MORE LEACH: Barry, you raise a good point: When an entity pulls its funding from another entity, it loses its stake in that entity. However, when the giver refuses to put any stipulations on the funds it gives, it has little stake. When someone invests in a corporation, he puts in money with the expectation of a profit; if no profit is produced, he withdraws his investment. The other source of external funding, loans, provides much more explicit demands: you get the funds only if you agree to pay back a stated amount of interest. To refuse to let the United States put some stipulations on its investments, making us nothing less than a blank check, is disappointing.

But my dislike of Leach goes far beyond this vote. It's his vote banning drilling in ANWR; its his vote for McCain-Feingold; it's his vote against barring funds for the international court; its his vote against the war in Iraq, followed by his outspoken criticism of the war; its his vote against ending the death tax.

To me, there are two types of moderates: There's moderates like Lincoln Chafee, Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, and (to a lesser extent) Arlen Specter. They're the moderates who have to be moderate to have a chance at reelection. They don't bug me too much because Republicans almost certainly can't do better in those states. On the other hand, there are moderates in places where conservatives can win: John McCain, Chuck Hagel, and Lindsey Graham are the big ones here. Jim Leach falls into that second category. Sure, downtown Iowa City is wildly liberal, but outside of Iowa City the rest of Leach's second district is like the rest of Iowa. That's why I just cannot be a supporter of Jim Leach.

Glad to see everyone getting involved in the site!

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