in a primary when
a Repub goes wrong.
know what's wrong with it. The club posts members of the
House and Senate whom it deems to be RINOs (Republicans
in Name Only) because they voted against the club on a particular
the club's own definition, Ronald Reagan could be a RINO.
As governor, Reagan raised taxes. And you know what: When
he did, he was a better lawmaker than the California GOP
purists who kept their no tax-hike pledge, but without cutting
spending. They were so pure as they borrowed the state into
known David Keating for years. I respect him tremendously
and I agree with him on private savings account. But what
the club is doing with this latest campaign shows what is
wrong with politics theses days. This campaign may not use
critical language, but its underlying message is that lawmakers
shouldn't sweat the details, shouldn't deal with the other
side, they don't even have to think.
be a good Republican, in the eyes of the Club for Growth,
is to take a stand and cleave to it, even if it means borrowing
instead of cutting or, as far as we know, supporting bad
Social Security reform.
Today's Article to a Friend