Blizzard Warnings In Hell…

I’m starting to agree with Sen. Robert Byrd..

"This mon-stros-ity," Mr. Byrd has been calling the bill, repeatedly lifting its 484 pages above his head with trembling hands and flinging them down on his desk with the fury of Moses smashing the tablets. Mr. Byrd used to be known less for his distaste of federal bureaucracy than for his love of federal aid — he once vowed to be West Virginia’s "billion-dollar industry," while his critics crowned him the "prince of pork." But now he is riffing against big government.

"Osama bin Laden is still alive and plotting more attacks while we play bureaucratic shuffleboard," Mr. Byrd told the Senate. "With a battle plan like the Bush administration is proposing, instead of crossing the Delaware River to capture the Hessian soldiers on Christmas Day, George Washington would have stayed on his side of the river and built a bureaucracy." Mr. Byrd imagined Nathan Hale declaring, "I have but one life to lose for my bureaucracy," and Commodore Oliver Perry hoisting a flag on his ship with the rallying cry, "Don’t give up the bureaucracy!"

As much as I find Sen. Byrd to often be a partisan blowhard, he’s got a point. The current Homeland Security bill creates a massive federal bureaucracy that’s hardly much more efficient than the sum of its parts. The idea of having a Homeland Security department isn’t necessarily a bad one, but it cannot be just another federal bureaucracy. A 484 page bill is not efficient government. It’s another layer of regulation and pork that will only constrain the ability for this new agency to do its job.

Protecting the American homeland is important. Having one agency with the ability to share information is also important. Creating a new bureaucracy and providing pork barrel projects for everyone and their dog is not. Adding more and more regulation and draconian measures that will only add noise to the already crowded intelligence channels is not the way to protect America from terrorist attack. Unfortunately, as often happens, political expediency and patronage have trumped common sense, and what was a good idea is now just another federal bureaucracy. As much as it pains me to admit, Sen. Byrd is probably right – this bill and the agency it creates will be another governmental monstrosity.

UPDATE: Just for the record, I don’t think the 9 very liberal members of the Senate were thinking along those lines when they voted against the bill. Chances are they were thinking about placating the government workers unions rather than any libertarian sensibilities. I personally would have voted for the bill with reservations, as having something is better than the mess now – although I have a feeling it’s going to take some work to make this new agency effective.

2 thoughts on “Blizzard Warnings In Hell…

  1. Kind of ironic for the undisputed King of Pork to be the guy complaining about the bill.

    He’s just bitching because the bill doesn’t contain his pork projects.

  2. Hmm… yet another subject that Mr. Redding and I agree on.

    Macintosh, Lord of the Rings, the Christian Right, and the Homeland Security Bill… 🙂

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