Posted: 02/22/08 07:06, Edited: 02/22/08 07:12
by Dave Mindeman
Reading some of the quotes from yesterday's transportation bill debates and commentary, looks like a case study in denial.
Republicans got their scaled down bill. The Chamber of Commerce endorsed the bill. The Legislative Auditor's report outlined the needs in gruesome detail. And yet, here we sit, looking at another veto pen from Governor Pothole -- and everything depending on the actions of a bunch of excuse makers.
I mean listen to some of this:
Dennis Ozment, R-Rosemount: ?It?s got some earmarks and stuff in there that makes it very disturbing for me ? I don?t like legislation that I feel people bought off on,? said Ozment, speaking off the House floor.
How long have you been in the legislature, Dennis? 20 plus years? And you have never seen special projects used to make a bill more palatable to the wavering? C'mon! I used to have some respect for our representative from Rosemount, but that was the lamest excuse, yet. I guess you can move on to your retirement with yet another "non-accomplishment" on your wall.
Ozment made another comment: "It doesn?t smell right to me,? he said, adding he would support the governor?s veto should the House attempt an override.
Smells like bailing out on your constituents to me.
Denny McNamara, R-Hastings: McNamara has one of the most controversial bridges in Minnesota in his district, the Hastings bridge. ?I wanted the referendum,? said McNamara. ?I wanted the sales tax to have a vote of the people,? he said.
?There was a lot of things I liked about it (the bill) ? my citizens know I support the gas tax and I support the license tab tax ? it was the sales tax without a referendum,? said McNamara of the final straw.
Sure, big guy, it all hinged on that sales tax vote for you. I hope your Hastings Bridge commuters will buy that one. Good luck explaining that one in November. Hey, Denny, our bridge still isn't fixed? Oh, sorry, I'm still waiting for referendum language. Right, McNamara, maybe you can pull a "Brooklyn Bridge" number on somebody, too.
Mary Liz Holberg, R-Lakeville: Former House Transportation Finance Committee Chairwoman Mary Liz Holberg, R-Lakeville, argued the bill was at cross-purposes, though thought the Chamber endorsement was meaningful. She didn?t know whether there would be enough votes for an override, she opined.
The key words here are "former Transportation Finance Committee Chairwoman"... We have a transportation mess largely because Holberg's committee never fixed, or moved, on anything... they kept passing the responsibility on.
The Chamber had never supported a funding bill for transportation by Democrats before. Holberg says its "meaningful"? And what does "cross purposes" mean? More double talk? Holberg has always been a coward on revenue.... no change here.
I should say that there were a few acts of courage yesterday. Rep. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, put himself completely on the line. But when he looked at the final vote, he could only "burn the House carpet" as he watched many of his colleagues lose their nerve.
All he could say...."Why did forty-five Chamber endorsees ? why didn?t they pay attention (to the Chamber),? he said of the almost exclusive list of Republicans voting against the bill. ?I thought for sure we would pick up ? I just thought there?d be more (votes),? he said.
We know why, Rep. Abeler.
In the words of author Elbert Hubbard:
To avoid criticism do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.
From our Republican representatives that is what we get.