August 6, 2007
Time for Republicans
to Cut Alaska Pork Kings Ted Stevens and Don Young
It simply boggles
the mind that so many congressional Republicans, presumably smart and
politically savvy people, just do not seem to understand the reason
their party got kicked out of power last November. It is just as
confounding that the remaining Republicans still embrace such
individuals in their ranks.
After years of
runaway spending and mounting pork waste, voters finally decided that if
Congress is going to throw their money out the window anyway, they might
as well let the professional spenders do it. Now that the Democrats are
running the show, many Republicans still refuse to seize the opportunity
to demonstrate that the GOP can, as it should, represent ethical,
conservative principles again.
It certainly does
not help things when the archetypal Republican money-wasting sketch
ball, Sen. Ted Stevens, is the ranking member on the Senate
Appropriations Committee. And as if we needed a slap in the face in
addition to a kick in the stomach, Stevens hails from Alaska, one
supposedly conservative state where voters have no problem sending
Republicans to Congress to funnel money back upcontinent from the
remaining 49 states.
Of course, Stevens
is not alone. Enter Alaska’s only Representative in the House, Don Young
– and note that the word “only” here is quite misleading. Measured by
the amount of pork Young tries to bring in, Alaska might as well send
half of its population as a congressional delegation (the other half
would be busy building bridges to nowhere).
barked at some of his Republican colleagues for trying to – gulp – cut
some of the pork headed toward Alaska. Specifically, he yelled, “You
want my money, my money!” before threatening that those who “bite” him
would be “bitten back.” His money? Since when did the 49 lower states
agree to pool their money and donate it to Alaska?
Apparently we have a
welfare system for the states themselves now. I would say Alaska can go
find a job, but I don’t want John Edwards knocking at my door to remind
me that there are two Americas – one for the states that work hard to
produce the tax revenue, and the other for the states that deserve that
money because otherwise it’s just not fair!
The only thing is
that Alaska wouldn’t necessarily be a stop on Edwards’s poverty tour. As
one of the highest-ranking states in GDP per capita, it doesn’t even
need the money it’s getting. And when Sen. Stevens is willing to spend
$223 million on a bridge that has virtually no purpose whatsoever,
chances are there are no other piercing priorities that desperately need
behavior of Stevens and Young, among others, has finally raised some red
flags. Their activities have put them under investigation for corrupt
behavior, and I anxiously await the results. But in all fairness, I
wouldn’t point the finger if it turns out that they or their
acquaintances have benefited from pork. Seeing that Stevens alone has
sucked in over $1,000 in pork for each Alaskan in a single year, it is
statistically likely that everyone around him will have benefited at
least a little bit.
Stevens, Young and
their friends are precisely the reason the Republican Party has failed
to see a check with my name on it this year. Theirs are the names that
make me cringe when the media associates them with the GOP. And indeed,
it is as much the GOP’s fault as it is theirs.
Until porkers like
them are cut from the Republican Party, and until congressional
Republicans turn around on the pork issue, conservatives such as myself
will seek to defeat such individuals as hard as we will try to beat
Nancy Pelosi (see: 2006 Rhode Island Republican Senate Primary).
At worst, the more
inactive among us may just “forget” to turn out at the polls next
November – just like in the last election.
© 2007 North Star
Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.
Click here to talk to our writers and
editors about this column and others in our discussion forum.
To e-mail feedback about this column,
click here. If you enjoy this writer's
work, please contact your local newspapers editors and ask them to carry
This is Column # PI064.
Request permission to publish here.