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Fifteen votes out of a hundred.
I haven't written much about the failure of the Coburn Amendment until today, although it has been the topic of some excellent writing in the blogosphere. Start with Mark Tapscott and work your way outward. The only demand that Tom Coburn made of his fellow Senators was to redirect a couple of pork projects from a list of 14,000 towards the rebuilding of New Orleans, rather than go out and look for new revenues -- in other words, new taxes.
What happened when Coburn asked this sacrifice of the Upper Chamber? Hissy fits and threats. As John at Power Line remarked to me in a conversation, whenever Patty Murray and Ted Stevens find themselves on the same side of an issue, the only thing that it can be about is money. Murray stood up and threatened any Senator who dared to vote to kill a couple of pork projects would have their state stripped of any federal programs she and the Appropriations Committee could find. Stevens got up on the floor and bombastically threatened to resign - as if that would be some great loss, with his focus on how to shower Alaskans with federal largesse.
Neither one of them recognized the ghoulishness of insisting on building a $228 million bridge that will service 50 people -- fifty people who already use a ferry to cross to the mainland now -- when we need money to rebuild bridges destroyed in New Orleans that get much more use now than 50 people living voluntarily on an island.
The GOP, which has campaigned on financial responsibility and reining in government spending, should have used this as their moment to take a stand for common sense and a reduction in the government's bite. We asked them to do support the Coburn Amendment to show us that they haven't forgotten that pledge.
What did we get? Fifteen votes out of a hundred. Twleve votes out of 55 Republicans. Of the GOP presidential hopefuls, only George Allen supported Coburn. The rest either couldn't be bothered to show up (McCain) or outright voted against it (Frist, Coleman, Reed, Dole).
We worked our butts off to get a GOP majority in both houses of Comgress for better fiscal management -- and yet in one simple test, only 12 of them vote to support their supposed party platform.
So now we have GOP majorities and capture the White House but can't cut pork, can't confirm conservative attorneys on the Supreme Court, and open up new entitlement programs worth billions of dollars for prescription medication?
Talk about a moment of clarity.Sphere It View blog reactions
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