Thursday, November 17, 2005

Decision time. A revocation of trust?

A couple of weeks ago I got a phone call from the Republican National Committee doing their fundraiser thing. I've donated money to them in the past, specifically during the 2004 campaign cycle and to the local Committee chapter here, so they've certainly got no qualms about coming back for another round. This time, however, it's different.

Ì've got a well-paying job and I have some funds set aside for just this purpose. It's not like there aren't things I could do with the money. It's just that I recognize how important it is for conservatives to get their message out to the American people and that we can't rely on the media to do so in a reliable and unbiased fashion. Broadcast messages cost money. It's that simple. So where I had never given a penny to political parties for years, these past 5 years have changed my mind on the matter. The question these days, however, is this: to what end am I funding this conservative party?

Since the 2004 elections I have grown increasingly frustrated with the actions of the Republicans elected to office in the federal government. Everything else aside, the fact remains that the Republican Party holds majorities in both the House and the Senate and there's a Republican in the White House. They aren't acting like they know that, however. I've written before about the judicial nomination process and how I consider it to be broken. One of the overarching themes of the 2004 campaign was how we could fix that if we just put our backs to it and got clear majorities elected in both houses. Well, we did that. Yet the problem remains - filibusters of judicial nominees are still threatened and the Republican leadership doesn't move to handle it. They wring their hands and some of them even moved to make sure the opportunity to use the filibuster remained intact. Good people, well qualified, have hung in limbo for literally years waiting for Congress to get off their asses and simply vote yea or nay on their nomination. Some have withdrawn in disgust so they could get on with their lives.

Our nation's energy policies were also held up as a serious issue that needed a clear majority in both houses to get movement on. One of those items was the drilling in the ANWR, which is another topic I've written on recently. Finally passed in the Senate, the House Republicans - who hold a much larger majority than their Senate brethern - balked and backed down on it. Another issue they told us was critical and needed our support to get forward motion on just dropped to ground with little to no explanation on their part as to why they decided to side with the minority on the matter.

And now the vote to pass an amendment that as much as says the White House isn't doing the right thing in their pursuit of the war on terror. The President is taking what I see as a rebuke with a great deal more grace than I would and there are others (Ed Morrissey of Captain's Quarters) who see wisdom in the move. I don't. The implication that Congress isn't supremely informed about the status of the war and that it doesn't have enough access to the information is ludicrous. The Pentagon sends a veritable blizzard of reports to the Hill, I know this for a fact. Any member of Congress can, with a single phone call, get access to any unclassified report they like and most of them can get access to reports that have been classified at various levels. As with any group, there are differences in what level of clearance the members have, but that's a clearance issue that the Intelligence Committees in the 2 houses themselves deal with. The Pentagon isn't in the position to deny clearance to a member of Congress who's been authorized to get it.

To say nothing of the continued issues with spending I see. That vote on the pork redistribution spoke loud and clear about the committment of some of these Republicans to fiscal responsibility.

These and many other events over the past several months lead me to question what my efforts last year were good for. The one legislative victory I've seen for my efforts was the Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, for which I am grateful, but it's hardly an issue that was brought up as a major one in the campaigns.

Which brings me back to the pledge request I received. When I opened that envelope up and saw the reference to the call I received I couldn't help but think of the actions that have taken place since that call. The ANWR. The "cut-and-run lite" amendment. Added to the judicial nominee debacle of the so-called "Gang of 14" it adds up to my putting money into an organization that talks big but apparently can't get it done. I've mentioned the Not One Dime movement that has been started and followed by some of my conservative blogger colleagues and I'm wrestling with the decision whether now's the time to put my money where my mouth is. I wonder if it has come time for a revocation of the trust I've placed in the Party, or at least in the people they've put up for election. Do I write the check or write a note?

Decision time.