Every Democrat in the House of Representatives voted for the $50.5 billion Superstorm Sandy disaster relief package except my Congress Critter, Rep. Jim Cooper.
It’s 7 a.m. here, so obviously I haven’t had a chance to call his office yet and find out why he voted against Hurricane relief, especially after two years ago his own district got flooded and received federal aid. I’m going to guess we’ll hear the usual concerns about pork and debt and spending cuts and blah blah. Perhaps he’s still butthurt over the massive failure of Bowles-Simpson, which he brought to the floor last year with Rep. Steve LaTourette. That plan went down in flames, big-time.
But seriously, spare me the phony concerns about “pork.” It’s hard to take that seriously when I remember Cooper found federal money to build a parking garage for the private, Church Of Christ-affiliated David Lipscomb University a few years ago. Yes, the project included a bus shelter. But please. Lipscomb has got so much money they’re buying up houses in my neighborhood, tearing them down, and putting ginormous new buildings in their place — a nursing school, an engineering school, a pharmacy school. Let them build their own damn parking garage.
Anyway, someone on Twitter last night observed that anyone thinking Cooper can’t be primaried might want to consider all of the pissed off Democrats in New York and New Jersey right now who might be eager to donate to a rival’s campaign. That reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend the other day: this is the internet age, and the concept of Congressional districts has changed. We may physically live in one Congressional district, but more and more of us belong to ideological districts. Virtual districts, if you will. How many of us donated to the campaigns of candidates in other states? I know I have, lots.
People pissed off at a Democrat voting against disaster aid or the fiscal cliff deal might join forces with people in the district who have been itching for a more progressive representative for years. Blue Dogs are an endangered species in Congress. Cooper might have some explaining to do.
Just to clarify, I’m not saying I support the idea of primarying Jim Cooper. Any scenario of that type would of course depend on who any potential candidate would be. But Cooper is only making himself more vulnerable. His district got more blue after redistricting, and if history is any judge, his Republican rival will be another Tea Party wackjob, just like the last ones have been. Those people won’t fly in the Fighting Fifth.
Cooper’s office says he voted no because “it wasn’t paid for and will add $50 billion to deficit.”
So, kinda what I said: debt and spending and blah blah. Same old.
Pith: Why did you vote against the bill?
Cooper: The bill wasn’t paid for. In fact, it wasn’t even partially paid for. Congress really made no effort to pay for even a fracture of it, so it added $50 billion to the deficit. I did support last week $9 billion, free and clear, I did support in this legislation $20-plus billion free and clear, but the extra $30 billion really should have been at least partly paid for.
Talk about moving goalposts. First he complains that the bill “wasn’t even partially paid for,” then says nearly half of it was paid for, then complains that the full package wasn’t “even partially offset.”
Please, next time you want to screw my friends in the Northeast, try making some damn sense.