The next time a conservative tells you that he believes in the free market and balanced budgets, just show him this:

Republicans senators who in the past have supported ending tax subsidies to big oil companies are prepared to vote Tuesday night with their party leadership to keep those subsidies in place.

“I’m going to vote with my party,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) during a Senate vote Tuesday afternoon. “I just think oil subsidies have to be part of a bigger package. If you had expanded drilling, I would consider reducing the subsidies or eliminating them if you got more drilling as part of the package.

“I’m leaning against it because it looks like it’s political,” said Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL).

For a few months, our conservative friends have been complaining that environmentalists’ insistence on cap-and-trade has blocked “consensus climate change solutions.” Please. These guys can’t even get rid of oil company subsidies. I particularly like Senator Kirk’s justification that it looks “political”: this seems to adopt the McConnell Doctrine that anything supported by Democrats will be opposed even if it is good for the United States. Party over Country is now the official ideology of the Republican Party.

Alternatively, you could put it this way. The GOP: Capitalism for the working class, and socialism for the rich.

UPDATE: The Republicans successfully filibuster the bill to repeal oil company subsidies on a heavily partisan 52-48 vote. Only 3 Dems vote to sustain the filibuster and only 2 Republicans vote against it. The GOP: the Party of ExxonMobil.

[Cross-posted at Same Facts]

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Jonathan Zasloff is Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law.