The Discerning Texan

All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.
-- Edmund Burke
Thursday, August 02, 2007

Pork, Anyone?

Like a magician--who relies on distraction and deception to obscure what is really happening, the Democrat-led Congress--with some assistance from a few myopic Republicans--have been loudly touting their "anti-corruption" bill. Only what they didn't tell you was that--like the doomed immigration bill--the legislation was "fast tracked" so as to disallow amendments and public scrutiny. Meanwhile the layperson might wonder what became of the part of the original legislation that banned trading votes for Earmarks? Ah, sorry about that: it was pulled from the bill; and the part of the bill that prevented family and friends from benefitting from these Earmarks was also gutted. Corruption is alive and well in the Democrat Congress.

That might at least be election year fodder for Republicans, who had been loudly calling out the Dems for reneging on the reforms they promised in the '06 Election cycle; only now the Republicans have now had this issue stolen from them by Mitch McConnell and a few other Republicans who don't have the guts to stand up to reform (or to stop benefiting themselves from the Earmarks). There is no "I" in TEAM, guys. But who needs your teammates when you are getting all that pork, is that it?

John Hinderaker posts:

The "ethics reform bill" now making its way through Congress marks the end, for now at least, of any serious effort to reform the earmark process. This is a sad thing for the Republican Party. Through all of modern history, up until the last two or three years, the Republicans were the party of clean government. It was the Democrats who were associated with bribes, corruption, machine politics, and so on. The idea that the current Republican leaders in Congress--I am thinking especially of Mitch McConnell--are willing to throw away this heritage, and join with the Democrats in suppressing any serious effort at reform--is profoundly depressing.
Hinderaker then quotes the Wall Street Journal:
Our favorite switcheroo: Under the previous Senate reform, the Senate parliamentarian would have determined whether a bill complied with earmark disclosure rules. Under Mr. Reid's new version, the current Majority Leader, that is Mr. Reid himself, will decide if a bill is in compliance. When was the last time a Majority Party Leader declared one of his own bills out of order?
But it is the last part of John's Power Line post--which quotes Robert Novak--that got me riled up enough to post on it myself (are you listening, Mitch?):

I understand why the Democrats, now in the majority, want to preserve their opportunities forpaying off special interests. That's largely why they want to be in the majority in the first place. But why on earth should Republicans join with them?

Robert Novak has more:

The persistence of this consensus is therefore puzzling, especially when Republicans have few other issues working in their favor, thanks to the Iraq War. To date, Republican leaders have been very reluctant to upset the bipartisan consensus on earmarking. Between the parties and across regions of the country, lawmakers remain, by and large, steadfastly supportive of every congressman's right to perform "private charity" with other people's money. Senate leadership of both parties has been indifferent and even hostile toward Senators Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) for pursuing this issue with vigor.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has sought at every turn to weaken reforms that have already passed the Senate almost unanimously. He has succeeded. The bill the Senate will see next is the one that passed the House yesterday with only eight votes in opposition. It significantly weakens Senate rules on earmark transparency, earmarks benefiting family members, and threats made against members that they will lose their earmarks if they do not vote for bills.

Because their leadership has not cared for this struggle from the start, Senate Republicans will likely be forced to vote for this weak bill simply because they will otherwise look like they are obstructing reform.

Talleyrand's words occur to me: the Republicans' acquiescence in Democratic corruption is criminal; worse, it's stupid.

For a few Republicans to "look the other way" while the Dems try to pull one over the eyes of the American people is shameful and self-defeating. Why can't our so called "senior leadership" like McConnell grow some cojones for a change and distinguishing themselves in a positive way from your corrupt-to-the-bone opposition? It's a win-win: it exposes the Dems for the pigs at the trough that they are. And that helps the TEAM. The team that wins elections is the team that sticks together according to the will of the team owners (that would be us). Isn't it time that we put America (or at least the party) before corruption and self-interest?

Glenn Reynolds also has something to say about this.

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DiscerningTexan, 8/02/2007 10:31:00 AM |