Video: Obey’s “So What?”

posted at 3:05 pm on November 20, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Expect a lot more of these ads in 2010 as Americans begin to blame the party in charge for the state of the economy — and for blowing almost a trillion dollars on pork rather than real stimulus. Sean Duffy clips together a few glib quotes from Rep. David Obey (D-WI), one of the chief architects of Porkulus, showing a relative lack of concern over mundane issues such as accountability and deliberation:

The quotes come from an NPR interview Obey gave which shows a rather cavalier attitude towards responsibility, especially when considering the $787 billion context of the question:

SEABROOK (voice-over): Instead of Congress, hundreds and hundreds of public servants all over the country will decide how to spend the economic stimulus money . . . But when you pull earmarks out of the bill, you also change the balance of power in the government. If members of Congress aren’t writing into the bill how the money is to be spent, then someone else is making those decisions . . . When this bill passes, a Niagara Falls of money will flow out of Washington and into the accounts of state highway commissioners, governors and legislatures, local school boards, county executives, even mayors . . .

OBEY: We simply made a decision, which took about three seconds, not to have earmarks in the bill.

SEABROOK (voice-over): This is David Obey, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. He helped write this bill, and he does not like being asked about earmarks.

OBEY: And with all due respect, that’s the least important question facing us on putting together this package.

SEABROOK: Does that mean, though, that Congress will have less control and less, in fact, ability to say, “You spend it in the way we wanted you to spend it”—

OBEY: Of course it does. Of course it does. So what? This is an emergency. And so, with all due respect, we have got to simply find a way to get this done as fast as possible, and as well as possible, and that’s what we’re doing.

SEABROOK: Aren’t there a thousand ways that this money could be spent badly, though?

OBEY: There are a thousand ways it could be spent badly. There are a thousand ways it could be spent well. So what’s new?

SEABROOK: What’s new is that you’re not telling them how to spend it as much as you usually do.

OBEY: So what?

SEABROOK: Won’t you be responsible when it’s spent badly, then?

OBEY: No, the person who spends the money badly will be responsible. We are simply trying to build as many protections in as possible. We’ve got more oversight built into this package than any package in the history of man. If money is spent badly, we want to know about it, so we can hold accountable the people who made that choice. And guess what? Regardless of what we do, there will be some stupid decisions made.

Suddenly, though, Obey has belatedly realized that he is responsible for the way the money was spent, since he authorized it and neglected to ensure transparency, competence, and accountability. This week, Obey demanded answers in a bit of grandstanding theater, but as this interview from February shows, Obey failed when it counted.

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“It’s not my money”

orfannkyl on November 20, 2009 at 3:07 PM

Still no comments on McCain losing his senate primary in rasmussen poll?

Spathi on November 20, 2009 at 3:08 PM

When it comes time for Obey to collect his pension, we should say “so what.”

rbj on November 20, 2009 at 3:08 PM

Irresponsible, corrupt and leftist. It’s time for Obey and the rest to go. Citizens, arise. Do your duty and vote these bums out.

BottomLine5 on November 20, 2009 at 3:09 PM

We’re going to vote these clods out, and when they beg for another shot, and whine about how they were victims in all of this, all constituents should rise up, and shout….SO WHAT???

capejasmine on November 20, 2009 at 3:10 PM

Well hey, it was an emergency situation. Why, if Congress hadn’t passed this spending monstrosity in such a big hurry, then unemployment might have gone higher than 8 or even 9%!!! Then where would we be?

Oh, wait . . . .

AZCoyote on November 20, 2009 at 3:11 PM

This watermelon cockroach is my congressman. I swear if I outlive him I will spit on his grave.

PimFortuynsGhost on November 20, 2009 at 3:12 PM

What’s far worse are the 60 Senators who will say “So what?” tomorrow night to the cries of citizens who don’t want healthcare passed.

Their decision to pass the bill, will in the long run make Obey’s $750 billion stimulus blunder look like chump change.

fogw on November 20, 2009 at 3:14 PM

Guy’s been in Congress for decades, in a district that’s so spread out geographically it’s almost impossible for a challenger to get his name out across the entire place.

He actually has a good shot at defeat next year. Keeping my fingers crossed.

BadgerHawk on November 20, 2009 at 3:15 PM

The one thing I am thankful for is that he’s not my congressman. I have Ryan. I have at least one decent rep. I hope those in Obey’s district kick him out.

Brat4life on November 20, 2009 at 3:15 PM

This watermelon cockroach is my congressman. I swear if I outlive him I will spit on his grave.

