Thursday, April 24, 2014
What's New in the New West
Home » New West Network Topics » Politics » Diary of a Mad Voter » Term Limits Stop Pork Barrel Politics
Nothing makes an already "Mad Voter" even angrier than the arrogant attitude and actions of an entrenched old politician. Case in point, is the self-revering, very senior Senator from West Virginia, Robert Byrd. Now at age 90, this "old Byrd" has become the longest serving member of the United States Senate. He has also fought a good battle to become the pork barrel king by bringing more money to his home state than any other Senator. Editor's note: Dan Rostad's weekly blogs are part of NewWest.Net/Politics' "Diary of a Mad Voter" feature, a group blog, published in partnership with the Denver Post's Politics West intended give a glimpse into the hearts and minds of several independent-minded voters and thinkers in the Rocky Mountain West in the '08 election cycle. For more columns check in with www.newwest.net/madvoter. And for more information on each of the bloggers, click here.

Term Limits Stop Pork Barrel Politics

Nothing makes an already “Mad Voter” even more angry than the arrogant attitude and actions of an entrenched old politician.

Case in point, is the self-revering, very senior Senator from West Virginia, Robert Byrd. Now at age 90, this “old Byrd” has become the longest serving member of the United States Senate.

He has also fought a good battle to become the pork barrel king, by bringing more money to his home state than any other Senator.

In a recent expose of this one Senator’s lust to bring home the federal treasury to his own state, the “CBS Evening News with Katie Couric” recently profiled his actions in a story titled, Byrd “Droppings” In West Virginia: Why Are So Many Of Your Tax Dollars Going To Dedicate Buildings To A Senate Earmark King?

In the story, Byrd was exposed as bringing home more than $3 Billion (that’s “B” for Billion) federal tax dollars to his beloved West Virginia. But that is only part of the story. It was also revealed that Byrd has nearly 50 of those federally funded projects named after him. Whether it is a telescope, a bridge, a highway or a dam, this “Byrd’s” name is all over them.

Byrd, at the opening of the Robert C. Byrd Biotech Center, to which he generously gave $35.6 million of your tax dollars, stood before the crowd of Byrd watchers and proclaimed that he was their “Big Daddy”. The Senator went on to pontificate: “Our effort to construct this facility and create a stronger foundation for the biotech industry here in West Virginia began where? With a visit to my office. Yeah. Yeah man. A visit to my office, yeah.”

The arrogance of this guy is amazing. He has no shame about bragging of his own self-importance, but instead makes certain that all should know he is the one you need to see if you intend to do anything in West Virginia.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty more of these bloated-ego buffoons running around the halls of the Congress. Let’s not forget another long-time member of the Senate, Ted Stevens from Alaska, who can boast being the Senate’s longest serving Republican. And with that title, has brought home more than his share of the federal treasury to his own electorate in the “Last Frontier” state.

Investigations into all this money ending up in Alaska has exposed all kinds of illegalities, cronyism and left poor old Ted the focus of an FBI investigation.

The real crime here is that nothing is abnormal at all about Senators and Congressman trying to bring the spoils of the victory of their influence. In my state, Montana’s two Senators have both sent out year end newsletters bragging about how much money they sent back to Montana.

Newly elected, Senator Jon Tester brags about helping to bring home more than $142 million in just his first year in the Senate.

Senator Max Baucus even boasts in his newsletter about “bringing home the bacon”. Do you get it? “Bringing home the bacon” a.k.a. Pork Barrel politics. This is not new, it is an ongoing problem. And if the problem is the undue influence of the seniority system in the Congress, then the solution has got to be term limits. There would be no worries about the needs for campaign finance reform if we had term limits for all Members of Congress. There would be no more “Big Daddy’s” ring to kiss if there were no particular “Big Daddy.”

Robert Byrd’s office says “he has every intention of continuing” to send your money home to West Virginia. Meaning he will continue to rule over those less senior Senators who don’t carry the clout he does. Why do “old Byrds” like Robert and others like Strom Thurmond, Ted Stevens and Ted Kennedy, think the Senate can’t live without them?

We deserve so much better from our elected representatives and we shouldn’t allow the treasury to be raided on the behalf of a few who need to see their names in lights. Federal projects should be judged on their merit and need, not on the need of a few “old Byrds” desires of immortality.

Editor’s note: Dan Rostad’s weekly blogs are part of NewWest.Net/Politics’ “Diary of a Mad Voter” feature, a group blog, published in partnership with the Denver Post’s Politics West intended give a glimpse into the hearts and minds of several independent-minded voters and thinkers in the Rocky Mountain West in the ’08 election cycle. For more columns check in with www.newwest.net/madvoter. And for more information on each of the bloggers, click here.

About Dan Rostad

Dan Rostad, a life-long Montanan, who's conservative roots run deep, has been politically active since he was in high school. He has never missed an election, but even though he is a Republican, isn't so foolish as to never give a democrat the benefit of the doubt and has a time or two, crossed the party line on the ballot. He has worked in small business, worked on the family ranch, been employed by non-profits and was once a congressional staffer in D.C.

Comments

  1. flounder says:

    I used to think term limits solved these sorts of things, and they might, but after living in Oregon for a few years and seeing how term limits was making lobbyists that much more influential I don’t think they are the answer. See in Oregon, the state politicians were turned over so quickly that they were easily manipulated by lobbyists who knew there way around the capitol.
    I think exposing the congressional process to more public scrutiny is a better answer at this point. Making politicians attach their names to funding requests and making them report who is giving them money in a more timely fashion (some in the Senate are fighting proposals to make them report donations and gifts online quickly) is probably a better fix and easier to accomplish at this point. Check out the Sunlight Foundation, they are fighting the good fight.

  2. steve kelly says:

    Breaking down the (party) barriers to ballot access would help reduce corruption. Then, take away the big money. Then, the “rules” of the Senate, which allow non-germane amendments (earmarks). Plutocracy (monopoly) hates competition.

  3. JACK CRONIN says:

    My website (CONGRESSIONALTERMLIMITS) plumps for SINGLE TERMS for ALL government officials#. At first: US Senators/8 years; Housemembers/4 years. Etc, etc. Also, I claim that non-voters are THE worst elements, followed by incumbents. I think the USA will collapse without early corrections are begun. I hope to work with like-minded others to save our beloved nation.

  4. Bill says:

    LIike “flounder”, I too live in a term-limit state (Michigan) regarding state elected officials, and term limits definitely aren’t the answer. Flounder greatly understated the impact of lobbyists. The most important aspects of governing a state (or nation) are very complex issues which take years to fully understand. Lobbyists are eager to be the ones to educate the elected officials. I’m extremely hopeful we can end term limits and put the control back into the hands of the voters. The issues that need attention are getting the “Parties” out of controlling the electoral process and eliminate or greatly reduce and control the private money supporting candidates for office. We need elected officials that are beholden to the people and not a Party. Now, most of their votes are “what’s good for my party”. That’s usually why some ludacris policies get approved. My elected officials used to put our state first.

  5. jeronimo Dan says:

    No Comment, just a question:
    Which congress person put if for the Water Park?