The Corner

Congress Lost Congress

Rep. Jeff Flake hits the nail on the head in his Journal column today:

During the 1990s, then-Sen. Phil Gramm accurately described U.S. farm policy as “enough to make a Russian Commissar puke.” The Republicans assembled the “Freedom to Farm Act,” which, starting in 1996, put U.S. farmers on a glide path toward an end to subsidies. Somewhere between the field and the silo, however, we became mired in the political mud. In 2002, we repealed the Freedom to Farm Act and in its place installed the “Farm Security Act” — those who value the adage about trading freedom for security can pause and shudder here — with even more lavish subsidies.

Now, with reauthorization of the Farm Bill on the horizon next year, we have to decide whether we will up the ante with Democrats in terms of red state/blue state politics in the heartland, or whether we believe our own rhetoric about free markets. This debate will have implications larger than the fiscal one. Most notably, it will determine if we are serious about the future of free trade.

This, from a well-connected friend, rings true:

While I’d like to spend some time w/Bush in the woodshed and no witnesses, the more one looks at it it is inescapable that Congress lost this for itself.

There was no left turn indicated in the House races.

In the Senate, e.g., MO was lost on something described as stem cell research and sold as caring about sick people, VA was lost by the candidate. Iraq was listed 4th in the exit polling, corruption first.

If the remaining Members believe it’s all Iraq and Bush and act accordingly then we miss a big opportunity to have a voice pushing all of that that we supported back when they believed in something other than reelection.  That’s one reason that I think the House guys are better going for the closest thing to a new voice (Pence) over the old (Boehner).

How can I put it?  Does anyone really want a Cameronized GOP?  If they’re not careful, that’s what they could end up with.