For the last six or more years the media has perpetuated the myth that in the 80’s and 90’s our senators and congressional representatives had functioned somewhat effectively through an effort to be cordial and polite with each other. The media contend that by this process or cordiality the politicians reached compromises on legislation that allowed our country to operate somewhat efficiently. I say Balderdash!
The secret was neither cordiality nor a group of reasonable people meeting elected commitments to the voter’s, it was and still should be “earmarks.”
Earmarks caused senators and congressional representatives to negotiate with each other for support on bills that would help one state in a quest to get favorable laws for their financial well being. In turn the recipients of those favorable votes would pledge their votes for favorable projects in other states. In other words one hand washed the other hand. Very logical and yet we the public clamored for the elimination of earmarks from congressional laws and bills. Why? The media kept telling us how this unethical practice of compromising in order to achieve advantages for many states on subjects of financial interest to them was screwing us all.
So some politicians took up the cause and helped to kill the earmarks. Now we have two parties who have the same opposing views as they did in the 80’s and 90’s but with no mechanism to negotiate a compromise. No state needs to “work” with another as they did in the era of earmarks to achieve state and therefore public policy interests. Hence the “intractable” signs hung on politicians who free of any chance to promote a special interest through earmarks hang firm with their ideological commitments to their voters.
The most recent example is Harry Reid’s efforts to get foreign investors interested in the Nevada Sahara casino complex into the county. He couldn’t do it by promising a bridge to “no where” to some state in exchange for that representatives promise to support Harry’s request for a special visa for potential foreign investors. I might add these are visitors that had applied for visas and been turned down by the administration because they were undesirables.
In stead of going to the congressional body for help Harry simply went to the administration department and demanded visa clearance for these individuals. The visa department bowed to the will of the majority leader of the senate and a powerhouse in the democrat party and reversed what is suppose to be a irreversible decision. Now it would appear the financing goes forward for the Sahara project. If earmarks were still in place these would have been a deal carried out in the back rooms of the congress and Harry would have received support from democrats and republicans not based on ideological basis but rather a business deal that might benefit several states in the long run.
I say; bring back earmarks and the illusion that our congressional representatives will compromise for the good of the country even though we know it will be in the common interests of individual states. Tell the media to go spit!