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A Telling Vote

Tim Geithner will be confirmed. But it is interesting to see how Republicans vote on this. Sen. Susan Collins, not known as a GOP hardliner, takes a principled stance in opposition, concluding:

Mr. President, throughout the State of Maine and indeed throughout the nation, millions of hard-working Americans pay their taxes on time and in full. Our taxation system is essentially an honor system that depends on self-assessment and honesty. When taxpayers make mistakes, they are expected to correct them promptly and completely. How can we tell the taxpayers that they are expected to comply fully with our tax laws, when these laws have been treated so cavalierly by the person who would lead the Treasury Department and, ultimately, the Internal Revenue Service, when he was applying them to himself?

(h/t TNR)

Sen. Orin Hatch, however, delivers a muddled statement, decrying the double standard for Republicans – and then declaring his support for Geithner.

This provides a window on the priorities and values of the Senators casting their votes. The Republicans can’t derail the confirmation. All they can do is offer their take on what the bare minimum standard for high-office holders ought to be. What level of mendacity do they tolerate? Do they really care about the public’s dismay over a double standard? We learn something about the people we have elected when they are forced to stand on pure principle.

It is not the type of vote likely to be at issue in their own elections. But it is telling.


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