Sunday, January 15, 2006

Laying Axes to the Root - The Need for Reform Within the Republican Party

Proverbs 16:11 (New Living Translation)

“11The LORD demands fairness in every business deal; he sets the standard.”

It appears that there may be a reform movement afoot within the Republican Party. Awakened by the Jack Abramoff scandal, rank and file Republicans are now demanding change. Tom Delay has resigned his position as House Majority Leader. Over the past week or so Republican lawmakers have begun throwing their hats into the ring. Up till a couple of days ago, it appeared that things we’re going to remain business as usual, with Representative Roy Blunt becoming one of the front runners for the open post. The problem with Blunt is, of course, that he has ties to both Tom Delay and Jack Abramoff. That, as far as I can see it, hardly constitutes reform.

But just a day or so ago another hat was tossed into the ring. John Shadegg from Arizona announced his intention to run for the Majority Leader’s position. A brief excerpt from his letter of intent follows:

“Ten years ago, we took control of the House of Representatives for the first time in half a century. It was a historic achievement, and it was possible because we stood for the principles the American people believe in: a smaller federal government, returning power to the states, lower taxes, greater individual freedom, and – above all – reform.”

“I am running for Majority Leader, and I ask for your support. In addition, in order to make clear my commitment to this race and my goal of leading an invigorated Republican majority, I am resigning my position as Policy Chairman. I personally believe it is not appropriate to try to retain one position in our elected leadership while running for another. My campaign is based on reform, and reform should begin with an open process.”

“In the past decade, particularly recently, we seem to have lost sight of our ideals. I believe that in order to reconnect with the American people, and retain and grow our Republican Majority in the House, we need to recommit ourselves to our principles.”

Shadegg has given Republicans an honorable alternative to the tawdry politics that have placed the Republican hold on Congress in jeopardy.

The early response to his announcement has been very favorable. Larry Kudlow, for example, had this to say about Representative Shadegg:

“The race for House majority leader now has a third horse: Arizona's John Shadegg. Prior to this development, the two-horse race between Missouri's Roy Blunt and Ohio's John Boehner had few conservatives excited, although Boehner had been looking like the better bet over Blunt, who has been tied to the seedy, backroom dealings of convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Blunt is the last thing Republicans need right now, while Shadegg offers a clear path to returning the GOP to the first principles of lower spending and ethical governance.”

“Hopefully, Shadegg, who is not part of the Abramoff lobbying culture, will run on the budget-cutting proposals of the Republican Study Committee, in particular the RSC plan to end midnight "earmarks," which stealthily insert pork into bills without debate.”

“These earmarks are not only budget-busters, they open the door to rogue lobbying, where legislative favors are traded for cash. If the 100-member RSC gets behind Shadegg, it could win in come-from-behind fashion. This rebel group is full of change agents, people like Mike Pence, Jeff Flake, Paul Ryan, Marsha Blackburn and Jeb Hensarling -- rising young stars in the GOP firmament. This crowd, of which Shadegg is a longtime member, stands on bedrock conservative principles. They all deserve seats at the leadership table of high Republican policymaking.”

There’s also a grass-roots movement supporting Shadegg. Bloggers are casting their bread upon the waters of reform. It started with this from “The Truth Laid Bear:”

“But we are certain that the public is disgusted with excess and with privilege. We hope the Hastert-Dreier effort leads to sweeping reforms including the end of subsidized travel and other obvious influence operations. Just as importantly, we call for major changes to increase openness, transparency and accountability in Congressional operations and in the appropriations process.”

“As for the Republican leadership elections, we hope to see more candidates who will support these goals, and we therefore welcome the entry of Congressman John Shadegg to the race for Majority Leader. We hope every Congressman who is committed to ethical and transparent conduct supports a reform agenda and a reform candidate. And we hope all would-be members of the leadership make themselves available to new media to answer questions now and on a regular basis in the future.”

There are times, as Holy Writ observes, that the axe must be laid to the root:

Luke 3:9 (New Living Translation)

“Even now the axe of God's judgment is poised, ready to sever your roots. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.”

This is such a time. It’s time for us to wield our axes and cut down to the root that’s infecting Washington, D.C. Those of you who read this blog know that I’m a Democrat and that I’ve been hard on the Democratic Party. I think it’s now time for my Republican readers to belly up to the bar and demand reform within their party. To that end, I have two recommendations. First, go to this link and sign on to the reform campaign. Second, contact your Representative using this link.

It’s time for the deceit and sham to stop. It’s time for the deficits built and purchased in Washington’s back rooms to end. It’s time to demand accountability and honesty from our representatives.
I believe this is what John Shadegg’s announcement was all about. I support it. I hope you do too.


Jon said...

I think thee is need for reform in Washington period and the Republicans have already announced plans to reform before the Democrats did and hopefully both sides will come up with a plan that will actually work.

prying1 said...

Phil - You might find this interesting -

Appeal from Truth Laid Bear

Chromatius said...

I think we'll all agree there's definitely a need for reform of lobbying.

But as far as the Republicans go, I think we need to separate real conservatives from these right wing revolutionaries and religious zealots - they don't fit any definition of American conservative I'm aware of. The real conservatives (small government, individual freedom, fiscal responsibility etc) can't be that happy with the leadership. Who have to keep creating crises to keep them hot under the collar and on board.