Confusing "Moderates" With Corporate Bribe Takers-- A Common Mistake For Beltway Media
Most of these fake moderates (20) were defeated or forced to retire
When Broderite shills in the corporate media solemnly bemoan the fate of the corporate hacks they lionize as the great all-wise "moderates," what they're actually describing are the congressional careerist hacks who have sold themselves to corporate interests on their way to cushy criminal jobs in the world of lobbying. And how nice of Congress was it to redefine "bribery" in a way that will exempt their-- and their staffers'-- future careers from criminal procedures? Never forget how Republican super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff define bribery in his book Capitol Punishment:
[C]ontributions from parties with an interest in legislation are really nothing but bribes. Sure, it's legal for the most part. Sure, everyone in Washington does it. Sure it's the way the system works. It's one of Washington's dirty little secrets-- but it's bribery just the same...
To the corporate media, that's The Cult of The Moderate in American politics. Everyone else is, by definition, a radical, an extremist, a danger to the corporate state.
Next month will be the one year anniversary of a much-ignored amendment introduced by Vermont Democrat Peter Welch to get a handle on the massive subsidies-- billions and billions of dollars in taxes-- being given to the Oil and Gas giants, the most profitable businesses in the history of mankind. Welch's amendment was defeated 183-238. Although 10 Republicans' had enough of a conscience-- or (at least in Reid Ribble's) fear of their constituents-- to cross the aisle and vote with the Democrats in support of the amendment, 16 corrupt, mostly conservative Democrats cross the aisle in the other direction.
A yes vote on the amendment, to a bill the Republicans used to loosen regulations on air pollution caused by oil and gas drilling, would have required Big Oil to disclose all federal subsidies they receive on applications for oil drilling permits. (By the way, the bill the Republicans passed would eliminate the Environmental Review Board’s authority to review applications for oil drilling leases.)
In pushing for his Amendment, Welch told Congress that “We have many in this body, myself among them, who believe that these subsidies are too rich and they're unnecessary. When oil company profits are a trillion dollars in the past year, when the price of oil has been hovering between $95 and $113 a barrel, when the companies have enjoyed record profits this year, the question arises by me and by many as to whether or not it makes sense to ask the taxpayers to reach into their pockets and to provide subsidies to a mature industry-- an important industry, but a mature industry and a very profitable industry with a very high-priced product where they can generate and are succeeding in generating significant profits for that industry. This is not about whether they're doing good or they're doing bad-- we have oil companies that are doing their job-- but it is about whether taxpayers should be, at the very minimum, made explicitly aware as to how much it is they're being asked to subsidize oil companies when they seek these leases.”
Cantor tasked Mike Pompeo (R-KS), a freshman who has already received $139,000 from Big Oil, the 7th biggest haul of anyone in Congress this year, with the job of offering a defense against Welch’s argument: “The Welch amendment requires a company applying for a permit to provide data on 'oil subsidies provided by the federal government.’… this is an absolute red herring. There's no definition of 'oil subsidy.' That's intentional. The gentleman who proffered this amendment is an attorney. He ought to know better. I don't know what oil subsidies to which he's referring… What Mr. Welch is really interested in… what this amendment really does is it attempts to punish oil companies for producing American energy and American jobs. This piece of legislation, H.R. 2021, will do just that, and this amendment attempts to stop it." [The chart on the right shows the 30 biggest Big Oil bribe-taker so far for the 2012 election cycle. All of them have careers of fluffing Big Oil every time they get the opportunity. If you click on the chart itself, you'll be able to reda the names more easily and see the amounts of their payoffs this year. You'll also notice that there is only one so-called "Democrat" among them.]
These are the 16 Democrats-- the ones the corporate media lionizes as "moderates"-- who worked with the Republicans to defeat the very modest amendment. I've arranged them in order-- from most criminal to less criminal-- in terms of how much bribery they've solicited or accepted from Big Oil over the course of their moderate careers:
Dan Boren (Blue Dog-OK)- most of any Dem- $699,440
Gene Greene (TX)- $467,063
Jim Matheson (Blue Dog-UT)- $341,997
Mike Ross (Blue Dog-AR)- $331,300
Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX)- $210,100
Sheila Jackson Lee (TX)- $201,975
Jim Costa (Blue Dog-CA)- $179,450
John Barrow (Blue Dog-GA)- $175,700
Charlie Gonzalez (TX)- $162,500
Rick Larsen (WA)- $116,300
Rubén Hinojosa (TX)- $105,584
Silvestre Reyes (TX)- $98,400
Jason Altmire (Blue Dog-PA)- $79,789
Mike Thompson (Blue Dog-CA)- $47,760
Dennis Cardoza (Blue Dog-CA)- $46,400
Mark Critz (PA)- $18,000
Although the biggest recipient of bribes from the Oil and Gas industry in the entire Congress-- more even that any of the corrupt senators from Texas and Oklahoma-- is Joe Barton, who has taken in $1,638,855 so far. But the Republicans Blue America watches most closely haven't been slouches in bribery collection from Big Oil either. These four, all of whom, obviously, voted against Welch's amendment, are all Blue America targets for 2012:
Eric Cantor- $418,850
Paul Ryan- $242,850
Patrick McHenry- $46,250
Buck McKeon- $30,200
Their Democratic opponents this year are, respectively, Wayne Powell, Rob Zerban, Patsy Keever and Lee Rogers. Each of them has a path to victory, although none are being helped along that path by the DCCC. If you'd like to see some real change in DC, please consider helping these four progressive candidates against four of DC's worst corrupt conservative villains. And you can do that right here at the Blue America ActBlue page.