Wednesday, August 27, 2008

More Georgia conservatives turning toward Allen Buckley

Jim Wooten of the Atlanta Journal Constitution notes that another well-known Georgia conservative has deserted Senator Saxby Chambliss for Libertarian Allen Buckley:

[Joe] McCutchen, of Ellijay, is widely known and highly regarded in conservative and Republican circles as a passionate advocate for fiscally responsible government. Pork sends him up the wall. Hidden debt dumped on the grandchildren invites his wrath. He’s loyal to Republicans until they cross him on core principles. Then he’s gone. “They’re nice guys,” he says after identifying members of the Georgia congressional delegation, “but I can’t vote for them.” In the U.S. Senate race, he’ll vote for Libertarian Allen Buckley, convinced that incumbent Saxby Chambliss is a big spender, particularly on farm programs.

Columnist Wooten goes on to praise Buckley's fiscal plans:

Buckley will appeal to fiscal conservatives, regardless of their party affiliation. The 47-year-old lawyer and certified public accountant is the voice of the Depression-scarred generation that feared debt and believed that it’s immoral to consume at the expense of children and grandchildren. It’s a rather quaint notion in a self-indulgent age where splurging for immediate consumption is the national sport. Debt? Why worry? The Republican Party was once largely filled with those who considered it their civic duty to come in and tidy up the mess created by free-spending Democrats. At some point, however, they came to conclude that there was no long-term majority to be built being the fiscal disciplinarian. For the most part, they have surrendered.

As Buckley correctly notes, neither Democrats nor Republicans can muster the political will to make cuts. Buckley has charts, drawn from the General Accounting Office and other authoritative sources, spelling out the looming “economic catastrophe.” Between 2000 and 2006, the financial exposure from Medicare, Social Security and other health and pension obligations increased from $20.4 trillion to $50.5 trillion, he says. That amounts to $400,000 per full-time worker.

Analysis of the GAO’s budget simulations by the Peterson Foundation finds that in two decades the 18.3 percent of GDP that the federal government consumes won’t cover interest on debt, Social Security and Medicaid, he says, with accompanying charts.

But in the end Wooten himself--while admiring McCutcheon and others who have made the switch to Buckley--can't do so himself:

Can he win the Senate race? No. At most he can take enough votes from Chambliss to deliver victory to Democrat Jim Martin. Given Republican Senate prospects elsewhere, Democrats could wind up with a filibuster-proof majority. That would be enough to swing the courts far left and to create any entitlement liberals want.

No thanks. The stakes are too high.

Ross Perot taught me a lesson about third-party candidacies. None for me.

I was going to comment on how this incredibly stupid ending essentially spoiled the whole piece, but a reader did it for me:

Wooten’s article is a perfect summary of why you small-government conservatives will never be taken seriously.

Because, in the end, you’ll always vote for the Republican candidate anyway! The party leadership KNOWS they can take you for granted, so they do.

Spewing online or talk radio about how angry you are at Big Spending, while steadfastly refusing to actually do anything about it, means you can be ignored. The GOP owns you; you’re their property, their beeyatch, just like the Religious Right has always been.

Because they know, for all your whining, you’re not gonna do anything about it.


The damnable thing is that if everybody in Georgia who admits that Allen Buckley is right about our impending financial collapse actually voted for him, he'd win.

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