Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Garrett drops us to bottom 5.5%

Saw this when I was scanning Blue Jersey, according to Congress.org the power ranking for our Fifth District is now 411 out of 435. I've used the phrase "minority of the minority" before when describing our District's position on the Hill, and this serves as reinforcement. When the Republicans were in the majority, Representative Scott Garrett was only able to get 1 of 41 bills he sponsored enacted. Due to his unabashed partisanship and sporting a voting record that's more conservative than 97% of the House, our District's position is likely to drop this year instead of climb.

The art of compromise is something that Garrett ran against from the very beginning, and is going to haunt our District the longer he is in office. Garrett is of the Tom Delay school of thought that compromise is a bad thing and that "Real Republicans" according to this mindset don't work with Democrats (sorry, 3% doesn't cut it). I've spoken before about how our former Representative Marge Roukema was targeted by these authoritarians and how Garrett was all too quick to answer their call for a challenger. This conservative cannibalism was also evidenced in primary challenges to Senator Arlen Specter and other good legislators who were targeted for no other reason than refusing to follow the hard right Republican leadership like lemmings at the expense of their constituents.

Closer to home, in New Jersey's 24th District, a battle for State Senate had been brewing between Garrett's friend and fellow "Mountain Man" Assemblyman Guy Gregg and New Jersey's longest serving legislator, retiring Senator Bob Littell. Voters in the 24th should think long and hard about Gregg's attacks that Littell wasn't a "Real Republican." As the State Senator's wife said to PoliticsNJ about her husband:

“He's a Republican,” Virginia Littell says proudly. “Sometimes you vote with the Democrats. Hello! You run in a Republican primary but when you go to the capital the people put you in the general election.”

"You get what you can get through the process of negotiations,” she said. “My husband is not a traitor; he's a trader, a horse trader."

In order to get things done for the District, you have to cut deals when you're in the majority and especially when you're in the minority. Gregg was using the same rhetorical attacks against Littell as Garrett used against Roukema (RINO, etc.). However, in this case, the game has changed. Littell has announced his retirement, and a fusion ticket has emerged in the 24th that seems to be principled, less divisive and more results oriented. Being effective leaders requires both principle and pragmatism. Garrett has plenty of principles he likes to talk about, but absolutely no pragmatism. Of all people, Richard Nixon probably has the best quote on this:
Idealism without pragmatism is impotent. Pragmatism without idealism is meaningless. The key to effective leadership is pragmatic idealism.
My hope for the 24th, as with our Congressional District, is that Republican primary voters will see that the race to irrelevance being run by Representative Garrett serves neither our District nor will it serve the people of the 24th with Gregg.


Jill said...

But is Scott Garrett really about the district, or is he about being a Good Little Brownshirt for the Republic party? Funny how with all the hue and cry about property taxes, no one utters a peep about how Garrett does nothing to bring resources home to his district. I realize that he thinks government should be drowned in a bathtub, but I think his extreme ideology of "less government, except where people's sex lives and other privacy issues are concerned" would be more at home at a right-wing think tank.

rmfretz said...

Oh, I'm going to rip him on property taxes, income taxes, small business taxes and the AMT in the near future. Just getting the facts together. Part of the issue with him is that in pulling the party line, he's actually hurting taxpayers in our District on a number of levels.

He may get the national awards, but because of New Jersey's demographics, cost of living, etc. many of these national victories are at the expense of New Jersey's middle class.