Seriously, the guy’s been in Congress since 1987 (the Senate since 2007), and he’s done pretty much nothing. Which is pretty much why CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo ripped into him for doing nothing but repeating the same stupid talking points about taxing the rich over and over and over again and never actually doing anything to solve the problem because Cardin doesn’t think that he has to. Newsbusters grades her performance a little harshly, I think: while I agree that the Media’s been ignoring that the Democrats have been one-note wonders on fiscal issues (and that the Media’s ignoring our horrific spending problem), I also believe in positive feedback. The goal is to get more of this, after all.
This is a preliminary investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics, and it’s done in the wake of a March lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch on behalf of former U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (also known as the Helsinki Commission) staffer Winsome Packer. The suit alleges sexual harassment, attempted extortion (for Hastings’ re-election campaign), and acts of retaliation against Ms. Packer’s attempts at whistle-blowing. According to the Judicial Watch suit (via Left Coast Rebel), informing then Commission Staff Director Fred Turner resulted in Turner’s joining with Rep. Hastings in said acts of retaliation; according to the Huffington Post, Sen. Ben Cardin (D, MD) (co-chair of the Helsinki Commission, then and now) and the then-Democratic-controlled House Ethics committee were likewise allegedly informed and did nothing (a Cardin spokeswoman declined to comment). It should also be noted that Turner is currently the “Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to the Co-Chairman at the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe” and one of Sen. Cardin’s key people.
This is via That’s My Congress, which is about to become very confused about why it’s getting traffic from a VRWC site. Here’s the list:
…and they have two things in common. First, they’re all Democrats. Second, they all have email addresses with Erickson & Company. And what is Erickson & Company? As That’s My Congress puts it:
Erickson & Company is not a lobbying firm. Instead, it helps set up events like the Heath Shuler’s BBQ, at which lobbyists and other people seeking special favors can come, check in hand, to pay for access to elected officials and their aides.
In other words, it’s a legal [and Democratic-aligned] money-laundering facility for lobbyists. Need to toss Heath Shuler some cash, but you’re a dirty lobbyist? Well, go to Shuler’s little BBQ (run by a go-between), drop a grand for a plate of food, and say hi! No fuss, no muss, no need for disclosure. Shuler’s happy: he’s getting his cut of your entry fee. The go-between is happy: it’s getting its cut of your entry fee. And you’re happy: this is a lot cheaper than a maximum campaign contribution would be.
So remember this, the next time anybody on that list – or, honestly, any Democrat – talks about the evil of lobbying: the sound you hear isn’t scorn towards those who would try to pay for influence. Nope. It’s scorn towards the rubes who don’t know how to tell when a Democrat is gaming the system.
Don’t blame me: I voted for the other guy. From before the “You Lie!” speech:
Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.), a strong advocate of a public insurance plan, concedes that such a package is likely to be costly. “The larger the bill is, the more it’s going to save,” and that, he said, is the key.
(Via Kausfiles) Although admittedly Cardin came out against reconciliation. I wonder if that’s still true of him, though?
WASHINGTON – An independent senator counted on by Democrats in the health care debate showed signs of wavering Sunday when he urged President Barack Obama to postpone many of his initiatives because of the economic downturn.
“I’m afraid we’ve got to think about putting a lot of that off until the economy’s out of recession,” said Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman. “There’s no reason we have to do it all now, but we do have to get started. And I think the place to start is cost health delivery reform and insurance market reforms.”
…except to note three things:
Sen. Lieberman’s not, strictly speaking, against health care rationing per se; he’s just worried about what will happen to the Democrats and this administration if the House leadership keeps screaming-and-leaping on the issue. Which is a very reasonable worry, but it’s not a particularly conservative-friendly one.
That being said: if ‘health delivery reform and insurance market reforms’* can be extended to include Rep. Shadegg’s (R) ‘allowing customers to buy personal insurance across state lines‘ and Rep. Ryan’s ‘meaningful tort reform” (neither are negotiable, of course)… sure, those two features are excellent things with which to assemble a workable health care bill around. A pity that House Democrats didn’t think things through from the start, but that’s life.
I imagine that not a few members of the netroots ground their teeth at the sight of, once again, Senator Lieberman… actually, that sentence works just fine as is.
…a Senator who is barely known for defeating Michael Steele in the 2006 election (honestly, Maryland does not have particularly interesting Senators; sorry about that) – anyway, if you can’t get Ben Cardin to sign off on your ‘astroturf’ rhetoric, well, you have a branding problem. Watch as he manfully attempts to avoid sweating on national television over the mess that his higher-ups have landed him in:
Cardin probably saw this poll (via @RobertBluey). 71% of adults want to attend a town hall involving health care, and are currently pegged at 50% for, 45% against. Turn those numbers into likely voters… and now you know why Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) suddenly doesn’t think that health care rationing protesters are ‘un-American‘ after all. Not that she’s planning to actually face all those protesters; even if they are also 2010 voters…