Sensenbrenner sends a message, but what is it?
Rep. F Jim Sensenbrenner's vote against money to bring relief after Hurricane Katrina has found a defender, the Racine Journal Times.
Sensenbrenner was just "sending a message," the paper says.
Linking his vote to the misuse of some funds after the Sept. 11 attack is a stretch, but that's what the editorial does. It concludes:
There was more to Sensenbrenner's message than that.
There is no doubt the recovery bill for Hurricane Katrina will be a massive one and Americans don't begrudge the cost of rebuilding shattered lives and destroyed homes and businesses. But there is nothing wrong in advocating that these dollars go for their intended purposes or in demanding an accounting for how they are spent to make sure these dollars go as far as they can in providing help.
That's all that Sensenbrenner was saying - and it's a message that bears repeating.
He offered no amendments or improvements in accountability, just voted no.
His "no" vote was also a vote against increased funding for oversight of relief funds.
Contained within the spending measure approved by Congress last Thursday is a provision that directs an extra $15 million to the inspector general's office in the Department of Homeland Security. Bill summary.
This is in addition to the more than $83 million that is a part of the fiscal 2006 budget for the Office of Inspector General (OIG).
If that wasn't enough, Sensenbrenner could have proposed more. But he didn't. He just voted no.
His message was that he just didn't care about people, just money.
Others are considerably less kind than the Journal Times. Jim Rowen tells us that F. Jim's $70,000 stamp collection may have distracted him from what was happening in New Orleans or made it hard to relate to some of the evacuees. Rowen's column.
And DubyaIsFredo suggests F. Jim may have just wanted to do the opposite of Bush, no matter what -- not a bad place to be as W's numbers go into the toilet.
Bruce Murphy at Milwaukee Magazine says Sensebrenner's approach would set us back a century or more, and points out that Sensenbrenner is quicker to support throwing money at problems closer to home.
Kennedy campaign energized
Meanwhile, F. Jim's new notoriety has energized the campaign of his Democratic opponent, Bryan Kennedy.
Democracy for America is hosting an online vote to determine which congressional candidate will receive their first national endorsement of 2006. The winner will receive a DFA-List endorsement and a national e-mail, which could bring Kennedy's campaign some national attention.
To vote for Bryan Kennedy in the online vote: go here. Voting closes on Saturday at 4 p.m. Kennedy needs to finish in the top 10 to make the final round next week.