Senate Pork Scores: the Dems’ Lard Butt Rhetoric vs. Reality

Lately there has been talk about the fiscal responsibility of the Senate and House. As it turns out, we have three senators running in the Presidential elections, and these folks have a voting record that permits you to assess for yourself the gap between their rhetoric and their reality.

Disregard what they say and look at what they actually do. Below is a handy compilation of the voting record of every senator, both for the current year and for their lifetime record. A high score means the individual voted against earmarks – disgraceful, pork-larded amendments tacked onto bills that have no bearing on the items the Imperial Senators sneak into proposed legislation. These amendments increase government spread and spending at a geometric rate.

Note that for the most part Dems are notoriously awful. Senator Biden, the Democrat vice-presidential nominee, scored a zero for 2007 – which means that every time there was an opportunity to add pork to a bill he was there with his shovel, front and center. I don’t have a breakdown of his voting, but based on his compiled record the Senator from Delaware could be The Poster Boy for Pork this year.

How about comparing the respective porking records of Senators McCain and Obama? Whatever problems I have with his stance on other issues, McCain’s perfect score this year, 100% abstention, versus Obama’s abysmal pig-out of 10%, speaks volumes about his fiscal record. These scores are an indicator of tendencies which, in our slowing economy, have become essential considerations for every voter.

Also check out your own senator, just to see if your instincts about him or her are correct. While the Dems are in the majority here, there are certainly some lard butts on the other side of the aisle.

Consider, for instance, the record for the senators from Alaska. Those boys are corrupt, drunken sailors when it comes spending the taxpayers’ hard-earned money, though their pork record would be considered in the “fair” range were they Democrats. [Those two were very annoyed when their governor pulled The Bridge to Nowhere out from under them without notice.] Read the linked article to see how Senator Stevens’ overt bullying made the Dems, including Senators Obama and Biden, cave. They voted for The Nowhere Bridge twice and never changed their minds, though they are quick to impale Palin for her change of mind.

That essay is also useful for its explanation of the Senate’s decision to pass the buck on to the state and let its governor make the decision on Nowhere. At the time, the governor in office, a Dem, said that he wanted the bridge and expected his successor to think the same way. Once you read the full story above, the Dems’ execrable assertions about Palin become all too clear as being the phoney baloney they are.

Here’s the roll call, thanks to Citizens Against Government Waste:

Alabama   Sessions, J.   R   79%   83%
Alabama   Shelby   R   57%   54%
Alaska   Murkowski   R   46%   54%
Alaska   Stevens   R   37%   51%
Arizona   Kyl   R   94%   93%
Arizona   McCain   R   100%   88%
Arkansas   Lincoln   D   6%   19%
Arkansas   Pryor   D   3%   9%
California   Boxer   D   3%   12%
California   Feinstein   D   3%   16%
Colorado   Allard   R   86%   83%
Colorado   Salazar, K.   D   3%   16%
Connecticut   Dodd   D   0%   14%
Connecticut   Lieberman   I   6%   21%
Delaware   Biden   D   0%   22%
Delaware   Carper   D   6%   18%
Florida   Martinez   R   71%   70%
Florida   Nelson, Bill   D   9%   18%
Georgia   Chambliss   R   86%   77%
Georgia   Isakson   R   79%   81%
Hawaii   Akaka   D   0%   8%
Hawaii   Inouye   D   0%   7%

