This is the kind of crap that makes me wonder if the Republican party is beyond redemption. I'll just give you the lede and let you take it from there:

U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert pledged for the first time yesterday that he would push a tobacco buyout plan to the House floor -- but only if Republican Alice Forgy Kerr is elected to Congress.

How is that not a case of vote buying? Something of value (a tobacco buyout plan that he as Speaker has the power to kll and great influence on helping it pass) is offered in exchange for the votes of people who will directly benefit from that plan. That's almost extortion, if you consider the condition--the election of someone other than Kerr causing the bill to not be passed--a threat to cause a person or group of people a financial loss.

Let's play the empathy game--how would Republicans react if they were in the minority and Nancy Pelosi (who would ostensibly be Speaker) made that kind of offer? We'd be hearing calls for her resignation on every AM radio station across the country and more than one Republican House member would be on The O'Reilly Factor and Hannity and Colmes and maybe even on Dennis Miller's latest piece of crap (I say maybe because apparently nobody's watching it).

The article came out today and I've been away from both tv and internet--let's see what happens over the next day or two and see if there's any fallout. I wouldn't bet on it.

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