Saturday, December 13, 2008

Spiting his face

Can you believe that we are half way through December? It seems there is not enough time in the day to do all of the things I need to do, at work and at home. And the things I used to do, like post to this blog, have unfortunately fallen by the wayside. So while I haven't as much time as I would like to digest the day's news and commentary, one thing I read recently struck me:

Jason Chaffetz is determined to continue the legacy of Chris Cannon by being as overly partisan and embarrassing to his state and constituents as Cannon was. Case in point: Utah's mythical 4th seat.

[Caffetz] is breaking with the rest of the state's delegation by saying he opposes a plan that would give Utah a fourth seat in the House and add a seat for the District of Columbia.

Republican Jason Chaffetz says he's opposed to the bill because he believes giving Washington, D.C. full voting rights in the House is unconstitutional.
Jason cares more about continuing to disenfranchise overwhelmingly Democratic and not coincidentally overwhelmingly African-American D.C. than he cares about increasing his state's power in the House. Is he worried that Jim Matheson would take one seat and a Becker/Corroon-type would take the lean-Dem seat?

We all know the constitutionality argument is a smokescreen for something else. Jason's ideological peers are the same congress-critters that voted to intervene in a lawsuit between the husband and parents of a brain-dead woman, the same ones that voted for the Military Commissions Act (which stripped detainees of the writ of Habeas Corpus without a state of civil war or invasion), the same ones that looked the other way or promoted bills that would condone or allow the U.S. government to torture people (in clear violation of signed treaties, which have equal force as the constitution itself).

So why cut off another seat to spite your state? To me, no other explanation makes sense besides the partisan one: if D.C. gets a seat, that is one more liberal Democrat in the House. He probably figures that Utah will get that seat in 4 years anyway, so why give up a seat to D.C.? How about because now the Democrats can give D.C. its seat without giving Utah one? Or making D.C. a state, and therefore also creating 2 more Democratic senators?

The news out of Minnesota sounds like Al Franken has a pretty good chance of pulling out a narrow victory, making 59 members of the Democratic Caucus in the Senate (including Lieberman and Sanders). All you need therefore is one scared GOP senator to vote with you to overcome cloture and the Dems could pass it even with a filibuster threat.

And there are plenty of those. Specter looks like he will get serious challenges from the left and right, if he decides to stick around (he has stage 4 Hodgkins's Disease)...and Pennslyvannia has gone Democratic since 1992. There are numerous other senators in bluing states that could be picked off on an issue by issue basis.

Jason, in short, is a freshman GOP House member during worst time to be a conservative partisan-hack back bencher. But he seems determined to stay as clueless as Cannon.

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