Monday, March 23, 2009

It's Not Personal, It's Business

This classic line from The Godfather came to mind as I read a letter to the editor in today's Press & Argus titled "Unfair Attack on Rogers and Cleary."

Not entirely sure when questioning the public actions of an elected official became an "unfair attack," but accusing your questioner of a personal attack is always a handy response when the facts aren't on your side.

Just to review:

1.) Mike Rogers has been a long-term, consistent critic of earmarks.  Fair enough.  

But then...

2.) Mike Rogers inserted $17.6 million in earmarks into this year's Omnibus Budget Bill.

3.) Mike Rogers then proceeded to vote against the Omnibus Budget Bill.

4.) The Omnibus Budget Bill passed.

5.) Mike Rogers took full credit for a variety of projects funded by these earmarks, such as local roads, biotech research, sustainable agriculture and water treatment, among other things.  

oh, but the devil is in the details:

5a.) Of the $1.4 million in earmarks for Livingston County (Mr. Rogers' home), $800,000 -- 57% of the total funds for LivCo -- is going to a local private university whose president has made significant donations to the Congressman.  More than half of this is being used for a geothermal energy retrofit for the building that houses the racquetball courts, basketball courts and aerobic exercise area.

A quick brain exercise for  Monday morning:  imagine that a Democrat had huffed and puffed about earmarks, inserted them anyway, then voted against the bill.  Now imagine that this Democrat had then taken credit for "bringing home the bacon," and ensured that a significant chunk of the cash went to a private entity headed by a major campaign contributor.

I think that the opposing party would make some major noise -- and they would be justified in doing so.  

It's not personal, it's democracy.

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