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My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.
|Words of Warning|
I missed this yesterday.
John Fund is one of the most astute observers of the American political scene. in Monday's OJO he wrote a cautionary essay about who the biggest threats to the GOP are this fall--themselves.
Ken Mehlman is the unflappable efficiency expert who chairs the Republican National Committee. Because he's not known for histrionics, his warning last week to GOP congressional staffers about this November's elections caused many on Capitol Hill to bolt upright.
Mr. Mehlman traveled to Capitol Hill to warn the staffers that they risked a disaster at the polls if they didn't pass meaningful legislation the conservative base cares about. Other GOP strategists go even further. "If the election were held today, I'd say the odds are 90% that we'd lose the House," says GOP consultant Mike Murphy.
If Mehlman is up on the Hill warning the Congressional GOP, you gotta know there's a real issue. But note the way that's worded--"meaningful legislation the conservative base cares about." What would that look like?
The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC poll offered respondents a menu of legislative action Congress could address before it goes home this year. Asked to choose which should be its top priority, a stunning 39% selected "prohibiting Members of Congress from directing federal funds to specific projects benefiting only certain constituents"--i.e., the pork-barrel spending at the heart of the Congressional earmark process. Immigration reform was in second place with 32%.
That should be pretty easy: earmark reform and immigration. Earmarks are just a matter of willpower among the leadership, and the House has already passed something that begins to look like the right sort of immigration package, though it needs some forward-thinking addendums from the Senate to be palatable.
Oh . . . wait a second. There's the problem--I used "forward-thinking" and "Senate" in the same sentence. Let's just say even David Blain wouldn't try to hold his breath for that to work out.
How much you wanna bet all the Senators who are getting in the way of useful legislation are Senators NOT up for re-election? Senator Specter? Better lose any affinity you have for "Mr. Chairman." Senator McCain? Well, we all know what his prize is--and we can also safely assume he's not even gonna get the nomination to achieve that prize.
But perhaps the Senate GOP would rather consign their House colleagues to minority status. You can only assume that, based on their behavior. Wonder if that's likely to change as the summer wears on.