Saturday, April 26, 2008

GOP challenger lands punches on F. Jim

We've been more than a little skeptical and more than a little cynical about Jim Sensenbrenner's challenge by a pair of college professors, a Repub and Dem running in tandem. The Dem dropped out awhile back, but the remaining challenger, the Repub, takes off after F. Jim and lands several solid punches in a Small Business Times commentary.

Jim Burkee, the Concordia professor, says, in an article titled, "The public's disdain for Congress is justified:"
In a recent Milwaukee Biz Blog, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) played politics as usual by attacking plans by the "Democratic majority" to "spend, spend, spend."

This, after he voted for 28,000 earmarks over six years and cast one of the deciding votes for Medicare Part D - one of the largest and costliest entitlement programs in American history. In short, he overlooked the log in his own eye to find a speck in his opponent's.

He also called on Democrats to act on tax cuts passed a few years ago when Republicans were in charge which are set to expire, or "sunset," soon. What he's not telling you is that he voted to "sunset" the legislation in the first place. Why? So Congress - while Mr. Sensenbrenner was a leader in the Republican majority - could continue to falsify the long-term budget projections, assuring us that in spite of all those earmarks and entitlement expansions (combined with tax cuts), tomorrow's books will magically balance (they won't).

An added benefit was that Republicans could set themselves up to do exactly what Mr. Sensenbrenner is doing today - bash Democrats for wanting to "raise taxes" when the sunset approaches.

"Total integrity" means being honest about the numbers. It means dealing fairly and honestly with your colleagues.

It also means striving to avoid the appearance of impropriety.

Earlier this month, the Center for Responsive Politics issued the results of a study of congressmen invested in defense contractors. Over one fourth of all members of Congress own stocks in the same companies that received hundreds of billions of dollars in defense contracts - and many congressmen benefited financially.

At the top of the list was our own Congressman Sensenbrenner, who earned at least $3.2 million between 2004 and 2006 on defense-industry investments alone.

Similarly, Mr. Sensenbrenner voted in favor of Medicare's Prescription Drug Program in 2003 - a $9 trillion entitlement expansion - while having massive holdings in pharmaceutical industry stocks.

In any other industry, this would be considered insider trading. To avoid the appearance of impropriety and the temptation to vote for legislation that personally benefits them, many congressmen and senators voluntarily put their investments into "blind trusts." But Mr. Sensenbrenner did not support legislation mandating that members of Congress put their funds into blind trusts.

A judge would not rule on a case involving a pharmaceutical company he owned stock in. So why would a congressman vote for legislation that positively affected the value of stocks he owned in pharmaceutical companies - or defense contractors?

Even if it's not corrupt, it sure looks bad.
Indeed it does.

Having lost the Dem half of the ill-conceviced dual candidacy, are the Dems going to field a candidate, or it is time to start rallying behind Birkey?