Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 9, 2003
By: Kevin Drum

FISCAL CONSERVATISM....Daniel Henninger is nothing short of laughable in the Wall Street Journal today:

Arnold is not your Republican father's "moderate." Those traditional Republican moderates have long been accepted into polite political circles only if they understand that their proper place in Sacramento, Albany or Washington is to serve as pliant small-town lending officers to the dominant Democratic leadership. Say a Democrat wants to spend $4 billion; the GOP "moderate" will counter with $3.5 billion--and then they'll compromise at $3.95 billion. Arnold Schwarzenegger ran against this theory of a moderate Republicanism that is complicit in a long liberal legacy of tax, spend and tax again.

I'm not sure which is more risible: the idea of proclaiming Arnold a true conservative before he's made so much as a single decision in the governor's chair, or the idea that all those fiscal conservatives currently running the country are somehow more averse to spending money than Democrats are.

To use Henninger's own phrase, here's how conservative Republicans operate these days:

Say the president wants to spend $4 billion; the GOP "conservative" will counter with $5 billion--and then they'll compromise at $5.5 billion.

This is the dangerous joke that fiscally conservative Republicanism has become. Henninger sure better hope he's wrong about Arnold, because if he takes after these guys California is going to be reduced to selling off the Capitol dome to the Bank of China around June of next year.

Kevin Drum 10:14 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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