Yesterday over at Post Politics, Rachel Weiner and Matt DeLong reported on the difficult position of Oklahoma’s two Republican Senators with regard to aid for the victims of the Oklahoma City suburb tornado. The problem is that both James Inhofe and Tom Coburn voted against aid for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Somehow, the Oklahoma tornado is “totally different.”
Of course, the coverage of this clear bit of hypocrisy is apologetic in tone. Inhofe, for example, supposedly voted against Sandy relief because it was filled with pork. “Everyone was getting in and exploiting the tragedy that took place.” This is in contrast to Inhofe himself who did the moral thing of letting the Sandy victims suffer. But the fact is, Inhofe can’t say that any tornado relief wouldn’t be filled with pork either. But that doesn’t matter.
Politicians always have “a very good reason” for voting against popular proposals. What Inhofe is signaling here is that he will vote for tornado relief. Regardless of pork or any other problems with the bill, he will find that the good outweighs the bad. And the same exact thing is going on with Coburn.
What it all comes down to is that these guys didn’t want money going to the constituencies of their enemies. It isn’t even arguable: money for Oklahoma is good; money for New York is bad. And as long as the media pretend that these Senators’ claims are real, they will continue to use these ridiculous arguments. When a politician would love to vote for a bill but just can’t for reason X, it means that he doesn’t want to vote for that bill. And that’s fine! But the media should not accept his bullshit excuse.