Money, Meet Mouth


Via dKos, this Politico story about the travails of tea party members of Congress really is spectacular:

A band of conservative rebels has taken over the House, vowing to slash spending, cut the deficit and kill earmarks. And of course they’d love a seat on the powerhouse Appropriations Committee so they can translate their campaign zeal into action, right?

Not really. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) was asked to be an appropriator and said thanks, but no thanks. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), a tea party favorite, turned down a shot at Appropriations, which controls all discretionary spending. So did conservatives like Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), an ambitious newcomer who will lead the influential Republican Study Committee.

….“Anybody who’s a Republican right now, come June, is going to be accused of hating seniors, hating education, hating children, hating clean air and probably hating the military and farmers, too,” said Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), a fiscal conservative who is lobbying to become chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. “So much of the work is going to be appropriations related. There’s going to be a lot of tough votes. So some people may want to shy away from the committee. I understand it.”

Kingston said he’s approached Bachmann, King and Westmoreland about the committee, and they all told him they weren’t interested.

I can’t even think of anything snarky to say about this. I’ll just repeat what I’ve said before: not only do tea party politicians have no real interest in the deficit, they have no real interest in cutting spending either. They know perfectly well that most spending isn’t waste and they know perfectly well that most spending is pretty popular. Voting against the occasional “welfare” proposal is fine, but the idea of actually being forced to vote against meaningful amounts of spending instead of just railing about it on Fox News is another thing entirely.

How long will the rank-and-file tea partiers continue to fall for this charade? Long enough, I suppose. The faux earmark ban should hold everyone at bay for a few weeks, and a well-considered selection of other meaningless symbolic votes should keep everyone on board as long as they’re staggered appropriately throughout the year. It’s a fine line to walk, but I guess I feel pretty confident that the Republican leadership can pull it off.

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