Sunday, January 28, 2007

Extreme Todd Tiahrt

Sedgwick County Democratic Chair Kelly Johnston slams Congressman Todd Tiahrt's extreme voting record in the Congress in a Wichita Eagle op-ed.

During the past six years, Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard, has managed to escape a lot of negative press attention for his neoconservative voting record. Though he voted with indicted former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, 93 percent of the time, Tiahrt has largely been treated with kid gloves by the news media.

But the beginning of the new congressional session has shown how extremist Tiahrt's voting record is, and proved that he is out of touch with the majority of the voters.
In critical votes in the early days of the new Congress, fellow Republican Congressman Jerry Moran has often joined with Democrats Dennis Moore and Nancy Boyda, while Tiahrt has remained a reliable vote for the extreme right.

One quibble with Johnston's op-ed is worth noting. Why describe Tiahrt's voting record as "neo-conservative"? Apparently, this has become a term of general political abuse by which liberals and moderates can abuse the right wing. (In this regard, "neo-conservative" is the new "fascist.") Todd Tiahrt is a "conservative" not a "neo-conservative." I doubt Tiahrt has more than a nodding acquaintance with the neo-conservatism. He's had far more contact with and shown more affinity for the traditional far right. In fact, after the Waco bombing, Tiahrt rather infamously said that the militia movement shouldn't be condemned wholesale.

Neo-conservatism is primarily about foreign policy. The first generation of neo-cons were generally supportive of the welfare state. Most likely they would have voted for at least some of the measures passed in the Democrat's 100 hour agenda. On domestic policy, Tiahrt is far to the right of the neo-cons. Wikipedia has a pretty good round-up of neo-conservatism.

For several decades the right-wing has had a deliberate strategy to make "liberal" a term of abuse and contempt. The center and the left ought to do the same thing with "conservative."

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