"Fiscal Conservatives" When It Suits Them

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

"Fiscal Conservatives" When It Suits Them

Given the pork-barreling ways of Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), Southern Appeal's Patrick Carver seems disappointed that no fiscal conservative has dared to challenge Lott in the GOP primary:
Lott has generally amassed a conservative voting record ... but (he) really tends to be a Pork-a-saurus, and even brags about it .... It would have been nice for a real conservative to challenge Lott in a primary. At the very least, he would feel some heat for his free spending ways. But given Lott’s entrenchment in the state GOP and relative popularity in Mississippi, nobody who had a thought of having a future in the MS Republican Party entered.
Party loyalty partly explains the lack of a GOP challenger. Yet there is another reason why no Mississippi Republican is willing to use the "pork" issue to oppose Lott -- most Southern Republicans are fiscal conservatives only when it suits them.

Southern conservatives love to tout their fiscal conservatism when they explain their votes to cut education, public health or other human-service programs. But they forget all about fiscal conservatism when it comes to "bringing home the bacon" -- i.e., spending $700 million to relocate a rail line that was just rebuilt or giving Northrop Grumman $140 million to cover rebuilding costs for which the defense contractor was underinsured.

A lot of families were underinsured to cover their hurricane-related property damage, but Lott and company were much less interested in coming to their rescue. Middle-class families living along the Gulf Coast are unlikely to be major contributors to a senator's campaign; Northrop Grumman is.

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