PimFortuynsGhost on November 20, 2009 at 3:12 PM

Obey’s a POS all right.

fiatboomer on November 20, 2009 at 3:15 PM

Anybody remember when Obey got caught putting $8 million in an appropriations bill for a religious school in France? This was about 20 years ago. His attitude was exactly the same. “It’s just a lousy $8 million.” Some things never change.

Ted Torgerson on November 20, 2009 at 3:16 PM

Oppsy, can we start this interview over?”

heh

upinak on November 20, 2009 at 3:18 PM

This ‘so what’ attitude seems to be the whole d mind-set. They are in charge in dc and can do as they darn well please, ‘so what’ if the citizens of the Republic does not want it. The ‘so what’ attitude is tax everything they can think of and if we citizens don’t like it ‘so what’. I pray my country can withstand this ‘so what’ attitude.
L

letget on November 20, 2009 at 3:18 PM

Keep it coming Sean.

Logboy on November 20, 2009 at 3:19 PM

Hopefully Sean’s days on “The Real World” don’t come back to bite him. Otherwise, let these types of ads begin as there is so much material to work with.

txag92 on November 20, 2009 at 3:20 PM

Prediction: Obey wins with 58% next year. Americans are idiots, what can you do?

angryed on November 20, 2009 at 3:22 PM

If money is spent badly, we want to know about it, so we can hold accountable the people who made that choice. And guess what? Regardless of what we do, there will be some stupid decisions made.

Really Mr. Obey? Because from where I’m sitting, you sir are the one who spent badly and should be held accountable. The stupid decision was to send you to Congress since you have no interest in being a good steward of the taxpayer dollars.

highhopes on November 20, 2009 at 3:23 PM

Beginning to wonder if I can write in “So what” on my form 1040?

Robert17 on November 20, 2009 at 3:24 PM

Beginning to wonder if I can write in “So what” on my form 1040?

Robert17 on November 20, 2009 at 3:24 PM

Timmy Geitner approves this comment.

Knucklehead on November 20, 2009 at 3:27 PM

Logboy on November 20, 2009 at 3:19 PM

I just put the pieces together and realized there’s a 7 time log rolling champion posting at HotAir. Very cool.

BadgerHawk on November 20, 2009 at 3:27 PM

fogw on November 20, 2009 at 3:14 PM

So true. As with the $1.3 Trillion (the real cost, when you add the interest we owe on the $787B) non-stimulating “Stimulus” bill, they will pass the multi-trillion-dollar “healthcare” bill, adding trillions more dollars to our already crushing debt load — putting the nation that much closer to financial ruination. What’s the answer to trillions of dollars in “unsustainable” debt? More debt, of course! We have too many entitlement programs we already can’t afford? Great, let’s create another one!

Polls show that the majority of Americans don’t want this cumbersome and hugely expensive HC legislation, and even fewer Americans want a HC bill that forces them to pay for others’ elective abortions, and even fewer still want a HC bill that forces them to pay for yet more “free” healthcare for millions of illegal aliens, yet that is exactly what will be contained in the bill that Congress and the Senate will ultimately pass.

These people don’t even pretend anymore that they’re doing what the majority of Americans want, nor can they pretend that they’re doing what is in the country’s best interests. The only interests they’re serving are their own. They all need to be booted out of office. The sooner the better.

AZCoyote on November 20, 2009 at 3:27 PM

What is this accountability that you speak of? Democrats, accountable?

rukiddingme on November 20, 2009 at 3:30 PM

BadgerHawk on November 20, 2009 at 3:27 PM

You don’t look at links often?

upinak on November 20, 2009 at 3:31 PM

These bastages must remember they work for us. This cavalier attitude towards spending and the constituency make me mad as hell. This guy needs to be voted out.

rjoco1 on November 20, 2009 at 3:33 PM

All of these leftist Democrats are irresponsible dolts and couldn’t care less what impact their stupidity has on the nation. We are being led of the edge of a cliff by freaking idiots.

rplat on November 20, 2009 at 3:35 PM

As in most things concerning contemporary life, there is an extremely funny KIDS IN THE HALL sketch addressing just this sort of condescension and entitlement

SCREW YOU TAXPAYER

bigdada on November 20, 2009 at 3:37 PM

I’m just an innocent by-stander. I just sign the checks and hand them out, it’s not my fault if the money intended for [insert critical infrastructure project here] went towards alcohol and hookers instead.

