Political Diatribes

Another conservative take on the world around us

It’s Time for Dave Obey to Go

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on February 7, 2009

Stimulus-National Parks

Photo credit: Lawrence Jackson (AP). Dave Obey, looking like he has just screwed over Wisconsin - and everyone else.

For a stalwart of the House who has been re-elected in his Wisconsin District for 40 years because of name recognition and lack of viable candidates as opposition, Dave Obey flies under the radar pretty well. Even in his District (in which I live) you could ask 1000 people what they know about him and you’d maybe get a handful of people who really know anything about him.

He could be the most powerful no-name in Washington.

And he is an embarrassment to Wisconsin. But we don’t know it.

Oh, to be fair, there are certain things he has represented us well on. We are a rural and farming community with a lot of blue-collar workers. Any viable candidate will need to recognize the make-up of the district which he or she represents. But in a multitude of other ways, he is the antithesis of what we are about. We are not spendthrifts here who shun fiscal responsibility. We are not liberal on social issues. We are not socialists.

Dave Obey is all of these things. And he has the means of direct influence in Washington to help enact exactly the opposite of the issues we truly hold dear.

So, am I saying that the Wisconsin District is stupid for continuing to vote for him? No. They are not stupid. I would say that they are not properly informed. And that is not entirely their fault. The last time there was any remotely viable candidate to oppose Obey was probably 15 years ago or so, when an opponent named Scott West actually gave him a run for his money. Other than that little glimmer of hope, there has been nobody that had any money to compete. The seat has never looked endangered, so the Republican Party never bothers here. So, for decades, there has been little to no informational campaign that highlights Representative Obey’s issues.

Case in point is the recent stimulus behemoth. From NPR:

U.S. Rep. David Obey (D-WI), the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, helped write the bill and says he doesn’t like being asked about earmarks.

“We simply made a decision, which took about three seconds, not to have earmarks in the bill,” he says. “And with all due respect, that’s the least important question facing us on putting together this package.”

Leaving out the earmarks does mean Congress will have less control over how the money is spent. But, Obey says, “So what? This is an emergency. We’ve got to simply find a way to get this done as fast as possible and as well as possible, and that’s what we’re doing.”

That doesn’t mean Congress will be responsible if the money is spent badly, he says.

“The person who spends the money badly will be responsible. We are simply trying to build as many protections in as possible,” Obey says. “We have more oversight built into this package than any package in the history of man. If money is spent badly, we want to know about it so we can hold accountable the people who made that choice. And guess what? Regardless of what we do, there will be some stupid decisions made.”

That may not sound all that bad, but the most important point here is that Obey was instrumental in putting together a $900 billion spending bill. And there isn’t a lot of control over how the money that will trash our dollar will be spent. And his response: “So what?”

Oh, but there’s oversight so that after “stupid decisions” are made and the money’s already spent, then they’ll hold people accountable.

Whoop-de-doo.

But there’s more. As this source explains:

House Republicans are questioning a section of the economic stimulus package that routes nearly $2 billion to national parks, saying the money could be a hidden pet project for Obey’s son. Craig Obey, a senior vice president of the National Parks Conservation Association, is a top lobbyist for the nonprofit group, which made public appeals for funds to repair and maintain national parks in the weeks before the House passed the bill.

That is pretty sleazy. $2 billion! When talking about the staggering amount of $900 billion, perhaps we start to lose sight of how big each billion actually is. Think, everyone. It takes a $1000 coming from one million people to total a billion. And Mr. Obey recklessly pushes through $2 billion in pork as a favor to his son? Is this what the people of Central and Northwestern Wisconsin want out of their Representative? No way.

This is egregious. It is mortgaging our future. And all he says is “So what?”

I am calling on the new RNC Chairman, Mr. Steele, to start today in developing a campaign strategy against Dave Obey. Pound his efforts in passing this bill over and over and over. Even if there is a short-term bump from this spending, we all know it’s irresponsible. Go with that. Over and over.

Anyone and everyone – in Wisconsin or not – let’s figure out a way how to get this guy out. Start today. I’ll help however I can. 527s, PACs, whatever. I know nothing about all that, so we need legal people and political people and RNC people and strategy people and advertising people and grassroots people…

Pass it on.

Anyone who has anything at all that I can post regarding comments by Dave Obey or votes by Mr. Obey that can help me get the word out here, send them to me at geezep@yahoo.com, or post a comment.

Anyone with contact information for anyone who could actually help organize any kind of campaign, let’s do it.

And no, I won’t be running. My wife would kill me. But I will help where I can.

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