Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Sunday, October 29, 2006

"Kennedy is a big spender, and Cantwell is a bigger one"

Mike McGavick nicely rebutted Tom Henderson in today's Lewiston Tribune:
I would like to take a moment from the campaign trail to respond to Tom Henderson's recent editorial in the Tribune [Oct. 23]. Mr. Henderson took exception to my references to the National Taxpayers Union's rankings of our United States senators from the 108th Congress based on their votes for spending measures.

Mr. Henderson implied that my statements regarding the NTU's evaluation were somehow incorrect or misleading and that I had somehow characterized Sen. Ted Kennedy as "the spawn of Satan."

Let's set the record straight. Sen. Kennedy is a proponent of bigger government, and bigger government means more government spending and higher taxes or higher government debt. Those two results are not something that I am willing to impose upon future generations of Americans.

Yes, Americans know that proponents of big government exist, and I think that many of them would identify Sen. Kennedy as one of them. I don't think this has any implications as to Sen. Kennedy's character. But Sen. Kennedy is not the point.

During the 108th Congress, Sen. Cantwell voted for more spending measures than any of her colleagues. Throughout this campaign, whenever I have mentioned this fact, I have been careful to also mention that she voted for the tax increases to go with them. The incumbent senator is not asking for unfunded mandates, but she is asking American families to squeeze their wallets a little tighter to fund all these programs.

The National Taxpayers Union reports on senators and U.S. representatives according to the spending they voted for. Their data is based on every single vote that was taken -- every vote that affects how much we pay as taxpayers.

Other news sources have reported on this too:

On Oct. 6, the Seattle Times reported that "The National Taxpayers Union said Cantwell voted for more spending measures than any other senator in the 108th Congress, from 2003-04." And the Bellingham Herald said this week that "She votes for federal spending programs almost every time she is given the chance to vote."

If you still doubt the veracity, take a look. Just click on the Senate tab on the spreadsheet on the NTU's Web site: http://www.ntu.org/downloads/VT1082Sorts.xls.

I agree with Mr. Henderson that congressional Republicans have lost their way when it comes to spending, and I have not been shy about saying so on the campaign trail. I am not afraid of telling my fellow Republicans how wrong they are in letting big spending of taxpayer dollars rule the day. It is just plain wrong. But you don't lower the debt by repealing a tax policy that has actually increased government revenues while boosting the economy.

We should continue tax policies that have been proven successful by generating impressive and sustained economic gains, keeping unemployment comparatively low, and helping us recover from a recession, corporate scandals, environmental disasters and an unprecedented terrorist attack on our nation.

What we need to do is make tough decisions to live within our means as a nation. We need to assess the drivers of federal spending -- Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and Defense Department spending. I don't want to leave anyone out on a limb. But these are the programs we have to take a look at if we want to cut costs.

Now read that last sentence one more time. I didn't say I want to cut services. I said I want to cut costs. Those two things are not the same.

We also need to give D.C. a big wake-up call when it comes to waste and pork spending. I am for freezing spending at current levels, reducing the federal work force, getting rid of ineffective programs, stopping last-minute earmarking. And, we should give senators a pay cut instead of a pay raise when they fail to balance the budget!

As a candidate, I have tried my level best to run a clean campaign. I have at no time attacked the character of Sen. Cantwell, and I have actively encouraged others to refrain from doing so as well. I am proud of that fact. But I wouldn't be running for the United States Senate if there weren't differences of opinion on the issues between Sen. Cantwell and me.

There are plenty of differences -- and I encourage you to take the time to learn about the issues in this race. Consider the facts behind all the sound bites and make your own decision.

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