TKS reader Craig writes in, calling my attention to a thread on QandO.net
, a site I had, when I perused it in the past, enjoyed. Jon Henke interpreted my anger at Speaker Hastert’s decision to go to the mat over the papers removed from William Jefferson’s office as declaration that I only get angry at Republican leaders when they “defend one lousy Democrat”. His argument:
Enormous increases in federal spending, entitlement programs and future debt? Fine. Failure to assert legislative oversight of the war on terror? Whatever. Massive federalization of the Department of Education? Yawn. Tossed aside the 1st Ammendment for the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform bill? These things happen. Repeated violations of State's Rights? What's your point?
But let some Republicans defend one lousy Democrat and Jim Geraghty wants blood.
I notice Jon decided only to quote from Instapundit’s excerpt, not from my posting itself, ignoring:
This dispute reminded me of the other recent huge fight within the GOP, over illegal immigration.
I am not enamored with the President’s position on illegal immigration. More specifically, I think it is unwise for a leader of a country and a party to take an issue that its base of voters is purple with rage about, and then promptly poke that base with a sharp stick. A guest worker program might be a good idea someday, but that day is not today. What is needed this day is a secure border, best ensured by a fence, along with efforts to punish employers who hire illegal immigrants, and those who facilitate illegal immigrants’ work by generating fake documents. Once the public at large feels that the border is secure, then the issue of how to deal with illegal immigrants currently in the country will be seen in a new light. The President, apparently, passionately believes that his base is wrong, and that taking them on directly is worthwhile.
So, right there in the post, I’m laying out a policy area where I’ve got a beef with Republican leaders, for not pursuing a sufficiently conservative (or is it simply common sense?) solution… but of course it is ignored, because it gets in the way of his theory that I’m a Republican shill whose sole purpose is to enforce partisan discipline against the opposition party.
In fact, it would require a facile reading of my post to insist that the driving force behind my objection to Hastert’s move was because it “defends one lousy Democrat.” Those who bother to read the post would have come across the words:
“The legal folks I read and trust seem to think the constitutional argument is pretty weak; at the very least, Hastert’s logic would establish lawmakers’ offices as no-search-zones, where any lawmaker could stash any evidence he wished, beyond the reach of law enforcement. Hmm. Better rethink those “potential consequences for future generations.””
But hey, that could reflect my fear that only Democratic lawmakers would use their offices as no-search zones. Well, thank goodness you’re here, Jon, to set me straight.
In the comments to that post, Craig and Jon discuss what the appropriate “punishment” for the GOP is – I said I wanted to see Hastert’s behavior “punished,” and that I didn’t want to wait until November to see the behavior punished. Well, there’s a lot of ways to punish a lawmaker’s behavior. Hastert could see donations dry up; he could see himself labeled a “blithering idiot” all over the right half of the blogosphere (uh, check) ; he could see a dearth of volunteers for his own reelection this fall (not that I expect his defeat), he could see angry calls to his office, he could hear angry reactions when he meets with the conservative press, and he could hear angry denunciations of the decision from his caucus and/or the White House. Some interest group could even put together a campaign-style attack ad that would berate Hastert for his anti-FBI stand, and run it in his district.
When Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty and FBI Director Robert Mueller threatened resignation, that was a form of punishment, or perhaps a warning might be a better term. Their throwing down the gauntlet made clear the consequences to the President — if Hastert got his way, the President would lose his top three Justice Department officials.
My hope would be that a conservative backlash against Hastert’s stand starting much sooner than election day would get him to backtrack and shape up – and that similar actions on other issues could yield a Republican caucus that is publicly committed to a more consistently conservative course of action. None of these moves would necessarily bring about a Democratic House of Representatives, which I again observe would give conservatives none of what they want.
This, by the way, is why having discussions in the blogosphere increasingly feels like a waste of time. Because there’s always some guy willing to pound the table and shout loudly that anyone who disagrees with him is a “RINO” — or, in this case, that I’m a mere anti-left writer and an insufficiently anti-state one. I think we all ought to take a moment to thank the fates that blogs like QandO exist to eagerly point out the flaws in my writing, or at least the short excerpts that they bother to read.
When did Debbie Schlussel become the new role model for the blogosphere? Jefferson keeps the cash in his freezer, Hastert says the FBI has to keep out of Jefferson’s office, and I’m the bad guy in this. Right.