Friday, August 26, 2005

Something To Celebrate

It seems that both Weekly Standard writer Hugh Hewitt and the influential conservative blog Powerline have taken notice of the fact that Ellsworth Air Force base in South Dakota has been spared from the current round of Pentagon base-closings. As Paul Mirengoff of Powerline puts it,

John Thune's crusade to save South Dakota's Ellsworth Air Force base has succeeded . The base closing commission has voted to reject the Defense Department's recommendation that the base be closed. Thune unseated then-Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle partly on the strength of his claim that he would be better positioned to help save the base. The Democrats gloated when it looked like Ellsworth would be closed, but now Thune gets the last laugh.

I think it's worth asking: what exactly are conservatives finding to celebrate in this? That the Republican House and Senate leadership has become corrupt and venal enough to make the distribution of pork to your home state contingent on having a high-profile Republican representing you in DC? It's certainly not as if this budding Pericles ("As our troops fight to defend the principles of the American flag around the world, Congress has a responsibility to defend the flag at home.") saved Ellsworth on the strength of his oratory alone. Not that Mirengoff has any problem with this - his statement that Thune "would be better positioned to help save the base" more or less acknowledges the reality of how Bill Frist's Senate makes the important decisions. Honest conservatives ought to be apologizing for, rather than trumpeting, this news.

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