We're the GOP and We're Sorry

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The remarkable non-wretchedness of the GOP minority is one of the great untold stories of this Congress. Everyone's focused on their ability to block anti-surge votes and kneecap the Democrats over troop funding, but they've done yeomanlike work frustrating the Democrats on domestic policy. To wit, the Little Book of Big Government, not much fun to read but awfully promising for its critiques of the Democrats, its critiques of the old DeLay GOP, and its suggestions for future Congresses. Like:

Congress should establish a Sunset Review Process to periodically review existing programs on a set schedule. Congress and the Administration should be required to either reform or terminate programs determined to be wasteful, duplicative, or unnecessary. Absent such reform, funding for these programs should automatically sunset.

I've heard that idea from more outsider-y Republicans for a long time. Forcing new votes on programs is probably the best way to ensure they don't simply rachet up in size every year, and it's far more Constitutional than the line-item veto.

We're too close to the Bush/Hastert nightmare for me to root for a GOP win in 2008, but a weak Democratic president (maybe Weepin' Hillary?) with a Congress like this would be awfully, awfully tolerable.

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  1. Oh!! It’s $23. That’s cool.

  2. And of course, these sunset reviews will be conducted with faithful diligence, and the decision will be made with a roll call vote, on a standalone resolution.

    And then they will all go out on the mall and play frisbee golf. Shirts vs skins.

  3. Forcing new votes on programs is probably the best way to ensure they don’t simply rachet up in size every year…
    What makes you think so? Seems to me such review will simply provide a platform to express why funding for this program needs to be increased.

  4. and it’s far more Constitutional *then* the line-item veto.

    tsk tsk tsk

  5. Well, at least the new votes would take up time.

  6. yay GOP! you can steal elections and double the size of government, kill millions of innocent people, spy on all of us and call dissent “terrorism”and all will be forgiven if you write a clever book on some BS layer of procedurual beuraucracy your proposing that you are sure will annoy those dirty bad guy democrats.

    buried for false left-right paridigm. Next you’ll tell us how straussianism is really a great limited government philosophy.

  7. Gabe, I find what you say interesting and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

  8. buried for false left-right paridigm.

    Last time I checked, this isn’t Digg, Gabe.

  9. thanks Weigel 🙂

  10. Congressional minorities remind me of Supreme Court dissents–you always wonder what happen to those guys when they’re on the winning side.

  11. Will the new pro-freedom GOP also abridge our rights in a more transparent fashion? I think they ought to seriously consider a Sunset Review Process to determine which sections of the Bill of Rights will be jettisoned and which will preserved!

  12. Of course it doesn’t help when libertarians back a kook with a shady racist past as their insurgent Republican candidate.

  13. The sunset review would be a good start, but the ultimate answer is a Sunset Amendment to the Constitution, specifying that every federal law becomes null and void five years after it is signed by the President, or five years after this Amendment is ratified, whichever is later.

    This would do a great deal to simplify the federal code, which has accumulated so much garbage over the course of 220 years that no one even knows how much stuff is in there, let alone can muster up the energy to start going through and repealing the unnecessary laws.

    Also, it would be a boon to both libertarians and “gotta do something!” politicians, since they would be able to cast votes against child pornography, racial discrimination, etc, without actually passing “new” laws.

  14. “Of course it doesn’t help when libertarians back a kook with a shady racist past as their insurgent Republican candidate.”

    Rudy Giuliani is not a libertarian.

  15. yay GOP! you can steal elections and double the size of government, kill millions of innocent people, spy on all of us and call dissent “terrorism”

    Steal elections? – Horsefeathers.

    Double(?) the size of government? – 1.8 trillion to 2.9 trillion (2000-2006) is a unconscionable increase but not double.

    Kill millions? – Millions? Get real. Show me some numbers that don’t come out of your tail pipe.

    spy on all of us and call dissent “terrorism”? – I’ll give you that one.

    Facts, not hyperbole, please. You hurt your case with unsupportable nonsense.

  16. The whole notion of “sunset” provisions were first talked up by Jimmy Carter way back in 1976 (way, way back in 1976). Since Americans keep voting for big government, it’s no surprise that politicians, liberal and conservative alike, keep giving it to them. Gimmicks won’t force politicians to do what they don’t want to do. If “sunset provisions” require Congress to repeal popular legislation, it will repeal the sunset provisions instead. When you make the rules, you get to change them too.

  17. The wingnuts did indeed steal the 2004 election through their Ohio fraud, JD.

    Robert Kennedy investigated it thoroughly.

  18. Come on. What would a Kennedy know about fraud?

  19. The wingnuts did indeed steal the 2004 election through their Ohio fraud, JD.

    Yeah, and we didn’t really land on the moon, and Bush planned 9/11, blah, blah, blah.

    Robert Kennedy investigated it thoroughly.

    The man is the most partisan wacko in politics and you believe a word he says about anything?

  20. Why don’t you at least read this article in Rolling Stone (http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/10432334/was_the_2004_election_stolen)

    Face it wingnut. Your commander-in-chief is really the commander-in-thief.

  21. I don’t know that sunset provisions in the constitution would do much good. They sunsetted funding for the army, but it didn’t keep us from having a standing army:

    To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years; -article 1 section 8

  22. Argumentation via boldface is a sure sign you’ve wandered onto the kook reservation.

  23. MCW is Edward

  24. “Argumentation via boldface is a sure sign you’ve wandered onto the kook reservation.”

