Congressional pork and swinish behavior

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 6, 2006

Tuesday night President Bush offered an olive branch to the Democrats while making a series of proposals to strengthen the nation at home and abroad.

The Democrats, devoid of any alternatives to the president’s proposals, or programs of their own, responded in the only way they know how: they bashed Bush, a tactic they seem to have learned from their current den mother, Cindy Sheehan, and her fellow loonies.

The swinish behavior of the Democrats during the State of the Union address was appalling. They were sitting on their hands, scowling, taking credit for killing badly needed reform of a Social Security System heading towards the poor house by applauding when the President recalled their appalling failure to rescue the system, along with their efforts to show themselves not as the defeatists they are but as “supporters” of the troops fighting the war they want desperately to lose so they can blame it on the president

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They claim to have programs and policies of their own, but they don’t dare spell them out. They don’t really have to – anybody who wants to know what they’d do if they were in control of the Congress and the White House has only to read Karl Marx – it’s all in there. If one of their number were to win the presidency, he’d probably give his State of the Union address by reading Marx’s Communist Manifesto.

Take for instance Rep. Charlie Rangel’s remark on the heels of the speech: “The way [President Bush] wants to achieve [his goals] is that the wealthy get the benefits and the poor are left out,” a classic lie right out of the Marxist class warfare playbook.

So they bash Bush and bash Bush and bash Bush. That’s their party platform. They don’t want to solve problems like a flawed Social Security system headed for the brink, or what they claim is a health care crisis – they want them to continue to be problems and even get worse, so they can blame it on Bush.

The president, on the other hand, has a positive agenda. When he called on Congress to give him the power of a line-item veto he was asking for the ability to cut the pork out of spending bills, to end the scandal of earmarks where bills appropriating money for legitimate purposes get loaded down – often at the last minute and secretly – with the cost of paying for the members’ pet projects for their districts. It’s called bringing home the bacon, the exorbitant cost of which is picked up by the taxpayers.

This line-item veto is long overdue. My father pleaded with Congress to give him the same line-item veto the state governors have so he could put the brakes on their wasteful spending. They turned him down and when he attempted to withhold funds for what he considered inappropriate programs and projects they hauled him in court and stymied his desperate attempts to save the nation’s taxpayers’ money.

I would have like to have seen the president do what my dad once did – stand up there in front of the Congress and say that we need to get the deficit under control and announce that he would begin immediately. Dad reached down and picked up a pork-laden bill, put it on the podium, took out a red pencil and showed the public just how bad a bill it was.

The president should have done the same thing with the pork-heavy Transportation Bill, better known as the “Bridge to Nowhere Bill,” and moreover should have vetoed it the second he got his hands on it. This is the kind of action the Congress understands. Trying to mollify them by letting them go hog wild produces just more of the same. He should realize that it’s not petroleum to which Congress is addicted; it’s pork, and they can’t ever get enough of it.

There is one thing besides the line item veto the president needs now and should have asked for – repeal of the Budget Act of 1974, which for all intents and purposes stripped away any power the president had to restrain their spending impulses.

He should take it to the country and pound away until the American people make it clear they want this kind of thing done – and done now.

-Mike Reagan, the eldest son of the late President Ronald Reagan, is heard on more than 200 talk radio stations nationally as part of the Radio America Network.