– – – – – – – –

Idaho   Craig   R   63%   70%
Idaho   Crapo   R   74%   70%
Illinois   Durbin   D   3%   8%
Illinois   Obama   D   10%   18%
Indiana   Bayh   D   20%   25%
Indiana   Lugar   R   63%   77%
Iowa   Grassley   R   71%   75%
Iowa   Harkin   D   6%   16%
Kansas   Brownback   R   80%   82%
Kansas   Roberts   R   57%   67%
Kentucky   Bunning   R   86%   78%
Kentucky   McConnell   R   74%   69%
Louisiana   Landrieu   D   9%   21%
Louisiana   Vitter   R   74%   66%
Maine   Collins   R   34%   53%
Maine   Snowe   R   17%   50%
Maryland   Cardin   D   3%   3%
Maryland   Mikulski   D   3%   10%
Massachusetts   Kennedy, E.   D   3%   16%
Massachusetts   Kerry   D   6%   23%
Michigan   Levin, C.   D   0%   21%
Michigan   Stabenow   D   0%   17%
Minnesota   Coleman   R   37%   38%
Minnesota   Klobuchar   D   0%   0%
Mississippi   Cochran   R   54%   56%
Mississippi   Lott   R   63%   67%
Missouri   Bond   R   34%   59%
Missouri   McCaskill   D   23%   23%
Montana   Baucus, M.   D   3%   20%
Montana   Tester   D   9%   9%
Nebraska   Hagel   R   74%   77%
Nebraska   Nelson, Ben   D   3%   28%
Nevada   Ensign   R   97%   92%
Nevada   Reid, H.   D   0%   18%
New Hampshire   Gregg   R   77%   80%
New Hampshire   Sununu   R   89%   89%
New Jersey   Lautenberg   D   6%   24%
New Jersey   Menendez   D   3%   9%
New Mexico   Bingaman   D   3%   21%
New Mexico   Domenici   R   42%   57%
New York   Clinton   D   0%   9%
New York   Schumer   D   3%   11%
North Carolina   Burr   R   97%   91%
North Carolina   Dole   R   73%   68%
North Dakota   Conrad   D   0%   18%
North Dakota   Dorgan   D   0%   15%
Ohio   Brown, S.   D   3%   3%
Ohio   Voinovich   R   38%   65%
Oklahoma   Coburn   R   91%   94%
Oklahoma   Inhofe   R   83%   79%
Oregon   Smith, G.   R   38%   60%
Oregon   Wyden   D   0%   21%
Pennsylvania   Casey   D   6%   6%
Pennsylvania   Specter   R   29%   49%
Rhode Island   Reed, J.   D   6%   13%
Rhode Island   Whitehouse   D   6%   6%
South Carolina   DeMint   R   97%   96%
South Carolina   Graham   R   87%   84%
South Dakota   Johnson, Tim   D   0%   12%
South Dakota   Thune   R   71%   67%
Tennessee   Alexander, L.   R   57%   72%
Tennessee   Corker   R   66%   66%
Texas   Cornyn   R   83%   79%
Texas   Hutchison   R   63%   67%
Utah   Bennett   R   60%   64%
Utah   Hatch   R   62%   66%
Vermont   Leahy   D   3%   15%
Vermont   Sanders   I   3%   3%
Virginia   Warner   R   38%   71%
Virginia   Webb   D   9%   9%
Washington   Cantwell   D   6%   19%
Washington   Murray   D   3%   13%
West Virginia   Byrd   D   0%   16%
West Virginia   Rockefeller   D   3%   13%
Wisconsin   Feingold   D   34%   40%
Wisconsin   Kohl   D   3%   34%
Wyoming   Barrasso   R   82%   82%
Wyoming   Enzi   R   85%   77%
Wyoming   Thomas   R   78%   78%

As you can see, Citizens Against Government Waste watch these folks very carefully [pdf file] and grade them on their earmark votes. Thus, a low score means that they mostly vote in favor of larding Senate bills with individual pork barrel amendments for their pet projects.

Conversely, a high score means they don’t do much pork. That kind of restraint takes courage since they have to go home to their respective states and explain their abstention from lard. Their opponents, eager for office, will try to use this fiscal responsibility as a sign they don’t care about the welfare of their respective states.

When you notice a poor rating for a Republican – e.g., Olympia Snowe from Maine – what you are seeing is a RINO, (for our European readers, this is a “Republican in Name Only”. They mostly vote against their own party).

Some of those “pet projects” are amazing indeed. I mean, do you think we really need a museum to commemorate Woodstock in 1969? If we do need to build it, why not do so with private funding by the people who were there and actually care about it? Why stick taxpayers with this, especially since our bridges are falling down?

[Hmmm….one commenter on that Popular Mechanics story about the Minnesota bridge collapse says:

M[innesota] Department of Transportation did a “lipstick” maintenance job on the 35W bridge. I drove across it two weeks before the collapse and the crews were drilling holes in the deck. Leave it to MN DOT to work on a bridge during rush hour and NOT shut the bridge down! That bridge stood for years with no problem. MN DOT’s own meeting recording had them stating the bridge had a potential to collapse! Too bad they did not tell the MN driving public!! What about the Lt. Governor who was in China touting MN transportation?? Nice junket!! Who here thinks you can tear up a road deck and allow traffic on a metal frame bridge???

By the way, this Popular Mechanics article dates from January, 2008. Thus we see that the lipstick metaphor has been around for a while now. We also see that the “crumbling infrastructure” – which we do indeed have – is accompanied by incompetence and stupid decisions. Who could have guessed?]

For your entertainment, here are a few bills, excerpted and edited, from the pdf file of CAGW, above, that listed the senators. There are many more at the website:

Ethics and Lobbying Overhaul – Earmark Disclosure

Sen. Durbin, D-Ill., motion to table (kill) the DeMint R-S.C., amendment to require the names of earmark sponsors to be made public, mandate the disclosure of earmark recipients, and expand the definition of an earmark to include federal and non-federal projects. Motion rejected 46-51.

Fiscal 2008 Budget Resolution – Tax Increase Point of Order
S. Con. Res. 21. Sen. Cornyn, R-Texas, amendment to create a 60-vote point of order against any bill, resolution, amendment, motion or conference report that includes a federal tax rate increase. Adopted 63-35.

