Rep. Roy Blunt has been taking it on the chin lately about the contributions he’s accepted. USA Today has a chart showing that he has raised more money from lobbyists than any other single legislator. So far this year, he’s taken in more than $310,000. We all know what we all think about a legislator heavily beholden to–yechh–lobbyists. The other media piece tarnishing him is an ad that a group of liberal organizations (The League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club, MoveOn, and Americans United for Change) are airing that show the “stain” on his record. He’s taken in a million bucks from Big Oil over the years, so the ad shows his hand dripping oil all over constituents when he shakes a woman’s hand or pats a man’s shoulder or hugs a child.
Under the circumstances, Blunt deserves a certain amount of respect for his response in a televised interview about the ad. He can tap dance with the best of them. Oh, you may think it’s funny that, when asked if he’s taken a million dollars from Big Oil, he basically responds: I don’t know, but Robin Carnahan’s taken $20,000. Laugh if you want, but there’s some merit to his “We’re both whores, but I’m a higher priced one” argument. Oh, oops, he didn’t put it that way. He said that IF there’s anything wrong with taking such money–and there’s not, because he votes according to his conscience, and businesses give him money because they approve of his principles, not because they could ever, heaven forfend, influence his vote–but IF there’s anything wrong with taking money from Big Oil, then Carnahan is guilty as well as he. And besides, his million came in over fifteen years. It’s not as awful as it sounds. (That works out, by the way, to something under $67,000 a year, every year for fifteen years or so, which means, to return to the whoring metaphor, that he’s three times as good at it as Carnahan, and has been for a long time.)
Anyway, he adds, the ad is the dirty work of SEIU, ACORN, and the League of Conservation Voters. (Subtext: we all know–even though they had zilch to do with the ad–that you can’t trust the thugs at SEIU or the fraudsters at ACORN. But you can trust me.)
See what I mean? It was a minor masterpiece of sidestepping the question. He was less skillful, though, when interviewed about the USA Today article that revealed his contributions from lobbyists, because he left himself open to the word “lie”. Not that Dave Catanese of KY3 used that word.
When Catanese asked him about the article that said he’d received more lobbyist money than any other candidate, Blunt corrected him. “No, no, they said PAC money.” And he went on at some condescending length about the difference between PAC and lobbyist contributions. In fact, though, the USA Today article was about “lobbyist money.” The word “PAC” was nowhere in there. Catanese took the correction, by the way, mentioning only near the end of his blog about the interview that Blunt “misspoke.”
So he sorta got away with that misrepresentation. Give him credit. Roy Blunt is a skillful talker, especially when interviewers let him steamroll them. In the first video above, he reeled off the Republican talking points about how much cap-and-trade legislation (and he was above calling it “cap-and-tax” as Todd Akin does) would cost Americans. He dwelt on the job loss–and there may well be some–that could result from switching to alternative energy. But job loss and job creation will more or less even out. Only someone who believes, as Blunt does, that “there isn’t any real science to say we are altering the climate path of the earth”, would argue that just because China is building coal plants it’s okay for us to continue down that path. If this planet fries, those coal and oil jobs Blunt is so enamored of will go up in smoke with it. And if it fries, it will partly be the fault of willfully ignorant politicians like him convincing gullible Americans that there is no solid evidence of global warming. Only 57 percent of our citizens currently believe that global warming is incontrovertibly real. Last year, 71 percent believed it and three years ago, 87 percent did.
So this business of taking a million bucks from those global warming deniers at Big Oil matters, Roy. Whoring after campaign money is a sin. Whoring after Big Oil money is a mortal sin.