In the CPAC speech, the key quote among many good ones:
“I will not sign a bill with earmarks in it, any earmarks in it.”
That is a base-turning-out promise, one President Reagan was afraid to make or do.
IF he can convince us he means it, and will stick by it. And I think he can- the North Vietnamese didn’t break him, and the Democrats in congress haven’t better tools.
It might be an election winner. Find out how much would not be spent if we cut ALL the earmarks. Talk about a tax rebate, this is a real stimulus- you get to keep your money! And it’s not inflationary.
It would be interesting to see it happen- Congress sends him the usual pork stuffed budget, and he refuses, with lots of highlighting of exactly what he’s turning down. Stuff that no one who isn’t profiting personally can defend.
So all the representatives have to put themselves out there on their “I hate earmarks” rhetoric. In the past, they have been able to evade responsibility- “I hate earmarks, but since they are all getting them, I have to fight for my district.”
But when no one will get them…
And he closed with this:
"You have heard me say before that for all my reputation as a maverick, I have only found true happiness in serving a cause greater than my self-interest. For me, that cause has always been our country, and the ideals that have made us great. I have been her imperfect servant for many years, and I have made many mistakes. You can attest to that, but need not. For I know them well myself. But I love her deeply and I will never, never tire of the honor of serving her. I cannot do that without your counsel and support. And I am grateful, very grateful, that you have given me this opportunity to ask for it."
His opponent is running as the living embodiment of self interest, a veritable promise machine. "Free medicine! The government will pay your mortgage! I wake up every morning wanting to HELP YOU!"
God versus Santa Claus. It might be God's last chance.