I recently attended a meeting with U.S. Rep. John Barrow in Evans that The Augusta Chronicle covered in its Oct. 8 edition. Barrow appears to be a very able politician, as his answers to questions were geared to please his audience. But upon further analysis of his answers – and more importantly some omissions in his answers – I concluded it would be very hard for this fiscal conservative to vote for him.
One of the better questions of the morning came late in the session from a gentleman who asked: Given the state of the budget, what should we as citizens be willing to give up? The congressman picked an easy target of waste in the federal government, saying he supported a 50 percent cut in travel allowances for federal employees, and that Washington buys too many cars for the vehicle pool used by the federal government. If both ideas were implemented the savings could be approximately $5 billion, according to the congressman.
But that prompts the question of whether either will be passed. If you are like me, you have your doubts. While $5 billion is a lot of money, anyone who can do arithmetic knows the budget outlay problem is about entitlement reform. The congressman conveniently omitted that area.
When asked if there were enough votes in the House to pass a clean continuing resolution if House Speaker John Boehner would allow a vote, Barrow answered in the affirmative, and subtly put the blame on the speaker. If one listened closely to the details in Barrow’s comments, you’d have noticed that he has voted against Congress getting subsidies to participate in Obamacare, and that he favored a repeal of the individual mandate to buy health insurance. That is the last bill passed by the House with a continuing resolution and not passed by the Democratically controlled Senate. So why would Barrow blame the House when it has passed a bill with provisions that Barrow favors?
Because you are in the Democratic Party.
One of my favorite exchanges was when a woman in the audience spoke about a recent trip to Washington and found the U.S. National World War II Memorial closed, and asked who had made that decision. The congressman said he did not know, but there would be plenty of investigations into that matter. Really? That answer should be attainable in about 30 minutes, and then time could be spent on the investigation into alleged abuse of power by the Internal Revenue Service.
Barrow mentioned several times the need for leadership in Washington. While I am unhappy with the Republican Party, when I look at the leadership of the Democratic Party – President Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid – I remain Republican by default.