Dec. 24, 2010
Congressman-elect Mick Mulvaney
U. S. Capitol
Washington, D. C.
Dear Mr. Mulvaney:
Congratulations on your recent election to the U.S. House of Representatives. Unseating 14-term incumbent Rep. John Spratt was no mean feat, and you undoubtedly realize voters have sent you to Washington because they don’t like what’s happening there. They’re ready for a change.
In the days following the race, both Republican and Democratic officeholders said they heard the voters’ message and that there was going to be a new way of doing business in Washington.
For many of them, that lasted about two days.
Political rigor mortis had scarcely settled over Washington when many in the nation’s capital -- including some newly elected representatives who hadn’t even been sworn in -- headed straight back to business as usual.
South Dakota Republican Kristi Noem, who defeated an incumbent Democrat by tying her to lobbyists, found and hired her new chief of staff at -- you guessed it – a Washington lobbying firm. A few days later, she was the guest of honor at a meet-and-greet session hosted by a big-name lobbying conglomerate.
At least 13 other newly elected Republicans hired lobbyists to run their offices, and dozens of freshmen lawmakers already have held fundraisers to collect millions from lobbyists and special interest groups.
House GOP leaders bypassed fiscal conservatives to install as the new chairman of the Appropriations Committee Rep. Hal Rogers of Kentucky, fondly known as the “prince of pork.”
Even Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota, who bills herself as a bulwark of fiscal responsibility, started backing up on her pledge to end earmarks when she couldn’t find an easier way to funnel money to her district.
Doesn’t sound like they were listening to voters, eh?
Democrats didn’t get the message, either.
They piled pork on top of pork on top of pork in a new spending bill. Finally, at long last, enough Republicans came to their senses to put a halt to the profligate spending measure.
Members of both parties readily acknowledge we’re spending our way into oblivion, with deficits so large they can’t possibly be sustained. We’re digging a financial grave for ourselves, yet few seem to have the commitment to balance the budget.
Democrats don’t want spending touched; they just want to raise taxes, conveniently forgetting that nearly half of American families paid no income tax at all in 2009. Republicans only want to cut spending. Neither will acknowledge what every competent economic analyst has told us over and over: somewhere, somehow, spending’s got to go down and tax revenue has to go up.
The bipartisan deficit reduction commission said just that, and its recommendations were immediately met with a cacophony of catcalls from members of both parties.
Though the commission gave Washington great political cover, most lawmakers have been unable to bring themselves to employ its findings as a starting point for a legitimate discussion.
Dems: “We need to raise taxes on the rich and that will solve all our problems.”
Repubs: “We need to cut spending and that will solve all our problems.”
So, Rep.-elect Mulvaney, you find yourself diving into this morass of incompetence that we call Congress. You have an opportunity to step up and make a difference for this country. You have a chance to bypass the failed ways of your predecessors and actually enact fiscal measures that will put this country back on solid ground.
Or you can stick with the lobbyists, forget responsibility, abdicate all common sense and quickly become a Washington insider.
Voters have a history of having short memories. That might be changing. People are going to be watching you. And if you don’t change the willy-nilly ways of Washington, you might find yourself back home again in two years.