By Michael Smith
As a Republican precinct chairman, I’ve found most of our party’s voters to be pretty wise. At least they don’t vote for Democrats.
But they do have a weakness for the word “conservative.” Perhaps they remember a time when that was a dirty word. Post-Goldwater, and even into the Reagan years, any candidate who dared to call himself a conservative probably was.
Once conservatism came back into fashion, the candidates figured out that GOP primary voters would support most anyone willing to say he was one of us.
U.S. Rep. Diane Black knows this. Her campaign web site calls her conservative no less than 35 times. Much is also made there of her high score at National Journal. But National Journal is not CPAC, nor Club for Growth, nor Heritage Action for America, nor RedState, nor even conservative; it is nonpartisan. Which, in Washington, means liberal.
Liberals will tell you whom they want you to vote for. And since no Democrat can win TN-6 (a “red” district by design), the D.C. establishment’s only hope is for a weak Republican to hold that seat. You know – for those close votes when the squishes always vote their “conscience.”
National Journal tells you what’s important to liberals. On the harder, principled issues, you find out what’s important to GOP voters in TN-6 by clicking the watchdog links above, or by looking at a few of Rep. Black’s votes yourself.
To put these in context, note that Rep. Black’s campaign site goes on at length about her support for an unlikely proposal called “No Budget. No Pay,” which would nix Congressional salaries until a budget is passed. Judging by how well Congress has policed itself in the past, this bill’s chances are less than the proverbial underworld snowball. But Rep. Black takes the mic anyway to pump up conservative-minded voters with tough talk, begging the question: What did she do when she actually cast votes in Washington last year?
In April, Conservative House Republicans offered a “Ryan Plan”-inspired budget that would have balanced federal income and outlays within 10 years. Rep. Black voted against it. Record vote: 119-136.
In March, Rep. Black voted to pass H.J. Res. 48, a monstrous spending bill that avoided effective spending cuts and left in place funds for Obamacare, Planned Parenthood, and the EPA’s greenhouse-gas efforts. Record vote: 271-158. Even 104 Democrats voted against this bill.
It’s not unusual for Democrats to take the occasional flyer on a conservative bill. But at budget time, they resume the old “compassion” whines against reductions in domestic spending. Lately, though, conservative Republicans have taken to responding with a challenge: What about restoring the spending levels from just a few years ago? You know, those horrible days when old people died in the streets for lack of a safety net?
In 2011, Congressional conservatives proposed just such an amendment, returning nondefense, nonsecurity spending to the 2006 level. If enacted, this would go a very long way toward balancing the budget, while betraying the Democrats’ drama. But Rep. Black joined Democrats and moderate Republicans to defeat it. Record vote: 93-328.
In a telling vote, Rep. Black couldn’t even muster enough courage to stop additional spending on a widely acknowledged upper-class welfare program – government flood insurance that encourages building in known flood zones. Record vote: 118-305.
With federal debt threatening to crash our entire economy, the country does not have time for “conservatives” who don’t walk the talk.
Rep. Black is holding a seat that could be filled by someone worthy of conservatives’ votes.
Michael Smith is an activist with the Campaign for Primary Accountability.
Note From Debbie:
Michael Smith is a new contributor here at Right Truth. Please leave him a comment and welcome him to the site.