I’ve heard and seen some bilgewater during my 40 years dabbling in politics. Senator James Risch’s spokeswoman’s recent statement that Cecil Andrus would have taken the same course Senator Risch had and held the national interest hostage to a parochial interest takes the cake.
It reminds me of the classic putdown Texas Senator Lloyd Bentsen nailed a pretentious Vice President Dan Quayle with during the vice presidential debate. To paraphrase, madam: “I beg your pardon. I knew Cecil Andrus, I worked with Cecil Andrus and Senator Risch is no Cecil Andrus.”
Andrus knew that governors and senators are elected to solve challenges, to find solutions by compromise and figuring out the greatest good for the greatest number. He did not approach issues from an ideological standpoint He was candid and straightforward. He studied issues and took stands based on good policy making good politics. He did not put his finger in the air to test which way the wind was blowing.
He had a sense of perspective and to suggest he would hold the national interest prisoner to a purely parochial matter is bunk.
For Risch to claim he held Cece in high regard and that attempting to bump out Simpson’s amendment was not personal simply does not past the smell test. Risch also claimed to have been blind-sided by Simpson, that he was unaware Mike was proceeding. More balderdash. Early on he told Simpson he would oppose the move necessitating Simpson finding a bullet-proof way to get it done.
Thanks to Simpson’s skill it was fittingly accomplished. Almost as appalling as Risch’s attempt was the Idaho Statesman’s editorial trying to minimize Risch’s gaffe. Risch shot himself in the foot and his trying to find an ex post facto explanation was simply sad.
One may also have noticed that Senator Risch and Senator Mike Crapo, Idaho’s senior senator, voted no on the final spending package. Both cited concerns about budget busting and excessive spending increasing the national debt. This of course is a classic smokescreen.
They want it both ways: to come home and tell Idahoans how they courageously voted no and stood like Horatio at the bridge slaying as many “big spenders” as they could. Notice that neither of them joined or encouraged Kentucky Senator Rand Paul in his effort to mount a filibuster.
Notice too how these balance budget heroes that represent Idaho in the Senate belong to a party that is responsible for the two biggest contributions to America’s deficit in modern times. The recent tax cut for the wealthy by all economists and accountants will add trillions to the deficit, just as the Bush era passage of the government taking over drug payments has.
When you next see these two deficit hawks ask how they lost their wings.
Have you noticed also how there are a fair number of U.S. senators around whom swirl rumors of having girl friends on the side and who seem to think female staff are perks of the office and targets of opportunity?
Many of these are first class hypocrites who talk family values but who live a different life. The nexus of power, money and sex is apparently a toxic brew. Such rumors even touched Senator Crapo a few years back but he emphatically denied them and the story soon died. And in fairness to Senator Risch, he has never been the subject of such rumors or speculation.
As one political observer put it, “Risch wouldn’t dare stray - Vickie would kill him.”
There is one group of senators not touched by such rumors of scandal and infidelity: The 22 members of the Senate that are female. Now isn’t that interesting?