The sausage factory that is Congress

Yesterday Rep. Jack Kingston announced an innovative new way for his constituents to communicate with him through the blogosphere. Using Youtube.com Kingston fields video questions and then responds. The first question he fielded asked why he was voting against most of Arizona Rep. Jeff Flake’s anti-pork amendments. Kingston’s answer didn’t go over well with some conservatives.

The Club for Growth’s Andy Roth said that “Kingston’s answer is typical of the big-spending attitudes that pervade the Republican Party in Washington these days.” Dave Holman at the American Spectator Blog said Kingston’s answer was “a bumbling journey through the sausage making of the Appropriations Committee. It goes something like, well, I would like to oppose earmarks, but you see, Democrats like earmarks, and so do Republicans, and we need those guys to vote on budgets, so we’ve got to sweeten the deal a little.”

Kingston deserves credit for answering the question and certainly he knew it would not be satisfactory to everyone. The problem for conservatives on the outside looking in is that we see a Republican majority that is supposed to be about shrinking the size of government. That’s what Republicans say they came here to do. But in reality it all too often looks more like a Republican majority that cannot pass a single bill without buying some votes and therefore increasing — albeit by a small amount each time — the size of goverment. If Republicans are in the majority in the House — which, of course, they are — then why do you need to buy Democratic votes with projects?

To be fair, part of the answer is that Republicans, not conservatives, are in the majority.

UPDATE: Team Kingston responds to the criticism, pointing out among other things that Rep. Kingston voted for the Line Item Veto last week in the House. Read the post on Jack’s Blog. 

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