Budget votes are inherently boring. Americans hate math, and budgets have numbers. There are ways, however, to avoid the boredom.
Years ago conservative Republican state legislator Sam Zakhem got in trouble. The Democrats had a bunch of amendments to the state's budget – all of them increasing state spending. (I know, you're shocked … shocked.)
Rather than sit through their blather and then punch the NO button time after time, Sam jammed his no button with a letter opener. Whenever the vote count machine was opened, Sam was recorded electronically as a “no” vote.
Democrats noticed that Sam was actually sitting on the side and – magic – was still voting no. They hollered about abuse of machinery, or something. Sam got chastised.
Club for Growth is tracking votes of members on the House 2013 Appropriations bill that will determine federal spending in the upcoming fiscal year. So far, they have a list of 25 amendments to the bill and how every congressperson voted on those amendments. Of the 25 spending cuts offered, only three have passed; each cut spending by less than $2 Million.
Colorado's most faithful budget chopper? Doug Lamborn at 92% “cut the budget.” Full results are here.
Our chief big spending cheerleader? Ed Perlmutter opposed twenty-four of the twenty-five budget-cutting amendments. (Diana DeGette matched Perlmutter. They're cute cheerleaders, especially when Ed does his cartwheels. Video here.)
Voters tell pollsters they want spending cut. So voting, “no, no, no, no, no” to budget cuts may not be a winning recipe. Just like baseball fans when the visiting team's pitcher gets pulled, voters may sing “Hey, hey, goodbye” to Ed.
Taxes aren't popular in Colorado's 7th District. Last year both Adams and Jeffco turned thumbs down on taxes promoted by Democratic State Senator Rollie Heath.
Four years ago Perlmutter looked like Jack the Giant Killer when he outperformed Obama in Jeffco. Campaign finances explain that win since Perlmutter's opponent raised a paltry $34,000. So Perlmutter is actually Ed the Gnat Swatter. In 2004 – in the same district – Bob Beauprez bested well-known Democrat Dave Thomas by 35,000 votes. This election looks a lot more like eight years ago than the Obama landslide of '08.
If voters bench Perlmutter, he still has a bright future. He was a bankruptcy attorney before being seduced by politics. If he isn't re-elected because voters figure his overspending stymied economic recovery, he can return to bankruptcy law – where his services will be in high demand. After all, Perlmutter knows a lot about how overspending causes financial stress.
Disclosure: My wife and I held a backyard party for Joe Coors.