The incoming GOP leadership in the House, like President Obama two years ago, has to assess how much their victory was an endorsement of their platform, and how much of it was simply a vote for indeterminate change. And, the people who will be watching most closely are not the Independent voters who tended to be seeking change at any cost, but the Tea Party activists who want very specific types of change. This ambition, alas, runs up against the ways of Washington.
To wit, the incoming Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Cong. Hal Rogers of Kentucky, has earned the sobriquet "Prince of Pork," over the years, requesting more than $246 million in earmarks over the years. Rogers has abided by the recent earmark ban the GOP imposed on its members,but you know where his heart lies.
To be clear, Rogers also represents Kentucky and there are parts of Kentucky that benefit greatly from an infusion of federal cash. Think of the TVA, for example. One man's earmark is another man's economic development plan.
It will be fun to see how all this plays out but one thing is abundantly clear. While there may be sniping from some liberals at the White House, the really interesting political fight this year will be within the GOP as the Tea Party crowd seeks to enforce its particular brand of political orthodoxy.