One part of the story of the Republican electoral implosion in 2006 was dissatisfaction with the party’s fiscal record.  Conservative voters were angered at big spending increases across-the-board during the era of Republican rule.  And citizens of all ideological stripes were disgusted with the explosion in the number of earmarks which had turned Congress into – as Jack Abramoff termed it – a “favor factory.

Leaders of both parties say they got the message of voter anger last November and have pledged steps to bring back fiscal restraint.  Democrats have passed earmark reform legislation.  President Bush’s FY 2008 budget included measures to curb the growth of entitlement spending.  And Republican Congressional leaders tell their base voters that they are determined to return to their fiscally conservative roots.  All this represents a good start, but the test will be whether each party can sustain the commitment to fiscal restraint over the coming months.

So who was the worst abuser of taxpayers in 2006 you ask?  Representative Dale Kildee of Michigan, who scored a pathetic 7 percent.  Translation: 93 percent of the time when Representative Kildee was deciding on whether to grow government or the tax burden, he voted to expand Washington’s reach into our lives.