From time to time the sponsored links running atop Gmail, my email service of choice, catch my attention. It came as no surprise to me that Jim Risch used this advertisement opportunity during his 2008 campaign, the pricey advertisement was no problem for a guy who is both one of the wealthiest members of congress and a member who spent (according to Newsweek) $9.66 per vote in 2008 for a total of over 3 million dollars. Imagine my surprise when I spotted this ad recently:
Mike Crapo has launched a petition to defeat health care? The petition indicates that signers may have heard about the petition on the radio, from a robo call, or through an internet ad like the one that Gmail is running. It is probably a breach of election laws to inform the readers of his congressional e-newsletter that he has such a petition, being that it was paid for by his campaign and all, but I, and I suspect other Idahoans, knew nothing of this petition. What's more, the petition seems to suggest that putting a halt to current health care reform attempts is "urgent" and something Senator Crapo is able to do (single-handedly or otherwise). The petition:
The petition outlines the reasons Senator Crapo believes health care reform should not be passed, those reasons include the potential increase of all of our taxes, a Medicaid burden placed on the states that is unfair and possibly, according to conservatives, unconstitutional, and that universally feared meme those on the right are so fond of using--health care reform will expand the government to an even greater size that invades state sovereignty as well as personal privacy and will be too large to be effective. Because the health care system as it is now is so obviously effective...
Is it fair to say that Mike Crapo has finally stepped out of the shadow of Larry Craig, no longer playing junior senator to his former Senate colleague, and is trying very hard to make a name for himself in conservative circles outside Idaho? Whether it was his national address back in November on behalf of the Republican Party in response to President Obama's weekly radio address or Dan Popkey wrongly calling Crapo "a leading figure in the fight against Democratic health reform," something must have happened to make Senator Crapo think he, and only he, could "save America" from health care reform. Or maybe Senator Crapo is simply trying to attain the names and addresses of a few like-minded people who would be willing to donate to his campaign. Nothing invasive about that.
Instead of attempting to stall health care reform indefinitely with or without the help of a toothless petition, wouldn't Senator Crapo's time be better used if he were to reach across the aisle to his fellow Western senators to ensure that rural health care is addressed and effectively dealt with in any reform attempt at a time when Idahoans need affordable, accessible health care most? Why is he asking us to petition his colleagues in the Senate? Isn't petitioning his colleagues by way of representing our views as his constituents the very thing we elect Senator Crapo to do?