Tim Johnson Watch

Representative Tim Johnson was elected to represent the residents of Illinois' 15th Congressional District in Central Illinois. His constituents should know what he's doing.

Location: 15th Congressional District, Illinois, United States

A concerned citizen of Central Illinois.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Remember When ... ?

This blog has been calling for some time for Tim Johnson to give back the $25,000 he has received from corrupt Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay (more than any other Illinois representative).

Back in May, Illinipundit asked:
Ummmm, why should he give the money back?

DeLay hasn't even been indicted (except by the lying, partisan press).
I hope it's not impolite to mention that, as we all know, DeLay was indicted this week for his role in laundering corporate campaign contributions. And more Republicans are starting to give back the money from the corrupt DeLay machine.

As Mr. Johnson remains silent, and keeps DeLay's money, even conservatives may wonder if he is really serving his constituents. Consider the thoughts of the Lansing State Journal:
On DeLay: Mid-Michigan Republicans can find a better person to lead us

[Central Michigan's four Republican Congressmen] all claim the same mantle before area voters ... of being sober, prudent, Midwestern conservatives; people of trust and honor.

Yet, where is the prudence, where is the conservatism, in their previous support of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas?

The people of Houston sent DeLay to Congress. That's their call.

But Rogers, Camp, Ehlers, Schwarz and their Republican colleagues made DeLay majority leader. Why are area voters being tied to this man? ...

[H]ow many mid-Michigan voters believe, as DeLay claims, that the federal budget has no fat in it? How many voters believe, as DeLay claims, that Congress is better able to determine a woman's mental state than her own doctors? And how many mid-Michigan voters really think Tom DeLay is the best representative of their views in Washington?
Please, Mr. Johnson. Give Tom DeLay's money back.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Tim Johnson's Partisan Cover Up Of The Katrina Response

Tim Johnson voted today for the Orwellianly-named "bipartisan" commission to investigate the response to Hurricane Katrina.

If this proposed commission were really "bipartisan", why would the proposal have been rammed through by Republicans on a strict party-line vote? Because the Republican idea of bipartisan is that Republicans be the majority of the commissioner and, thus, control the commission's actions and its subpoena power, and that the commission be made up of members of Congress, who have an obvious conflict to the extent Congress's actions may be subject to question. The Democrats, in contrast, have proposed a genuinely bipartisan and independent commission, like the 9/11 commission (which had 5 Republicans and 5 Democrats).

With 54% of Americans disapproving of Bush's handling of the Katrina disaster, 63% believing the Administration lacks a clear plan for dealing with the hurricane situation, and only 17% believing Bush himself is completely blameless for the problems with the federal response to the hurricane, it's pretty obvious why Republicans would want Republicans to control the investigation. But it's equally obvious why 70% of Americans want a genuinely independent investigation -- especially because of the obvious relevance of what went wrong in Louisiana to what might happen if we face another terrorist attack.

Tim Johnson likes to portray himself as above partisanship. Sadly, today, he voted in lockstep for a partisan cover-up of what went wrong with the response to Katrina.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Let Them Eat Beignets

According to the Pantagraph, Tim Johnson is being stingy about rebuilding New Orleans:
U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, an Urbana Republican, said Thursday that rebuilding the storm-ravaged, below-sea-level city may not be realistic. His two Central Illinois Republican colleagues took differing views.

A spokesman for U.S. Rep. Jerry Weller, a Republican from Morris, said it's too early to make those decisions, and Rep. Ray LaHood said the federal government must play a role.

"The popular thing for me to say is, 'Whatever they need. It's a horrible crisis. I don't care what it costs. I don't care what it means to us. Just open the checkbook, completely rebuild the city of New Orleans and make it an entirely new city,'" Johnson said.

"That would be the politically correct thing to say. But I don't always do what's politically correct, and I'm not going to say that."

Johnson did say the federal government must spend money to help rebuild the port system in the Mississippi Delta, a key point for barge traffic serving Illinois agriculture.

I'm not sure who's saying "just open the checkbook" -- I think there's widespread agreement that, as LaHood says, the federal government will have to play a role, and it's pretty obvious that cost will necessarily be a factor in what Congress decides to do.

But Johnson's sneering dismissal of the notion that the government should come to the aid of its citizens in a genuine and unprecedented crisis as mere "political correctness" betrays a stinginess and lack of charity that ill represents this District's citizens. It is all the more unbecoming that Mr. Johnson is so parsimonious about rebuilding New Orleans, when he has been so profligate in rebuilding Iraq. (The EPA estimates that the clean-up cost in New Orleans may approximate the cost of one year of the Iraq War.) And even more so when one considers that the cost of rebuilding New Orleans is about the same as what the Bush tax cuts championed by Mr. Johnson have already given to America's richest 1% (few of whom live in this District).

Friday, September 02, 2005

Lessons From New Orleans

The New York Times Paul Krugman today addresses the very real effects that the signature Republican policies of the last five years -- enormous tax cuts for the very wealthy and a war based on lies about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction -- are having in New Orleans:
After 2003 the Army Corps of Engineers sharply slowed its flood-control work, including work on sinking levees. "The corps," an Editor and Publisher article says, citing a series of articles in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, "never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security - coming at the same time as federal tax cuts - was the reason for the strain."

In 2002 the corps' chief resigned, reportedly under threat of being fired, after he criticized the administration's proposed cuts in the corps' budget, including flood-control spending. (Emphasis added.)
Let me be clear. I am not saying that the Republican agenda "caused" the terrible tragedy we are witnessing this week. However, there can be little doubt that the decision to devote a vast share of our Nation's resources to enriching the wealthiest few and to fighting the wrong war -- both decisions enthusiastically championed by Tim Johnson -- rather than to such mundane but critically important needs as flood prevention and emergency preparation, made a disaster of the scope we are witnessing in New Orleans more likely.

To the residents of the Fifteenth Congressional District who are fortunate enough not to have loved ones in harm's way this week, the effects of Mr. Bush's and Mr. Johnson's priorities may be less dramatic -- things like veterans paying more for prescription drugs, students and their families paying more for tuition, homeowners paying more in real estate taxes, or poor children waiting longer for healthcare.

But they are no less real.