Today in Grandstanding Senators


The Economist’s Jon Fasman reports on the latest political pandering from a member of the Greatest Deliberative Body On Earth:

On Wednesday David Vitter (pictured), a Republican senator from Louisiana, proposed—and the Senate agriculture committee accepted—an amendment to the farm bill that would, in Mr Vitter’s words, “prohibit convicted murderers, rapists and pedophiles from receiving food stamps.” It’s not hard to see why this amendment passed. All Mr Vitter needed to do was propose it []. Then the tacit question arises: Does anyone in this chamber want to stand up and say that taxpayers should feed murderers, rapists and pedophiles? No? Of course not.

This is revolting. It obviously has no fiscal impact worth mentioning, and just as clearly does nothing to reduce the future rate of murder, rape, or pedophilia. It’s just pure political grandstanding from a guy who knows an amendment like this will play well with the rubes back home. It’s a mindless glorification of barbarism for the sake of a few votes.

If you think the current sentencing standards for murder, rape, and pedophilia are too lenient, then lobby to change them. Until then, though, anyone who’s released from prison is someone who’s done their time and paid their debt. Their punishment at the hands of the justice system is sufficient. They don’t deserve more at the hands of every showboating senator with his next election on his mind.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.