Thursday, February 05, 2004

Hastert and our money
Kos sees it as a threat to the farmers; vote our way our you’ll never see a cent. I see it as cash for votes; vote our way and we’ll give you presents. Either way Hastert is using our money to try to influence the vote in an election. Of course, while spending taxpayer money on projects to gain votes is really the very definition of “pork barrel,” Hastert is so blatant in his quid pro quo that he is pressing the barrier between the merely unethical and the flagrantly illegal to the breaking point.
U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert pledged for the first time yesterday that he would push a tobacco buyout plan to the House floor -- but only if Republican Alice Forgy Kerr is elected to Congress.

Tobacco growers attending the $50-a-head Kerr-sponsored event in Lexington applauded Hastert's remarks. A Kentucky Farm Bureau representative was more reserved, saying the group was encouraged but would fight for a buyout regardless of who wins the Feb. 17 special election for Gov. Ernie Fletcher's vacant 6th District seat.
Jason Sauer, spokesman for Chandler's campaign, said he could not comment on Hastert's specific words.

"But if it's a political condition being put on something as important to farmers across Kentucky and the country, then that's unfortunate," he said. "That's playing politics with the farmers of America. And that seems beneath the office of the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives."

Democrats at all levels need to seize on this kind of behavior and publicize it. In 1998, in the middle of the impeachment farce, and in a midterm election, we did the best we have in a decade by making a symbol of Newt Gingrich and running against him. This year we need to publicize the dirty politics, bad sportsmanship, and outright corruption of DeLay, Cheney, and Hastert and run against the symbol.

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