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» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » Forget Tea Party rhetoric - pork barrel politics is back

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Author Topic: Forget Tea Party rhetoric - pork barrel politics is back
philnotfil
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Silly Tea Partiers [Frown]

washingtonpost.com

quote:
When the good people of South Dakota voted last month to send Republican Kristi Noem to Congress, they probably believed that she would give no quarter to the lobbyists and special interest groups who enjoyed, as she put it, "throwing money at the feet of a member of Congress."

But since she defeated Democratic Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (in part by making an issue of Herseth Sandlin's marriage to a lobbyist), Noem has hired her new chief of staff from . . . a lobbying firm! And on Tuesday afternoon, she was the guest of honor at a "Meet & Greet" with Washington high-rollers at the powerhouse lobbying firm Barbour Griffiths Rogers. Once these boys start throwing money at Noem's feet, she'll soon be chin deep in lobbyist greenbacks.

quote:
Many Tea Party favorites, meanwhile, have discovered the appeal of Washington lobbyists' cash and advice. South Dakota's Noem is one of at least 13 incoming Republican lawmakers who have hired lobbyists to run their offices. As The Post's Dan Eggen reported last week, dozens of freshman lawmakers have already had fundraisers to collect millions of dollars from lobbyists and other deep-pocketed interests. In the month since Election Day, new Republican members had more than a dozen such "debt retirement" events.
I find it interesting that the author holds up the selection of Hal Rogers (the Prince of Pork) as additional proof that the Tea Party is betraying its ideals, but it seems like that decision was made by the lame duck Republicans without much input from the new Tea Party backed winners.

With that out of the way, what are these Tea Partiers thinking? That the people who voted them into office will forget about this once re-election rolls around?

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TomDavidson
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Yes. That is exactly what they're thinking.
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RickyB
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They are thinking what most politicians think - that rhetoric far outweighs action. That people care more about the instant gratification of hearing what they want to hear than about following up on application.
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vegimo
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They are thinking that the best way to learn how to get around in the political realm is to hire someone who already knows their way around.

They are also thinking that they can remain true to their promises and withstand the corruption that has beset so many colleagues before them.

They will try to represent their constituancies instead of interests that will become more interesting over the next couple of years, and we will see who will succeed.

I don't think that they are consciously deciding that they can do whatever they want now that the elections are over - damn the populace. I think that they still have those rose-colored glasses on and will try to follow through. They want to get re-elected after all. Some pragmatism in how much they might be able to accomplish and how best to reach their goals should be expected. We just need to watch all 535 of them, without over-reacting to every single move, to see how they do.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
I don't think that they are consciously deciding that they can do whatever they want now that the elections are over - damn the populace.
Heh. You are way more naive than I am.
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RickyB
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vegimo - Paul Rand already flatly reneged on his earmarks promises.
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vegimo
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Tom -
I think that peoply will try to uphold the promises they make. I think that they will generally not be able to as time passes and as they realize exactly what can and cannot be accomplished within the system. I think that political newcomers such as most "Tea Partiers" would not be likely to immediately adopt the attitude that philnotfil presented, but might trend that way over time. We will see.

Ricky-
Rand Paul appeared to say that he was for earmarks for his state, then he came out again in support of eliminating earmarks. He talks a lot. I don't know what his record will look like when he has spent a couple of years in office, but that is what I personally will use to judge his performance.

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kmbboots
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I think that if they aren't bringing pork(read: jobs) back to their states, they won't get re-elected.
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vegimo
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That showcases the difference between the campaign promise of the inexperienced politician and the performance of the experienced politician. Can he realistically do what he said? Does it even mesh with how the system really works? Will he be able to work out a compromise that is sufficient to get him re-elected? Is that (or should that be) the objective?

So much more needs to be done to the system before earmarks could actually be eliminated that the campaign promise to do so essentially becomes empty.

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RickyB
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"I think that if they aren't bringing pork(read: jobs) back to their states, they won't get re-elected."

