Thursday, March 19, 2009

Chris Hackett is against earmarks

My friend Chis Hackett had a letter to the editor (LTE) published in the Times-Leader today. Just to refresh your memory Hackett was the runner up in the recent (2008) 10th Congressional District election losing to Democratic Freshman Chris Carney in what some people say is an overwhelmingly Republican District. I beg to differ on that. Even the people out in Honesdale, Sunbury and Carbondale saw the light. Carney did a good job in his first 2 years and we have a habit of reelecting incumbents unless they do something stupid like strangling their mistress.
I'll will always be grateful to Chris Hackett for giving me an interview after he announced he was running for Congress. I also requested one with Meuser but his people kept jerking me around. I think Hackett's downfall was his reluctance to give me another interview as we approached the General Election. Just goes to show that you that we can disagree without being disagreeable.
Some people give me the credit (blame) for the split in Republican party after the hard fought primary between Hackett and Dan Meuser because of the often spirited exchanges that went on in the comments on Gort42. I'm too modest to take credit for that.
Like most Americans, I want our president to be successful in leading our country. While it is unrealistic to believe that we would all agree on most or even many policy directions, I think it important that we maintain an open mind and focus on the possibilities that lie ahead.
During the recent presidential campaign, as a country, we chose “change.” And make no mistake, I agree our country needs change in how Washington, D.C., functions. As I listened closely to the various campaign promises, I hoped that John McCain or Barack Obama would do what they said while trying to win our votes and focus the actions of the government on serving the people, not the special interests.
But as we’ve seen in the past, words are easy; actions take courage and conviction. And rarely is the easy action or decision the right path. Further, accountability is a bedrock principle of our nation; and I firmly believe we need to hold politicians accountable. When they make a campaign promise or pledge, we must demand they stand by it.
President Obama said during the campaign: “Absolutely, we need earmark reform. And when I’m president, I will go line by line to make sure that we are not spending money unwisely.” This promise was made when he was debating Sen. McCain, who has a long and consistent record of not requesting earmarks. Candidate Obama told us he would take this fiscally conservative approach, which is very unpopular with the special interest groups that permeate our nation’s capital.
This would require him to stand up to the House and Senate leadership by saying: It’s not going to be business as usual. If you send me that $410 billion spending bill, I will veto it and I will bring light and attention to those who brazenly requested these outrageous pet projects.
He could use his great communication skills in this way to further the cause of accountable and legitimate government spending.
But sadly, instead, he has chosen the easy path, one that uses the same tired game of blaming prior administrations. President Obama says this spending bill is the last administration’s business, therefore his campaign promises don’t apply. “I’ll submit an earmarks-free budget next year.” What a complete cop-out and an example of why most Americans find it difficult to believe anything a politician says.
Remember, President Obama, we signed on for change in Washington, not more political double speak. We need to fix our system now. We can’t afford (and I do mean afford) any more wasteful spending or political word twisting.
Change is hard; but it is far better to make these changes now while we can decide, rather than having the decisions made for us when the Chinese or sovereign oil nations stop buying our Treasury bonds to finance these expenditures, and our “financial diet” is forced upon us.


Anonymous said...

Hackett lost the vote of people who I have talked to, even some Republicans, because he came across as an elitist and out of touch with the common people. Also, even in Wayne County, the Democratic Party now is only slightly behind the Republic Party in registration. Keep in mind the people moving here from NY and NJ, who view Scranton as a small town. We are not that far "out here."

Vote Democrat!

Anonymous said...

The people of NEPA are socially conseravative and physcially neutral, (i would say the 11th district is more sipportative of government spending like s chip, but i dont think th epoepl of the 10th are that opposses.

Carney has done well by voting socially conservative with a few exceptions and brings home the bacon, he would be smart to essenatially vote slighty to the right of Kanjo, enough to keep the middle but not to far to the right so the Dems will no longer give him earmarks(he really does not have to worry about a primary challenger.)

There are only 2 ways for Carney to lose, the first is to have a credible candidate run in a Republcian year. I think Jim Haggerty in 2010 would work, maybe lisa baker. Chris Lilik could work if he takes the more chnages his tune on earmarks and takes a Ron Paul stance

The other way is for a real conservatove to run and go after Carney on his support Pentagon work with Douglass Fife. It would have to be someone without a record of saying they supported Bush's War of choice so maybe a Republcian patrick murphy but someone without shit for brains who can be intelleigently against the War in a Ron paul/Pat Buchanan way

Anonymous said...

and by physically neutral i mean fiscally nuetral.

