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Political Cluckers

Posted Monday, July 5, 2010, at 9:27 AM

New Election Year Congressional and Senatorial Uniform
What does it take to get a response from our elected representatives? I've had pretty good success over the years by writing them, and though I always got what I considered a canned response to the issue I wrote about, I always felt like my concern was at the very least considered and put on a stroke sheet for the senator or congressman to consider.

My most recent excursion into the political jungle found me asking our representatives for their position on the oil spill liability cap. Lawmakers in the House and Senate have introduced legislation that would raise to $10 billion the maximum amount of cash oil companies would be required to pay for economic losses, and I want to know how the folks that represent me in Washington feel about it before the fact.

I'm pretty sure that the current liability cap of $75 million seemed like a lot when it was originally passed. An article in Rueters published over 2 MONTHS ago stated that the spill cleanup and damages could exceed $14 billion. "Analysts at Morgan Stanley put the figure at $3.5 billion, while analysts at Citigroup, Evolution Securities and Panmure Gordon put cleanup costs at under $1.1 billion." Today BP states that their cost so far is already over $3 billion. The Wall Street boys sure know how to sugar coat a nightmare! You can read the whole article here... http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE64...

FYI - Pavel Molchanov, an analyst at Raymond James, estimated the total cost of legal proceedings, including criminal penalties, to 62.9 billion U.S. dollars. That doesn't include clean up costs! http://www.phongpo.com/2010/06/17/with-i...

With the above in mind, I want to know where our elected folks stand on what I consider to be some pretty important legislation that could limit the amount us taxpayers get stuck with. In my correspondance, I identified myself as a blogger on the Gazette, and was seeking their position.

I admit that I was expecting the usual canned crap I get when I voice my opinion to them. However this time I wanted a response about something specific, not anything about my opinion, and you know what I got? Nothing at all from Adrian Smith or Ben Nelson, and Mike Johanns press secretary wrote me to say I would hear back in the next couple days. That was two weeks ago.

These guys are all a flock of chickens in my book. Too afraid to voice their opinion for fear of stepping on the toes of their leadership without permission is what it seems. Is this another fine example of doing nothing instead of something to help out taxpayers instead of business interests?

So... Adrian, Ben, and Mike, I still await your response and will be most happy to pass it along to the fine folks that care here in McCook - Nebraska's Hot Spot.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

agreement response number 13....Hello, everyone is gone for the day,,,,and I have been programed to thank you for your fine article, and inform you that you will be receiving a human voice on the telephone, if ever they find it, or know what you want to know, whichever happens first. Should you not hear anything from anyone at this anywhere station, please call back and I will try to get one of the humans to respond the same way I am about to try. Thank you for your interest in the fine way our Representatives are spending your money, and serving the constituency. good-by.

Wouldn't I make a great government answering machine?

-- Posted by Navyblue on Tue, Jul 6, 2010, at 5:58 PM

Honestly this was one reason I kind of liked the idea of term limits we imposed a few years back. I was hoping that by limiting there possible time in office we might see more representatives actually taking initiative on issues that effect we the people. Well, so far I've been less than impressed.

-- Posted by Damu on Tue, Jul 6, 2010, at 6:27 PM

So True Navyblue!

Damu - Are you referring to Nebraska state legislators? Colorado tried similar measures years ago for federal representatives, but it was unconstitutional as not all states in the Union were held to similar standards.

I have a feeling if we the people really want to take our country back, it will be on the back of term limits so the bums can't build their political empires for years while all the time padding their pockets.

Senior Loud, I'm not sure which is worse, the inefficiency or the rehetoric we must endure during the process of being inefficient.

-- Posted by Brian Hoag on Tue, Jul 6, 2010, at 8:01 PM

Brian, I am referring to Nebraska. Some, regarded it as an easy way to get Ernie Chambers out. Although as far as legislators go I would say he served his constituents rather well.

-- Posted by Damu on Tue, Jul 6, 2010, at 8:16 PM

Ya know doc, it is a cryin' shame as I think it's pretty obvious it's necessary to reintroduce accountability... with some teeth behind it to force the issue, whatever that may be.

You're correct, we're in deep, but don't lose the faith. The seemingly irrational actions of some likely have rational thought behind them, and a broad concensus is needed to balance the load. We're in so deep because we've been sleeping don't you think? Instead of paying attention and learning about things on our own, a lot of folks just take whatever they hear. I've met several people like that. They hear something, believe it, repeat it, and then when confronted with facts, are totally shocked they were wrong.

Damu - We moved to Nebraska shortly before Ernie Chambers finished his last term. From what I gathered in our short time here, he was considered the conscience of the capitol. Perhaps that's why some wanted him out as he stood for the "little people" and that was obstructive to their agenda?

Maybe I'm not seeing the big enough picture here, but it seems that limiting the length of time a person can remain in elected office would be beneficial at all levels of government. Since many states have passed term limit legislation, it seems there is a lot of agreement, so why not push it up to the federal level as well?

-- Posted by Brian Hoag on Wed, Jul 7, 2010, at 9:05 AM

Term limits don't have to be official in order to be enforced. Just don't vote for those you think have been in there for too long.

Personally, I'd rather see more people not tied to a party. There's no one willing to step across lines and actually get crap done. Term limits won't fix party politics.

-- Posted by npwinder on Wed, Jul 7, 2010, at 11:45 PM

Actually, I'd like to see the emergence of a third central party.

-- Posted by Damu on Thu, Jul 8, 2010, at 6:56 PM

Doesn't matter how many parties there are if no one will cooperate.

-- Posted by npwinder on Thu, Jul 8, 2010, at 10:45 PM

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