In the same spirit, the American Conservative Union called on President Bush and the GOP leadership to cut pre-Katrina pork. As union chairman David Keene told The Washington Times, annual spending for areas outside of military expenses and homeland security increased $303 billion between fiscal year 2001 and 2005.
Those numbers belie DeLay's claim that the federal government is running at peak efficiency. "Yes, after 11 years of Republican majority we've pared it down pretty good," he said.
It's not good enough for Republicans to be equal to Democrats in their ease in spending other people's money. The GOP is supposed to stand for fiscal conservatism and limited government -- not Katie-bar-the-door spending. President Bush has to spend mightily to help those hurt by the hurricane, but he doesn't have to sign off on every pork-barrel project in GOP districts.
Unfortunately, a tight rein on spending never has been high on Dubya's list. He should have vetoed the pork-fest farm bill in his first term. But by failing to set the right tone, he enabled Capitol Hill to overspend. Today, you and I are paying for that lapse. And we'll be paying for it for years.