March 08, 2006
Soaring Free

Barack Obama has not yet come close to earning the plaudits he receives, and he has taken some actively repellent and politically unnecessary positions, such as voting to confirm Condoleeza Rice, in an apparent attempt to establish himself as a grown-up U.S. senator.

Now, however, comes the first truly admirable and against-the-grain act of his tenure: when he got into office, he started partaking of the congressional scam of taking corporate jets, and then reimbursing the company for first-class air fare, though the real cost of a corporate jet flight is many times that of a first-class commercial seat. But that all somehow just didn’t feel right to the new senator, and now he won’t take the jets and is backing a rule change to require senators pay the real cost of the corporate jet trips.

And listen to how they’re whining:

Other lawmakers, in both parties, say travel on corporate planes is necessary in modern politics. …

“I flew from Colorado to L.A. to San Diego to San Francisco to Sacramento, back to L.A., to San Bernardino and back to San Francisco,” [Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California,] said of a week’s itinerary.

An opponent of the increase, she said: “I couldn’t do it. It’s too expensive.”

Isn’t that just the point? I guess Dianne isn’t exactly the kind of girl U.S. senator you take camping.

Obama’s still got a lot of ground to make up, but every journey starts with the first step, and he gets full credit for this.

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Posted by Wayne Uff at March 08, 2006 06:59 AM
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Poor baby, she can't afford it.

My question is why she made those trips. Was it necessary in her job of making laws for America? What corporations greeted her at the end of those trips? Finally, how can she accept such largesse and not, consciously or subconsciously, feel just the slightest inclination to "help" her benefactor?

I've seen proposals in the past which never came to fruition suggesting members of congress should be reimbursed with tax money for up to 12 or so trips home each year. Any other traveling, not related to their work, is on their dime. At the same time, corporate jets would be out.

Posted by: spiiderweb on March 8, 2006 7:32 PM

Too expensive! Who does she think she's kidding?

Senator Feinstein's War-Profiteering
'We constantly hear about Dick Cheney's ties to Halliburton and how his ex-company is making bundles off US contracts in Iraq. But what we don't hear about is how Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein and her husband are also making tons of money off the "war on terror".

'The wishy-washy senator now claims Bush misled her leading up to the invasion of Iraq. I don't think she's being honest with us though, there may have been other reasons she helped sell Bush's lies. According to The Center for Public Integrity, Senator Feinstein's husband Richard Blum has raked in millions of dollars from Perini, a civil infrastructure construction company, of which the billionaire investor co-owns 75 percent of the voting share.

'Senator Feinstein, who sits on the Appropriations Committee as well as the Select Committee on Intelligence, is reaping the benefits of her husband's investments. The Democratic royal family recently purchased a 16.5 million dollar mansion in the flush Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco. It's a disgusting display of war profiteering and the leading Democrat, just like Cheney, should be called out for her offense.'

Posted by: susan on March 8, 2006 8:24 PM

Yeah, well, we also won't forget that Obama voted for the bankruptcy bill. Are there any real Democrats around, or is the party already dead, or maybe just too rich to care? Damn, Roosevelt was rich but he largely cared. At any rate, a depression may be coming, or at least inflation, the likes of which will eclipse the Jimmy Carter era. Perhaps progressives can arise out of the ashes.

Posted by: Buck on March 8, 2006 9:30 PM

"Girl"?

Wayne, honey, Senator Feinstein is old enough to be your grandma and controls any room she enters. Criticize her expense-accounting habits if you like but don't call her "girl," OK?

Posted by: Martha Bridegam on March 8, 2006 10:53 PM

Yes, Martha, on Monday I had to correct a Democratic candidate who told me his wife is a career girl.

I've been correcting and correcting for going on 30 years now, and it's boring.

Posted by: Joyful Alternative on March 9, 2006 12:12 AM

I have to say that I was taken aback by Senator Obama's vote for the bankruptcy bill. He did it when I was otherwise overwhelmed by other stuff (making a living being the main diversion) and was not, alas, following the issue.

I don't know why he supported that bill, but it's not too late for me, and anyone else who care, to write him a letter and ask. I'll put that at the top of my weekend list now that this posting has reminded me. At the time I found out about his vote, it rankled. Deeply.

He's not all gas, I don't believe. This is a guy who could have done anything and came to Chicago to work in the neighborhoods. OTOH, in the Illinois General Assembly, he had a record of being progressive but not radical.

Posted by: Lucy at the House of Joy & Truckstop on March 9, 2006 12:49 AM

Sorry, ladies. Just a turn of phrase. Pardon a good ol' boy who doesn't know any better and will try harder.

Posted by: wayne uff on March 9, 2006 1:08 AM

If you can't afford the fare, stay in D.C. I

Posted by: tstreet on March 9, 2006 9:26 AM
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