Even The Gray Lady Gets The Message In PA
The New York Times recognized the Pennsylvania Earthquake which removed at least thirteen Republican incumbents in Tuesday’s primaries from a state legislature that rejected conservative values. Jason DeParle reports that conservatives nationwide have taken heart from this victory, and even includes a mention of CQ:
A revolt among Pennsylvania conservatives gained national attention on
Wednesday after challengers toppled at least 12 state lawmakers they deemed
insufficiently committed to small government and fiscal restraint.
Among those losing their positions in a Republican primary on Tuesday
were the two State Senate leaders, Robert C. Jubelirer and David J. Brightbill,
who had 56 years of incumbency between them and vastly outspent their upstart
Facing a tire salesman with little political experience, Mr.
Brightbill, the majority leader, outspent his opponent nearly 20 to 1 and still
captured just 37 percent of the vote. …
The results drew cheers from conservatives nationally, many of whom voice similar criticisms of Republican incumbents in Washington and have threatened their own revolts. The Fiscal Restraint Coalition, a network of organizations calling for smaller government, sent out an e-mail message saying the election showed “that the fiscal restraint message is a winner.”
Captain’s Quarters, a conservative blog, said the election would “serve notice on the G.O.P. that it cannot take conservative votes for granted.”
This reminds me of the first shot in the conservative re-emergence: Proposition 13 in California. My home state had an out-of-control property tax regime that would simply re-appraise property whenever it needed to boost revenues. The instability in the tax rate made home ownership more risky, and it affected rents as well. When Howard Jarvis and Paul Gann put Proposition 13 on the ballot, the state’s political intelligentsia fought it bitterly, spending millions of dollars to convince Californians that the state’s problems involved a lack of revenue and not out-of-control spending. No one thought that California voters would pass the referendum — but it turned out to be highly popular indeed, winning by a large margin and shocking the political establishment. That victory started a nationwide demand for tax reform that continues to this day, forcing Rockefeller Republicans out of the GOP leadership and paving the way for Ronald Reagan in 1980.
In Pennsylvania, we may have seen thirteen Proposition 13s. Keystone State conservatives would have sent a powerful message if they had only defeated Jubelirer, the Senate president pro tem. The demonstration of cohesion and focus that allowed them to defeat at least a dozen other incumbents in the primaries not only shows that Pennsylvania conservatism has more fire than previously thought, but that conservatives hold the key to GOP momentum nationwide. Conservatives across the nation will see this and fight with renewed vigor for limited governance and fiscal restraint.
Will current national GOP leadership see this and get the message? We shall soon find out, as various spending bills make their way through Congress. The conference committee reviewing the emergency spending bill may reconsider the pork that the Senate piled onto the appropriation, and hopefully Karl Rove will convince the President that a veto might be the appropriate answer to continued abuses of spending power in the upper chamber. After all, if the New York Times understands the message of the Pennsylvania Earthquake, then we can certainly expect the Republican leadership to comprehend it as well.
Posted by Captain Ed at 05:53 AM