Robert Novak is bemoaning Republican support of the most recent Farm Bill, noting that majorities of Republicans in the House and Senate voted for this pork-laden mess. Criticizing Republicans is the new conservative sport and, let’s admit, it’s a bit like shooting fish in a barrel. Novak’s point is well taken but is he really surprised?

When the Republicans seized what they apparently believed to be eternal power, they turned the apparatus of government to their own advantage. No one gets rich by cutting spending, so instead of being different than the Democrats, they became just another big government party, albeit one with their own set of special interests. Even though this was a complete abandonment of their principles, most conservatives gave the Republicans a pass or offered only the slightest rebukes along the way because, they concluded, staying in power was more important than anything else.

Now that the party is rapidly losing power, Republicans are acting as if they’re surprised to learn their elected members are a bunch of selfish big spenders, willing to pass any poorly considered bill (even a Democratic supported one) so long as there’s a little pork in it for their home district. Frankenstein has gotten loose and now the creators are surprised to hear they’ve made a monster.

Guys like Novak, who has spent years writing far too many columns propping up his preferred party no matter the situation, are now shocked (shocked!) that the party is no longer based on sound principles. You spend that many years clinging to power for the sake of power and you’re going to come out empty. Enablers likes Novak have no business throwing their hands up in disgust. It’s time for a newer breed of conservative to speak for the party.

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