BAsically as long as you bring home the bacon you can vote for universal Helathcare or to defund the Department of Education.. Just dont increase their taxes on anyone making less than 150K a year

Anonymous said...

Hackett was right, Obama should have stayed true to his campaign promises and just said no, er, veto....but he had no problem opening his mouth insulting the special olympians. Oh wait, he didn't mean to do that. Shouldn't the pres of these great states be more sensitive to all its citizens, especially those that are least able to defend themselves?

Big Dan said...

"I think Hackett's downfall was his reluctance to give me another interview as we approached the General Election. "

Let's face it: he could've gotten the "gort bump" right before the election, but it cost him!

Hackett had some freaky rightwing views about contraception and abortion that turned me right off. Corbett (who I don't like) asked Hackett about condoms, and Hackett did a "hummanna hummanna" Jackie Gleason, like a deer in the headlights.

Big Dan said...

Sep 21, 2008 - (I wrote this on my blog):

NEPA: In today's Times Leader, 10th district Republican nominee Chris Hackett says in the Election Issue Spotlight under Economy and Taxes page 14A, that we need "fewer burdensome regulations". Has Chris Hackett been keeping up with the news that we just had a huge financial meltdown in this country due to Republican DE-REGULATION??? America to Chris Hackett: ARE YOU LIVING IN THE SAME COUNTRY THAT WE ARE??? Anyone this DUMB should just drop out of the race right now!

(so, does Chris Hackett still want fewer burdensome regulations? I think we see where that got us! the repeal of the "burdensome" Glass-Steagal Act of regulating banks and investment is a key cause of this financial crisis!!!)

Big Dan said...

MOOSIC — First lady Laura Bush spent more than an hour Thursday trying to reaffirm the importance of Republican Chris Hackett’s race against Rep. Chris Carney, D-Dimock Township.

Bush spoke at a brunch fundraiser for Hackett at the Glenmaura home of Joe Amato. The $1,000-per-plate fundraiser included a $5,000 photo opportunity with the first lady. The proceeds went to the state party’s Victory 2008 fund and Hackett’s campaign. The event was closed to the public and media, but people who attended said Bush told the crowd to vote for Hackett because of his “conservative values,” particularly on spending issues.

The "conservative values" of $5,000 photos and $1,000 meal CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC!!!

Closed to the "little people", I guess...

I just ate some cake that day, I didn't have a spare few thousand bucks on me......

Big Dan said...

If those are "conservative values", I'm glad Carney won!

Big Dan said...

Also, I always wanted to know, and I don't think he was asked: would Chris Hackett have voted to veto the SCHIP children's health care bill? I bet he would. I'm not sure if anyone asked that. But that was not passed because of a straight Republican vote AGAINST the SCHIP children's health care bill. Chris can respond if he's reading this...

Also, is Chris Hackett for doctors denying writing prescriptions for birth control, if they're against it? Did anyone ask him that? And is Chris Hackett against birth control/contraception being covered by health care prescription?

Carney and Kanjorski voted to override Bush's medicare veto in congress' successful override of Bush. How would Hackett have voted?

I think Hackett would've voted with Bush.

Big Dan said...

Message to Chris Hackett: I have a way to save us $410 million PER DAY!

That is what we taxpayers are paying PER DAY on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Let me repeat: $410 MILLION DOLLARS PER DAY!

We are up in arms about $165 million in AIG bonuses, and we spend THREE TIMES THAT AMOUNT PER DAY FOR YEARS!!!

I don't hear you speaking out about stopping the wars to save us $410 million PER DAY!!!

Somehow, we have the taxpayer money for this!

Big Dan said...


David Madeira said...

Your political analysis "...we have a habit of reelecting incumbents unless they do something stupid..." is self-evident, but I can't understand your performance analysis ("Carney did a good job in his first 2 years..." ) outside of partisan loyalty. If I may ask a few clarifying questions to better understand your Congressional ratings system...

What, outside of slathering the district with earmarks that led to campaign contributions from corrupt lobby firms like PMA, are the measures of a good Congressman's performance? (Is PMA the new Jack Abramoff? -

Does it remotely affect his performance rating that he either knowingly voted to protect the AIG bonuses in the bailout bill or didn't have/take the time to read/understand it before he cast his vote? (for those of you who need a visual to grasp this -

Does he ever have to take responsibility for his votes or, like the intel reports he provided to President Bush supposedly linking Saddam to Al Qaeda, is it always someone else who gets the blame? (Carney, “I thought that there was a relationship. Whether it was strong enough to go to war, that’s the president’s decision.”

