Voters need to send Congress, Beacon Hill a loud wake-up call
© by Barbara Anderson
The Salem News
Thursday, October 9, 2008
to my readers for last week's irrational exuberance, when I was
celebrating us "little people" whose resistance to "The Bailout" sent
the House version back to the drawing board.
On the Senate drawing board, enough earmarks were added to buy
sufficient votes in the House for passage. Adding insult to injury, it's
now "The Bailout Plus a Few Million Pounds of Pork."
When we're told that Sarah Palin isn't smart enough, educated enough,
experienced enough to be vice president, I ask: Compared to what? Wall
Street? Congress? The Bush administration?
Compared to whom? All those over-educated, experienced geniuses who got
us into this mess?
If she wasn't on the ticket, I'd hate having to vote for John McCain,
who I recall wiggling his pen at us during the presidential debate as he
pledged that he would veto any budget that contained earmarks. Then he
voted for "The Bailout Plus Pork" — along with Barack Obama, of course.
As Congressman John Tierney said when he voted for it, "We had to do
Well, if that's all that's required — doing something/anything — why
didn't you all just resign in disgrace? The stock market might have
leapt with joy. Those pro-bailout incumbents with opponents could be
quickly replaced in November. Governors could appoint replacements for
the rest. We'd have "change" indeed.
Massachusetts would have Jeff Beatty as its junior U.S senator next
year. The 6th District would have Rich Baker as its congressman. Barney
Frank, one architect of the mortgage crisis, would be replaced by Earl
It would be fine with me if Gov. Deval Patrick got to choose
replacements for other pro-bailout Massachusetts congressmen; he
deserves to have some fun after moving to take over the Massachusetts
Turnpike and limit police details.
Give the governor credit; he doesn't seem to have the traditional
Democratic politician's fear and awe of the public employee unions, who
are fighting so hard against the income-tax repeal. They are afraid
he'll use its passage to address the public pension and health insurance
excesses that will eventually bankrupt the state if nothing is done.
I saw Peter Meade, chairman of the Vote No Committee, on "Keller at
Large" Sunday morning. He referred often to the Big Business groups that
oppose Question 1, but mentioned "labor groups" in passing, not using
the word "unions," even though they are the primary source of funding
for his committee. Their polling must show that if emphasis is on Big
Labor's support, they lose.
Of course other groups are also in the opposition: Oh look, there's
ACORN, which helped cause the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Small world!
Meade's mantra is the word "reckless." He says, "If you want to send a
message, get a Hallmark card." He insists we tell him where to cut,
though he refuses to tell us what plans his group has to address our
The Vote No committee logo is a hand with the "thumbs down" gesture.
Knowing these people, it should have a different finger pointing up.
It's all about Big Government, Big Business and Big Labor asserting
their federal, state and local dominance over us little people, again.
I'm not going to debate the fine points of this ballot question, which
has been created by Carla Howell's Committee for Small Government. I am
voting yes for one reason: It's the only protest game in town.
I've noticed that when government is out of control, concerned voters
fall into one of two categories. 1.) Those who "get it," who understand
that politics is a game and we need to learn to play it, too, or we get
the booby prize; and 2.) The boobies, who think it's all for real,
debate the fine points, and enable bad behavior by refusing to become
combative about it.
Massachusetts politicians despise us, and for good reason. We re-elect
them no matter what they do: Spend the money from the fourth highest
per-capita taxes in the nation while not getting the job done; building
up pensions and other public employee benefits while insisting we can't
afford good state services or maintain state infrastructure; and, my
favorite, raise taxes that they promise are "temporary," then repeal the
voters' repeal of them.
They think we are fools. Sometimes they're right.
The enablers are told by The System that they aren't like those
"mindless tax-cutters"; but rather they are good people who care about
children and community. Then these "sensible" (not "reckless") people
are patted on the head and sent on their way to vote against tax cuts,
while The System laughs at them all the way to the bank, to the next
political office or an early pension.
Here is the choice on Question 1: Vote "Yes," and give the more
competent politicians a chance to show what they can do with this voter
back-up; or vote "No," and give up all hope that government will ever
Here's my Hallmark card for Peter Meade: "Greetings. Though we seem to
be helpless against the Bailout Plus Pork, we sensible little people
refuse to support continued reckless behavior on the part of our state
government. Thumbs up."
Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. Her
column appears weekly in the Salem News and other Eagle Tribune
newspapers; bi-weekly in the Tinytown Gazette; and occasionally in
the Lowell Sun, Providence (RI) Journal and other newspapers.