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Some interesting perspective from the insiders...

•The campaign against earmarks really started with Jeff Flake. He’d pick out the ones that had the funniest names, and force votes on them, before we could vote on spending bills. At the outset, he’d lose 300 or more votes, and the exercise seemed pretty much impotent. It never really got legs until the “Bridge to Nowhere,” probably, in 2005. That became the symbol for earmarks. It became a symbol beyond a big amount of money going to a home state. It was something going to for-profit entities.
•Anytime you’re explaining, you’re losing. You can explain Article 1 Section 7 of the Constitution. You can explain that this money will be appropriated whether or not members of Congress earmark it. But this new class that came in, in the last Congress, they’re looking around, they see the stimulus package, they see the administration handing out tiger grants or whatever it may be, 70 percent of them go into districts controlled by Democrats, and [these freshmen Republicans] stop earmarks. Eventually they want to rescue some scenic area in the district, and they’re told that earmarks were the way to do that. They say: Oh, I didn’t realize that.
•We have too many “message” votes. I don’t need to have a vote on abortion every month, a vote on guns every month. I have a good relationship with labor. Labor wants one thing: Davis-Bacon. And these new guys, no matter what the bill was, wanted to put repeal of Davis-Bacon in it. It didn’t bother me, but it might have bothered some of the freshmen. Is anybody confused that someone from North Carolina or Georgia is right-to-work? No. Then why have the vote?
•You’ve had people for a generation running against the Congress. It’s not just enough that you have an honest disagreement with the Democrats. You have these groups—Heritage Action, Club for Growth—shooting at Republicans. It’s a constant pounding, people saying, “You’re a RINO, you sold us out.” The Red State blog guys, I know that after I announced, they wrote: “Best news of the century, LaTourette to retire.” How could that be the best news of the century?
•The best day I can remember here was when we passed the Balanced Budget Amendment in the House. I recall getting somewhat emotional over that. Between 1996 and 1998 you get welfare reform, you kick out a major highway bill. You get a lot of good work done, and it was because Bill Clinton was willing to triangulate the Democrats. He’d actually reach out and talk to us. This president doesn’t work with us at all.

•The Clinton impeachment was one of those things—and both parties do this—where we overplayed our hand. Public opinion was not treating President Clinton well, but it seemed like we had to go and make sure that people knew what he did. That’s always our tendency on these things—you want to jump in. But the American people love an underdog. It turns when they think you’re turning on President Clinton, they turn to him. It just had to go the way it went. People were too invested. When it left here, and it went to the Senate, there was no way the United States Senate would remove the president from office. So America got treated to this horrible display, and it wasn’t one of our better moments. President Clinton would have suffered, I think, in terms of popularity and his agenda, if we’d just left him alone.
•This fiscal cliff thing is the most foreseeable crisis in American history. People had time to put together solutions. There just wasn’t a lot of good work done. I don’t care how good the deal is, if Grover Norquist says it’s a tax increase, you’re going to have 40 to 120 Republicans voting against it. If it touches Medicare and Social Security, you’re going to have Democrats running against it. I think this was why, when I said I was going to retire, people were coming up to me and saying: ‘I wish I would have done that.’ Or, ‘This is my last term.’ There’s a high build-up of frustration in the way things are going.

Much, much more at:
Friends can email me at bigreddog481 at gmail dot com.  Non friends can just save their energy!!!

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Monroe Native

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Re: Three soon-to-be-former congressmen talk about how bad things have gotten.
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2012, 12:44:32 PM »

Just look in Monroe.

How much are the FEDS paying to clean the PCBS out of the River Raisin?

How much are they paying to make sure fish can swim up river for the first time in what - 50 or 100 years or more?

Very important projects - right?  Just a few fine earmarks from the Honorable John D Dingell.
I have learned that only two things are necessary to keep one's wife happy. First, let her think she's having her own way. And second, let her have it.
Lyndon B. Johnson

You do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered.
Lyndon B. Johnson
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