Most interesting rumor from the Hill yesterday: Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) who announced his retirement from Congress has been promised the job of NASA administrator in exchange for his vote, and Rep. John Tanner (D-Tenn.), another retiring Democrat, has been promised an appointment as U.S. Ambassador to NATO in exchange for his vote.
(Via Transterrestrial Musings, via Instapundit.) The man does realize that this simply means that he gets to be the one holding the knife when the Democrats kill the manned space program once and for all, yes?
After more than a quarter-century of public service to his home state of Tennessee, U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon announced his plans to retire from Congress when his current term ends in 2010.
“I feel honored that the people of Middle Tennessee have allowed me to serve them for the past 25 years,” said Gordon. “Every decision I have made in Congress has been with their best interests in mind. I hope the people here at home feel that I have served them as well as their good advice and views have served me.
“When I was elected, I was the youngest member of the Tennessee congressional delegation; now, I’m one of the oldest. In fact, I have members of my staff who weren’t even born when I took office. That tells me it’s time for a new chapter.”
If you might remember, back in February it was reported that Bart Gordon (D, TN-06) went to Europe on taxpayer money to… essentially, ski. He wasn’t on any relevant committee that would justify his presence in that particular junket, but he is a twelve-term Democrat whose party overwhelmingly controls Congress right now, which apparently is justification enough. Now Dave Evans, Gordon’s most likely Republican challenger in the general election, has come out with an estimate that Gordon’s travel costs were approximately $7,250; he’s calling for the Congressman to give that money back, fully disclose how much was spent by Gordon and his family on the trip, explain why he didn’t disclose earlier, and explain why the Congressman was on this junket in the first place.
What makes this potentially damaging is that Bart Gordon is a Blue Dog Democrat; their primary distinguishing feature is supposed to be fiscal conservatism. While this has been overshadowed by their willingness to vote for things like the miscalled “stimulus” bills – which Gordon voted for – individual members of that caucus still hope to run on individual records of financial probity. Which is quite probably why Gordon has been notably uncommunicative about his reasons for going to Europe at taxpayer expense. If there was anything resembling a valid reason for it, he would have said so by now. Early days yet for the race, but that’s sometimes necessary when a long-time incumbent is being challenged.
Tuesday night, Putnam County native, Major General Dave Evans announced his candidacy for Congress in a speech to the Putnam County Republican Party.
“I am here this evening,” Evans said speaking to a standing-room only crowd, “to announce that I will seek the Republican nomination to challenge liberal Democrat Bart Gordon for the privilege of representing Tennesseans who reside in the Sixth Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives.”
Hurry, hurry, hurry. Congress will begin its 2009 travel season in earnest this weekend with two spectacular codels — trips for House congressional delegations — that are not to be missed.
On Saturday, Rep. John Tanner (D-Tenn.), chairman of the House delegation to NATO’s parliamentary assembly, and his wife will lead a delegation of 13 lawmakers — plus 10 spouses — on a fine nine-day jaunt starting at NATO’s headquarters in Brussels.
The huge number of members, spouses and staffers, plus military escorts, will require taking one of the bigger military jets, but we’re told these trips are an important use of taxpayer money.