Weekly Obsession: Fiscal cliff deal leaves bad taste in Corker's mouth

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 10:17pm

Befitting the pragmatic construction man he was in a far-off life and the equally pragmatic mayor of a grubby-collared industrial town he was in a less-far-off one, Sen. Bob Corker rarely minces his words.

Which isn’t to say he is brusque — he is not — but when he has a spell of loquaciousness, it’s usually in service of explanation rather than equivocation.

After weeks on the Sunday wonk-show circuit calling for a comprehensive deal on the so-called fiscal cliff, the Republican — like many of his colleagues who had expressed similar misgivings — cast a vote in favor of the deal hashed out by Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Corker told CNBC he wasn’t exactly thrilled by the vote.

“I looked at the policy of where we were going to be if we didn’t pass it, or where we would be if we did. While it was like eating a you-know-what sandwich to vote for this, to me it was a rite of passage.”

A “you-know-what sandwich”?

You mean, like a Reuben, the deal was an amalgam of disparate, even disgusting parts that have no business being thrust together thus, but somehow mesh and meld into a satisfying treat?


Without building the entire hoagie, it’s apparent the junior senator was euphemistically referring to unappealing lunchtime fare, force-fed through Congress and unwillingly digested by even its most ardent opposers.

The byproduct of said slider (ALERT: we’re going to switch metaphors here for a second) is a can kicked down the road to a new, more precipitous “fiscal cliff” later this spring — a bluff made more dangerous by being twinned with a debt ceiling debate. The takeaway for most Americans — who, this being a republic, are forced to eat whatever their elected representatives decide to consume — is an end to the payroll tax holiday and 2 percent of their take-home pay washed away.

And none of this came with any significant measures to address spending or, really, any long-term solution to entitlement payments.

Thus, Corker scarfed down his less-than-delectable treat like a good soldier. And, for better or worse, we’ll have what he’s having.

Meanwhile, in the more cantankerous House of Representatives, Memphis Democrat Steve Cohen was the lone Tennessean who voted for the bill. None of the state’s seven Republicans — a lot far more conservative than their party colleagues Corker and Lamar Alexander — said aye, nor did Nashville Democrat Jim Cooper.

The doggiest canine in the rump of the Blue Dog Caucus, Nashville’s representative couldn’t deign to say yes to a bill that he thought failed to adequately address the debt and deficit.

He used a more family-friendly term than Corker — Cooper called it a “Band-Aid” — but whether the New Year’s deadline vote was a G-rated bandage or a PG-13 grinder, no one seems thrilled with the outcome: a mediocre mishmash created to solve a problem Congress made for itself.

And now Americans don’t have choice but to eat the results.

12 Comments on this post:

By: Rasputin72 on 1/10/13 at 1:07

Corker is probably the smartest and best US Senator from Tenn since K.D.McKellar.

By: Ask01 on 1/10/13 at 5:20

All politicians should be required to live on a salary 10% below the national average. I wonder what sort of taste that experience would leave in the 'good' senator's mouth?

By: govskeptic on 1/10/13 at 5:41

Well, both Corker and Alexander voted to approve this most recent bill. They are both
along with so many other Republicans more interested in continuing their commitment
with "Washington Establishment" than the good of the nation.

By: dan727 on 1/10/13 at 8:39

Then why did he vote for it if it was so bad? I mean he had a full six minutes to read 154 pages before voting. That fact alone should have resulted in a 'no' vote.

I guess it had to be passed so we could find out what was in it. What the hell is Bob Corker even paid to do in Washington?

By: Left-of-Local on 1/10/13 at 9:25

Corker. Smart. LAWL.


He voted for it because he has a duty to govern, and because protecting the greedy in this nation is not as much practical as it is a good mythological platform to keep the GOP powerful. Now he has to trash it in retrospect so he maintains face in front of the maniacal neocon masses.

But hey, he's got more balls than Bart Gordon, who wouldn't even stand behind staying in office after his controversial vote on healthcare.

By: pswindle on 1/10/13 at 2:51

Bob Corker is fake. He talks out sboth sides of his mouth. Smart, you say. I can't wrap my brain around that one. He was one of the GOP members that met the very time that President Obama was becoming our Preident in 2009, and decided that they would veto everything that the President wanterd. Tell me what kind of man would do that. He hurt the American people in the process.

By: Rasputin72 on 1/10/13 at 5:17

Swindle.....I recall things differently than you. Corker was trying to overide the 47% and the people who want Free Stuff. He was unsuccessful but god knows he tried.

By: pswindle on 1/10/13 at 7:22

That was not what I was talking about. He and others met and decided to block everything that the President wanted to do for this country. He met and he will not deny it. They stopped his agenda over 400 times. This has nothing to do with the 47%.

By: pepawjoe on 1/10/13 at 7:41

Senator Corker, like the overwhelming Corporate "ELECTED OFFICALS" beleive, the Govewrnment of these United States is still for the People, But, it's now"A GOVERNMENT for THE GOVERNMENT, Created by THE GOVERNMENT, with-out the People's CONSENT or KNOWLEDGE Before-Hand!!!
If you want more "BU_LSH_T, Washington DC is more than willing to "GIVE IT TOO YOU".
If you need more "PROOF", simply compare where America is TODAY in most ALL Worldwide Positions, this Country's Government, our "ELECTED OFFICALS" have "PUT US WHERE WE ARE TODAY". It's their Government "NOW"!!!

By: joe41 on 1/11/13 at 10:53

I thought Corker was the right man for Tennessee, but now I am not sure. He talks out of both sides of his mouth. He has to genuflect to the far right in order to get re elected, however, he sometimes is a pragmatist which requires compromise to get things done. That part of him I like but not the former.


By: Moonglow1 on 1/15/13 at 11:59

Moonglow1: Corker leaves a bad taste in my mouth: A disingenuous right winger.

The only people wanting "free stuff" are the politicians and their lobbyist handlers. Example: social security is an INSURANCE product. It has NOTHING to do with the deficit. However, these grubby politicians want your money.

The only entitlements are corporate entitlements: our tax dollars going to subsidize big defense contractors.

Get a grip: two wars lasting years and years, sacks of US money sent to Afghanistan, load of give a ways to for-profit contractors like Blackwater, what you expect. Of course the country is broke, but don't balance the budget on my back. Cut defense spending: remember the $1,000 toilet seat. Well, that was small potatoes in comparison to the waste during the two wars.

By: Moonglow1 on 1/15/13 at 12:02

Moonglow1: also, why doesn't Corker give up his generous benefits? No way...you notice the U.S Congress gets great healthcare benefits, pensions, and high salaries to do what? Take our tax money, and pay themselves and their corporate friends. Don't buy in to their rhetoric. They are controlled by corporate interests.