The GUARDIAN endorses common sense and logic rather than political dogma and emotions. Congressman Butch Otter deserves a pat on his tight jeans for voting “no” on the hurricane relief bill.
He was among only 11 lawmakers who stood up for not tossing away more money into an emotional quagmire. Everyone in the USA wants to help the victims of hurricane Katrina, but tossing money to a bunch of bureaucrats who have proven their inability to get things done is NOT the answer.
The very people who voted to approve the spending are critical of the people they are giving the money to. Sort of like giving your kids more cash because they spend lunch money on CD music!
Well intended gestures in Idaho like cop unions driving U-Haul trucks full of stuff cross country, false alarms about flat bottom boats, hauling elderly on C-130 airplanes, bottled water lifts, etc. are pretty much publicity stunts that make the givers feel good, but probably don’t offer much REAL assistance.
In Michigan the “Black Caucus” of the legislature sent three school buses to the disaster with the usual stuff and the intent to return “victims” to the great lakes state. They brought back only three kids.
The UAW autoworkers union told members their dues could go to help victims, but only as part of a single BIG CHECK they would ceremoniously give to a politician on TV. All of the donations and volunteering we DON’T hear about are the things that really count.
Bottom line: Butch is right. If the initial federal response was not good, giving MORE money to the people who blew it is like spending to dodge those elusive weapons of mass destruction. Decisions shouldn’t be made on faulty intelligence and raw emotion.
A massive spending appropriation should come only after sound minds determine how much is needed and where.
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Sep 11, 2005, 11:09 pm
I have to agree with you, Dave. Although I am registered (I guess) as a Democrat,there is a lot of sensibility in Mr. Otter’s votes and this one I agree with entirely. A similar analogy would be as if you gave your kid his allowance a year at a time and expected him to budget himself. Better to give a week at a time and see how things go. Lots of people have trouble with budgeting and this Congress is no better than most teenagers. I suppose the other 410 are feeling pretty wonderful about themselves. It is amazing how this administration keeps talking about fiscal responsibility and smaller government but every time there is an emergency they just go ahead and find the money – oops, I mean they charge it. Gotta love that plastic.
Sep 13, 2005, 9:26 am
Otter may be taking heat from both sides on this but I predict he’ll be one of the 11 who’re not having to worry about defending his actions several months down the road when the consequences of this hasty and ill planned appropriation come back to haunt us.
Like many others in the private sector I opened my personal check book and sent off a charitable donation last week. I wonder how many of those who voted for the 53 Billion can say the same and whether their attitude would still be so cavalier if the money was coming out of their own personal hides. Easy to spend when someone else has to foot the bill. You think twice about your wants vs. needs when you’re the one paying the bills. And that’s precisely what Otter was trying to do by speaking up voting in the long term best interests of those he serves as a public servant. That he may have to endure some short term flack from the mainstream media just shows that he has enough cajones to do “the right thing”. He’ll be getting my vote for governor in 2006.
Sep 13, 2005, 4:06 pm
I find it odd that Otter would use this logic in deciding which way to vote for Relief Aid for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
After all he voted twice to fund the war in Iraq and the overall War on Terrorism. Those were practically blank checks written out to American corporations. He wants accountability of where the money is going? Why not ask where the money that he voted for to use in Iraq went to.
You can’t have it both ways.
Is he too scared to step away from the party line in voting for funding the war in Iraq but he doesn’t want to fund relief for Americans who need it? What is sad is that most of your callers give him a pass for writing blank checks for the war, but not for writing blank checks to help our very own Americans.
I understand being fiscally responsible and demanding accountability, but you can’t use one line of logic to go in two different directions.
Sep 19, 2005, 11:05 am
Had Congressman Otter actually argued for the fiscal responsiblity of this bill, on the floor, at the time of the vote I would be proud of his courage.
What I see is, Congressman Otter finding a opportunity , to get some free press.
The associated press writes, Louisiana tells Idaho Sheriff’s go home. Butch Otter let us down.
No one in our Idaho delegation took it upon themselves to vote no. They all saw tragedy and acted swiftly with a yes vote.
District 1 should ask their congressman, “did you vote no for me?”
Did I not want to help the gulf coast Victim’s?
Why Congressman Otter did you really vote no?
Please say it ain’t so!