Skip to comments.A rising conservative star
Posted on 03/23/2006 9:01:49 PM PST by Crackingham
Last week, Senator Arlen Specter declared the death of a conservative Republican Party. After the Senate approved an amendment he offered to bust the budget by $7 billion for more domestic spending, Specter rejoiced. The Pennsylvania Republican bragged to reporters, The Republican Party is now principally moderate, if not liberal!
Specters comments may be truer than many Republicans would like to admit. But conservatives in the Senate have not disappeared. There are some left, like the junior Senator from Nevada, John Ensign.
Ensign has always been a conservative. Elected to the House of Representatives as part of the fabled and historic class of 1994, he went on to serve on the House Ways and Means Committee where he embraced the principled conservatism that swept Republicans into power that year. He ran against Senator Harry Reid in 1998 and lost by only 400 hundred votes with voting irregularities noted across the state.
When he ran for Senate again in 2000 he was elected by running on a limited government conservative platform. That platform is one that he has remained true to throughout his entire first term in the Senate by casting vote after vote in favor of limited government.
Over the course of the last five years, Ensign has cast tough votes against the bloated farm bill, the Medicare Prescription Drug Bill, and against the free-speech squelching McCain-Feingold campaign legislation.
Now, as he faces his re-election race this November against former President Jimmy Carters well-funded son, Jack, Ensign is doing something that many of his colleagues standing for re-election are not: he is embracing his deeply held beliefs in limited government.
Indeed, of late Ensigns embrace of these principles has been inspiring. He is not only talking the talk, he is walking the walk.
On the issue of limited government, specifically how much tax dollars the federal government spends, Ensign has been a conservative champion unafraid to stand up for his beliefs even in the face of strong opposition from his own leadership.
In February, the Senate was considering legislation on asbestos reform. The legislation had the laudable intention of fixing a system that benefited trial lawyers over victims but it sought to achieve that by creating a federal trust fund to compensate victims. The trust fund had serious flaws which would have likely resulted in its default, leaving the taxpayers on the hook for a $500 billion bill.
The Senate leadership was heavily invested in this bill and lobbied all their members hard to ensure its passage. But Ensign recognized the faults within the bill and understood that it broke the Senate-passed budget. Much to the Senate leaderships chagrin, Ensign took the Senate floor to raise a budget point of order a parliamentary procedure designed to uphold the budget against the bill. Ensign explained that he recognized the problem that needed to be addressed but with that looming problem of the baby boomers coming up, the last thing we can afford to do is to enact a bill that potentially could have a major impact--literally, maybe with a number in the hundreds of billions of dollars--that could have a drain on our government.
I know Ensign. He's a good egg.
Senate conservatives are about dead.
I thank God for the house of representatives.
Run on conservative values and you have a very good chance of winning!
One thing Rush Limbaugh has said throughout his entire career that I completely agree with is this:
When Conservatives run on a true conservative platform, they WIN! When they try to "move to the middle", they lose!
Any politician who "moves to the middle" is a lying bag of mostly water. When you "move to the middle" you are, in effect, abandoning what you truly believe. For Democrats, it is understandable why they do this.
When Republicans do it, it is like committing hari kari.
Of course, we would need true Conservatives running in order for this to work!!
I got to meet him when I was stationed at Nellis (95-98)...top-notch guy, all around. I remember this radio talk show host they had on 840 AM at the time (Jeff Greenfield, I think it was)...some Strip entertainment critic wannabe who decided to have a political talk show...I don't think anyone could be more liberal than that idiot.
I knew Ensign was a good guy in 1998, when that "talk show host" launched the most vicious smear campaign against Ensign that I have ever heard, even for liberals.
He gets a C in immigration so far.
Now will conservatives step back from the "big tent" policy that lets liberals like Specter run as Republicans???
Keep repeating that please.
Prior to Harry Reid becoming Minority Leader, he and Ensign used to work pretty well together on Nevada-related matters. I would imagine things are just a bit more strained now!
"Specter rejoiced. The Pennsylvania Republican bragged to reporters, The Republican Party is now principally moderate, if not liberal!?
This from the major proponent, if not the author of, the "single bullet theory" for the Warren Commission.
I wonder where Hale Boggs D-LA might have ended up had he not disappeared in that plane crash in Alaska. After all, Gerald Ford remains the only American to have ever served as President without receiving a single popular vote.
I can just imagine.
On a Dingy Harry note...right before Mrs JRios became Mrs JRios, I had moved (courtesy of the Air Force) to San Antonio, TX...Mrs JRios was a teacher at a school named for the senator John Ensign replaced, (I kid you not) Richard Bryan. Well, at the end of the 1998-99 school year, the schools in the Summerlin area of Las Vegas had some sort of awards night, and I came in for the weekend, because Mrs JRios was getting one of the Teacher of the Year awards. This was a big to-do, at the TPC in Summerlin...
While mingling among the guests, the principal from Mrs JRios' school calls us over, to meet with Senator Bryan and Dingy Harry...now, remember this is during the Bubba years...Dingy Harry, upon finding out that I was in the Air Force, had recently moved, and was taking Mrs JRios out of state, declared "I will have to talk to the Air Force to have them send you back to Nellis, and keep you here in town for the rest of your career..."
Needless to say, it never happened, but even then, the arrogance and pure oiliness of Dingy Harry was evident from a mile away.
Yow. But I'm guessing Dick Bryan was as nice as could be. He was one of the last truly decent Democratic Senators. I think he retired because he saw clearly where his party was headed.
He was...total gentleman, and when he found out I was in the AF, he jokingly said, "let me guess...GOP? we have to change that!" Then he said something to the effect that he hoped he could change my mind, but if not, he hoped we could still be friends.
A C? You're sure are in a generous mood.
Bryan used to come up here to Elko every year for the fair, hang out a couple of days, ride in the parade, bet on a few ponies at the fairgrounds, quaff a couple of brews and tell stories. A more down-to-earth guy you'd never meet. Folks in the rurals liked him and his wife just as much as the people in Vegas and Reno. Nevada really misses him, but I have a hunch if he was still in the Senate he'd be ostracized by the Democrats like Joe Leiberman is.
It seem like when Jesse Helms retired there was no "good cop" to watch over our "conservatives" any more. So they became bad cops themselves. I think the conservatives now number less than a half dozen in the Senate. And I'm not sure I can name that many.
Maybe Arlen was thinking of his IL soulmate, Judy Baar Topinka, big winner in Tuesday's primary. With a Republican like she, Arlen is starting to look pretty conservative, I would say. Maybe IL and PA can have a contest to see which state is the most liberal. I think IL has the early lead.
So what happened with the asbestos bill?.
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