Double-talking Mike Ross | Arkansas Blog

Friday, July 24, 2009

Double-talking Mike Ross

Posted By on Fri, Jul 24, 2009 at 10:20 AM

The left end of the blogosphere has begun to get exercised about Rep. Mike Ross' roadblock to health care, particularly under the fiscal conservative banner.

Firedoglake comments, in trying to stir grassroots protests:

 As BT mentions here, this is more about preserving his own pork barrel than anything else -- and it turns out that it's a double-barreled pork receptacle, his own Ross Pharmacy enterprise and that of his health-industry donors.

Columnist Joe Conason also gives Ross and other Blue Dogs a deserved hiding.

Thanks to fawning publicity in the mainstream media that persistently describes them as fiscally conservative and ideologically moderate, the Blue Dogs enjoy an almost unassailable position in the middle of Washington's stunted political spectrum. 

Certainly the Blue Dogs are astute players of the game, their power enhanced by their willingness to echo Republican rhetoric while enjoying the perks and prerogatives of Democratic power. But this is a cynical group indeed, whose reputation for fiscal probity is grossly inflated -- and whose loyalty to corporate interests, over and above the priorities of their party and the welfare of their constituents, is a darkening stain. 

...the simple fact is that their concern over costs and deficits is highly selective -- and their claim to fiscal conservatism is utterly unearned. That should be instantly obvious to anyone who glances at the Mike Ross House Web site, where all of his puffery about holding down the deficit and saving taxpayer money gives way to his boasting about the pork he brings home to Arkansas. His most recent spate of news releases touts earmarks adding up to $66 million, mostly in the House Energy and Water appropriations bill. (If every member of Congress snatched that amount, the total would far exceed $300 billion, by the way.) That doesn't include the $87 million that Ross claimed for Arkansas to weatherize homes and schools, courtesy of the president's stimulus legislation. 

... If the Blue Dogs were truly worried about wasteful spending, they might use their influence to curb the outrageous looting of the federal Treasury by defense contractors, which remains by far the largest drain on the public purse. ...  If they are like Ross, they mindlessly endorse the expansion of virtually any and all military programs, simply because some of those dollars end up in their districts.

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