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Why Isn't Murtha in Prison?

This is the kind of thing for which Murtha ought to be in the federal pen. But as Michael Kinsley sagely remarked a long time ago, the amazing thing about Washington is what's legal.
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Discussions - 9 Comments

Speaking as a constituent of his, I know Murtha has been buying the voters here, with their own money, for decades. His campaign motto (tagline, slogan, whatever) in the 2008 election was "He Delivers For Us". (I still see old signs hanging around with that verbiage.) Translation: he buys us stuff with our own money. But not enough voters know how to make that translation.

All I can say is, The Onion gets more realistic all the time. This time, it even purports to be Yahoo video news and really looks like it.

Hmmm... maybe a few more taxpayer dollars could have been saved if conservatives would have spoken up about stuff like this, rather than, say, cheering it on.

Maybe a few more taxpayer dollars would be saved if those banks and various financial corporations were allowed to fail or adjust themselves to the market. Government cannot regulate prosperity. I do not see how any sensible person can claim a laissez-faire banking system in the U.S..

Hmmm... maybe a few more taxpayer dollars could have been saved if conservatives would have spoken up about stuff like this, rather than, say, cheering it on

Hello again, ignorant jackass. I see you are under the impression that Barney Frank is a "conservative" Let me be the first to disabuse you of that notion. And it was he, not "conservatives", who was cheering on the things you now pretend to be against. You could look it up.

You could look it up.



Ouch. Nice zinger, John M.

This is outrageous sure, but is it really so egregious? Is it really so different from any of the lard that porkmeister Bobby Byrd routinely spreads in W. Virginia? And I don't think shamelessly angling for taxpayer subsidies is simply a partisan matter, either: think of Bob Dole calling himself senator from ethanol, or Ted Stevens' pulling taxpayer $ for the bridge to nowhere.

The deeper question, for me, is: Is this or is this not the fulfillment of representative government? You (House member, senator) stand in for us, you express our interest, we consider it in our interest to have _____, so get us _____ or we'll replace you with someone who will.

It seems to me that so, so many American citizens (i.e., consumers of public resources) are attached to porkbarrel spending from government -- or are unwilling to examine its justice -- that one simply cannot get elected to federal office campaigning on a principle of anti-spending (and then consistently vote on that principle, and then get re-elected).

One can bring up Ron Paul, sure. And I've long supposed that there must be something extraordinary about his district -- some practical or intellectual connection of his constituents to the private sector or entrepreneurialism, some critical mass of persons that don't make their living off the government -- such that he can be Dr. No and stay in office. But if so, how many other districts like that are there in this country?

Not to sound like Charles Beard or anything, but doesn't the representative scheme in the Constitution (plus, of course, the power granted Congress to spend [and tax and borrow]) create the conditions -- even the incentive -- for politicians and citizens to express their material self-interest using the government?

But then again, maybe the problem is not so much institutional as political or rhetorical. In the 1850s, Stephen Douglas campaigned on letting the people have whatever they wanted, through government (this time through Congress's power over the territories). And Lincoln had to counter-campaign that there are certain things that people ought not to want, and government not to legislate.

Yes, but who let him get away with this? The self-interest of every other citizen and representative in the nation ought to have argued against Murtha delivering this piece of electoral bribery to his constituents. What total sausage of a piece of legislation was this buried in?

Ouch. Nice zinger, John M.

Oooh. Typically deep thought, Matty.

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