/Obey

Left Coast Right Mind on November 20, 2009 at 3:38 PM

They all need to be booted out of office imprisoned. The sooner the better.

AZCoyote on November 20, 2009 at 3:27 PM

Fixed.

By the time an honest history of Osama Obama’s regime is written, I hope the Traitor-in-Chief and the Congressional scum who enabled his America-destroying acts are enjoying the fresh air and luxury accommodations at Gitmo. They deserve no less.

MrScribbler on November 20, 2009 at 3:39 PM

By the time an honest history of Osama Obama’s regime is written, I hope the Traitor-in-Chief and the Congressional scum who enabled his America-destroying acts are enjoying the fresh air and luxury accommodations at GitmoIllinois. They deserve no less.

MrScribbler on November 20, 2009 at 3:39 PM

Get with program. Dicky Turbin, my senator, says this is good for us.

Knucklehead on November 20, 2009 at 3:41 PM

A little levity, Jay leno when talking about the Madoff money said that 20% was spent on drugs, cocaine and prostitution— the other 80% was just wasted.

rjoco1 on November 20, 2009 at 3:45 PM

Do you mean to tell me,

Obey was knee deep in the stimulus debacle?

He sure had ME fooled.

franksalterego on November 20, 2009 at 3:50 PM

This obnoxious chump just moved to the top of my auto-reflex-face-punch list.

Mr. Pickles on November 20, 2009 at 4:01 PM

Didn’t these Statist morons realize that they would be held accountable for their lack of leadership and the waste of OUR money, or did they believe their own propaganda machine, the SCM to cover the whole thing for them?

Juno77 on November 20, 2009 at 4:04 PM

If Congress’ only goal was to blast billions of dollars out of a firehouse without regard to where they landed, they should have blasted some my way.

Cicero43 on November 20, 2009 at 4:08 PM

Duffy the Deficit Slayer?

Fizzmaister on November 20, 2009 at 4:11 PM

Paul Ryan is a credit to his constituency and Congress. He has worked diligently to make sense out of nonsense. I am proud to live in his district. David Obey has become fat and lazy slopping at the public trough. He deserves retirement by voting booth.

Harold32001 on November 20, 2009 at 4:30 PM

He is my congressman and I will vote for anyone but him. He is just a yes man for Pelosi. I hope the RNC gets behind Duffy.

scorpio9 on November 20, 2009 at 4:35 PM

Pelosi, Obey, Reid given Pink Slips in 2010.
Obama given a pink slip in 2012.
THAT’S WHAT!

Christian Conservative on November 20, 2009 at 4:38 PM

“First, we kill all the lawyers….that have become politicians.”
The 21st century Bard.

jukin on November 20, 2009 at 4:38 PM

A few Wisconsinites here. Woot!

Itchee Dryback on November 20, 2009 at 4:59 PM

Okay … but hit that b*st*rd with DETAILS. Rather than quoting a newspaper, point out the specific lies in the jobs saved or created claims. Go through the porkulus and 2009 budget bill and pull out the choices boondoogle appropriations. When a voter hears the name “Obey” they should think: “Oh, yeah that’s guy who wanted to spend $3.4 million on turtle tunnel and said ‘so what’ when unemployment topped 10%.”

PackerBronco on November 20, 2009 at 5:02 PM

Hey, I’m a big fan of Congress not trying to micromanage everything.

OTOH, they still get to be held accountable for how they give the money to. Which, I guess, explains why they’re so eager to micromanage. :-(

Greg Q on November 20, 2009 at 6:08 PM

Mud-slingers.

davidk on November 20, 2009 at 6:11 PM

Obey has been in that seat since 1969. Really, it is time to retire and let someone else have a turn. C’mon cheese-heads. Vote this petrified turd out.

Mallard T. Drake on November 20, 2009 at 6:17 PM

I would love to be able to OBEY my instincts and give this ba$tard and his cohorts a (piece of my mind).

That parenthetical has been self-censored but I’m sure you catch my meaning.

J.J. Sefton on November 20, 2009 at 7:00 PM

Still no comments on McCain losing his senate primary in rasmussen poll?

Spathi on November 20, 2009 at 3:08 PM

Still don’t get it do ya chump.

BigAlSouth on November 20, 2009 at 7:42 PM

Son what! If we kick your ass out!

MCGIRV on November 20, 2009 at 9:35 PM

Hey Obey! It’s a little late to shut the barn door now!

GarandFan on November 20, 2009 at 9:46 PM