“Sell your vote, and we will publish it.”

Sounds good to me. That’s just called political accountability. I also like the threat that any nominations for sold votes will be held by the Senate.

Speaking of which, there’s an interesting rumor over at Human Events:

Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) who announced his retirement from Congress has been promised the job of NASA administrator in exchange for his vote, and Rep. John Tanner (D-Tenn.), another retiring Democrat, has been promised an appointment as U.S. Ambassador to NATO in exchange for his vote.

It will be interesting to note any job announcements from this Tennessee duo post-House retirement. Both voted against passage of the House bill back in November.

Emphasis mine. If true, this has at least two implications. First, the administration is willing to throw Charlie Bolden under the bus. Second, they’re also willing to throw the new plans for NASA under the bus for health care, because Gordon (who just happens to be the relevant committee chairman) has expressed skepticism about them:

Even Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), the House Science and Technology Committee chairman who has no real parochial interest in Constellation, branded NASA’s budget request “a radical departure” from the Bush-era plan twice endorsed by Congress.

Stay tuned.

[Update a few minutes later]

As I said, if it’s true. My question is: why would he even want the job, particularly if he relishes the status quo? It’s no plum.

[Update a couple minutes later]

In light of this news, you might want to listen to the live webcast of the Senate Commerce Committee hearings discussing commercial crew. It’s quite a line up. But it may or may not be relevant, depending on how the policy works out.

[Update a couple minutes later]

Clark Lindsey is following Twitter feeds on the hearings. Stafford is testifying now. Saying that we need the POR for “risk mitigation.”

I never fail to be astounded that people don’t recognize the high amount of risk with Ares.

[Early afternoon update]

Over at Space Politics, pseudonymous commenter “Major Tom” notes that this may be a recycling of an old rumor from last year, before Bolden was chosen. That is certainly possible. It would be nice to see some substantiation or verification of it.

[Update a few minutes later]

Gordon has announced that he is now a yes vote on the bill. FWIW. For some reason, no quid pro quos are discussed.

30 thoughts on “Hardball”

  1. I wonder how it feels to be stabbed in the back? Not only Charlie Bolden, but everyone who supported Obamaspace.

  2. Since the new space policy was one of the few Obama plans I liked, this is very disappointing. The policy wasn’t perfect, but it had promise. It was a realistic approach in the current political and financial environment.
    They sold Bolden out to pass their dream plan. All hail Obama.

  3. They sold Bolden out to pass their dream plan. All hail Obama.

    We’ll see. I’ve been worrying about the depth of Obama’s support since he has been far more radical than I can explain. It doesn’t look as if the plan came from Bolden however, I believe it came from higher up. And the NASA leadership has come out fighting, quashing any rumours of a plan B. The town hall meeting has also been downgraded to just a friendly audience which doesn’t signal a compromise with the vested interests.

    Still, I remain far from confident Obama will fight very hard for this plan.

  4. Can’t see the difference between Obama’s way of selling a cushy political job for a vote, and the indicted Illinois governor’s selling Obie’s abandoned seat for his own political gains. One’s as sleazy as the other, no?

  5. Can’t find the link immediately, but I’ve heard that some prominent Republican senators are vowing to put a hold on any appointment requiring confirmation that comes from this process. Obama can promise someone a judgeship, ambassadorship, or high level office but it has to get through the Senate, first.

  6. Can’t find the link immediately, but I’ve heard that some prominent Republican senators are vowing to put a hold on any appointment requiring confirmation that comes from this process.

    That’s the first link in this post.

  7. Given Obama’s record for keeping promises, it’s no better than 50-50 that Gordon would actually ever get the promised job. If I was Bolden I wouldn’t be too worried.

  8. I called Tanner’s office and asked about him trading his vote for an appointment. It was the first his office had heard about it, and told me that this was definitely a false rumor.

    Bart is a slippery one, so I wouldn’t put it past him. If he does pull this off he better not set foot in Tennessee again, not even to go to Gatlinburg.

  9. That’s the first link in this post.

    Duh on me! I didn’t see the link. Go Coburn! Time for some hardball!

    If you voted no and you vote yes, and you lose your election, and you think any nomination to a federal position isn’t going to be held in the Senate, I’ve got news for you. It’s going to be held.

  10. I recall that early in his presidential campaign Obama was making statements about defunding NASA for five years or so to free up the money for use ‘here on Earth’ to pay for Federal education projects. Really, Obama doesn’t give a coruscating crap about NASA, and is always willing to abandon people and policies for political expediency.

  11. My gut says this is just rumor-recycling. We have to remember how often non-space press gets things wrong about NASA and space industry matters.

    That said… I do have nightmares of a world where ISS is extended and NASA’s flying Ares I-Whatevers and Orions and everything else the Agency does is cut.

  12. All the chatter notwithstanding, good for NASA, not good for NASA, the issue is healthcare. At the end of the day, these guys are all corrupt bums. They are for sale now, they were yesterday, and they will be tomorrow, at NASA, at NATO, or in your county legislature. Think about it. They don’t belong in congress, at NASA, at NATO, or anywhere in governmant or any of its agencies.


