Congressman Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, delighted a packed crowd at the Winner Harvest Barn during the Logan County Republican spring rally Wednesday with a grab bag of small government rhetoric and Republican catch phrases.
“It’s important to keep things in context; we still live in the greatest country in the history of the world,” he told the crowd.
He even invoked the name of Ronald Reagan.
Unfortunately though, the congressman’s speech amounts to leftover birthday cake, sugary and sweet, but without any real substance.
The Republican Study Committee — a caucus of 176 of the most conservative members of Congress — proposed an alternative budget on the floor of Congress last week.
Calling for more Draconian spending cuts than even the mainstream Republican budget proposal, this alternative budget has zero chance of garnering widespread support. It is, however, a telling piece of work that speaks to the priorities of the RSC.
As RSC Chairman, Mr. Jordan championed the budget proposal during his speech Wednesday.
“The alternative budget we proposed would balance the budget in nine years,” said Mr. Jordan. “We protect defense, we keep the tax cuts in place and we make cuts because that’s what you have to do.”
That cake tastes good.
The reality, though, is that Mr. Jordan wants to achieve more than $9 trillion in government savings by focusing largely on 12 percent of the federal budget.
“We cut non-military, discretionary spending in half over the decade,” Mr. Jordan told me after his speech.
As far as I’m concerned, this RSC budget proposal defies the oft-used political comparison between the government’s budget and a family’s finances.
When my wife and I “tighten our belt” we do so by evaluating more than just 12 percent of what we spend. And while we’re here, I don’t think it’s a stretch to suggest that a cash-strapped middle class family also evaluates ways to increase the amount of money it takes in — something that Mr. Jordan and his peers have deemed a “non-starter.”
Mr. Jordan remains resistant to substantial cuts in military and defense spending.
Military spending in the next budget will approach $1 trillion, or more than six times the military budget of China. In 2010, the budget for the U.S. Department of Defense alone comprised 19 percent of the federal budget.
“I’m certainly open to finding savings in areas of waste or redundancy,” said Mr. Jordan. “But one of our country’s obligations is to protect its citizens and we have to provide our troops with all they need.
“I think that’s the proper conservative position to have.”
Just how safe can I feel for $1 trillion?
Mr. Jordan also advocates defunding Planned Parenthood — the federal government’s family planning program originally enacted in 1970 as Title X of the Public Health Service Act.
“Part of our spending crisis is that taxpayer money goes towards funding abortions,” said Mr. Jordan.
Never mind the fact that federal law prohibits the use of Title X funds in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.
I’m not accusing Mr. Jordan of lying, or even of intellectual dishonesty. He simply gives his constituents what they want — a Rockwellian portrait of small-town America and simpler times.
For the record, I like Mr. Jordan personally and for more reasons than just because the four-time Ohio state wrestling champion could put me in a fireman’s carry with one arm behind his back.
Charismatic and accessible, Mr. Jordan is always more than willing to humor this enterprising young journalist.
What lacks from his platform, however, is any real degree of consistency.
Mr. Jordan, and politicians like him, couple pleas for limited government with calls for broad, sweeping legislation to ban same-sex marriage and abortion while taking a hacksaw to any and all federal programs that would aid low-income or single-parent families with a baby on the way trying to make ends meet.
They insist on limited government spending and support a military budget in excess of $1 trillion.
And they demand balanced budgets after nearly a decade of red ink and then use only 12 percent of the federal budget to arrive at those desired ends.
The hip new phrase among politicians these days is “adult conversation.”
Everyone wants to have an adult conversation regarding our nation’s finances and the role of government.
I’m just trying to give them something deeper than “Go America!”
Nate Smith is an Examiner staff writer and generally independent voter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org