Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Read it and (bleep)

By Aussiegirl

Not much else to say here -- they have seen the enemy -- and it is us conservatives.

GOP Leaders Try to Soothe Conservatives

Squeezed between a conservative clamor for spending cuts and the rising cost of hurricane relief, Republican congressional leaders will respond this week with a public relations offensive to win over angry conservatives -- but no substantive changes in budget policy.

Republican lawmakers and leadership aides conceded that the wholesale budget cuts envisioned by House conservatives are not being contemplated; the Senate is moving toward approving a temporary expansion of Medicaid for hurricane survivors, estimated to cost $9 billion. Nor are GOP leaders considering tax increases.

Talking point of the day -- don't worry -- be happy -- just shut up and pay your taxes.

[...]The leadership has, however, felt the political sting of the recent deficit spending, which began with huge new transportation and energy bills this summer and cascaded into debt-financed hurricane relief this month. Republican leaders plan appearances this week on the syndicated radio talk shows of conservatives Sean Hannity, Tony Snow, Mike Gallagher and Lars Larson, as well as local radio and television shows, leadership aides said. DeLay set the tone in a Washington Times opinion piece yesterday.

And now, ladies and gentlemen -- some Republican newspeak:

"It is clear that the recent political discussion focusing on the government's spending priorities and overall economic platform in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita has introduced a valuable forum to promote the triumph of our ideas and solutions for government over the crumbling and outdated policies of the Democrat-controlled Congresses of past decades," he wrote.

In private meetings last week, GOP leaders sharply criticized rank-and-file Republicans for taking issue with the surge in spending, pleading instead for unity. But neither the public relations offensive nor the private upbraiding has quieted conservatives.

"This leadership group is so out of touch, it's unbelievable," said one House lawmaker, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid inflaming leaders further.

GOP leadership officials say the conservatives are the ones out of touch. The hurricanes may have raised anxieties about the federal deficit, but they have pricked the conscience of a nation confronted by its own undercurrent of poverty.

"Pricked the conscience of a nation confronted by its own undercurrent of poverty." Didn't LBJ's War on Poverty fix this? And years of Democrat social welfare spending? Aren't all these hellholes of poverty and dependence centered and concentrated in exclusively Democrat controlled districts like New Orleans? Why haven't they fixed it up till now and how do Republicans imagine they are going to fix it by throwing money at the problem?

But politics could intervene, lawmakers warned. Two of the House districts hardest hit by Rita are represented by freshmen Gohmert and Ted Poe, both of whom owe their seats in part to DeLay's redistricting. Leaders have encouraged the spending of federal largess in freshman districts to solidify House gains, said Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), an outspoken fiscal conservative.

"We hear the rhetoric, that nobody wants earmarks, but the truth is, the leadership likes them," he said. "They like to get you hooked. They make freshmen believe they are the ticket to reelection."


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