    Sayeth the man who belongs to a political faction that favors the abolition of public schools.

  25. “Shirts vs skins.”

    I can’t even stress how deeply disturbing that image is.

    Regards,
    TDL

  26. but a weak Democratic president (maybe Weepin’ Hillary?) with a Congress like this would be awfully, awfully tolerable.

    Dave, I’m very sorry, but there is no Tooth Fairy either.

    I’m going out on a limb here to say that no matter how the election fleshes out spending and regulation will be worse two years from now than it is today.

  27. The other good thing the Republicans can do is for Bush to refuse to spend earmarks stuck in conference reports. Amazingly, most earmarks are not part of spending legislation. They are instead stuck in conference reports after the legislation has been passed. The exectutive branch has been slavishly spending these earmarks even though they are under no legal obligation to do so. Bush has threatened to issue an exectutive order prohibiting the exectutive branch from spending money on earmarks contained in conference reports. This would kill off a majority of the earmarks in the current budget. It would also force Congress to put their earmarks in the actual text of the law rather than sticking them in at the last moment through a conference report. Putting the earmarks in the law makes them more transperant and more likly to be criticized. There is a reason why Congress sticks there earmarks in the conference reports. Congress of course is having a cow over the prospect and promising law suits and “recriminations” against Bush if he does it.

  28. So they NOW suggest applying Clinger-Cohen on the other side of the river? How about dusting off some more of that existing accountability and waste reduction stuff and applying it too!

  29. but a weak Democratic president (maybe Weepin’ Hillary?) with a Congress like this would be awfully, awfully tolerable James Earl Carter, Jr.

    fixed

  30. That’s it, MCW must be a joke troll.

  31. I can’t even stress how deeply disturbing that image is.

    I pictured a bunch of mobile, uncooked doughnuts.

  32. hmmm, I think it is ‘than’

  33. John – agree completely. What possible lawsuit could they file if he did this?

  34. Yeah, besides continuing that whole American imperialism thing and defending torture and the destruction of the rights enshrined in the Magna Carta, the GOP minority has been fucking right on.

    Consider me unimpressed.

  35. We’re the GOP and We’re Sorry

    That’s a pretty good campaign slogan for ’08, but I suggest:

    GOP: That Episode With That Other GEntleman In The Men’s Room Was All Just A Big Misunderstanding.

    Heck, the convention logo looks like roadkill for a reason.

  36. charlie,

    As one of the higher ranking members of the Military Industrial Complex in this forum, I am formally informing you that I am headed out to the courtyard to light my cigar with a big wad of Federal Reserve Notes, drink Martinis and grease the cogs of industry with the blood of children.

  37. Can you grab me a Twix from the machine?

  38. Congress and the Administration should be required to either reform or terminate programs determined to be wasteful, duplicative, or unnecessary.

    Because there are SOOO many federal programs Congress will find to be wasteful, duplicative, or unnecessary.

    You can fiddle with the rules all you want, but if the congresscritters want to do something, they’ll do it.

    In the interest of clarity, instead of “wasteful, duplicative, or unnecessary” let’s try “failing to comply with the Tenth Amendment because the program is not specifically mentioned in the Constitution”?

  39. Oh!! It’s $23. That’s cool.

    haha, I’m glad those were the first comments because that’s the first thing I noticed too.

  40. Can you grab me a Twix from the machine?

    Yea, but I had to send a platoon of guys who could not go to college down corridor 8 to get it. Since I am too cheap to feed them consider yourself lucky that it survived the first time.

    Flying it over to you in an Osprey 🙂

  41. An Osprey? I’m moving my car.

    To Idaho.

  42. An Osprey? I’m moving my car.

    To Idaho.

    Now I have to schedule a couple of mid-air refueling missions.

    joe, you can be such a chore!

  43. but a weak Democratic president (maybe Weepin’ Hillary?) with a Congress like this would be awfully, awfully tolerable.

    Hillary, weak? Man, that’s a good one.

    After we got done with the tax increases, the huge increase in unfunded liabilities caused by more socialized medicine, the elimination of any hope for school choice, the elimination of the secret ballot in union elections, and whatever other goodies the Dem Old Guard has up their sleeve, and the appointment of several “living Constitution” justices, I’m sure it would be quite tolerable, indeed.

    Right up until they get back to work on gun control.

  44. Like Reason, I look forward to a Hillary administration and a Republican congress. Government spending will be kept under control, except for the slight bump of the Iran war, which should only cost a couple billion, tops. 10 billion at the absolute, highest. It may even pay for itself like the Iraq war did.

  45. “””Forcing new votes on programs is probably the best way to ensure they don’t simply rachet up in size every year””””

    Yeah right. You see the “Renew all past laws” bill of whatever year.

    Expecting Congress to do the right thing is like expecting a goat to do algebra.

  46. “”Yeah right. You see the “Renew all past laws” bill of whatever year.””

    Should of said ” You will be seeing the…

    I really should start proof-reading.

  47. Of course it doesn’t help when libertarians back a kook with a shady racist past as their insurgent Republican candidate.

    Yeah, well tell Dondero he needs to withdraw his support from Giuliani.

    “Muslims need to be chased back to their caves.” — John Deady, co-chair of New Hampshire Veterans for Giuliani.

    Of course, he said that way back in 2007, so it’s old news.

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