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November 26, 2019

The GOPe's "Budget Hawk" Fraud Is Over

Fake-conservative politicians and pundits have been unmasked in the Trump era, and now another scam perpetrated by the GOPe and Conservative Inc seems to have run its course – the “Budget Hawk” fraud is over. For much of the past 40 years, fiscally conservative “budget hawks” have ensured that no conservative priorities are ever tackled because everything is subordinate to “the budget crisis.” A crisis they never did anything about. The key to the scam was “political capital” – it had to be reserved for the big battle to reign in “entitlements.” GOP politicians would refuse to tackle issues such as securing the border, or exiting from climate agreements, or pressing our deadbeat NATO allies to pay their dues, because it would waster precious political capital. Even worse, the “fiscally conservative budget hawks” refused to even cut “minor” wasteful spending such as aid to foreign despots who hate the USA, or funding for public radio leeches who also hate the USA. The budget hawks told us cutting these dollars were just “drops in the ocean.”

Ace wrote a great post about a dozen years ago explaining that the only way Americans would allow entitlements to be cut is if we eliminated every drop-in-the-ocean sacred spending cow first, so that people would realize that entitlements were the only thing left to cut. But our cowardly politicians also figured this out. Refusing to cut funding to PBS isn’t a bug – it’s a feature. They KNOW they will never have to cut entitlements, because it CANNOT happen if the small stuff isn’t cut first. And they won’t let you forget – cutting drop-in-the-ocean spending programs would waste that valuable political capital that must be reserved for the big budget battle. Even worse, the only time the budget hawks will oppose “drop in the ocean” spending is if it is for a conservative priority. They can find money to give to the PLO, but they oppose funding border security for fiscal reasons. Similarly with tax cuts – the budget hawks anguish about every lost dollar of tax revenue if taxes are cut, but they sure don’t mind tax dollars being steered to fund Planned Parenthood – dollars that could be cut to offset the tax cuts.

Donald Trump may not be championing fiscal responsibility, but he is actively advancing the rest of the conservative agenda. There is a very long list of conservative agenda items that Trump has followed through on, most importantly border security, but so much more - exiting the climate accord, moving the Israeli embassy to Jerusalem, Keystone, tax cuts, regulatory reform, refugee screening, the travel ban, etc. None of this would happen with a President McRyanBushRomney, because they’d conserve their valuable political capital for the big budget battle that was never going to happen.

Conservatives are sick of the budget hawk fraud so we elected someone who will at least advance the rest of our agenda if budget restraint isn’t going to happen. And not to belittle the deficit issue, but for 40 years I’ve been promised that apocalypse is imminent if I don’t keep electing GOP budget hawks. They did nothing and the apocalypse hasn’t happened. It’s a little like the imminent climate catastrophes that haven’t happened. Yes – governments can spend themselves broke (see Greece & Illinois) but conservatives have come to understand that “the deficit” is also an excuse for not fulfilling any other promises made to conservative voters.

Finally, it is noteworthy that Mark Sanford (R – Appalachian Trail), the NeverTrumpers’ great hope to beat Trump in the primary, was running on a platform of fiscal responsibility. This had them giggly with excitement, because we GOP voters had been duped by that fraudulent campaign promise for 40 years. Mark Sanford has since dropped out of the race with 0% GOP support. The GOP base will not be duped again by the Budget Hawk fraud.

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