Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Voting Records and the Safety Rock

I made a mistake today. I read the comments on a story. There were a few worth sharing here. The first one is about how bills get passed in Congress.

I write a bill. It is good. It goes through committees and ends up with a hundred unrelated riders.

Now, my friend, he doesn't mind those 100 riders, so he votes on the initial bill. The bill doesn't get enough votes, gets sent back to committee.

In that committee, it gets reworked, a few more riders. Gets sent back to congress. It gets voted for debate (my friend votes for the debate to happen), and then in the process a few more motions get approved that tack a few more provisions on that bill.

Now, one of those provisions says that some state can take more water from the Colorado River than it already does. The Colorado River is already under huge pressure from water users, and my friend is a representative from CO. Therefore, when the bill comes up, he votes against it because he can't approve a legislative measure that would deprive his already drought-conditioned constituents of even more water.

The problem is that the bill would have provided affordable housing for 250,000 families across the country.

So, when my friend is up for election, his staff pulls the voting records and--presto! My friend is "against affordable housing for working class families". Even better, he flip-flopped on the issue, because "he voted for it before he voted against it."

And another one, referencing a Simpson's quote on the notion that America is safer since we started the War "on Terror:"

Homer: Not a bear in sight. The Bear Patrol must be working like a charm.
Lisa: That's specious reasoning, Dad.
Homer: Thank you, dear.
Lisa: By your logic I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.
Homer: Oh, how does it work?
Lisa: It doesn't work.
Homer: Uh-huh.
Lisa: It's just a stupid rock.
Homer: Uh-huh.
Lisa: But I don't see any tigers around, do you?
Homer: Lisa, I want to buy your rock.