We Were Here All AlongDuring Monday's session of the Tennessee House of Representatives, Rep. Steve McManus (R-Cordova) rose under personal orders to decry the runaway spending practices in the President's so-called stimulus package, and why he believed Tennessee should take very little of this money, if any at all. McManus said that he was especially concerned that the United States will be selling much of its Treasury debt to Red China in order to finance the President's plan, and the next generation will be left holding the tab for this. What happens, asked McManus, the day the Chinese and other quasi-hostile powers decide "we have the United States where we want them, let us quit buying their securities and call in our bonds?"
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner gave the rather simplistic response:
"All these people who are concerned about spending, where
were they the last eight years."
That might be a fair question, except that it is doubtful that Mike Turner has engaged in many lengthy discussions with his colleagues on the other side of the aisle about the ridiculous spending habits of the late Bush Administration. If he had, I strongly suspect that he would have found widespread concern about the problem, especially among more conservative members of the Republican Caucus like Frank Niceley, Eric Swafford, Glen Casada, Jim Coley, Gerald McCormick, or Stacey Campfield-just to name a few. Further, since I know Rep. Turner visits this site on a regular basis, he is quite aware that this is not a place where anyone who favored that kind of reckless spending could come to read plaudets about how wonderful it was that they were running up the deficit to the outer reaches of the known universe. There were many Republicans and conservatives, both in and out of Tennessee, who expressed deep concern and reservations over the fiscal policy of the Bush Administration-yours truly was deriding these habits long before it was cool.
Rep. Turner also knows that the Tennessee House of Representatives is not a place where members regularly engage in lengthy colloquies on matters of federal politics. There are very good reasons for that, of course, but Monday's exchange was so rare that I found myself wishing that the Speaker would not move on to the next order, I thought Turner's remarks deserved a suitable reaction and response. It is not often that members of the Tennessee House discuss such matters of grave national importance.
The President's speech last night was very long on generalities and cheerleading slogans, but was extremely short on specifics (in fairness, so was Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's Republican response-not that the mainstream press was actually listening). Often, State of the Union messages are like that regardless of who is delivering them-and that is precisely what this was, despite what many said to the contrary, because the President is about to present a budget. If there were ever a situation when the people of this country need to know exactly what is in a spending bill and why, this is the time. Our future depends on it.