Sunday, January 28, 2007

Partisanship Incarnate

Part of the problem with Rep. Scott Garrett is that he sees everything in Republican party against Democratic party terms. In response to the President's State of the Union Address, Rep. Scott Garrett had the following to say:

"He did not pander to the Democrats and independents as some thought he would," said New Jersey Rep. Scott Garrett, a conservative Republican who told The Washington Times that his House colleagues expressed a similar assessment.
The blatant hypocrisy in his statement is the fact that in order to fend off Aronsohn painting him as "too conservative" for the district, Garrett's campaign ripped me off by claiming he was "An Independent Voice". This amused me then, but to see him magnanimously complimenting the President on not "pandering" to people like me or the vast majority of our district is particularly disingenuous.

If our District is to have a voice in Congress, Scott needs to get off his high partisan horse and get to work at crossing the aisle. The Republican majority, particularly the 109th Congress, did very little to actually help the majority of the people in our District. The majority of the tax breaks they passed, which are targeted at our District's income levels, are lost because of the AMT. Nothing was done about the rising cost of college tuition. On top of all of this, our annual return on the tax dollar went down every year he's been in office.

That was all while Scott was in the majority. Now that our "voice" in Congress is in the minority, his stands on issues, his highly partisan comments, and the rigidity of his partisan voting are going to cost us in a very real sense. The issues we face are not Republican or Democratic. Gas prices, health care shortfalls being picked up by the state (which raise property taxes), unfunded mandates for education (which raise property taxes), and the war in Iraq need solutions more than they need rhetoric. Personally, I don't care which party comes up with the way to actually fix the pinch most people feel, like most folks I just want it fixed.

For a guy who represents a District where Independents outnumber Republicans and Democrats combined, he might not want to discount what we want to hear. But more than what we want to hear, it is about the results that we want to see that he should be most concerned about. Sitting on his hands with a continued indifference to the Independents and Democrats will be what undoes him, simply because an awful lot of Republicans in our District already think beyond partisanship. The majority of the Republicans in our District fall into a results oriented, fiscally conservative and socially liberal category. It's this philosophy that is part of the reason Rudy Guilliani's social views (pro-choice, pro-moderate gun control, pro-gay rights), while repugnant to Scott, have Rudy leading the polls in New Jersey for the Republican nomination for President even though he hasn't declared he's running.

Scott better watch it with his rhetoric, or someone in the '08 primary or general is going to nail him with it, make it stick, and send him back to his "farm." There are a lot of Republicans in our District who are unhappy with Garrett, and statements like the one above coupled with continued ineffectiveness, will not help him if he faces a sensible moderate or commonsense conservative in the Republican the primary. And if he doesn't, and the Democrats put up something other than a sock puppet, they might find themselves winning the seat.

No comments: