Friday, May 30, 2008

While You Were Watching Dogs and Ponies

It's always fascinating to see what's missed when there's a major event sucking all attention to it as Scott McClellan's Tell-All is doing right now. Don't rush to check if the war is over. Instead, it's the override of the occupied White House veto.

Farmers' lobbies, while earning a lot of the credit, are not all that's responsible. Those voters are raising their ugly heads as the election approaches. Those GoPerv legislators who have been fighting against anything at all just to work on their line that the Dems were ineffective have learned that the voters aren't buying it.

Hunger is an issue, as are the foodstuffs we do count on even though most of us are buying them in brightly colored plastics most of the time. Okay, I'm having salad fresh picked from the garden, but I identify with you who don't have a big plot of land to play with.

Jonathan Weisman writes in The Washington Post: "With an overwhelming 82 to 13 vote, the Senate yesterday completed the override of President Bush's veto of a comprehensive farm bill, shrugging off Republican concerns about an embarrassing legislative glitch to make the $307 billion bill the law of the land.

"House GOP leaders continued to grumble that Democrats had violated the Constitution by pressing forward with the veto override after they discovered that a whole section of the bill on trade policy had been inadvertently dropped from the version vetoed Wednesday.

"But Democratic leaders said they had court precedent and constitutional scholars on their side. 'The veto override will have the force of law,' said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) . . .

"Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) were among the 35 Republicans who joined in the most significant legislative rebuff of Bush's presidency.

"'By overturning the president's veto, we are making substantial investments in nutrition programs to help millions of families afford healthy food, in help for farmers hit by disaster and to protect our nation's natural resources,' said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)."

Several readers e-mailed to complain that in yesterday's column I gave Bush too much credit for his veto by focusing on the bill's crop subsidies and not its desperately needed anti-hunger provisions. So for the record, as Alan Bjerga writes for Bloomberg: "Assistance to poor families takes up about 74 percent of the spending authorized under the measure, according to House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson. Crop subsidies account for about 16 percent, he said."

While farmers are having a very good year in many areas, the vast Western states are suffering through yet another year of drought, and not everyone can irrigate enough to grow the feed corn used for ethanol at present. When switch grass is more developed as a source for ethanol, the dry areas can share more in that particular boom. Of course, raising the price of fuel and feed has made animal husbandry (word safe for work) more expensive, which is another reason why your hamburger is soaring out of reach. Congress isn't acting just to please the farmers, it also is acting to keep America self-sufficient.

The public is being served and that is regrettably rare enough in recent years to merit applause. It would be heartening if there weren't still so many recidivists in the congress. Without a solid majority of Democrats, this milestone will remain a monadnock on the legislative landscape.

A rebirth of conscience is worth attention - and here we have an echo of the bigtime dog and pony show the media is celebrating in the middle ring.


Mentions of the veto override were carried in the Seattle Times,, and WaPo.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home