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Friday, August 7, 2009

Thune to Prostrollo: You Don't Need Gov't Handouts

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.


  1. Please remember, John Thune would not need to vote if Congress hadn't gutted the original Cash For Clunkers Bill from $4 Billion down to $1 Billion, knowing that it would be popular and setting up an opportunity for a national PR opportunity, as Democrats made it look like the program ran out of money after four days, but actually just wanted to make themselves look like heroes for adding $2 Billion back from the $3 Billion they cut earlier. Sort of a shell game for political PR.

    I'm guessing Thune was voting for your daughter, her children and my future grandchildren who will have to pay back the government for all these stimulus loans.

    We'll pay the piper with runaway inflation in the next two to three years. Around election time.

  2. Tweet! B.S. Flag!

    Seriously, Rod? Last week you said this program was a financial disaster demonstrating government incompetence. Others were saying the short-funding showed government's lack of foresight. Now you come to say the government knew all along how wildly successful this program would be and deliberately planned for a funding shortfall? That sounds like far-too-much hindsight-nformed conspiracy theorizing. You can argue the Dems are brilliant or you can argue they are bumbling idiots, but you can't have both.

    Occam's Razor: I think the far simpler, more logical explanation is that the original bill was cut from $4B to $1B as a perfectly normal matter of political compromise to win more votes, without any sinister plot for later PR gains.

  3. In proportion to the relative amount of money that's been spent on the "Cash for clunkers" program -- $2.00E09 to $4.00E09 compared to $7.87E11 for the last "stimulus" (Lord, I'm sick of that word!) package -- I'd say that "Cash for Clunkers" has proven staggeringly (real word?) successful.

    A batch of my Mama's raisin-oatmeal cookies is due the Dems for this little trick. They got it right. Nonetheless I can't, at this wee hour (Hoo! Hoooooo!) emit pure praise: Even a broken thermometer tells the truth at ninety below.


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