Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Suffering through the 5th district congressional debate

Posted on Wed, Oct 20, 2010 at 1:48 PM

As I watched the debate last night between Republican U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and her challenger, Democrat Daryl Romeyn, I had one recurring thought.

This is depressing.

First, there was the congresswoman saying the stimulus was “a huge missed opportunity to actually address more of that infrastructure need” in Eastern Washington. “Only 7 percent of the stimulus actually went to funding infrastructure,” she said.

Wait a minute. About one-third of Obama’s stimulus went to cutting taxes, the first priority for many Republicans, including, presumably, McMorris Rodgers. Income taxes were slashed by $116 billion, reducing the tax burden for 95 percent of working American families. And she voted against it. Now she says she wanted more of it to go to infrastructure? 

Did Romeyn point out this contradiction? Nope. He decided to make some other point, first talking about the North-South Freeway before criticizing McMorris Rodgers’ ability to pass legislation.

Which was Romeyn’s m.o. for the night: barely staying afloat while totally missing the boat. 

Not quite halfway through the debate, Northwest News Network’s Doug Nadvornick pressed McMorris Rodgers to be specific on what programs she’d cut to support the balanced budget amendment, which would require $1 trillion to be slashed. “Nibbling around the edges isn’t enough here,” he told her. “Whose ox do you gore?” The Defense Department, Social Security or Medicare?

She replied that she’d roll back federal spending to 2008.

Did Romeyn take her to task for wanting to return to days of George W. Bush? To roll back spending on the war in Afghanistan, which was grossly underfunded when Bush left office? Back to the days of a cratering economy, when the country was on the brink of a new Great Depression?

Nope. He said, “We heard grandiose statements but no details,” then went on to give a mediocre statement with no details. “We have a lot of waste in government that’s not being addressed,”  he said, answering the same question. “That will be one of my priorities: to find that wasteful dollar and turn it around, bring it here to Eastern Washington to invest in our people, our community, our future. That’s what I’ll be doing when I’m elected to Congress.”  

Romeyn: bringing wasteful dollars to Spokane. Thanks.

And there’s plenty more, but I’d rather not recount it. Check it out for yourself:

Watch the full episode. See more KSPS Specials.

The debate did get me thinking about politics of the past, so I Googled Tom Foley and got this:

Now that’s nice. What’s happened to politics? Where once we had scenes of nature and a soothing voice, now we have nasty attack ads funded by PACs and corporations. Like this gem:

Sexual harassment? It turned out not even to be true. How inspiring.

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