I was on a conference call earlier today. A couple of the guests were Sen. Bob Bennett and Rep. Eric Cantor. Sen. Bennett talked about the political chicanery taking place with the HCR bill currently dying a horrific death in the House. Rep. Cantor also spoke on the HCR package. In addition Rep. Cantor mentioned the unilateral earmark moratorium the House Republicans passed.
Sen. Bennett had a difficult time with the automated phone system, well to tell you the truth ... the man got pwned.
Completely and utterly.
First the Senator was muted and the techs couldn't get him on. Then once Sen. Bennett was finally able to be heard, well, the automated system began it's mockery. The lovely voice coming from the machine kept talking over Sen. Bennett. At one point I could tell the Senator was getting frustrated as he raised his voiced and then just conceded that he should quit listening to the voice in his ear. Boy, if I had a nickel for everytime I have been told to not listen to the voices in my ear.
Anyway, after the awesome display of technological pwnage over Sen Bennett, he was still willing to take questions. Unfortunately the first and only question would be from me.
I then introduced myself to Sen. Bennett and proceeded to ask my question.
“Senator, the House Republicans just took a pledge to not take any earmarks. What are your thoughts on Senator Jim DeMint's proposal in the Senate to do the same?”
Sen. Bennett responded, “I am on the other side of that particular issue; I think it is a constitutional issue.“
Sen. Bennett then went on to cite Republican’s as examples of the abuse of earmarks. I am not sure why he did this if he is for retaining earmarks, and to go after a Republican while doing it? I mean, come on Senator, we are in an election year here if you haven’t noticed. But I digress.
In his defense Sen. Bennett made it clear that he thinks the earmark is a constitutional protection from a dictatorial executive, a safeguard to direct the people's money responsibly. To Bennett, the money will be spent no matter what. The thought of challenging the spending in the first place never even crossed his mind. And herein lays the real problem, which I will get to in a moment.
Bennett also extolled the importance of earmarking for Defense budgets and tried to throw in some red meat about NASA and the military and how without earmarks both would be in jeopardy. I then presented Sen. Bennett with a follow up, one that would allow an easy recovery for any conservative, but also a trap for those who always talk the talk and never dare walk the walk.
I asked, "What if there was a compromise that would exclude things that are constitutionally the realm of the Federal Government? Such as our defense and other enumerated powers."
Bennett immediately began debating what is and isn't Constitutional and how murky the waters are on this subject. The moment I began to reiterate that the Constitution has enumerated powers listed specifically in order to clear these murky waters, the call was abruptly dropped.
Alas, the time Sen. Bennett and I shared together was as revealing as it was fleeting. With nothing but two solid questions, I had Sen. Bennett exposing himself as unqualified for the job he currently possesses.
The opinion that earmarks are an essential tool granted by the constitution is absolutely defendable, but along with that acceptance comes a responsibility of the man using the tool to know when and how to use it. This is the real problem that I referred to above. From Sen. Bennett’s answer it appears that he doesn’t know what is enumerated in the constitution as being within the Federal governments’ purview. Nor does the Senator understand that just because a president sends a bloated budget that doesn’t mean you can’t gut the thing.
This man does not deserve to represent the second most conservative State in the Nation as their Senator. He is either ignorant of his duties, and therefore should be removed, or he is willfully abdicating his so called conservative principles. In either case, the people of Utah need to send this slick D.C. politician packing.
Aaron B. Gardner