Saturday, July 08, 2006

To earmark or not to earmark, that is the question.

I like Joe Lieberman. I think he is a man of integrity. But I could not believe what I was hearing in the Lieberman/Lamont debate Thursday. Ned Lamont took a principled stand that earmarks are wrong and a corrupting influence in Washington. Joe brazenly pitched that he should be Senator because he would be more effective earmarking funds for state projects (transcript linked and excerpted below). This is what we have come to - electing our representatives in Congress based on the size of the bucket they bring to the Federal spigot. "Vote for me! I can grab the taxpayer's money with both hands, not just one!"

Under the single party control of this administration the deficit is the worst ever, spending is the worst ever, and big brother government is growing with alarming speed. In the face of these problems, Joe says to elect him because he can ensure that Connecticut will get their full share of slop at the public trough. Maybe it will work. Maybe the people of Connecticut will vote for the man with the bigger bucket. Maybe the next President will say "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask how much more your country can do for you than anyone else." And maybe 18 years in the Senate is just too long for anyone to be exposed to the culture of corruption that is Washington D.C. and not be tainted.

Sorry Joe, but it's time to go. We have big problems with this adminstration, and you do not look like part of the solution. You look like part of the problem.

The transcript:

Lieberman, Lamont Spar in Conn. Primary Debate - CQ Transcript
LAMONT:" ... let me talk about the ethical scandals in Washington, D.C., talk about that transportation bill. Talk about that bill with 6,341 earmarks. An earmark is a special piece of pork written by a lobbyist, submitted at the last moment. And it's wrong. It's legal, but it's wrong. If you're not shouting from the rafters that this is wrong, then you're complicit and you're part of the problem.
That bill also included the infamous bridge to nowhere. That's a lot of the waste. Those are the misplaced priorities. Those are the facts that we have 63 lobbyists for every Congressman in Washington, D.C. I think it's so important we get people to Washington, D.C. who are free of lobbyists influence, who can't be bought, who are going stand up and act on behalf of the public good."

LIEBERMAN "... there are earmarks that are good. Is he against the earmarks I put in the bill for $50 million to decrease congestion along I-95, or the money that I got for intermodal transportation centers at New Haven, Bridgeport, Hartford and Stamford, or the money for ferry service from Bridgeport -- New Haven and Stamford to take cars off of I-95? Those are good earmarks which I gather he'll be against.

LAMONT: Look, you want to boast about how many earmarks you bring to the state of Connecticut? Alaska gets 10 times what we do. We're not doing very well on that front. But more importantly, I think we should outlaw these earmarks...
I think we should outlaw these earmarks. I think they corrupt the political process. I think they are written by lobbyists and they're wrong ...I think these things should go through the congressional process. Sir, you have been there for 18 years. You support the earmarks, you work with the lobbyists, and that's what needs to be changed.

LIEBERMAN: The earmarks are great for Connecticut... It helped me save the 31,000 jobs at the sub base in New London. It helps me to clean up Long Island Sound. It helps me to return more money to Connecticut for our transportation funding, and it will help me in the years ahead, which this is all about, not just Iraq. Deliver affordable health care, lower energy prices, make us energy independent, and do something finally about producing new jobs, high-paying jobs for people here in Connecticut."

"I'm the one who saved the 31,000 jobs at EB and a lot of others. I was able to raise the money we got for transportation funding over the next five years, by 20 percent, to $2.5 billion, creating tens of thousands of jobs in construction. I delivered for the state. And that's what I'll do, because I'm not just about one issue. I'm about the people of Connecticut and their well-being.""... Well, the first thing to say is that I built up some seniority, and I'm the second in seniority in the Armed Services Committee and that helps me deliver contracts and jobs for Electric Boat. I was able to insert in a bill $75 million of design work which will keep hundreds of designers and engineers at Electric Boat working.

I am the second in seniority among Democrats on the Public Works Committee. That allows me to return transportation, more transportation and public works money to the state. And I'm supporting legislation that will invest in our schools and training of our workers."

"...I have worked to deliver for the people of this state, and they know it. I have saved the thousands of jobs. I have cleaned up the sound. I have gotten transportation money. And I am the one based on my seniority -- incidentally, I think people have to ask themselves, with all that's at stake in the next six years, could Ned Lamont have saved those 31,000 jobs at the submarine base? Could he deliver the contracts that will save jobs at E.B.? Will he be able to get grants to fuel cell energy companies, and biotech companies here in Connecticut that will create more new jobs and whole new industries?

The "earmarks" comment caught a few other ears ...
Sean at Connecticut Conservative reviewed the debate
Of course, the Porkbusters are all over anything to do with earmarks
Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish made it the "quote of the day"
Ryan Sager at Real Clear Politics wonders how earmarks will play in Connecticut.
I was wondering the same thing, Ryan.

UPDATE: Some Connecticut bloggers posted the video, so perhaps we'll find out

Sujal at Fatmixx is conflicted and asks a different earmarks question.
Scarce at My Left Nutmeg posted the video to some "nutmeg" support.


Anonymous said...

The problem Joe has is Lamont seems to do a very good job of painting Joe as a Republican. I mean, listen to Lamont's points. The problem Joe has is he doesn't seem to recognize that Lamont's painting as a Republican and therefore seems to reply as a Republican in defense. But, since most older Republicans believe in smaller government ( we'll debate that one some other time ), Joe's not really appealing to the Republicans either with his defense of being a good earmarker. Oddly, as experienced as Joe is, he doesn't seem to have a clue what his goal in the debate is. I've really been puzzled by Joe's actions in this campaign. However, Lieberman's got an ace in the hole that I think will eventually doom Lamont, name recognition. As odd as Joe's campaign has been, I still put my money him.

mw said...

I'm torn on this one. I like Lamont, but if he wins the primary, and Lieberman stays in the race as an independent, it certainly increases the likelihood of the Republicans stealing away a Democratic seat in the Senate. That loss would pretty much kill any chance of the Dems taking the Senate in '06. Works against the divided government theme. Still, I think its worth the risk. We'll soon see what the people of Connecticut decide.

Thanks for the comment. - mw