Don't touch the pork? Red in tooth and claw, Baby has no patience with Beltway types afraid to cut the meat to the bone.
For effort, we award the following grades to the offices of our Massachusetts Representative and Senators -- all democrats -- for their responses to our inquiries this afternoon re their bosses' pork-trimming intentions:
It's safe to say we knew what their positions would be before dialing -- roll back "tax cuts for the wealthy," and don't touch the pork -- but the way each one's office handled a constituent's call is important. Not that we would ever vote for one of them in a million years. But Capuano's and Kennedy's staff were friendly and helpful -- professional -- while Kerry's were snotty and dismissive:
John Lenicheck, Capuano's deputy district director, acknowledged his boss would not be supporting any budget cuts. We asked whether Capuano would support Rep. Ron Lewis's (R-KY) "Dear Colleague" letter, described by Mark Tapscott:
[Lewis] is challenging fellow Members of Congress to join him in asking the House to adopt a one-year moratorium on all "non-defense earmarks." That's Washingtonese for "pork barrel projects."
Lenicheck had not heard of the letter -- sent to Republicans only, perhaps? -- and pointed out that according to Lewis's website, he himself hasn't committed to any cuts. Good point. More research required.
Kennedy's office started off slow, trying to shuffle us off to the usual voice-mail dead end. But when we insisted we'd already left several voice mails, they connected us to Tom Crohan, who suggested we visit the Senator's web site and agreed to answer our specific questions by return email if we would email him. Fair enough. He also distinguished between transportation budget dollars' coming from gasoline taxes vs. other budgetary items' coming from income taxes. We didn't really get his point, but don't forget, we don't know nothin' 'bout the budget process, and this is the first time we've ever called a Senator's office.
They gave the usual voice-mail routine, but when we asked how long a reply might take -- "days, weeks?" -- the woman said, with attitude, "Yes, you'll probably have to wait days." Oh, yah? So's your old man.
The tone of Kerry's staff response reminded us of the old waffler himself, a bit too nuanced for our taste. As we said re Kerry's contempt for us last year during campaign season:
Like so many of our betters in the political class -- take John McCain with his global-warming demagoguery, blogged here yesterday, where he assumes we little people are too stupid and lazy to be up on the science -- these titans think they can manipulate our dependency and cluelessness at will. Especially now that we have the blogosphere to test conventional wisdom and outright deception, they're going to have to start showing a little respect.
It looks like we aren't the only ones getting the runaround from our elected representatives. Check out InstaPundit's PorkBusters Update:
So I made the call I suggested other folks make, calling my Congressman (Jimmy Duncan) to ask if he would be willing to forego some local pork (either the specific items identified earlier in this post or something else, maybe from this Knoxville News-Sentinel list) in order to fund Katrina relief.
I spoke to his budget analyst, who promised me a swift response -- by postal mail, as they don't do email. Hmm. I know that franked mail is "free," but it's not as cheap as email -- I think I just figured out another way for the Congress to save some money.
It sounds like we got a better deal. Kennedy's man promised to respond by email.
Technorati tag: porkbusters.
Update: Now that we've done battle with the powers that be, it's time for relaxation with the purrers that be over at the Carnival of the Cats #67 at Watermark.
Update II: We couldn't resist the sheer poetry of Goomp's latest comment:
Still and all our elected reps and senators are a pretty slimy bunch of toads.
That's our Papa.