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Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin And Senator Ron Johnson Cast A Feckless Vote On Debt Ceiling

August 3, 2011

I am glad to know that I am not the only one who thought the actions of Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, and Senator Ron Johnson were out of line this week when the vote was taken on the debt ceiling.

There is no doubt, as this blog pointed out daily–even at times several times daily–that the political process in Washington is broken and the art of compromise seems lost on those we elected to represent us.    We all can agree that the extreme manner in which the debt ceiling was used to almost bring down the good faith and credit of the nation was unsightly, and frankly it made me very nervous.

Somehow out of the political chaos a final agreement was produced that while reeking to heaven did allow for what everyone knew had to finally happen.  The debt ceiling would be increased to cover the costs that Congress had already voted for. 

It was then that Congresswoman Baldwin and Senator Johnson acted like children.  They each voted against the bill, and also against the greater need of the nation.  It was not a shining moment for either of these politicians.

At election time we all are reminded over and over and over that these candidates with the backgrounds and expertise are the best ones to serve in Washington.  But at the end of this week’s debate when the very economic foundation of our nation was at stake two of our state’s elected officials allowed childlike behavior to win the day.  They voted ‘no’ on the bill.

They both should have done what most other responsible elected officials from both parties did, and that was to hold their nose and do what was required.

What Baldwin and Johnson did can not be called leadership.  Nor can anyone else who failed to vote for the bill claim any high moral ground.

Ducking behind a ‘no’ vote so to make it easier to talk with certain segments of one’s political support is not the image of political courage that first leaps to my mind.  A vote against this bill on the debt limit was a feckless one.  A most regrettable one.

Therefore, I was pleased to read in the morning paper an editorial that I suspect reflects many voter’s thoughts across the state.

Baldwin, a Madison Democrat, and Johnson, an Oshkosh Republican, were the only members of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation to vote against the last-minute, bipartisan deal to lift the nation’s debt ceiling and slow spending.

In other words, Baldwin and Johnson shared the skewed view that defaulting on America’s debt for the first time in modern history —risking an economic calamity — was better than giving an inch of ideological ground. That’s precisely the kind of attitude that has led to chronic gridlock in Washington.

A default threatened to stick all Americans with higher costs sure to stall if not reverse the slow economic recovery.

Baldwin, rated the most liberal member of the House by the nonpartisan National Journal, complained that wealthy Americans should pay higher taxes. Johnson complained that spending limits weren’t tight enough.

To be sure, the debt deal was a stinker. It largely dodged the tough, specific decisions on taxes and spending that a bipartisan panel will now be charged with tackling.

Yes, the deal should have done a better job of closing tax exemptions and loopholes. Yes, the agreement should have been more aggressive in finding savings at the Pentagon and with entitlement programs.

But compromise requires give and take.

That’s a concept Baldwin and her progressive pals on the far left don’t seem to grasp or respect. The same goes for Johnson and his conservative tea party teammates.

  1. John H permalink
    August 19, 2011 12:19 AM

    Honestly, I believe Baldwin acted responsibly in casting a ‘no’ vote on the “debt deal.” Rather than simply thinking in the short-term (the necessity to raise the debt ceiling), she was thinking in the longer term about what sort of real spending cuts this will mean in the future, and who those spending cuts will affect and how. The use of the phrase “most other responsible elected officials from both parties did (vote for the bill)” is a bit misleading. True, the overwhelming majority of Senators from both parties voted for this so-called compromise, but that was not exactly the case in the House. A majority of republicans voted in favor, but the democrats were split 50/50, with both 95 for and 95 against. So, yes, the bill passed, but let’s not pretend that it’s just a few fringe politicians voting nay. In fact, 187 members of congress of both houses voted against this (161 in the House and 26 in the Senate).

  2. Trilby permalink
    August 15, 2011 10:43 AM

    November 2000 … there was not an elected president of U.S. On December 13, 2000, Former elected president George Bush’s friends on the U.S. Supreme Court, he personally appointed to Supreme Court, APPOINTED their friend’s son, George W., to the title, power, and control of nuclear codes of the President of U.S., without being elected at all. Without the will of the people. This is simply TREASON. The entire fabric of our nation, based on a president elected by the people , and the faith of people was destroyed. Our country was destroyed by those who supported Bush’s Treason at the time and ever since. Not really a surprize the fabric of society unraveled.

  3. Jim OBrien permalink
    August 8, 2011 9:37 PM

    This article is not accurate. The author will have you believe that Obama could not pay our necessary bills without a greater debt limit. This is not accurate. He would have complete control to pay the necessary bills. And Senator Ron Johnson voted exactly how the people who sent him there wanted him to vote. He is another freshman I donated to. And voted against this bill. I am not even from Wisconsin, Facts are; spend more than you bring in, you go broke. It is not all Obama it was all politician’s, both sides. But now ” we the people” are watching. THANK YOU Senator Ron Johnson. Jim O. Il.

  4. August 3, 2011 7:02 PM

    “Pres. Obama gave in, assuming he’s not BSing us, to fiscal terrorists.
    There is and was nothing preventing Obama from acting like a president”

    You mean send a SEAL team in and shoot ’em dead? After all, that is how we deal with terrorists in this country.

    That is why the words of the Vice President were so alarming….

  5. Annie K. permalink
    August 3, 2011 6:29 PM

    I’m feckless You feckless
    All God’s chillins gotta be feckless.
    Feckless lips sink ships.
    One fish Two fish
    Feckless Blue Fish
    Horton hears a feckless Who wish
    Four score and twenty years ago
    our fore-fecklers brought forth a new Feckle.
    Oh what a beautiful Feckle Oh what a beautiful day,
    I’ve got a feckless-y feeelin’ everyone’s feckless todaaaay

    But no matter how recklessly feckless the talk of fecklessness gets, let’s all try to remember there’s something worse than fecklessness with or without irony – pedantry.

  6. August 3, 2011 4:12 PM




    Unthinking and irresponsible.

    As to Moore while I have heard her reasoning, she also stated she would have supported the bill that would have raised the debt ceiling, which was the only way to vote if not wishing to harm the good faith and credit of the United States.

    You have been a faithful reader here all year and know since Jan the debt ceiling has been almost the number one domestic issue on this blog. There are times to fight…and many have over this issue..but regardless of what one thinks about the bill…and I detest it…adults have to govern at the end of the day and sometimes vote for the better of the country.

  7. Patrick permalink
    August 3, 2011 3:39 PM

    Feckless? What about Gwen M.?

  8. Michael Leon permalink
    August 3, 2011 2:52 PM

    You use the word “feckless” with no sense of irony.

    Pres. Obama gave in, assuming he’s not BSing us, to fiscal terrorists.

    There is and was nothing preventing Obama from acting like a president and defending the U.S. Constitution, specifically the 14th Amendment.

    In a further sense of irony, it’s that same racist, know-nothing, anti-Republic rhetoric emitting from the Tea Party that brought about this crisis in the first place.

    Feckless is Pres. Obama.

    Out of line, you say of Sen. Johnson and Rep Baldwin.

    What the hell line is that? No line I cast my lot with when I voted for former Sen. Feingold and Rep. Baldwin in 2010.

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