Exactly, and that's not really such an awful thing. Sure, it'd be nice if the pork was divvied up in a perfectly equitable, fair and need-based manner, but since this is the real world and not some children's fable, it is indeed part of the duty of every congressman to make sure that his state gets as much as possible. It is a crude sort of "checks and balance", yet I can't think of a better one, since in our system Senators and reps from backwater states can and often do become powerful enough to secure their states the share of the pie their state's sheer economic influence would never garner.

The fault lies with those populists who make pork sound like a terribly pressing issue, and with the simpletons who believe them and give them power in exchange for this easy lie. See my comment above about voters rewarding rhetoric over all else.

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Viking_Longship
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I think the Tea Partiers are themselves dishonest about their real motivations. You don't have to be a professional to be hypocritical in your politics.

I doubt the Tea Party is going to be around long after Obama leaves office, particularly if a Republican follows him.

So no I don't think they mind the pork if they aren't looking at a tax hike or a threat to their entitelements.

[ December 15, 2010, 05:06 PM: Message edited by: Viking_Longship ]

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vegimo
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I don't doubt that there is some level of hypocrisy in most politicians. I do not agree, though, that the level of hypocrisy in the average political novice approaches the level in the average veteran.
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RickyB
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vegimo - veteran pols can be populist asswipes just as much as novices
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TheRallanator
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They're thinking what every politician who's ever been elected on an anti-pork platform thinks: it's only pork if it goes to someone else's state [Smile]
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Mariner
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I'm thinking this thread, everyone on it, and the original article is presenting one side of a not-so-clear picture. It is very evident to me that this is not a case of "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss," but rather evidence that pork is deeply ingrained in Congressional culture, and isn't going to be removed quite so easily. But phil, if you think that this is proof that the Tea Party has lost before it even got started, allow me to present some counter-evidence:

- While Hal Rogers may still be the chair of the Appropriations committee, Jeff Flake (the absolute king of porkbusting) has finally been appointed a place on the committee as well. That is a victory in and of itself. Furthermore, he will have 4 Tea Party freshmen to back him up.

- The House GOP moratorium on earmarks was an unqualified success. Only 4 GOP member requested earmarks totaling only $1 billion, and 2 of them won't be around next month (and the other two are Ron Paul and Don Young, hopeless causes anyway). Contrast that with the Dem House requesting over $50 billion. The Senate is not quite so rosy, but even there the GOP is requesting less than their fair share. And this is before the new crowd has been sworn in!

- The Omnibus spending bill went down in flames yesterday after an all out revolt by the GOP, which included a revolt over an additional $8 billion of earmarks. Because of that, the new House will control the budget for 2011. We'll see how many earmarks are in there. Anyone want to bet that there'll be more than last year? =)

There's a long way to go. Yes, the fact that Michelle Bachmann of all people was already trying to redefine pork is absurd. But what John McCain said yesterday is correct: the vote to kill the Omnibus was a seminal moment in Congress. For years, both parties were equally hypocritical regarding earmarks. However, there is now a very clear trend in the GOP finally becoming the anti-pork party. It's not a pure trend yet, of course, but given how much Congress loves wallowing in pork, it's getting there.

And regardless of how the Washington Post is spinning, there's no sign that this seminal moment is merely transitory and will disappear in the new Congress.

RickyB, I know you know that there are arguments against pork above and beyond the populist argument. Please do not set up straw men with your "simpletons" comment. I thought Ornery was a place without such vitriol?

Viking, I'm curious as to why you think the Tea Party is a fad. You're still in Russia, right? Have you been there the last 2 years? I ask because I'm interested in where you get your info on the Tea Party. Given that it is so alien to the mainstream media and our "political class", it's not surprising that your impression of the movement is so distorted if that's where you get your info. I've mentioned this to you before and you ignored it, but your notion that the Tea Party is just Racist Republican Retirees Rebranded is absurd. The fact that so many Tea Party candidates had to deal with negative campaigning telling everyone that they're trying to steal your entitlements should be enough to convince you that the Tea Party isn't about keeping entitlements...

The Tea Party is not a monolithic organization. Nor is it just a rebranding. And it is most definitely NOT what the NY Times thinks it is...

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