Doling out favors in exchange for votes on key legislation isn't anything new in the halls of Congress. One of the most notable examples occurred during the vote on the Medicare prescription bill several years ago, when Republican leadership in the House of Representatives allegedly offered campaign contributions to the candidate son of a congressman who was wavering on his vote. Today, it appears to have happened again; President Obama - in perhaps one of the wildest coincidences ever - nominated Scott Matheson to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
What's the coincidence? Only that Matheson's brother, Jim, is a congressman from Utah - and is a wavering vote on the health care reform bill.
If anyone tries to say this is just a coincidence after Matheson decides - after what I assume will be couched as "careful consideration and listening to the views of [his] constituents" - to vote yes, I won't be able to look at them with a straight face. The country is going broke, legislation that we can't afford gets passed almost daily, and votes are getting bought and sold like stocks in a Madoff investment portfolio. Madoff got caught for his Ponzi scheme and the fact that the taking of one person's money to pay off the dividends of others was a house that collapsed around him.
When will the congressional Ponzi collapse?