In a statement that ought to erode any remaining public confidence in the way many of our elected representatives do their work, Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., said, "I'll just read. This is from Wikipedia. It may not be accurate." Who cares about accuracy -- or truth -- when there is a bill to be passed? Baucus also said he couldn't do "the correct math" and "... whether you use a 10-year number or when you start in 2010 or start in 2014, wherever you start at, so it is still either $1 trillion or it's $2.5 trillion, depending on where you start."
A trillion here, a trillion there. It isn't his money, so why should he care?
My two favorites are from Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Ben Nelson, D-Neb. Landrieu said, "I know people don't believe this, but I can't be bought." This was after she voted for cloture in exchange for a $300 million earmark for her state. In a similar spirit, Nelson said, "My vote is not for sale, period." This after it appeared he sold his vote in exchange for a Medicaid payment exemption for Nebraska.
Two character qualities accompanying the definition of "truth" are honesty and integrity. Congress is in very short supply of these as reflected in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll. Sixty-eight percent disapprove of the job Congress is doing and only 22 percent approve. I suspect the gap will widen in the next poll when opinion about the health care debate is measured.
If only they would resolve to tell the truth.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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