Yesterday, T at Republican Redefined put up a pretty interesting link... It shows which politicians have requested what earmarks, and labels them "Heroes" or "Hooligans", based on their level of addiction.
So of course, I had to check out Jason Altmire. He's listed as a "hooligan".
I admit to being torn here. I didn't vote for the guy... BUT I could have. When Mary Beth Buchanan threw her hat into the primary ring, I admitted freely that if she won the nomination, I'd vote for Altmire. I ended up backing (and voting for) Keith Rothfus, because I wanted the most conservative candidate possible this cycle.
But the simple truth is -- Altmire's not that bad. He's reasonably centrist, has a good record on veteran's issues, pro-gun, anti-abortion. Someone I know referred to his voting record as "schizoid... this guy's all over the place." I guess that's accurate. But that's also how I vote, so I don't hold that against him either. He wasn't my preference, but I consider him tolerable.
And I'll tell you what I think: THAT'S why he won. Financial differences aside, his opponent made the tactical mistake of trying at every turn to paint him as a liberal. Despite my remarks to Rothfus that they were very similar (moreso than he'd like to admit - and the voters knew it), he attempted to portray Altmire as Pelosi's lap dog. And lost.
Mr. Rothfus... on the off chance you're reading this... I hope you do decide to run again. And I hope you're wise enough to acknowledge the similarities between the two of you while highlighting the differences. It's just smarter strategy.
Anyway, back to the earmarks.
I don't like earmarks, but not for the generally given reason about federal spending. Sometimes, federal spending is necessary and appropriate. My problem with earmarks is the way they're tucked into everything else. If the federal funds are appropriate and necessary, they should be able to pass as a stand-alone bill, no?
Still, I'm undecided on some of Altmire's requests. Examples? Advanced Lightweight Gunner Protection Kit for Lightweight MRAP Vehicle. Collagen-Based Wound Dressing. Transportable Renal Replacement Therapy for Battlefield Applications. These seem like positive things. And if it brings the work to this area? Well, someone has to do it, and this region is in a bad way.
Even this one: National Network of Digital Schools Management Foundation... While I ordinarily think federal intervention in education has been nothing but a negative, I can't get too worked up about this funding. We struggled and busted our butts to get out of a toilet of a town/school district. If I were still there, I'd be very happy to have the cyber schools option.
So, I admit it. I'm undecided on Altmire's requests. I'm open to thoughts, if anyone still reads this blog. Gimme some input.
I'm just not convinced Altmire is necessarily deserving of the title "hooligan".
Hell, half the time I'm not convinced he's deserving of the title "Democrat".