Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Well-Deserved Tongue Lashing

I wonder if Jim Marshall's staff is going to claim that the staff editorial in today's Albany Herald is somehow the work of a sinister left-wing blogger from California? Last week, Rep. Jim Marshall once again voted "no" on SCHIP-and this time his vote was on a modified version of the bill that address at least some of his concerns with the original bill. This time, he stood alone. Completely alone, as the only Democrat in the whole Congress to vote "no." This is what the Albany Herald has to say today about his votes:

America where are you now? Don’t you care about your sons and daughters? Don’t you know we need you now? We can’t fight alone against the monster.
— Steppenwolf
Voters, it seems, have short memories when it comes to the actions of their elected officials. A little slick campaigning, a brief visit to press the flesh and kiss a few babies, a couple of TV ads, and re-election is all but assured.
That being the case, voters in Georgia’s 8th Congressional District need to remember Jim Marshall’s name whenever it appears on any future ballot. Like Zell Miller before him, Marshall is one of those “in- name-only” Democrats who used the party’s finances to win a narrow election and since has shown his true Republican colors.
Voting one’s conscience is one thing, but Marshall’s recent siding with Republicans that allowed President Bush’s veto of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program that would have boosted the state’s PeachCare insurance program clearly illustrates the man’s politics comes before his responsibility to the people of his district.
And even as he was voting twice to deny more money for children whose working families could not afford insurance, Marshall was giving his support to Bush in the president’s efforts to keep pouring billions and billions of dollars into the ill-conceived wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Marshall’s vote to deny the so-called SCHIP funds was no more deplorable than the votes of his state Republican contemporaries (all of whom held ranks), but the fact that he chose to side with an elitist minority who seem hell-bent on using their votes as political pawns while needy children pay the price is beyond reprehensible.
Those of us who bother to follow the political actions of our elected officials admittedly do not have access to all of the information that surrounds the various issues that they vote on. But this vote was one of those let’s-take-care-of-the- children issues that politicians usually feed on.
It would have been relatively inexpensive (a $35 billion expansion over five years that would bring the total in the program up to $60 billion), it would have helped the children of working families (those who earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford private coverage) and it had overwhelming national support.
Marshall and many of his Republican pals said they did not support the SCHIP legislation primarily because funding was to come from an increase in cigarette taxes, a fact most consider a win-win. Not only would deserving children continue to get vital insurance coverage, the high cost of tobacco products might actually discourage people from developing the nasty, deadly habit and cut the number of cancer- related deaths.
The Georgia Republicrat claimed in the months leading up to the vote on the SCHIP measure, President Bush’s veto and the subsequent failed attempt to override the veto that the issue was among his “highest priorities.” But while he’s defended his vote by saying Democrats failed to clarify where future funding for the program would come from, he has yet to offer an alternative to his alleged party’s plan.
Marshall and his contemporaries who regularly ignore the needs of their constituents in an effort to curry favor with politicians who might further their careers are the most reprihensible of government figures. One understands that the Congressman was (narrowly) elected as a “conservative,” but the PeachCare issue in Georgia is one that transcends political affiliation.
It, simply, was the right thing to do. That Marshall and other elected officials chose to ignore that fact speaks volumes as to their representation of the people who elected them. Hopefully, those same people will remember such votes the next time they see Marshall’s and his pals’ names on a ballot.
E-mail Carlton Fletcher at

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