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Thursday, October 21, 2004

The Sun Likes its Pork

According to The Gainesville Sun, the only person worthy of replacing an entrenched Congressman with a bad voting record is another entrenched Congressman. Rookies – even those whose platform you like – need not apply.

Take Wednesday's endorsement of Republican Rep. Cliff Stearns for re-election against Democrat David Bruderly, who had unsuccessfully run against Stearns in the last election. The endorsement was stunningly negative in regards to Stearns and positive about Bruderly, except for one point:
And so, this is what it comes down to: Cliff Sterns is a senior member of Congress, with nearly 16 years of service.

He is a member of the majority party.

And his influence on key committees, such as Veterans Affairs and Energy and Commerce well serves a district that is home to a growing number of veterans and that is still struggling to build a prosperous economic base.
While we wish Stearns' voting record was a little less driven by ideology and partisanship, we cannot fault the hard work he has done over the years to obtain funding for UF, for regional VA facilities and for health care and economic development programs throughout the district.

The Sun said this after trashing Stearns' voting record and praising Bruderly:
We disagree with Stearns on a wide variety of issues, from his support of the war in Iraq to his environmental record to his opposition to reproductive rights.

On the strength of many of the issues of the day, we tend to agree with Stearns' Democratic challenger, Dave Bruderly.
The Sun also called out Stearns for his votes against civil liberties (the PARTIOT Act) and the environment (drilling in ANWAR).

The Sun called this "a pragmatic endorsement," which means the newspaper's publisher and editorial writer had to hold their noses. They wrote: "Even if he were in the majority party, it would take years for Bruderly to acquire the kind of influence that comes with Stearns' seniority."

So, Stearns is good at bringing home the pork, and that is all that matters. That wealthy special interests are running government and that the pork being brought home is the payoff for the massive campaign contributions used to control who gets elected is of no consequence, according to The Sun. We need the BBQ.

One of the more absurd points in this endorsement is that Stearns is a member of the majority party, which makes him good. Well, if we don't re-elect him and instead elect a Democrat to fill his seat, then the majority party might change. But as long as we insist on re-electing someone because they are in the majority party, then the majority party will always be the same.

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