Republicans missing the message

Democrats might want to keep in mind the old rule inpolitics that you never stop an opponent while he’s committing suicide. They are about to have the distinct pleasure of watching a slew of Senate Republicans jump off a political cliff. These Republican stalwarts haven’t gotten the message — that the voters who dismissed the GOP majority in November 2006 aren’t going to put the party back in control as long as it keeps voting for more of the earmarks that fueled the “culture of corruption” in Congress. It’s also going to be vastly more difficult to get those same voters to pull the lever for the party’s presidential nominee so long as pork-addicted GOP senators keep sticking their snouts in the trough.

Take for example the roll call vote on Sen. Jim DeMint’s amendment to kill a provision in the Senate Commerce, Justice and Science appropriations bill directing $2 million to three construction projects for a college in New York’s Harlem. The South Carolina Republican’s amendment would have struck the provision first inserted in the legislation by Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. All three projects are named for Rangel.

But when it came time to vote on this crude effort by Rangel to use tax dollars to promote himself, it was preserved on a 61-34 vote. Two Democrats — Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana and Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin — voted for the DeMint amendment, while 16 Republicans voted against it. The 16 were Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Kit Bond of Missouri, Thad Cochran and Trent Lott of Mississippi, Susan Collins of Maine, Larry Craig of Idaho, Pete Domenici of New Mexico, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, Orrin Hatch of Utah, Dick Lugar of Indiana, Lisa Murkowski and Ted Stevens of Alaska, Richard Shelby of Alabama, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, George Voinovich of Ohio and John Warner of Virginia.

Earlier in the day, only three of these GOPers — Hatch, Lugar and Lott — broke ranks to vote for an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act sponsored by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., that would have killed millions of new dollars to be added to the more than $500 million previously earmarked by Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., for the National Drug Intelligence Center, which is in his district.

National Review Online’s David Freddoso notes that those millions have gone to Murtha’s baby “even though the Bush administration, the Justice Department and one of NDIC’s own former directors consider the center a total waste.”

These are merely two of the numerous votes in the 110th Congress in which many Senate GOPers voted with the Democratic majority to use earmarks to keep lining the pockets of favored contributors, former staff members and even themselves. Some are retiring, thank goodness. It would be better for the GOP if all of them headed home for good.

businessOpinionScience & TechnologyScience and Technology

Just Posted

A felled tree in Sydney G. Walton Square blocks part of a lane on Front Street following Sunday’s storm on Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
After the rain: What San Francisco learned from a monster storm

Widespread damage underscored The City’s susceptibility to heavy wind and rain

Plan Bay Area 2050 is an expansive plan guiding the region’s growth and development over the next three decades. The regional plan addresses progressive policy priorities like a universal basic income and a region-wide rent cap, alongside massive new spending on affordable housing and transportation infrastructure. (Shutterstock)
$1.4 trillion ‘blueprint’ would address Bay Area’s housing, transit woes

Analyzing the big ticket proposals in ‘Plan Bay Area 2050’

A felled tree in San Francisco is pictured on Fillmore Street following a major storm that produced high winds and heavy rains on Oct. 24, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Philip Ford)
Storm updates: Rainiest October day in San Francisco history

Rainfall exceeded 10 inches in parts of the Bay Area

On Sunday, California bore the brunt of what meteorologists referred to as a bomb cyclone and an atmospheric river, a convergence of storms that brought more than half a foot of rain to parts of the Bay Area, along with high winds, concerns about flash floods and the potential for heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada. Much of the Bay Area was under a flash flood watch on Sunday, with the National Weather Service warning of the potential for mudslides across the region. (NOAA via The New York Times)
Bomb cyclone, atmospheric river combine to pummel California with rain and wind

What you need to know about this historic weather event

The Department of Building Inspection, at 49 South Van Ness Ave., has been mired in scandal since since its creation by voter referendum under Proposition G in 1994. (Courtesy SF.gov)
The Department of Building Inspection, at 49 South Van Ness Ave., has been mired in scandal since its creation by voter referendum under Proposition G in 1994. (Courtesy SF.gov)
Whistleblowing hasn’t worked at the SF Dept. of Building Inspection

DBI inspectors say their boss kept them off connected builders’ projects

Most Read