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View Diary: Coburn Amendment, on the floor (435 comments)

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  •  Get a grip (4.00)
    Kos, you are off the deep end on this.  Young and Stevens are two of the most powerful members of Congress.  Young is Chairman of the House Transportation Committee, which produced the bill Coburn was seeking to amend.  Stevens is Chairman of the Commerce and Transportation Committee, same story.  There is zero chance the funding for these bridges was going to get cut.  Even Coburn understood this.  This was a purely symbolic vote so that clowns like him can continue to vote for absurd tax cuts for the rich and to continue to fund Iraq off the books as "emergency funds" but still try to claim the mantle of "fiscal responsibility."  He used to play this game all the time on the House side.  He'd make some ridiculous cut knowing it would be ignored in Conference and then he'd crow about his courageous stand and nothing would actually be different.  The only difference this time was Stevens took it personally and refused to accept an amendment even knowing it would be dropped in Conference.

    I am amazed you were snookered by this.  Are you really this quick to point the guns at your own side?  The lopsided vote should really have been a tip off.

    •  so does that make it right?? (none)
      why are you unloading on the messenger??

      4 Democrats??!

      ONLY 4 Dems could bring themselves to vote for the amendment??

      does DC stand for "Doesn't Care"?

      •  Not everything is a grand moral statement (none)
        What I'm reacting to is the way over-the-top rhetoric on this issue.  Kos and most here are tearing their hair out over what a bunch of sellouts the Dems are because they didn't vote with the resident nutjob in the Senate.  Sure, you can make an argument that Dems could have scored some points on this, you can make a counter-argument that the media would have portrayed it as a cheap stunt.  What you cannot do is make this into some grand statement against pork.  By targetting the Chairman's projects, Coburn insured that no matter how the vote went nothing would substantively change.  It was nothing more than a show and a distraction from the real fiscal issues we face.  It certainly was no grand moral gesture.

        Most Senators came to the conclusion that it wasn't worth scoring some cheap political points to stick their finger in Stevens' eye because he could punish their constituents in a very real way.  I'd say that's a rational and, yes, moral conclusion.  

    •  Well, (none)
      Dems are trying to run as the party of fiscal responsibility, right? So then maybe casting votes that they could campaign on might be a good idea, wouldn't it? Even if their votes ended up being meaningless? Honestly, nobody who has defended the "no" vote on this amendment has given anything close to a reasonable argument.

      Remember, the Dems have NO power right now. Their votes are only symbolic. In this case, in a bad way.

      •  Not fiscal responsibility (none)
        See my comment to the above.  This vote is fighting on exactly the wrong ground for Democrats.  Kent Conrad made the point eloquently only a few minutes before the debate, this kind of "cut" (actually just moving money from one project to another) is simply a diversion from the real problems.  The fiscal crisis our country is facing runs into the Trillions and it is primarily attributable to the outrageously irresponsible tax cuts (which Coburn will happily support) the Republicans are foisting on us.  Nonsense votes like this are exactly how Republicans maintain the false air of fiscal responsibility while utterly destroying our country's finances and placing appalling burdens on our children.

        Democrats never had nearly this much earmarking when they were in charge and were infinitely more responsible with taxpayer dollars but that doesn't take away from the fact that the infrastructure needs in their home states are very real.  Playing a gotcha game with earmarks with Republicans will only endanger the table scraps that they've already brought home (and that really are needed).  It's a war they can't possibly win while in the minority and their constituents will just suffer the consequences.

        Should Dems work to eliminate earmarks and return prioritizing to professional agencies?  Absolutely.  Should they be advocating a return to fiscal sanity?  Without a doubt.  But the Coburn amendment didn't do any of this.  It was a cheap stunt.  Political stunts have their place but I certainly would begrudge any Senator thinking the risks to their constituents of this particular stunt were too high.

        •  This is absolutely right (none)
          and I would advocate that if the Dems want to pull a stunt of their own, it would be to propose their OWN anti-pork legislation. This way, THEY have ownership (rather than the otherwise crazy Coburn), and they have the added benefit of knowing that the legislation won't go anywhere. Then they use it as a campaign issue.

          The Dems don't seem to use this political technique enough -- it can be very effective.

          •  Exactly (none)
            That's the way to do it.  An actual reformer looks to rectify the way the system works rather than score points.  Use the egregious examples of the bridges to show what the problem is in support of a larger agenda.  Taking potshots at each other's projects is counter-productive.

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