Mary Katharine Ham

(Note: On Tuesday, bloggers talk to Representative John Shadegg (R - AZ) who is running for Minority Whip. Shadegg is the former Chairman of the Republican Study Committee.

Congressman Shadegg: I believe we had drifted pretty seriously from our basic principles as of last January. We have been doing that for quite some time, and that’s why I jumped in last January belatedly to the race for Majority Leader. I felt that we had made essentially two fundamental promises for the American people when we ceased the majority. One of those was that we would shrink the size and scope of the government and have it tax less, regulate less, and interfere in our lives less. Quite frankly, we had discovered that was much more difficult than we realized. Not only were we not shrinking the size of government, we had fallen into some pretty bad habits of growing it. As you know, we were growing it as a pace faster than or just as fast as even Lyndon Johnson. So I campaigned last January saying we have to end that; we have to stop the spending. We have to show respect for the American taxpayer’s dollar and show that we can spend it prudently and carefully – treat it as though it is our personal money and not nobody’s money, which is what happens to tax dollars once they get to the government. That was one plank of my campaign last January. Maybe I could say I was for spending reform and spending control before spending reform and spending control were cool.

The second plank, last January, is the one that I think did us additional damage in the election. I think the spending one hurt us badly, but I also think – and I work on different ways to try to get this point across – I think fundamentally in the revolution, we told the American people that if they would entrust us with the majority in the United States Congress, we would be different. We would not pay attention to our own interests and needs as Congressmen and look out what we enjoy or what’s good for us, we would look out for the peoples’ business. And that meant not just ending backroom deals and ending corruption like the House banking scandal, but it also meant being regular Americans, not taking advantage of the perks of power, things like golf trips to Scotland quite frankly or excessively cozy relationships with lobbyists or with powers in Washington D.C.

Mary Katharine Ham

Mary Katharine Ham is editor-at-large of, a contributor to Townhall Magazine.

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