Last updated on 2011.02.11
Jim Bolin gets my respect this morning, but not Kristi Noem. Our Congresswoman continues to betray the conservative princples she parroted to get elected.
Exhibit 1: rural airport subsidies. Noem pretends she's all for the free market, but when the free market won't support something Noem wants to do, like farm or sell insurance or fly out of her hometown airport in Watertown, she's suddenly all about big government. Mesaba Airlines gets $1.3 million in tax dollars a year under the "Essential" Air Service program to run a couple flights a day out of Watertown. In 2007, the federal government covered more than $100 of the cost of flying each Watertown passenger. The per-passenger subsidy to the Huron airport in 2007 was well over $200. I'm betting a lot of people would love to get a $100 coupon to fly out of Sioux Falls or Minneapolis... and lot of conservatives who voted for Noem would holler "Waste! Waste!" if Uncle Sam started handing out such coupons. Senator Tim Johnson, a Democrat and long-time supporter of EAS, tells that Sioux Falls paper that he'll consider cuts to the airport subsidy, but Noem (as usual) insists her little subsidy must not get the axe.
Exhibit 2: Patriot Act renewal. The Patriot Act was a knee-jerk reaction to the fear and trembling wrought by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The provisions were supposed sunset (America can't remain in a permanent state of war... can it?), but Congress keeps putting false security over liberty and extending big-government power.
But maybe not for long. Three search and surveillance provisions (including permission for the government to riffle through your library records) are due to expire on February 28. The House was supposed to renew those provisions yesterday, but 26 Republicans bucked the leadership and joined Democrat Dennis Kucinich and Republican Ron Paul in denying Speaker Boehner the two-thirds majority necessary for passage. Congresswoman Noem could have joined those brave Republicans in voting against big government, but alas, she did what she was told and voted with the GOP leadership.
And alas, if you conservative South Dakotans want to give Kristi Noem a piece of your mind, you'll have to leave a message. She's busy having breakfast with the multi-million-dollar K Street lobbyists at K&L Gates. Likely on the menu: pork sausage, with a conservative portion of egg on your face.
* * *
Update 2011.02.11 08:33 CST: Joel Rosenthal asks how we can fix the national budget if we can't cut a small frill like EAS:
Certainly EAS is not an essential government service. A nice program yes, but there are many nice programs... if we are serious these niceties have to go!
If we can't cut this program how will we ever cut any spending? At election everyone is a tax cutter and pontificates about cutting wasteful spending. Funny beyond W F A (Waste, Fraud, and Abuse) they never are very specific. But when it's time to go to work and change Washington, we can't seem to find cuts or change Washington [Joel Rosenthal, "If Not Now When?" South Dakota Straight Talk, 2011.02.10].