In the bar running down the right-hand side of that website the names of 29 Republican legislators are listed. Most of these lawmakers fly underneath the radar and their names are unknown to the majority of the electorate outside of their home districts. That anonymity is threatened, however, by the Tea Party and other constitutionalists determined to root out all those self-described conservatives who speak like conservatives, but spend like liberals.
In fact, no matter how successfully these members of the majority party hid their spendthrift tendencies beneath the conservative label in order to be elected, there's a new label being printed by true constitutionalists that they will have to wear and defend in order to be re-elected.
That label is Republican appropriator.
Republican appropriator is the tax and spend liberal for a new generation of connected constituents. Men and women across America are plugged in around the clock to an ever-bubbling spring of information (Twitter, blogs, The New American) that expose all the prodigal ways in which the money of taxpayers is being spent by those elected based on promises to cut the size of government and roll back big government and reduce spending, etc.
Do a Google search and you will find about 123,000 results for Republican appropriator. That number should scare the spendthrift out of every GOP congressman whose name is listed on the House Appropriations Committee website.
During the Watergate investigations that led to the disgrace and resignation of Richard Nixon, the coded injunction that led reporters to trace the corruption all the way to Pennsylvania Avenue was follow the money.
In the months leading to the 2012 elections, that same phrase will likely lead to the ouster of many of those Republicans whose actions upon arriving in D.C. have betrayed the voters who pulled a lever in their favor, believing they would follow through on promises to puncture the bloated belly of the Pig on the Potomac.
Savvy voters recognize the symptoms of Potomac Fever when they see it and they know that the only cure is to remove those afflicted with the ailment from the noxious atmosphere and send them home before they infect their colleagues.
The increase in membership in the various Tea Party organizations has led to a commensurate increase in influence. As anyone affiliated with these groups knows, every Tax Day massive rallies are held across the nation to highlight the economic (and moral) morass into which our nation has slid while under the political watch of both major parties.
Surely this year the speakers and sign-holders will be targeting Republican traitors to the cause of limited government as often as Democratic ones. As Hugh Hewitt wrote in a recent article on the subject:
Don't be surprised if a roll call is read of the Republican appropriators who are obstructing House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and House Budge Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin from pushing forward serious spending cuts and entitlement reform.
As if naming names wasn't enough, there is evidence that some Tea Party opinion molders are encouraging their followers to throw their substantial support behind Democrats running against the so-called Republican appropriators in 2012 in order to teach those defectors a lesson.
What is the lesson they want to teach those future one-term representatives: the sheeps clothing is getting sheared and anyone of any party found to be a wolf, will be banished from the flock and sent back to the pack of party-line patsies from which they came.
Hewitt hypothesizes on the thinking behind this radical tactic:
This past week the appropriators went public, attacking the deficit hawks and using anonymous staffers to savage conservative budget-cutters inside and outside of the Congress. That petulant move alone cost the NRCC thousands and thousands of dollars, as it became obvious that large numbers of GOP appropriators are no more conservative than your average Democrat on matters of spending, and the party's contributors aren't in the habit of sending help to the other side.
Far better to send dollars to the Republican governors via the RGA.org than to the spendthrifts in the GOP House caucus.
Why are Tea Party activists who are also nominal Republicans angry at these members of their party? Because so many of them are content to wrap themselves in the Constitution in order to get to Washington, but then set about shredding once theyve arrived, just like everybody else.
Writing in the Atlantic online, Chris Good summarized a rift that is developing in the GOP over the issue of how much is enough when it comes to cuts in spending:
House Republicans have passed two stopgap measures that achieve that level of cutting on a temporary basis. In lieu of bipartisan agreement on a longer-term spending plan, a two-week stopgap funding bill passed March 1 cut $4 billion from last year's spending levels. A three-week extension, passed on Tuesday, cut $6 billion. Multiply those cuts out over an entire year, and House Republicans hit their $100 billion mark.
Mr. Good misses the mark. The goal of a true conservative is not to set an arbitrary amount of money by which the federal budget needs to be slashed. Rather, the goal is to cut all spending, regardless of the amount, that was spent on appropriations that lay outside the purview of the limited and enumerated powers of Congress as established by the Constitution.
It isnt the decimal point that's at issue, its the decimation of the Constitution. Sadly, often the most devastating and demoralizing attacks on the bedrock of our Republic are being made by those who have most solemnly swore to protect it.
For example, it was the GOP that promised to restore the values of limited government to the Capitol in 2010. Instead, they have proposed watered down cuts and fudged the figures in order to make them seem more substantial. This short-term memory loss is one of the first signs that a newly elected congressman is coming down with the Potomac Fever. The Tea Party (and other constitutionalists) have a cure and are ready and willing to administer it if they fever doesn't show signs of lifting -- quickly.
As Hugh Hewitt sees it:
About two dozen Republican appropriators stand between the House GOP and serious spending reform. If they cannot be moved, the Tea Party and conservative activists will seek to remove them. The days of campaigning as a conservative and spending like a Democrat are done, and if the appropriators don't change, voters sick with worry about a government addicted to trillion-dollar deficits will change them.
Lest anyone label this quest to root out these campaign conservatives a witch hunt, we must remind voters that this is a quarantine. Too many of those that court our favor and whisper sweet nothings during the campaigns go to Washington and soon begin cavorting with the purveyors of pork. Then, once infected with this all-too-communicable disease, they begin spreading its germs among their fellow lawmakers.
As it stands today, the Potomac Fever is a full-blown pandemic and it threatens to send our body politic into an early grave. Our only hope of survival is to identify the afflicted and permanently cut them off from the rest of the population.
While there may be no cure, there is a promising treatment. Its time to look up your representative, schedule a complete constitutional check-up, and find out for sure if they are demonstrating signs of being an appropriator (Republican or Democrat) which is the first of the tell-tale signs of the contraction of the deadly Potomac Fever.