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« Federal Funding Available for Tutoring | Main | The Other America: Putting Things in Perspective »

When It Matters Most, Sen. Pat Roberts Missing in Action

By Pamela Jean
September 25, 2008

Apparently, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) is spending his entire campaign bank account on negative television commercials. Evidently, this is his entire strategy.

I don't have a problem, per se, with candidates airing their complaints about one another in paid commercials, provided they do their best to present the truth. Otherwise, it's unseemly when a candidate airs grossly exaggerated factoids out of context. This is exactly what Roberts is doing, and he knows it. How can we trust a man when we realize that he is spending all of his campaign money on commercials designed to get Kansans to believe in things other than the truth?

It's especially problematic to watch Sen. Roberts conduct his campaign this way. Why? He's been in the Senate for 40 years. Not only can't we get the truth from him, we can't even get him to address real issues. In fact, Roberts is missing in action on all the important topics. He's just AWOL. After four decades of accepting good pay in the senate, we would expect Roberts to at least try to weigh in with something of substance on some of the challenges we are facing.

For example, Roberts has not even made a statement to Kansans regarding the massive Wall Street bailout that his friends in the White House are pushing! Not a word.

All that Kansans get from incumbent Pat Roberts is new negative attack ads. Negative ads, especially untruthful ones, aren't going to solve the problems we face. I find them particularly distasteful considering what we are dealing with this week.

I take it personally. I'm offended. We deserve more from our paid governmental representatives.

Refreshingly, Jim Slattery, Roberts' opponent in the senate race, is addressing the issues of the day. He is demonstrating that he understands our concerns and priorities. At a substantive press conference this afternoon in Topeka, Slattery clearly explained his position on our current financial crisis.

Although I don't think that Slattery went far enough in wanting to hold Washington accountable during the bailout talks, I did find solace in Slattery's comments. He's concerned about the same things that most Kansans are. He's not afraid to be specific and he's willing to go on the record. This is 100% better than what we are getting from Roberts.

"First let me say, I am outraged that hard-working Kansas taxpayers are being asked to clean up the mess made by greedy Wall Street money changers, incompetent regulators, and members of Congress from both political parties," Slattery said.

"In 2001, our nation had a budget surplus of $127 billion and we were talking about paying off the national debt," Slattery continued. "This year, the annual budget deficit is projected to be a near-record $389 billion and our country owes almost $10 trillion in debt. And this was before the Bush Administration asked taxpayers to bailout Wall Street at a cost of almost $1 trillion."

Slattery also pointed to the lack of oversight and accountability of the financial markets as reason for the crisis. The expectations that Slattery has for a bailout deal include these requirements:

  • No Blank Check – "The Bush Administration helped create this crisis, therefore it would be not just irresponsible, but foolish to give them a blank check."
  • Require Oversight and Accountability of Treasury – "The cornerstone of democratic process is three equal branches of government. We must not give one branch unlimited and unchecked power."
  • No Golden Parachutes – "The greedy CEO's who bet on Wall Street and lost, should not benefit from this bailout. I will oppose any bailout that unfairly compensates CEOs.
  • Support Kansas Families at Risk of Foreclosure – "We must do everything possible to help ordinary Kansans at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure."
  • Ensure this Never Happens Again – "This crisis is a result of too little regulation, lax oversight, and little to no accountability. We must put in place stiffer regulatory framework to avoid these problems in the future."

Conversely, what does Roberts hope we do in the face of this crisis? Who knows? Roberts is missing in action.

Maybe it's because he knows he's one of those that are at fault for creating the crisis in the first place.

It's worth noting also that Pat Roberts had previously supported two pieces of legislation that paved the way for our current crisis. Roberts voted in favor of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in 1999 that stripped regulations of the financial services industry, and in 2000 he supported the Commodities Modernization Act that explicitly barred the SEC from regulating credit default swaps, which are at the center of the current financial crisis.

"Roberts is an out of touch, ineffective leader for Kansas," Slattery also said. "This financial crisis requires leadership that we have not seen from Sen. Roberts during his 40 years in Washington. It is time to elect politicians who put the average, middle-class Kansan first."

I agree. It's time we voted Pat Roberts out of the senate.

We just can't afford to keep Pat Roberts anymore. He's cost us too much already.

Pat Roberts needs to retire for good. Let's make sure he does.

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