Last week or so RK went on about how Mark Warner will takethe country in a new direction. Unfortunately, once you take a close look at this jaunt into a first cousin of the Federian Spin Zone, you realize Mark Warner is either a complete hypocrite, completely ignorant of the role of the US Senate, or maybe just willing to say anything at all to get elected.
The mess Warner tries to score points on is based in a matter of conscience. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid wants to slam through a bunch of spending bills without a roll call vote or debate, so he attempted to pass them by unanimous consent. GOP Senator Tom Coburn (OK) did not necessarily disagree with the bills, but felt that with the current deficit each new spending bill should be met with a budget cut to offset it, especially if it duplicated existing programs.. As each bill came up for unanimous approval, Coburn objected.
“If we pass a new program, we either ought to get rid of the old program or we ought to make it to where it blends with this other one so it’s effective,” Coburn said in an interview last week. Almost everything that they’ve offered has a duplicate program out there that they’re not either eliminating or changing.”
Note that Reid could have run these bills one at a time, but that would have allowed for debate and the possibility of a roll call vote…and these are two things he did not want to happen. He could even have included in the bills the elimination of old programs…but that would alienate some constituency of the Democratic Party.
So Reid, again attempting to get all these bills through in mass-at a total cost of $10 billion dollars-lumped them all together in one bill…and the GOP was able to successfully filibuster the legislation.
Some would look at all this and see a US Senator trying to stop wasteful spending, and a majority trying to skip out on expressing its support for bills it believes in.
Not Mark Warner, who apparently is trying to get on the good side of his future Senate masters. He claims:
It seems like Washington politicians spend so much time keeping score they sometimes forget why they were sent there in the first place.
This session, one Senator used a procedural tactic to single-handedly block nearly three dozen overwhelmingly popular bills – everything from protecting children from sexual predators to investigating unsolved civil rights murders. The bills were bundled together for Senate authorization this week, and even though the legislation did not cost a dime, it was filibustered.
This is a powerful reminder of how far we must go to get Washington functioning again.
What a blowhard. Let’s take a look at all the flaws in this piece of campaign piffle.
1. “Forgot why them came here in the first place?” Oklahoma sent Tom Coburn to the US Senate knowing he is a hard line fiscal conservative. It would seem that stopping unnecessary or redundant spending is one of the things a US Senator would want to do…but not Mark Warner.
2. “…and even though the legislation did not cost a dime, it was filibustered”. A flat out lie. By all accounts the legislation carried a tab of $10 billion. Even bills like the one investigating unsolved civil rights murders, though popular, carries a cost. It may be the various costs from salary to benefits associated with personnel, support costs, even office rental, but there are always costs. To say there are no costs is simply a lie. One would think a business executive would realize that…but not Mark Warner.
3. Although Mark Warner is an educated man, he is clearly not a learned man. The intended purpose of the US Senate is to serve as a damper on popular passion. The House of Representatives, with its two year terms and limits on debate, is the place where the public passions can run rampant. The Senate, with six year terms and a tradition of unlimited debate, is pledged to offer cool reflection and consideration of bills and stop those that may not be well thought out or that duplicate programs or that carry ridiculous price tags as proposed. For those not up on this-like Mark Warner-he might want to read the first 100 pages or so of Robert Caro’s Master of the Senate, which gives a fair history of the US Senate and shows that the Senate acts best when it embraces its responsibilities. Of course, this is only logical to anyone familiar with US government…but not Mark Warner.
4. Mark Warner does not have the courage to attack Tom Coburn by name. Why? Because Coburn is well known for being a foil for foolish spending. His concern for concern for appropriate use of public monies also led Coburn in 2005 to introduce legislation taking funding away from the “Bridge to Nowhere” and directing it to rebuilding New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Tom Coburn has effectively fought for commonsense spending. Most would applaud this…but not Mark Warner
5. There is the not so vague scent of opportunism here. Would Mark Warner have launched such an attack on the “culture of Washington” if a Democrat Senator stood at the bridge to stop spending? Not likely-Mark Warner would likely hail him as a modern day Horatius standing at the gate to stop the barbarians from looting and pillaging. Others would see this as the demagougery and hyporcrisy it is instead of wallowing in it like a pig in mud on a hot day…but not Mark Warner.
6. How can Senator Coburn do this? Because he is using a right he has under the rules of the US Senate, as were approved for this session by the majority Democractic contingent of the US Senate. Some folks would think it silly to criticize a member of the minority party for taking advantage of a rule approved and passed by the majority…but not Mark Warner.
Mr. Warner has a history of being less than forthcoming with the truth when it obstructs him from a goal. When governor of Virginia Mark Warner claimed a tax increase was needed to keep a state AAA bond rating…then it turned out the tax increase was not needed. He claimed he had checked every corner of the state treasury and the cubbard was bare…and then his minions “found” millions tucked away and did not report it to the state legislature during budget negotiations.
Mr. Warner’s release as reported at RK shows he really is not ready for the US Senate. He doesn’t understand the role of the upper house of our legislature, he doesn’t understand the full responsibilities and options of a US Senator, and either he does not understand the legislative process or he pretends not to…the old misfeasance v. malfeasance matter.
Mark Warner is clearly ready to say anything to win. It also makes it clear what drives him-a lust for public office. Not apparently to really do anything with it, but to hold office.
That-and that alone-does not meet even the lowest threshold of what it takes being a US Senator. Maybe the months ahead will reveal more about his take on being US Senator. But this appeal, with what he says and what it reveals, does not make one sanguine about such revelations. But at least we may get a better idea if comments like the one above are based in hypocrisy or ignorance.