It takes a lot of nerve to change the status quo in Washington and it takes even more nerve to say you are when you are not.

For the president to make a big speech Wednesday and say he'll put a stop to wasteful spending, but vow to sign a spending bill stuffed with more than 8,000 cases of it. For his treasury secretary — who has a hard enough time accounting for his own taxes — vowing to go after wealthy Americans not paying their taxes. For House Ways and Means chief Charlie Rangel — who might have dodged a few taxes of his own — to be taking up the subject at all.

I could go on, but why bother? Why bother talking about a commitment to an aboveboard Cabinet, when six of your choices were less than aboveboard on their taxes? Or scream about personal responsibility but consistently bail out those who were not responsible: banks that shouldn't have made reckless loans and greedy customers who never should have taken those loans.

All get a pass from an administration more eager to pass the buck than simply ask, "What the buck?"

What are we doing here? What are we saying here? What mixed messages are we sending here?

Republicans lost Congress because they talked a good game on spending but just kept spending, until voters were spent and they were out.

Good enough, because nothing unnerves Wall Street like politicians not sticking to their convictions, and nothing unnerves Main Street like finding out those politicians have no convictions.

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