Senator John Thune voted against H.R. 3435, the two-billion-dollar extension of Cash for Clunkers yesterday. The bill still passed on a mostly party-line vote*, despite failed wiseguy attempts by Thune and his GOP colleagues to delay the bill with non-germane amendments, like Thune's Government Ownership Exit Plan (not that I can blame a guy too much for trying).
What I find interesting here is that we can read Senator Thune's no vote yesterday as more than mere sour-grapes obstructionism. Arguably, Senator Thune has demonstrated his willingness to put principle over campaign donations. Fully aware that some of his best donors—big Republican car dealers—were clamoring for this extension, Senator Thune looked them straight in the eye and said, "Nope, I'm not voting to give you the pork you want." Senator Thune can come to Madison for a swanky $250-per-hors-d'oeuvre reception at Jerry Prostrollo's house and then say no to legislation the Prostrollos really, really want.
Of course, Thune knew the bill would pass, thanks to a solid Democratic majority eager to put stimulus dollars directly into Main Street America. So maybe it wasn't so hard a vote. Maybe there will be no hard feelings or closed wallets among those car dealer donors.
But Pat, just in case, the Lake County Democrats meet tonight at 6 p.m. at Nicky's. Your attendance and contributions are welcome.
(For more fun, go to OpenSecrets.org, search the names of your favorite local car dealers, and see how much they've donated to Thune.)
*An oddity: the senators from Missouri flipped party roles, as Republican Kit Bond voted yea and Democrat Claire McCaskill voted nay.
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