Here's Where the Republicans Lost
Who can we look to for major Conservative leadership in Washington since the departure of Tom Delay? Is it John McCain? Is is Dennis Hastert? What about the President? Some may want to look towards the Vice President, but he is only capable of breaking a tie in the Senate and he can't stray to far from the President's policy--unless he wanted to pull a Jefferson. Out of the possibilities that I have listed here, no one makes for a good candidate in my point of view. McCain is out to lead McCain, so there is no hope of him ever leading the Conservative movement in Washington. Hastert's recent outbursts about warranted FBI searches against Congressmen leaves little doubt that he cannot lead in serious matters, though I will give him some credit for his stance on the illegal immigration battle looming over the horizon. The President has some Conservative victories--tax cuts, free trade even his foriegn policy--but these can be negated by his support of No Child Left Behind and McCain/Feingold, among others. So where do we look? The few members of Congress that would make great leaders and great Conservative minds--Mitch McConnell, Rick Santorum and Jeff Sessions--haven't or won't take the wheel. In the House of Representatives we have some promising candidates, but they are too young so to speak. In this regard I am speaking of Jeb Hensarling.
Jeb Hensarling recently led an effort to bring about some spending controll in the House by introducing a budget resolution that was identical to the one proposed in 1995. Then only one Republican voted against the resolution, now the "no" vote was 134. The Hill has this story ( http://www.thehill.com/thehill/export/TheHill/News/Frontpage/053106/contract.html).
“We built it using the same basic parameters,” said Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), chairman of the conservative caucus, referring to his group’s budget. “It was designed to be same as the Contract With America. It was absolutely our intention to call the roll on the spirit of ’94,” he said, “We wanted to see who was willing to take the same tough stand the Republican majority had taken when the Republican Congress was newly minted. It does suggest that we’ve lost some of our revolutionary fervor.”
This bit from Rep. Pence is what I am alluding to in that the Party in Washington has lost its resolve to do what Conservatives elected them to do: limit the size and scope of the Federal Government. And the base sees this. The more that the base is ignored in Washington, and the closer the Party gets to nominating some one like McCain in '08, the more the base will be willing to leave the Party this election cycle. There are going to be some heated battles for the heart and soul of the Republican Pary this year and in the near future. With this refutation of the "spirit of '94," as Rep. Pence calls it, there could be a refutation of Republican control of Congress this November.