StanCollender'sCapitalGainsandGames Washington, Wall Street and Everything in Between

Federal Spending is VERY Popular. Episode 7: Didn't George Allen Used To Say He Was A Conservative?

24 Sep 2012
Posted by Stan Collender

Question: Is it really possible to look at this story by Jonathan Weisman from yesterday's The New York Times without shrieking?

Former Virginia Governor and Senator George Allen, the Republican who's running for his old Senate seat this year against Democrat Tim Kaine, another former governor, used to campaign as someone who would make the hard choices and cut spending, that is, as a fiscal conservative.

But as Weisman's story definitively shows, Allen this year is campaigning against the $55 billion in military spending reductions that will occur if the sequester occurs as scheduled on January 2, 2013.

I understand: Allen is running for office in Virginia where federal spending is very important to the economy. But the former proudly self-professed fiscal conservative is now trying to run to the left of the Democrat by insisting that he would not have made the hard choices after all and that not a penny of the sequester spending reductions for the Pentagon should go into effect.

Allen is quoted as saying that domestic spending reductions should be substituted for the Pentagon sequester changes. Anyone want to bet that he doesn't say that when talking to the government contractors in northern Virginia that work with the domestic departments and agencies?



Well, sure he used to call himself a conservative…still does!

But he's got a lot of macaca to make up for. ;o)

Seriously, though - that's the genius of it: he and many other conservatives are making a big bet that most people's understanding of what it means to be conservative either is fixed in the 1970s or they won't bother to do enough due diligence to discover just how non-conservative most of these Republicans now are when it comes to walking the talk of the fiscal and monetary policies they espouse.

Nice work if you can get it, I suppose: re-elected by a voting populace that either doesn't understand or doesn't care that you don't live up to your own policies. And the hell of it is, Allen any the rest may very well turn out to be right in their estimation of their electorate(s). I think Corey Robin got it just about exactly right here when he points out that today's party of austerity and fiscal restraint tends to be the Democrats, while the party of profligate irresponsiblity - oddly (or perhaps not so oddly, if you've been paying attention) - is the Republicans.

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