Monday, May 01, 2006

Senate Republicans get an earful

Some days I'm quite hopeful that the American people are paying attention.

The Senate Republican plan to mail $100 checks to voters to ease the burden of high gasoline prices is eliciting more scorn than gratitude from the very people it was intended to help.

Aides for several Republican senators reported a surge of calls and e-mail messages from constituents ridiculing the rebate as a paltry and transparent effort to pander to voters before the midterm elections in November.

"The conservatives think it is socialist bunk, and the liberals think it is conservative trickery," said Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, pointing out that the criticism was coming from across the ideological spectrum.

Angry constituents have asked, "Do you think we are prostitutes? Do you think you can buy us?" said another Republican senator's aide, who was granted anonymity to openly discuss the feedback because the senator had supported the plan.

Beautiful.

And guess which senator has the tinniest ear? Hint: he'd like to run for president in 2008.
Eric Ueland, chief of staff to Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee, the Republican leader, whose office played a main role in pulling the proposal together, said the rebate was an important short-term step in a broader array of measures that began with last year's energy bill. Constituents "believe government ought to step up to the plate rather than loll around in the dugout," Mr. Ueland wrote in an e-mail message on Sunday.

Uh, no. Congress should do things that actually address the long-term problem of oil dependency, not continue that dependency with election-year bribes. "Lolling around in the dugout" precisely describes the rebate plan, as well as the Democratic proposal to suspend the gas tax.

I'm glad that a lot of Americans appear to realize that. Frist is once again demonstrating why he will not be president in 2009.

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