The Wall Street Journal has an interesting story about the “Cracks in Republican Unity.” It’s interesting not simply because of the political story about the growing fissure in the GOP that will likely hurt them in November, but because of a specific attack on the patriotism of the reliably conservative Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R.-Tex., lifetime American Conservative Union rating: 97%) made by the not-reliably conservative Rep. Ray LaHood (R.-Ill., lifetime ACU rating: 74%).
The Journal piece addresses several areas where GOPers are fighting with each other, especially out-of-control spending and earmarks.
The greatest source of division is conservatives’ concern about spending, aggravated by the mounting cost of the Iraq war. The personal sniping between younger members and those on the House Appropriations Committee continued this week and underscores the split over the government’s growth under Republican control.
The article notes that the Appropriations Committee is still “setting aside billions of dollars for home-state projects without disclosing the sponsors” of these various earmarks, even though they have promised to change their ways in light of various scandals.
The most recent GOP fight was over $507 million in military projects that were designated “as war-related expenditures that could be financed from an emergency reserve outside the agreed-upon spending limits.”
Outraged conservative Republicans blasted the move. The Journal reports:
Conservatives pounced, and the ensuing brawl turned bitter after the money was struck down on a parliamentary motion. "The greatest threat to our country is the war on terror but we also have another threat, and that is out-of-control federal spending," said Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas. "We had better quit wrapping the butter in the American flag in this sleight of hand."
The really outrageous part of this whole episode, despite the spending shenanigans, was LaHood’s response to Hensarling:
"You picked the wrong bill to have your earmark fight," answered Illinois Rep. Ray LaHood, a Republican member of the Appropriations panel. "Please do not tell us you support the troops. Please do not tell us you support the war, when you came out here and X’d out all of these important projects that help our troops, that help us win the war."
Mr. LaHood, might I suggest that you should not tell voters — or anyone else for that matter — that you support the American taxpayer. Please do not tell us you support the economy of the U.S. and our fiscal footing when you take to the floor to defend sneaky, underhanded attempts to designate earmarks as “emergency” funding.
And please don’t tell us you’re a Republican. Republicans are not supposed to support Big Government.
And that goes for all the big-spending Republicans who are pigging out on my and every other American’s hard-earned dollar that the federal government took by force, not just you, Mr. LaHood.