Nine-term Rep. Steven LaTourette, R-Ohio, said Tea Party newcomers who are eager to slash federal spending will soon learn how difficult it is.
“Back in Ohio, almost everybody says, `Oh, you’ve got to cut spending,— LaTourette said. “But then they say, `Oh, I didn’t know you meant my spending.’ And there’s going to be a lot of that.”
That’s why principle matters. If you’re principled, you’ll say to people what counts: ‘Your spending has to go too. You’re not entitled to other people’s money, any more than they’re entitled to yours.’
Unless you’re willing to say this, then you’re no different from the type of corrupt representative already in office. We’ve got to get past this idea that there are differences between Republicans and Democrats. There are no important differences. To be a new and better kind of representative in Congress, you have to be willing to say, ‘It’s not your money.’ You have to be willing to say this to your own constituents even more than anyone else, because they’re the only voters who can keep you in office.
Some will say, ‘That’s a great position ideologically. But it’s just not practical.’
This depends on what your goal is. If your goal is actually to cut the size, scope and cost of government, then this position is eminently practical. Cutting spending is always practical from the point-of-view of limiting government. More than that, it gives a representative moral credibility. When it comes time to cut somebody else’s spending—for a different representative’s constituents—then he or she can say, truthfully, ‘I cut my own constituents’ spending; now I’m cutting yours.’
Either you’re in favor of something different, or you’re not. If you ran for Congress on a ‘Tea Party’ platform, and you get to Washington DC only to do the same thing that other Republicans and Democrats already do, then you’re no different from those other Republicans and Democrats. Actually, you’re much worse because you perpetrated a fraud in order to get elected.
Integrity is eminently practical. Integrity means consistency between thought and action. If you hold political office and actually act consistent with your stated beliefs, you’ll become an admired role model, even to some of your enemies—and a source of respect to your foes. Sure, you can lose. But you can lose by playing ‘me too’ just as easily. If you really believe in the principle of limited government, and then shun those principles in favor of acceptance at cocktail parties in Washington DC—well, how strong and happy a person are you? Our corrupted nation’s capital is full of milquetoasts in both parties who stand for both everything and nothing. Look where it got us.
Rep. LaTourette went on to note that deep spending cuts would anger many interest groups, and Republicans may pay a price, he warned. OK. So what? People can throw limited government advocates out of office, go back to letting people like Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama have unhampered power and watch what happens. ‘Let me know how well that works out for you,’ ought to be the attitude, if not the campaign slogan, of people really seeking to provide something different.
Republicans picked up nearly three dozen House seats when Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980, LaTourette noted. “Half of them were shown the door two years later,” he said. “Not because they did anything wrong. They kept their promises. But when you’ve got to cut a lot of money out of the budget, everybody’s got a pet program, a pet disease, a pet something, and people are going to get fired up.”
No—only certain kinds of people. People in the business of getting lots of other people’s money have a lot at stake. Their livelihoods quite literally depend on the allocation of tax dollars. Of course they’re going to shriek, howl, cajole and threaten at the mere hint that they’re going to lose even a penny of that money. This is what addicts and moochers do.
Are these the people the American Founders created the Constitution and Bill of Rights for? Quite the opposite. Those who live off of others’ money—by force, not by persuasion—are the very type of tyrants the American Founders were trying to restrain.
Now it’s time for a new generation of Americans to protect all of us from them.