And does your job performance include a hypocrisy rating? How is that measure impacted by following up his aforementioned vote to exclude the AIG bonuses from the new rules with feigned outrage over said bonuses in a letter to the Secretary of the Treasury? (

Given that the non-partisan CBO reports today that $1 trillion dollar deficits are likely under the President’s proposed budget for the next decade at least, how much federal debt is too much for Carney to vote for? (

In my pre-defense, may I point out that I was and continue to be very critical of the same type of unconstitutional interventionist (dare I say socialist now that Newsweek used that word on its cover recently?) policy under the previous administration from my own party, who’s platform is great, but whose performance was abysmal.

Gort - I anxiously await your explanation of your ratings system...

Left wing and “moderate” commenters - Cue the ad hominem attacks...

I'm going to post this on my new blog, which you can reach by clicking on my name.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:37 - if you think this is why Hackett lost; you have no clue about the election process.

Big Dan - question for you - it is your guy - President Obama - who is ramping up the Afgan war. Any of your outrage focused on him? It's also interesting that you have such a keen grasp of how hackett would vote if elected. You seem to think he'd do what Bush would want - but given many of his public comments, he was not real fond of Bush's policy decisions; particularly increasing the size and scope of the federal government.

Try to stick to the facts - not make up your own - it really hurts your creditability.

Anonymous said...

Big Dan you asked about hacketts postion on birth Control, Forceing Doctors to fill them out and focrinf health care companies to pay them.

I would bet my car that Hackett, Caarney and a large majority of people of NEPA dont want to force Doctors to do something agianst thier will or force companies to cover birth control if they do nto belive in it. I just think the term pro choice is so inaccuarate. there are a few true pro choicers out there, but many people demand funding for Birth cntrol as a positive right not a negative right, (i dont see it as a negative right, but I respect people who do and do not force me to pay for it)

Gort said...


Most of the things you cited are post 2008. Carney was a solid vote for the Democratic economic agenda such as S-Chip and closing tax loopholes for the very rich. Bringing home the bacon is a plus not a minus. He also had town hall meetings in every county in the district sometimes before a hostile audience. His votes on many national security issues such as Telecom Immunity infuriated me and my lefty brethren but the locals didn’t care about such things. Post 2008 he did vote against the TARP in September and got caught up in the earmark mess. I remember a LTE you wrote in January 2007 attacking him for voting for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House like a Democrat will vote for the Republican. It sounds like you are running for the seat in 2010. So I hope you get the ad hominem attacks you crave

David Madeira said...

Gort says, "...I hope you get the ad hominem attacks you crave"

Ouch! Not the kind of respectful dialogue I would have anticipated, but you did provide an excellent illustration of the ad hominem technique - "...sounds like you are running for the seat in 2010."

Seriously though, Obama 's right. We are in big trouble and we can't afford old-style political gamesmanship and name calling. We needed to come together and enter a new era of accountability with less partisanship, reaching across the aisle and starting a dialogue. Let's come together for a common purpose - to save our troubled economy and heal our fractured nation.

I realize Carney is more likely to promote your political viewpoint than any Republican, so I respect your desire to support him and overlook minor vices or even see them as virtuous. I'm willing to overlook some disagreements with my elected Republican officials because I believe that on the whole they will promote more of my agenda than your guy.

But you seem like a regular guy who does not stand to benefit personally in any corrupt way from supporting those currently in power. So you must be as troubled by the spending and corruption on your side as I was when my side was in power. And if Carney winds up embroiled in an Abramoff-like scandal, wouldn't you be more comfortable having raised your hand in support of a more transparent process?

You're not running for office, but you raise legitimate questions all the time. Isn't there somewhere in the middle we citizens can meet to respectfully agree that, regardless of differences we have on the size and scope of our government, we really all want transparency and honesty in government?

Your hope for me to be attacked personally rather than on the merits or weaknesses of my arguments leads me to pose another question I plan to discuss on my blog next week:

"In 5 words or less, can you illustrate/describe the difference between a mob and a jury?"

Maybe you want to surf on over and take a crack at it.

KAR said...


You invite ad hominem comments. Read your own comments,your smugness is evident in every word you write.

Although I promised to abstain from commneting during Lent, I hope God will understand that some things are too difficult to give up.

Good luck with your blog, no doubt it will be an oasis of open-minded thinking.

Jury vs. mob, aside from the pitchforks, the presumption of innocence.

Have a nice Sunday.


David Madeira said...

Can't we all just get along?