Political Hypocrisy

Or is that redundant? You be the judge...

August 17, 1998

Larry E. Craig
United States Senate
Washington DC 20510-1203

Dear Larry:

Thank you for your reply to my correspondence concerning your "Drug-Free Neighborhoods" amendment to the tobacco settlement bill (S.1415).

There seem to be three separate issues: the Senate's ability and willingness to pass meaningful legislation; the need for legislation concerning tobacco; and the need for legislation concerning illegal drugs. My initial letter and this follow-up are not about the last of these three.

It's my belief that the Senate's inaction on a tobacco settlement has been arranged by those members who actively oppose any government encroachment against the tobacco industry, and those others, such as yourself, who are willing to go along in order to curry political favors for other legislation.

When I wrote to you, I was expressing opposition to your manipulation of the legislative process by combining unrelated issues. In your reply, you criticize S.1415 for being "comprehensive, burdensome and unconstitutional." Was that before or after you offered your amendment? If it was before, then what good could come from amending the bill with an unrelated issue? The only logical inference is that the amendment was offered for its political benefits alone. If your criticism applies after your amendment, then your amendment would have contributed to its comprehensive and burdensome qualities, at least.

It is incredibly ironic that in your letter you should refer to the "vain attempt at partisan maneuvering" for Senators offering S.1415 as an amendment to other legislation reaching the floor. You deprecate the same tactics you use when it suits you.

Your rhetoric about illegal drugs is no doubt persuasive to many of your constituents, but I resent your continued attempt to change the subject. Beyond the partisan maneuvering, the blatant hypocrisy and the service to the powerful lobby of the tobacco industry, we are all left with the simple fact that tobacco kills many, many more Americans each year than illegal drugs and all the crime associated with them.

I think it is truly reprehensible that the Congress can not take decisive action when there is such a pressing need for it.

Is it good constituent relations, or an unwillingness to let someone else have the last word? Either way, Larry felt the need to reply.

Tom von Alten      tva_∂t_fortboise_⋅_org

Monday, 02-Nov-1998 16:44:00 MST