Tuesday, May 20, 2008

And Guess Who Didn't Vote

David Brooks tries to attack Barack Obama in relation to a farm bill that passed by a vote of 81:15. But if you look at the actual vote:
  • Clinton (D-NY), Not Voting
  • McCain (R-AZ), Not Voting
  • Obama (D-IL), Not Voting
As in, all three candidates were off running for the Presidency.

So when Brooks says,
Obama’s vote may help him win Iowa....
What vote does he think he's talking about?
John McCain opposed the farm bill. In an impassioned speech on Monday, he declared: “It would be hard to find any single bill that better sums up why so many Americans in both parties are so disappointed in the conduct of their government, and at times so disgusted by it.”
And yet McCain didn't think it necessary to show up at work to vote against it, and was unable to demonstrate his supposed ability to reach across the aisle to convince Democrats to join him (and the mere eleven Republicans who voted against the bill) to defeat the bill?

Brooks devotes the rest of the column to a fantasy sequence in which McCain proposes putting the issue of "reforming America’s decrepit governing institutions at the center of his presidential race". There's a strong case to be made that this bill should have been defeated in its present form, and that the pork it includes represents a lot of what's wrong with the political system, but when push came to shove McCain skipped the vote. Was that because he just didn't think the issue important enough, or was it because he fears losing Iowa?

Perhaps Brooks should take a harder look at McCain, as if he weren't a partisan hack he could easily have written this column about McCain and entitled it, All Words And No Action.

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