Tea Party Betrayed: Earmarks

I have been writing about the Tea Party, and asking what they will do if/when the DC Republicans betray them. CAF has set up a page for the Tea Party Getting Played series. This is the latest in the series.
The Tea Party candidates vowed they would be different, would stick to basic principles and not waver, and not back down.
It is safe to say that Kentucky Senator-elect Rand Paul is one of the leaders of the Tea Party movement. Here is what was on his campaign website, and I want tp put the whole thing here so there is no mistaking what voters were led to believe:

Rand Paul has made a ban on wasteful earmark spending in Washington D.C. one of the key points of his campaign. He has supported Sen. Jim DeMint’s vocal support for an earmark ban and he supports news that House Democrats are even coming around on the idea of a partial ban.
“The Tea Party movement is an effort to get government under control,” Rand said. “I’m running to represent Kentuckians and to dismantle the culture of professional politicians in Washington. Leadership isn’t photo-ops with oversized fake cardboard checks. That kind of thinking is bankrupting our nation. Senator DeMint understands that and has taken action to stop it.”
Rand’s emphasis on reform has ruffled a lot of establishment feathers, but it is clear that the more regular citizens are getting the message every day as his campaign continues to grow.

That’s a pretty solid, unequivocal statement, isn’t it? That was what Tea Party supports and voters were told. Unequivocal.
Now he is elected. And how is this for equivocating? Rand Paul Suggests He’ll Fight For Earmarks He Earlier Promised To Ban:

Less than a week after his election, Kentucky’s Senator-elect Rand Paul already appears to be making a rapid departure away from one of his campaign promises: an earmark ban that stood as a conservative cornerstone, a position Paul touted to indicate he was serious about tackling the reckless spending practices of Washington.
Here’s what Paul told the Wall Street Journal over the weekend:

In a bigger shift from his campaign pledge to end earmarks, he tells me that they are a bad “symbol” of easy spending but that he will fight for Kentucky’s share of earmarks and federal pork, as long as it’s doled out transparently at the committee level and not parachuted in in the dead of night. “I will advocate for Kentucky’s interests,” he says.

So, here’s the record. While campaigning the new Senator from Kentucky took the Tea Party position against earmarks. But one week after the election he says he will fight for Kentucky’s share of earmarks and federal pork. From Tea Party hero to DC Insider in a week! What are the Tea Party supports going to do about it?
And that is the question I have been asking: What will Tea Party members do when their politicians betray them? For decades the game on the conservative side was to campaign against abortion, gays and other “culture war” issues, or appeal to raw fear, but then once in office to ignore those issues and always, always reward the big corporations — and, oh, yeah, more tax cuts for the rich. Now it looks like the same thing is happening to the Tea Party supporters as well. So what are they going to do about it?
And on the “liberal” side we’ve seen campaign after campaign promising to do things for the middle class and for labor and for the elderly and for the poor but then once in office reward the big corporations instead. This is a serious question for democracy: what are we going to do about it?
Take a look at the growing list of posts here in the Tea Party Getting Played series.
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Tea Party Betrayed Already?

I have been writing about the Tea Party, and asking what they will do if/when the DC Republicans betray them. CAF has set up a page for the Tea Party Getting Played series. Read the latest in the series: Tea Party Betrayed: Earmarks.
So, how’s that new Tea Party Congress working out for Tea Party supporters who expected that the lobbyists were going to be cleared out, the “too-big-to-fail” Wall Street banks brought under control and laws enforced?
The election was Tuesday, and on Thursday the expected new Chair of the House financial services committee warned regulators to lay of Wall Street, particularly Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, and not enforce the “Volker Rule” in the new Wall Street reform law. That’s right, told them not to enforce the law.
In Financial Times, US regulators warned on new bank legislation, (Matthew Yglesias c/o Brad DeLong)

Spencer Bachus, a potential Republican chairman of the House financial services committee, has fired the first salvo in a battle with regulators – warning them against harming US banks by curbing their trading activity.
. . . Mr Bachus says that a ban on proprietary trading – known as the Volcker rule – … in the new Dodd-Frank financial reform law will “impose substantial costs on the American economy and market participants” with “doubtful” benefits.
. . . The proprietary trading ban, named after Paul Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chairman who proposed it, was opposed by most Republicans when it was passed by Congress in June. It also restricts banks’ investments in hedge funds and private equity firms.

Last week, in Tea Party Members VS Tea Party Wall Street Funders, I pointed out that Tea Party supporters expect their politicians to do something about Wall Street bailouts, lawbreaking and “too-big-to-fail” domination of the economy, but Tea Party candidates were receiving a great deal of funding from that very same Wall Street. This set up a potential conflict between Tea Party supporters and Tea Party politicians.
Now that the election is over, we’re all just waiting for what we think is coming, and asking: What will Tea Party members do when their politicians betray them?
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Put Up Or Shut Up, Please

This post originally appeared at Speak Out California.
There was a positive response to the idea from last week’s post, No Schools For You, that suggested,

“If an Assembly or Senate representative demanded cuts to schools, fire, etc. then the schools, fire, etc. in that representative’s district receive the entire cut! This would be an honest application of representative democracy, allowing the citizens of an area to be governed according to their wishes without it affecting all of the citizens in the state.”

Seriously, the leaders of the Assembly and Senate should make the few Republican holdouts an offer: if they think government services to the state’s citizens are such a bad idea they should stop insisting on so much spending in their districts! They say that government spending is a problem, why can’t they take those Republican governors who are refusing to accept any stimulus money as role models and refuse any state spending in their districts. Their constituents can then show their overwhelming support for the anti-government ideology that their elected representatives espouse.
Several years ago, then-Senator Phil Gramm of Texas – a Republican – was one of the loudest to complain and complain about spending and “pork” and “earmarks” in the federal budget. What is called “pork” and “earmarks” are special appropriations of funds by the Congress for specific projects in specific districts: a museum, science lab, agricultural study or bridge that is badly needed is funded by our government. This is what Republicans call “pork” — government doing things that citizens need. Well the biggest, most expensive project in the country at the time was the Superconducting Super Collider, a massive physics lab being built under the ground in Texas, employing hundreds and keeping many construction businesses going. Well, when it came time to cut some spending the Congress took Senator Gramm at his word and killed the project.
So I think that it would be a very good idea to ask the Republican anti-tax ideologues to put up or shut up. Give them the opportunity to put their (take away the) money where their mouths are. If you want spending cuts, let us cut all the spending in your districts — or please shut up.
Your thoughts? Leave a comment.
Click through to Speak Out California.

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And In The House – Earmarks and Corporate Jets Gone

House passes more ethics reform, budget rule

The new Democrat-led House of Representatives on Friday passed a second batch of ethics reforms in as many days and resurrected controls they said would help end deficit spending.
One day after taking over the House after Republicans’ 12-year rule, Democrats won rules changes they claimed would restore civility to the badly tarnished chamber and curb “earmarks” — special-interest money and tax breaks often secretly inserted into legislation.
The move won applause from some of the most conservative House Republicans, including Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona, who said Democrats “had more guts than we did to tackle earmark reform in a meaningful way. I compliment them for that.”
Earmarks have ranged from tax breaks for handfuls of individuals to big-ticket military contracts and lawmakers’ hometown projects.
Democrats also pushed through rules changes to tighten up the way floor votes are conducted. The goal was to stop a past Republican practice of holding “15-minute votes” open, sometimes for hours, so they could change the outcome.

But wait, there’s more!

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