Because nothing says "fiscal restraint" like paying $2,500 to ogle a pop star. (by Mike Shadle)

With Republicans, it’s always austerity for thee — not for me.

With Republican leaders anxious to set an austere tone for their ascendance into the House majority this week, the lavish fundraiser scheduled for Tuesday night at a trendy Washington hotel to benefit a dozen GOP freshmen is not exactly the populist image leaders are anxious to project.

House Speaker-elect John Boehner, whose name was featured on the invitation, is nonetheless skipping the event at the W Hotel, where lobbyists, political action committee managers and others paying the $2,500 ticket price will be treated to a performance by country music star LeAnn Rimes (a $50,000 package includes a block of eight tickets and a “VIP suite” at the W).

Behind this boozy blowout is freshman Jeff Denham (R-CA) who prances around as a “fiscal hawk” and recently said he’d vote against raising the debt ceiling.

Look, someone’s gotta pick up the slack since Casino Jack went to prison.

Austerity!

Common sense conservatism!

Family values!