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CAFTA Shenanigans.

Possibly you heard the story about the citizen who was concerned about the national debt, so he went to see his congressman to urge him to push for balancing the budget. The congressman looked at him in shocked surprise and said, "I spent 5 million dollars running for a job that pays $125,000 a year, and you are asking me to balance the budget!"

The shenanigans that took place on the floor of the House in the wee hours of July 27/28 in respect to the CAFTA vote ("Vote-buying and Arm-twisting," August 22 issue) resemble the same kind of shenanigans that took place in the U.S. Senate on April 18, 1978 in respect to the Carter/Torrijos Panama Canal Treaties. Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert played the part in the CAFTA "giveaway" that Senator Howard Baker had played in the Panama Canal giveaway approximately 27 years earlier.

For the information of those congressmen who may not recall the history of the Senate Panama Canal giveaway, dig out your history and you will find that of the 67 senators who voted for the treaties, five were defeated in their next primary election, 20 were defeated in their next general election, and eight decided to retire rather than to face "our music." I say "our music" with a bit of pride because as one of the organizers of "The Committee to Defeat Howard Baker," I believe that 33 out of 67 is not a bad score. We found that it costs considerably less to defeat an incumbent when he has broken faith with the voters. If you have any questions about that just ask Howard Baker, Robert Morgan, James Abourezk, Charles H. Percy, or any of the other senators who faced "our music" in the four years following the Panama Canal Treaties vote.

I figure that a "Committee to Defeat Dennis Hastert" could be just as effective in respect to the CAFTA vote. There are 217 names on that list who voted for it, plus two congressmen who had pledged to vote "nay" but failed to insist that their "nay" votes be registered, unless they can demand a voting review and that their "nay" votes be registered. These two "nay" votes would make the final count 217 to 217, meaning that CAFTA would fail as it certainly should. If our committee could do as well with these 219 House members as we did with the 67 senators within four years, we would defeat about 108 of those congresspersons who could not care less about American jobs and commerce. It is worth the try, using our past experience, so let's do it!


Milton, North Carolina
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Author:Turberville, Frank, Jr.
Publication:The New American
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Dec 26, 2005
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