Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, was talking about curbing government spending before it became a punch line.
Judging by his voting record, the thrice-elected congressman harbors a deep-rooted disdain for red ink.
During his first full year in Congress in 2007, Mr. Jordan offered more amendments to curb federal spending during the appropriations process than any of his peers.
As chairman of the Republican Study Committee — a caucus of 176 of the most conservative members of Congress — Mr. Jordan offered an alternative budget that would’ve balanced the government’s books in nine years, leaving no stone, among the 12 percent of federal spending he actually evaluated, unturned.
Indeed, Mr. Jordan is willing to make mincemeat of the social safety net to rein in out-of-control government spending. It’s nothing personal, but the government must live within its means.
I bet he wouldn’t even touch a red pen.
This outspoken approach has made Mr. Jordan a favorite among Republicans — especially after the birth of the tea party.
Representing what is almost certainly the most conservative congressional district in Ohio, Mr. Jordan could, without fear of rebuke from his constituents, take such an outspoken stance on Washington’s spending.
He ascended to a level of high regard within the Republican Party as mainstream Republicans one-by-one began to clamor about spending and deficits and budgets.
It is ironic then, that Mr. Jordan’s now-seemingly inevitable undoing comes at the hands of his own party.
Columbus Dispatch writer Joe Hallet reported July 28 that Ohio Republicans charged with redrawing the state’s congressional lines are considering remapping Mr. Jordan’s district, the 4th, which is comprised of 11 rural counties that lean overwhelmingly Republican, and making it a far more competitive district.
According to the story, Champaign County would be placed into a district that would also include Madison County and portions of Franklin County, including areas of Columbus. Such a move would make it virtually impossible for the far right-wing Congressman to win re-election.
Population decreases have cost the state two congressional seats, and with 13 current Republican representatives, there is bound to be an odd man out.
Mr. Jordan’s refusal to put party first and vote in favor of House Speaker John Boehner’s plan to increase the government’s borrowing authority — because the plan fails to cut enough government spending — has apparently made the decision much easier for map drawers who must complete the redistricting process by Feb. 8.
It is precisely this kind of backstabbing and infighting that helped propel the nation to the brink of default and, to me, it proves that while perhaps Mr. Jordan is sincere, albeit misguided, about his staunch opposition to federal deficits, many of his colleagues are more concerned about re-election than deficit spending.
To his credit, Mr. Jordan stuck to his guns and voted no on Friday when Mr. Boehner’s plan cleared the U.S. House.
He did, however, tone down the rhetoric in a face-saving statement issued Saturday.
“I sincerely appreciate Speaker Boehner’s tireless work to achieve real spending cuts without tax increases,” Mr. Jordan said in a statement, “and I know there will be good conservatives on both sides of this vote.”
It remains to be seen whether Mr. Jordan will vote in favor of the watered-down piece of garbage Congress is reportedly going to send to President Obama today.
Regardless, the damage has been done.
As far as GOP leadership is concerned, the value of the tea party lies only in what its members can do to further the Republican brand, and contrary rank-and-file members will be punished.
Politicians are expected, as matter of principle, to stand with their party through all disputes, no matter how irrational the discussion may be.
If only the political party stood for the best interests of its members.
Nate Smith is an Examiner staff writer and generally independent voter. He can be reached at email@example.com.