Fiscal 2008 Budget Resolution – Social Security Reserve Fund
(Con. Res. 21) Sen. DeMint, R-S.C., amendment to bar Congress from borrowing from the Social Security trust fund to finance other government programs.
Rejected 45-52.

Fiscal 2008 Budget Resolution – Spending Reductions
Sen. Allard, R-Colo., amendment to reduce the discretionary spending limit by $23.6 billion by reducing funding for programs rated ineffective by the Office of Management and Budget’s Program Assessment Rating Tool. Rejected 33-64.

Fiscal 2008 Budget Resolution – Reconciliation Instructions
Sen. Cornyn R-Texas, amendment to force the Finance Committee to reduce spending by $33.8 billion over five years. Rejected 23-74.

Fiscal 2008 Budget Resolution – Earmarks in War, Supplemental
Sen. Thomas, R-Wyo., amendment that would bar the insertion of non-defense earmarks into supplemental appropriations bills designated for ongoing combat operations. Rejected 39-59.

Fiscal 2008 Budget Resolution – Tax Cuts
Sen. Graham R-S.C., amendment to allow for the extension of 2001 tax cuts. Rejected 46-52.

Fiscal 2008 Transportation-HUD Appropriations – Earmark Moratorium
Sen. Murray, D-Wash., motion to table (kill) the Coburn, R-Okla., amendment to eliminate earmarks until all U.S. bridges classified as structurally deficient or functionally obsolete in the bill are repaired. Motion agreed to 82-14.

Fiscal 2008 Omnibus Appropriations- Motion to Concur, H.R. 2764
Sen. Reid, D-Nev., amendment to raise taxes to offset the costs of a one-year adjustment to exempt an additional 21 million taxpayers from paying the alternative minimum tax in 2007. It also would include tax provisions to offset the costs. Rejected 48-46.

The more exposure our Imperial Congress gets, the more likely people are to vote the bums out of office. Unfortunately, our Imperial Media doesn’t see fit to expose much on an on-going basis. There are enough corrupt Republicans to keep them busy and make it appear that they are reporting the whole story. But when was the last time you saw, say, The Washington Post discuss Teddy Kennedy’s abysmal record?

A person who has had a cerebral stroke may have a damaged ability to perceive one side of his body; it appears that the MSM suffers from the same problems of perception as does this hypothetical patient.

In whatever part of the media brain that controls its access to the sins and transgressions of the left, there is pervasive vascular damage which leaves them blind to at least half of reality. This impairment is so extensive that the MSM no longer even experiences its own deficits, and any attempt to point them out are met with disbelief and ridicule.

Any chance of these folks getting some repair and rehabilitation? Don’t hold your breath. Just like the stroke victim, they are so sure of what they know that the opportunity for a dialogue based in reality is long past.

5 thoughts on “Senate Pork Scores: the Dems’ Lard Butt Rhetoric vs. Reality

  1. heroyalwhyness —

    Those stats in your link are most interesting. Only one of those cities is in Texas (El Paso) and it really has no excuse since TX is one of the three fastest-growing states, along with FL and AZ.

    MI is in a permanent downslide, thanks to the Dems and the unions who love them. Or is it vice versa? And isn’t it nice that Detroit’s Democrat mayor is about to head to jail? Ah, memories of Boston in the old days.

    Besides MI, the other failing states are IL and OH. Barry Obama is strangely silent on that one…I notice there are no IL cities in the poverty list, though parts of Chicago belong to the 3rd world…

    Not long ago, City Journal had an article about Buffalo NY that explained why the city was never going to come back.

    I read tonight that McCain is further ahead in FL right now than Bush was in the 2004 race. Some have written off FL for Obama already.

    The Dems will continue to pay for their failure to put Hillary in front of the charge for “change.”

    Come January, 2009 the usual Greek choir will be calling for recounts and impeachments. They need to learn a new song.

  2. Dymphna

    For an understanding of the issue read this article on Senator Obama’s work in Illinois as a ward hack aka “community organizer” lawyer and state Senator.

    He worked to replace totally unlivable public housing with totally unlivable public housing that enabled his friends (some now jailed and some under indictment) to rip off a small fortune some which became campaign donation to Obama.

    This is not to defend Senator Stevens but the difference between Stevens and Obama is that while they both raid the public trough, Alaska would have gotten a functional bridge.

    And Senator Obama is promising to put increased federal funding into public housing.

  3. A good article. Unfortunately, both of my Senators could be better (Utah).

    I have just one point to make. I am a sailor in the Selected Reserve and currently mobilized. I know sailors drink prodigiously, but nearly all of them drink on their own dime. That means when they are out of money, they stop drinking and look for a place to sleep it off. At worst they may talk a buddy into buying a few, or, if the bar takes a credit card, they drink themselves into debt, but none of them has a line of credit on anyone’s bank account but their own. Drunken sailors are far more fiscally responsible than any elected office holder, Democrat or Republican.

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