First, I'm a big fan of Kay Hagan's. I do not regret one second of the time I spent volunteering on the ground and writing about her candidacy on the net. That doesn't mean I have to agree with her 100% of the time and it doesn't mean I won't criticize her when I feel it is necessary. This is one of those times.
Senator Kay Hagan has opted to take a path that is a bit disconcerting to a lot of us here at home. In joining the "ConservaDem" Working Group she's left more than a few of us worried that she may not be as open minded as we might like about the solutions to many of the problems our nation faces. I don't recall her ever claiming to be anything other than what she is - a moderate Democrat. I didn't expect her to toe the party line or vote with the President 100% of the time. I'm not sure I would want her to. I'm just not happy that she has opted to follow along with a group led by Evan Bayh.
Kay Hagan is a work horse, not a show horse. Evan Bayh is an attention hound. It's like oil and water and I just don't get it.
Politico ran a piece quoting some of the "ConservaDems" whining about the negative attention they are getting from the progressive wing of the Democratic party and the ads being run against them. Bayh wailed that he didn't understand what all the fuss was about since their group had not taken any policy positions.
Among the targets of Americans United for Change is Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), who declared the ads “not very helpful.”
“The liberal groups need to understand that we are not elected to represent the president,” Pryor said. “We’re elected to represent our states, and we are trying to reflect the attitudes and values of the people who sent us to Washington.”
Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) is also unhappy with the friendly fire. Bayh announced last week that a group of centrist Democrats had come together to negotiate as a bloc with the White House and party leaders on major legislation. He promptly found himself targeted by an ad accusing him of “standing in the way of President Obama’s reforms.”
“We literally have no agenda,” Bayh shot back. “How can they be threatened by a group that has taken no policy positions?”
No agenda? No policy positions? What the heck do they do in their meetings on Tuesdays, play pinochle? Why even have a group? There are some pretty pressing problems they should be working on, but instead they're sounding a bit like the House Republicans who just submitted a budget with zero numbers in it. All the ConservaDems are doing is spouting off without backing up their opposition to the President's agenda with a substantive alternative. The saying, "put up or shut up," comes to mind.
Senator Hagan's involvement with a group that from all appearances is more about obstruction than presenting a substantive agenda and well thought out policy proposals isn't all that bothers me. On Saturday at In discussing the President's budget she doesn't seem to acknowledge our current economic crisis.
Senator Hagan should be a wiz at dealing with budget issues and I respect her knowledge and undertanding of what it takes for a state to operate on a balanced budget and her understanding of the problems we face when our finances are too far out of balance for too long. What concerns me most is her statement about deficit spending.
“I agree with a number of ideas in President Obama's budget, but I was particularly concerned about the deficit spending in his proposal,” Hagan said in a speech at the N.C. Associated Press Broadcast annual meeting at Elon University. “It's completely unsustainable and unacceptable.”
Not all deficit spending is bad and I think it is important for Senator Hagan to make that distinction. A small business owner engages in deficit spending when she borrows money to start a business. She also creates jobs and helps build a broader tax base to support our economy. A homeowner engages in deficit spending when he borrows to build or buy a home. He also provides shelter for his family. Cities, Towns, Counties and States engage in deficit spending when they borrow to build bridges, roads, stadiums and schools. They also strengthen our infrastructure, create jobs and build communities.
Haganalso said that politicians should avoid spending that does not create jobs or improve the economy. For the most part and in a normal economic climate, that may be true, but there is nothing normal about our current economic climate. We are in crisis mode. More Americans are in need of programs and services that will keep them from going hungry or homeless. These programs do not create jobs, but they cannot go underfunded or unfunded. We simply allowed the problem to get too big and now we have to do whatever it takes to fix it.
Is President Obama's plan perfect? I don't know, but now is not the time for a group of senators to score points and flex political muscle. I would never suspect Senator Hagan of this kind of game playing, but Evan Bayh? Oh yeah.
I appreciate that Kay Hagan can serve as a watchdog when it comes to the budget. I appreciate that she has the experience to propose ideas and solutions based on real experience gained while producing a budget for our state. I just wish she'd chosen to join up with someone with a little more substance and character instead of a man desperately seeking to fill Daddy's shoes.
To our senator:
Senator Hagan, you have a huge job ahead of you. Our country is in crisis and I know you want any budget you vote for to be based on sound financial principals. We have gone too long with Republicans at the helm borrowing and spending with wild abandon and leaving nothing but economic carnage in their wake.
Please, Senator Hagan, put the red pencil down. Allow President Obama's plan a chance before you declare it a failure. As much experience as you have with budgets, you have never produced a budget under these circumstances. There will be real people living the consequences of this budget and more of them than ever don't know where their next pay check, their next meal or their next hot shower is coming from. This is not the time to start pulling the safety net out from under them.