Political freeloaders. They are to the left of us. They are to the right. These are politicians who grandstand, who vote against their constituents' interests, knowing that their tougher colleagues will do the hard work.
Start with the right. Start with Marsha Blackburn, the U.S. senator from Tennessee. She idiotically called the infrastructure bill "the gateway to socialism" and, of course, voted against it. The measure passed with the support of 19 other Republican senators, all staring down threats by former President Donald Trump to punish them.
Without the infrastructure bill, this country would not be investing $5 billion to install electric-vehicle chargers along American highways. Without more places to charge batteries, not many drivers would be buying electric vehicles.
And without buyers for electric vehicles, the Ford Motor Company would not be spending $5.6 billion to build new plants near Memphis, Tennessee, to make electric pickup trucks and electric batteries to go in them. This will create 5,800 direct jobs. Add the battery factory Ford is partnering to build in neighboring Kentucky, and that's 11,000 permanent new jobs — good jobs, too.
There's little doubt that Blackburn will show up at the opening ceremonies to herald these grand economic prizes that she lacked the guts to support. Blackburn is a political freeloader as are all those Republicans who voted against the infrastructure bill but will now try to steal credit for the improved roads, bridges and high-speed internet access coming to their communities.
But what about the six House Democrats who voted against the infrastructure bill because, they said, it didn't do enough to combat climate change? They are freeloaders, too.
They failed to kill it because 13 House Republicans stepped up to back the measure, knowing that Trump would attack them viciously — which he did. The vote for infrastructure was a yes-or-no thing. The protest vote added not one dollar for addressing the climate crisis.
All the left fringe — the Squad — did was shower attention on themselves and diminish the accomplishments of President Joe Biden and fellow Democrats. It ignored President Barack Obama's feat in getting America moving to develop clean energy. Obama took America into the Paris agreement on climate change in 2015; Trump took us out in 2017; and Biden brought us back this year.
The no-vote by the most conspicuous member of the Squad, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, has annoyed any number of her constituents in Queens and the Bronx. Their streets are a mess, and the essential Brooklyn-Queens Expressway is about to fall apart. Meanwhile, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the condition of New York's public transit system — the lifeblood of the city — a C-minus.
New York gets billions for public works — an expected $10 billion for the region's subways, buses and commuter-rail lines alone. By the way, four New York Republicans voted for this money. Ocasio-Cortez did manage to get herself to the climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, where she swanned before the cameras, announcing that America is back "on the international stage as a leader on climate action."
Sophisticated Democrats understand that spending for electric-vehicle charging stations and a stronger electric grid are actually creating a constituency in the Trumpiest corners of red America for a green economy. The few that don't are really hopeless, interested only in registering sulky votes against Democratic initiatives.
As such, they are a mirror image of Tennessee's Republican reps, all seven of whom also voted against the infrastructure bill that will do wonders for economic development in their region. Can feeding a Manhattan developer's psychoses be so much more important than the prosperity of their workers?
Political freeloaders are all around us. Time for the voters to offload them.
Froma Harrop's column is syndicated by Creators.