  13. a NASA job, like any appointed job in the federal bureaucracy is very much a plum. You’re not elected so not answerable to the taxpayers, and you’re not in the private sector facing competition so you’re not accountable for your results. You get a mid six figure paycheck for doing essentially nothing. If I could I’d dake a deal like that, unfortunately I”m just an ordinary working stiff I so I don’t have a vote to sell.

  14. I’m a life long Tennessean, who used to be in Gordon’s district, and I have family in Union City in Tanner’s district.

    They are both retiring because they both know that people in their districts are mad as hell at Obama, and anyone with a D behind his name would likely lose in November.

    It’s not a question of if they were promised something to change their votes, it’s WHAT were they promised? And it may not have been either NASA or NATO–it could be some cushy job in a think tank or lobbyist firm that would allow them to continue living lavishly in DC

    Tanner and Gordon are a disgrace. They know that their constituents don’t want Obamacare. We’re talking corruption pure and simple.

  15. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/briefing-white-house-press-secretary-robert-gibbs-3182010

    Q The Republicans put something out saying that Bart Gordon and John Tanner have been promised cushy government positions in exchange for their votes.

    MR. GIBBS: And what were those positions?

    Q Those positions are NASA administrator and U.S. ambassador to NATO. (Laughter.)

    MR. GIBBS: Well, that’s —

    Q At some point.

    MR. GIBBS: I think those are — I think those jobs are currently filled, but — and I’m not sure that anybody would think — certainly the current occupants — that those are otherwise cushy jobs. So that’s just not true.

  16. Do Gordon and Tanner really, truly think that they will get even the nominations they’ve been promised, to say nothing of the confirmations? C’mon. Tennessee will never be the true-blue territory that The Won et al. view as their only constituency. There is nothing, nothing at all to be gained from seeing these suckers in appointive office. Once out of Congress, what in the world will Tanner (go take a drive around Tanner’s district (I have) and tell me he has any suck, any suck at all, without a vote in the House behind him) and Gordon have to offer the Chicago tribe that now governs? What will they bring to the table? After their votes are cast, they’re expendable. And how has Barry treated those no longer of use to him? Even if Tanner/Gordon are actually nominated, anyone want to be bet on whether they’ll be undercut by the White House once they’re before the Senate? And whether the WH will then — “regretfully,” of course — announce that their nominations have been withdrawn or declined . . . and then someone from a genuine swing state with some horsepower then get the job? Jesus Christ and General Jackson! Are Tanner and Gordon really this foollish (don’t answer me)? Are they so mesmerized by a government paycheck (ditto)? My father knew John Tanner years ago, and has spoken well of him to me. Maybe he was worth it then, but as one of his constituents now, I wouldn’t urinate down his throat if I thoughts his guts afire.

  17. Oh, and by the way, for all those who — at least as to Tanner — have been given the “it’s all just a rumor” line, and believe it. I heard, within the past ten days, two people who know him well enough to eat supper with him say to me after having met with him that he was “probably” going to vote for it, and the reason was that he wanted a position at NATO. He’s for sale. Strike him off to the highest and best bidder. The only problem is that ol’ John doesn’t understand that after this auction, he won’t have an action for specific performance to enforce The Won’s end of the contract. He will be considered and treated as exactly the whore he has chosen — chosen — to become. Neville Chamberlain, anyone?

  18. I wouldn’t urinate down his throat if I thoughts his guts afire.

    You, sir, are a poet.

  19. Martin Meijering: Last summer I sent Brer Tanner a letter. Never corresponded directly with a member of my Congressional delegation, ever. Haven’t since, either. I sort of tore a strip off him. What’s interesting is that I never got any sort of response at all. Of any kind. Not even a dear-constituent-thank-you-for-your-vote-here-is-the-address-to-which-you-may-address-contributions postcard. Of course last year he voted against the medical industroy take-over. But we now know exactly how much the NATO ambassadorship is worth: 30 pieces of silver. At any rate, I’d be perfectly happy to share it with you . . . or anyone else, for that matter. Figure out a way to get me your e-mail address and we’ll send it out.

  20. @Countrylawyer:

    Just to make sure, I wasn’t criticising you. I was simply amused by your colourful language.

  21. Martijn: I didn’t think you were. On the other hand, I did notice the subject-verb disagreement, for which my English teacher mother would hang me with an extra-abrasive rope (if not already for my political heresies, but that’s another topic). Then again by my watch I’ve been drinking beer for about five hours, so I’ll claim the inebriate’s privilege. I’m quite serious about my excoriation of Tanner, however. The man’s a non-entity risen above his justifiable station. And he couldn’t even be troubled to have a flunky respond. That’s what gets me; it’s not like in this day of merge files and databases he was not able to fire something, anything, off.

  22. I wonder how it feels to be stabbed in the back? Not only Charlie Bolden, but everyone who supported Obamaspace.

    Looks like Mark’s the one who got stabbed in the back. Gordon has told “The Hill” that he would not accept the NASA Administrator’s job even if it were offered.

  23. There are two phases to the Washington Doublecross.

    1. I need your vote on this issue. Vote this way and I will appoint you to (fill in position here) in the future.
    2. Well, yes, you did vote the way we wanted, but if we were to appoint you to the (fill in position here) it would look like a bribe, and we don’t want that to happen.

    Phase 1 is now. Phase 2 will happen to many Dems who get kicked out in 2010 midterms.

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