Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficial. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding.”     Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

January 29, 2008

Renouncing Earmarks

by Doug Mataconis

Andrew Roth at The Club for Growth writes today about a group of eight Congressmen who have taken a pledge not to request earmarks:

Shortly after joining Congress in 2000, Rep. Jeff Flake swore off earmarks forever. Others have followed. GOP Leader John Boehner was arguably the first among current House members. He shunned earmarks way back in 1990 (who said accepting earmarks was necessary for getting re-elected?). And with the earmark crisis reaching a feverish pitch nowadays, fiscal conservatives are realizing that something radical needs to be done. Real reform needs to be enacted, and the first step is to lead by example.

Here’s the complete list:

Jeff Flake (AZ-06)
John Campbell (CA-48)
Jeb Hensarling (TX-05)
John Shadegg (AZ-03)
John Boehner (OH-08)
John Kline (MN-02)
Tom Price (GA-06)
Lynn Westmoreland (GA-03)

Missing from the list is a certain Presidential candidate who calls himself the Taxpayers Best Friend.

Update: Roth has updated the list from his original post after receiving telephone calls from several Congressional offices. Here’s the updated list:

HOUSE MEMBERS
Jeff Flake (AZ-06)
John Campbell (CA-48)
Jeb Hensarling (TX-05)
John Shadegg (AZ-03)
John Boehner (OH-08)
John Kline (MN-02)
Tom Price (GA-06)
Lynn Westmoreland (GA-03)
Virginia Foxx (NC-05)
Trent Franks (AZ-02)
Michele Bachmman (MN-06)
Marsha Blackburn (TN-07)
Eric Cantor (VA-07)
Patrick McHenry (NC-10)
Marilyn Musgrave (CO-04)
Peter Roskam (IL-06)
Paul Ryan (WI-01)

SENATORS
Tom Coburn (OK)
Jim DeMint (SC)
John McCain (AZ)
Claire McCaskill (MO)
Richard Burr (NC)

McCaskill is the only Democrat on the list.

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13 Comments

  1. Jeff Flake for President in 2012.

    Couldn’t help but notice that he’s also from Arizona…like a certain icon of libertarian Republicans :)

    Comment by UCrawford — January 29, 2008 @ 9:45 am
  2. Underneath the surface, McCain tries to maintain his conservative roots, however, he usually fails in the attempt simply because he comes to see negotiation with the Dems as the end and not the means.

    Comment by Harry Rossman — January 29, 2008 @ 9:45 am
  3. I can’t stand Boehner for his stand on Iraq, but it’s nice to see that he’s on the right side of this issue.

    Comment by UCrawford — January 29, 2008 @ 9:46 am
  4. Harry,

    McCain tries to maintain his conservative roots, however, he usually fails in the attempt simply because he comes to see negotiation with the Dems as the end and not the means.

    I suspect that’s because McCain is more interested in being President than in any ideals. McCain is about power…there’s not a position he won’t reverse himself on in order to obtain it.

    Comment by UCrawford — January 29, 2008 @ 9:48 am
  5. Harry,

    What on earth are you talking about ?

    You do realize that the Presidential candidate I was talking about is Ron Paul, right ?

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — January 29, 2008 @ 9:49 am
  6. Crawford,

    Flake is good on the economy, so is Shadegg.

    If the Republicans do lose in November, which I still expect, I wouldn’t mind seeing guys like that kick the old guard out.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — January 29, 2008 @ 9:50 am
  7. Missing from the list is a certain Presidential candidate who calls himself the Taxpayers Best Friend.

    Jesus. What’s up with the senseless sniping? Whatever happened to intellectual honesty in this place? “Taxpayers Best Friend” is an award he receives regularly from an independent organization. Say what you will about the merits of the award, but don’t spin it like he’s self-anointed.

    Comment by Jeff Molby — January 29, 2008 @ 10:19 am
  8. Doug,

    If the Republicans do lose in November, which I still expect, I wouldn’t mind seeing guys like that kick the old guard out.

    Sometimes you’ve got to tear things down before you build them back up again. I’d prefer that the “religious right” and “big government conservatives” take their bullshit out of the GOP before this election but I recognize that the Republicans probably need to get their asses kicked a lot more before that happens. Oh well, I suppose I’ll find a way to survive until it does…I’m smart and young :)

    Comment by UCrawford — January 29, 2008 @ 10:19 am
  9. Doug,

    Jeff’s right, though. Go blame the organization that gave Paul the award.

    Comment by UCrawford — January 29, 2008 @ 10:20 am
  10. And pray tell, do these gentleman vote Yes to the budgets on which Ron Paul votes NO?

    Comment by John Newman — January 29, 2008 @ 10:21 am
  11. There’s a lot more to being a friend of the taxpayer than pledging not to request earmarks. Good for these guys though. And Flake in 2012 for a Presidential run hopefully.

    Comment by Ben — January 29, 2008 @ 10:44 am
  12. Ben,

    It would probably help Flake a lot more if he ran for Senate first, or perhaps governor of Arizona. It’s been quite awhile since a Representative was elected to the presidency…for good reason. Being a senator or a governor generally entrusts you with a greater amount of responsibility (and publicity) than the HOR provides. And being a governor also puts you in a position where you have to learn to work with others to be effective. Holding those positions doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you’ll be elected to the White House or that you’d be a good president, but they certainly help.

    If Flake did run in 2012, though, I’d certainly consider voting for him.

    Comment by UCrawford — January 29, 2008 @ 10:56 am
  13. Both Flake and Shadegg are both stand up guys in my view. I was really hoping that Shadegg would get the House Majority Leader position (when the G.O.P. were in the majority)when DeLay stepped down.

    From a post I wrote at the time:

    My support for John Shadegg is based mostly on four issues: he is a co-sponsor of The Fair Tax, is one of the most fiscally responsible lawmakers in Washington (Citizens Against Government Waste gives Shadegg a 97% score (Taxpayer Hero) for the 108th Congress with lifetime score of 95%.), introduced a bill which would deny pensions to politicians convicted of bribery (H.R. 4546) and perhaps his best proposal, The Enumerated Powers Act, H.R. 2458, would require all new bills before congress to “include a statement setting forth the specific constitutional authority under which the law is being enacted.” Perhaps the Enumerated Powers Act would be a pipe dream even if Shadegg won the post of House Majority Leader but imagine how much better the federal government would operate if an attempt was made to keep the government within its constitutional limits?

    Maybe after the Republicans get their asses kicked in this election, hopefully the climate will be right for someone like Shadegg or Flake to run for POTUS.

    There are still a few Republicans in the House who believe in limited government (though not nearly as many as I would like).

    Comment by Stephen Littau — January 29, 2008 @ 11:28 am

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