Back before former U.S. Senator Larry Craig disgraced himself and Idaho (Google: “Craig, airport, sex sting“), he used to say of his critics: Some people think we ought to go back to living in caves with candles.
It was his way of ridiculing people who disagreed with him. It’s interesting to reflect on that idea though.
Are there cave-dwellers out there? Who stands in the path of progress and prosperity?
Craig’s Cave-dweller Caucus appears to be U.S. Senators Risch and Crapo and U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador–if you look at their votes against transportation funding for Idaho.
Don’t take this as praise for U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson. He did the bare minimum of voting the way any reasonable person might. In fact, blame for this far-right slide into nonsense lies with any GOP leader–such as Simpson–who spent years benefiting from radical divisiveness to spare themselves the trouble of running difficult re-election campaigns.
We need leaders who are less interested in pandering for re-election and more interested in leading.
Right now, no one fits that description.
From the the Lewiston Tribune (paysite):
Cheers and Jeers: Say no; take dough
By MARTY TRILLHAASE | Dec. 11, 2015
JEERS … to U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, and Congressman Raul Labrador, all R-Idaho. All three voted against the five-year, $305 billion federal transportation package.
The fourth member of the state’s congressional delegation, Republican Congressman Mike Simpson joined the massive majorities that passed the measure – and thereby ensured the flow of money toward Idaho’s sprawling network of highways and bridges will continue.
“Funding for highways is some of the most important money appropriated on the federal level,” Simpson said. “Idaho’s economy depends on an efficient and affordable transportation system to move people and products across the country.”
Isn’t it stunning to think Simpson might have to defend his vote?
For a sparsely populated Western state, this money is an economic lifeline. During the past decade, Idaho has allocated $5.1 billion toward transportation projects. The federal government has provided 52 percent of those dollars.
In other words, the people of New York, New Jersey, Illinois and California are subsidizing Idaho’s highways. For every dollar Idahoans pay in federal fuel taxes, they get back $1.94.
Can you imagine what those people must be thinking when they see the following:
Crapo and Risch were among only 16 senators to oppose this must-pass package. And Idaho was the only state in which both of its U.S. senators voted no.
In the House, 359 members voted yes. Only 65 House Republicans, including Labrador, said no.
Among its neighbors, only Idaho saw a majority of its delegation oppose this package.
The delegations of Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming voted unanimously for it.
Utah’s six-member delegation split, half for, half against.
Only one of Nevada’s four House members voted no. Both of its senators voted yes.
Crapo argues the package is financed on a rickety foundation that draws on sales from the strategic petroleum reserve, surplus Federal Reserve accounts and uncertain debt collections.
Crapo, Risch and Labrador can afford to take the political high road as long as others are willing to do the legislative heavy lifting. This is becoming a pattern among Idaho’s delegation.
Traditionally, this behavior is dubbed “voting no and taking the dough.”
Have you ever stopped to wonder what would happen if the rest of the country took them up on it and withheld Idaho’s highway funding?