Thursday, August 13, 2009

What Exactly is a D.C. Moderate?

Of my states two Senators I have met one of them.  The one I have met is Sen. Chuck Grassley(R-IA) who is the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee and the leading Republican negotiator for the health care bill.

When I met Sen. Grassley it was last spring at a townhall meeting in my home of Red Oak.  He covered all the issues of the day, and he held the most conservative positions possible.  He was, for example, firmly against Sen. McCain's(who was his party's Presidential nominee at the time)immigration reform ideas.  In his Senate career he not shown himself to be anti-war like former Sen. Lincoln Chafee(R-RI) or to hold pro-choice views like Maine's current GOP Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snow.  Unlike Sen. George Voinovich(R-OH) or Sen. Lindsey Graham(R-SC), Grassley did not support Justice Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court.  Sen. Grassley did not support the Lily Ledbetter act, did not vote for the stimulus, or the most recent cash for clunkers bill.   There is nothing in his record to indicate that he is anything but a conservative Republican.

Except that Sen Grassley is the most powerful Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, and when the GOP was in control Grassley served as the chair.  The Senate Finance Committee, as explained here, deals with matters of government revenue and programs funded by the Federal Government.  This is only anecdotal evidence but everything I know about Sen. Grassley is that he takes good care of his constituents and is willing to his use his access to federal funds to help local programs.  I find nothing wrong with this because I believe there are matters of local importance that can only be funded with the help of federal money.  It looks like Grassley's reputation for moderation comes from his willingness to assist fellow Senators to access federal funds for their locally important projects.  This is fine work but just because Sen. Grassley helps a Senator access federal funds does not mean that Grassley agrees that Senator politically.

Reports like these make it clear that Sen Grassley, for both idealogical and bare-knuckled political reasons, is not really interested in a health care reform bill.  The question is whether or not President Obama and Finance Committee chair Sen. Max Baucus(R-MT) realize that Grassley doesn't want a deal.  If Obama and Baucus continue to hold to some D.C. establishment idea of moderation they are damned fools and the healthcare bill will reflect their foolishness.

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