The Cold War is over, but don't tell that to Rep. Spencer Bachus.The Alabama Republican and ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee caused a stir during the Easter recess when he declared, according to press accounts, that there were 17 socialists in Congress.
Since then the congressman has faced subtle allegations of McCarthyism, and an effort was under way — though decidedly tongue-in-cheek — last week to find out exactly whom Bachus meant.
Speaking at an event with local officials in Alabama, Bachus lamented, "Some of these guys I work with, the men and women in Congress, are socialists." Clarifying later to a local journalist, he said he was referring to 17 members of the U.S. House, according to published reports.
At last count there was only one openly socialist member of Congress, Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent who describes himself as a democratic socialist.
Sanders taunted Bachus last week, saying: "Has Spencer released his list yet? Everybody's waiting with bated breath."
But it looks like no list will be forthcoming — or ever existed.
In a press statement Friday, Bachus appeared to deny ever making the remarks.
"At a meeting in Alabama last week, my constituents and I both expressed worry at the socialistic direction this Congress is taking," he said.
"Any characterization of my remarks as keeping a specific list of how many members may or may not have a socialistic philosophy is absurd and does not merit a further response."
In recent hearings on Capitol Hill, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner have been grilled about China's role in the world economy.Perhaps lawmakers should also question Richard Fisher, the president and chief executive of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, who claimed in a speech Friday to have "the longest experience in China not only of any Federal Reserve official, but perhaps of any American policymaker you will ever meet."
How did Fisher gain such insight? For one thing, he was conceived in China, he told an audience at a university in Beijing.
"I was assembled by an Australian-South African consortium in China, then shipped across the Pacific to become one of the innumerable factors that make for a dynamic economy that is uniquely American," he said.
Trouble Back Home
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd's efforts to reconnect with voters in his home state may take another hit with news that the vast majority of his campaign funds came from residents of other states.In fact, just five Connecticut residents gave a total of $4,250 to Dodd during the first quarter, the Connecticut Post reported on Thursday.
Nearly 400 residents from states including Massachusetts, Texas, Maryland and New York contributed $604,745.
The numbers could prove damning for a senator who has been criticized as having lost touch with Connecticut residents.
Dodd, considered one of the Senate's most vulnerable Democrats in the 2010 election cycle, also sunk in the polls amid a perception that he helped create a loophole in legislation allowing executives of American International Group Inc. to receive bonuses.
Jay Howser, Dodd's campaign manager, told the Post that fund raising "lays a solid foundation to build a strong, grassroots campaign that will remind the people of Connecticut that Sen. Dodd has been fighting on their side and will continue to fight on their side."