George Graham

“Pork” Beats “Principle” in Averting Debt Ceiling Crisis

You will hear that moderate Republicans won the day, that wiser heads prevailed and probably that Democrats were willing to compromise to stave off the global financial crisis provoked by hotheads in Congress. But it seems that a little pork helped, too.

According to Yahoo News, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell brought home the bacon for his home state of Kentucky as part of the deal to end the government shutdown and avert a debt ceiling catastrophe.

By including nearly $3 billion for a dam project on the Ohio River, Democrats were able to show McConnell the error of the Tea Party’s ways.

A little bit of sugar sure helps the medicine go down, doesn’t it?

Yes, I am being cynical. No, I don’t believe McConnell put his country’s interests ahead of his party’s. I think he needed help in getting reelected and the dam project was just the kind of help he needed.

I am skeptical of all the talk about “ideologues” being behind the government shutdown and the debt ceiling debacle, anyway.

I was a reporter for too long to swallow that syrup. My reaction to any and all political shenanigans is “follow the money.”

I’m sure you know why Ted Cruz and those other provocateurs talked the Tea Party representatives in the House into their kamikaze mission. Yes, it was the money. I understand that the suckers on the far right showered the “crusaders” with their nickels and dimes to fund the fight.

So what if the nation lost billions because of the government shutdown? So what if America’s leadership in global finance has been left in a distressingly vulnerable position?

Of course there are people who believe the federal government is evil and the President should be impeached for being black.

But they don’t run anything. They walk around in funny hats and carry hate-mongering placards. They’re the foot soldiers for demagogues like Cruz and old-time pols like McConnell.

These latter-day sans-culottes are pathetic pawns in a devilish game, and the ringing rhetoric that fuels their fury is just so much hot air.

It’s money that makes the world go round, money and power.

Ask Ted Cruz about that. Ask Mitch McConnell.

Click for the Yahoo News report.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for