Saturday, July 01, 2006

Will Republicans Put Pro-Pork Senator in Leadership?

For a discussion of Trent Lott's drive to regain a leadership position in the Senate following Bill Frist's departure as Majority Leader, see here.

Lott's elevation to a leadership post would be a clear defeat for Porkbusters and others in Washington interested in limited government and in reigning in earmark spending. Lott has called those interested in restoring restraint in government spending "troublemakers." That is no doubt one of the reasons that numerous lobbyists, including former Lott staffers now on K Street, are openly praising the possibility of Lott's return to leadership.

“I get a lot of comments from people around the town, from staffers, senators and lobbyists, who are watching what Lott’s doing behind the scenes,” said Jack Howard, the senator’s former deputy chief of staff, “People are thinking more seriously that Lott should be back in the leadership in some capacity.”

Howard is president of Wexler & Walker, a government-relations firm.

If Republicans elevate Lott, that will be a clear indication that they have no interest in a return to Republican principles of fiscal restraint. While it is unlikely that they will risk a clear answer, it would be worth asking each of Tennessee's three Republican candidates for the Senate if they would vote for Lott versus a less openly pro-pork Senator.

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