Diary

Voting out incumbents for the sake of voting out incumbents dangerous

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The most important issue facing this nation is the economy, and if the trials we all face are to end it is imperative that Congress and its committees be comprised of conservatives.

The Tea Party has been tremendously successful in inspiring grass-roots activism and in replacing incumbents who have turned their back on true conservative values. But I wonder if amidst our zeal to shake things up we might let our passion blind us to our endgame: saving this nation from financial ruin.

More spending, more debt and more taxes on hard-working Americans are the straws that threaten to shatter the proverbial camel’s back. When it comes to fighting these horrible policies I worry we focus exclusively on the Oval Office and the final red vs. blue count in Congress.

These are both incredibly important considerations. But if we satisfy ourselves by simply keeping a running tally and neglecting to notice who is sitting and voting where, then we will have problems.

We must consider the voting records and ideology of those sitting in Congress and avoid being blinded by the big shiny R or D next to their name. A good, timely example is the outlook for the Finance Committee in 2012. The importance of this committee cannot be understated; it is responsible for about 60 percent of financial decisions and is ground zero for reforming entitlements and tax policies.

The current ranking Republican is Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. This man is up for re-election, and even if another conservative replaced him that person would not inherit his position on this committee. Instead Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, would be the new ranking Republican. Snowe is a Republican, but she is a moderate rather than the staunch conservative we need in this important position. She voted yes on not just the first but on all three bailout/stimulus/bad idea bills. She also sided with the Democrats on Obamacare and cast the deciding to vote to get it out of committee. Is she really who we need as the ranking Republican on this important committee?

Some with FreedomWorks and Club For Growth have indicated they would like to oust Hatch and send a message of the power of the Tea Party. But I worry the message they will really send is that they care more about voting people out and strutting their new influence than they do about winning the war against spending in Congress.

I won’t tell anyone whom they ought to vote for, but I would like to remind everyone to pay careful attention to committee appointments and experience when they decide whom they are supporting in upcoming elections. We are at the tipping point regarding the economy, and it would be a shame if shortsighted voting put the wrong people in the wrong places at the worst possible time.