Cole pushes $8 million casino interchange


Congressman Tom Cole is pushing for $8 million in federal funds to build an interchange on I-35 just north of the Red River to provide more direct access to the Chickasaw casino. There is an exit a mile south, and there isn't anything else near the casino requiring an interchange. Seems to me the Chickasaws should have bought land nearer an existing interchange if they wanted better access.

OkieDoke has a few thoughts on the matter, and here's a link to the Daily Oklahoman story (free registration required). Cole sees no problem with asking the government to fund this, and doesn't consider this a question of promoting gambling:

The congressman said he understands many Oklahomans might have qualms about using federal money to benefit a casino. He said he doesn't know of any similar, federally funded project in Oklahoma, but said there are precedents in other states.

"I look at it as not taking a stand on gaming ... and in the past I've not been particularly supporting of gaming, but I look at the economic factor," Cole said. "There's no question that when we legalized horse racing in Oklahoma, we became a Class II (gambling) state."

Now, pay close attention to this line:

Cole said he was comfortable securing the money because "we build roads for industries all the time" and because "it isn't costing the taxpayers of Oklahoma a dime."

Yep, Tom, money just grows on trees in Washington. They harvest it from the slopes of the Big Rock Candy Mountain.

That kind of sentiment is why so many conservatives were rooting for Marc Nuttle to prevail in the 2002 4th District primary, and why many of us were disappointed with J. C. Watts' last minute announcement that he would not be running. The conventional wisdom is that Watts had tipped off Cole to his plans long before he made them publicly known, giving Cole, who ran Watts' campaigns, a huge headstart over any other candidate.

Cole's attitude is all too prevalent in Washington, as Tom Coburn illustrates in his book Breach of Trust. Coburn recounts the budget battles of his years in Congress, fighting against members in his own party who put their own reelection prospects ahead of the best interests of the country. It's why we never had a real budget surplus, and why discretionary spending continues to climb, despite the Republicans' ten years in the majority. Even if you don't care for Coburn's positions on social issues, you should read his book to understand how the budget game is played.

I'm supporting Tom Coburn in the Republican primary for Senate. I trust him to do the right thing, and to help stiffen the spines of his brother Republicans to do the right thing, too. My sense is that Kirk Humphreys is cut from the same cloth as Tom Cole. Without a doubt, Humphreys is a better choice than Brad Carson, and if Humphreys is the Republican nominee he'll have my full support. And I'm much happier to have Tom Cole in Congress than a Democrat alternative. But our nation needs more people like Tom Coburn in Congress.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on May 31, 2004 11:25 PM.

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