Contributed by Erick Erickson (redstate.com)
Has the GOP learned its lessons from 2006?
That’s the big question many on the right are asking themselves. After all, on the Senate side the same leadership that led the GOP out of power will be the same leadership leading the GOP back into power if they take back the Senate.
In the House of Representatives, the members did a good job replacing their failed leadership. Hastert retired, DeLay quit, Blunt left leadership. Blunt’s Deputy Whip, Eric Cantor, moved up to Whip. Kevin McCarthy and Mike Pence came in underneath. In fact, Eric Cantor is the only member of the Hastert-DeLay-Blunt-Cantor House GOP Leadership team to remain.
On the House side, as a very public repudiation of their past, John Boehner led the GOP to refuse earmarks — the bribes both sides have used for so long to grow government and get their pet programs passed.
Earmarks were used to bribe Republicans to support the prescription drug benefit and TARP. Earmarks were used to bribe Democrats to support Obamacare. Earmarks are a drug and the GOP, to absolve itself of its own sins, publicly declared that House Republicans would give up the very corrupting practice.
But it was all for show, or so it seems. House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) declares earmarks will be back in full swing once the GOP takes back Congress.
Cantor said, “Republicans may roll back their ban on earmarks, as long as the spending items have ‘merit.’”
“Merit” is a focus grouped way to obfuscate the reality that Eric Cantor and the House Republicans are perfectly happy to be wallowing back in the mud pit once they get back in charge. If the earmarks actually had merit, they could withstand the entire appropriations process, including review by committee, etc. instead of being added in.
In other words, the GOP has learned nothing and forgotten nothing. They’ll merely bank on our preference for them to Pelosi as a block against Obama, but will otherwise keep expanding government and lining the pockets of preferred interest groups with bridges to nowhere save high deficits.
As I wrote back in March, “Earmarks are certainly not the only issue, but they are the most telling as to whether Republicans really have learned their lesson in the minority.”
Eric Cantor, at least, has not. Remember, this is the guy who attacked the stimulus while lobbying for stimulus money to build a high-speed railroad between Richmond and Washington. It’s also the same guy who tried to play cheap parliamentary tricks to stop Rep. Steve King’s discharge petition to repeal Obamacare.
And this is the guy who will be the House Majority Leader if the GOP takes back Congress.