Despite those comments, many Republicans are increasingly edgy about the White House’s push for a potentially open-ended recovery budget, worried that the president – in trying to regroup politically – was making expensive promises they would have to keep.
“We are not sure he knows what he is getting into,” said one senior House Republican official who requested anonymity because of the potential consequences of publicly criticizing the administration.
The fears about the costs of the storm are building on widespread dissatisfaction among conservatives about spending in recent years by the Republican-controlled Congress. That unrest was already high after Congressional approval of a transportation measure that critics denounced as bloated with marginal home-state projects.
OK. You’re a Congressman. That means you’re up for re-election in two years, and you’ve got to be somewhat cautious about criticizing the president. And you’ve got to take care not to seem as insensitive as the White House has seemed in the wake of Katrina, because a Democratic challenger will put his teeth into you good if it looks like your “compassionate conservative” line is really about being conservative and fuck the compassion part except at barbeques.
At the same time, it seems to me that we used to have congressmen and senators who would challenge their president’s decisions from time to time. They’d argue policy, in public and in private. The president would function as the party leader, sure, but he’d catch flack for his dumber decisions from the congressmen and the senators in his own party who’d tell him when he was being a bonehead.
And since when do senior House Republican officials not want their names printed in the newspaper? Critiquing the administration’s fiscal policy could be a springboard to a larger career over the long haul. A reputation as the man who helped the Bush administration understand their fiduciary responsibilities to the American taxpayers would be a boon, I’d think.
Or maybe it’s just that party discipline has run a little more amok than usual under this administration. No wonder Jeffords jumped ship early.