Monday, March 5, 2007

A Hat Tip to Rep. Garrett

After watching his CPAC presentation(Afternoon session, 22 minutes in), I was ready to rail against Representative Scott Garrett again. In five minutes he managed to show his loathing for New Jersey's Congressional Delegation, show his ignorance of the importance of the Interstate highway system on commerce, and announced his dead before drafted legislation to gut funding for the Department of Education's Title I (poor children) and No Child Left Behind programs. Gathering facts and figures, I listened to the speech again, wanting to add something about how he's relegated one of the Districts that contributes the most in taxes (ours) to the minority of the minority and his actions are costing us influence in any real discussion of the issues. Armed with a full bottle of Diet Coke and my usual over-sized jar of peanuts, I listened to the speech one more time to see if I had missed anything, and thought to myself: Damn this guy is good.

It's not a defense of his positions, it's a political observation showing appreciation for his skill at rallying the base. I had the same thought after he beat Aronsohn in their radio debate. Here Garrett is, standing in front of an audience of the only people who didn't trip over each other to go see Rudy speak (the moderator asked those leaving to keep the noise down), and he had them cheering at points. Anchoring a group railing against earmarks, in a matter of fact manner he attacked the President and the big government conservatives who cost the Republicans the Congress. In front of his audience, it didn't matter how unproductive his legislation would be or how high our District's property taxes would go if they were passed. In front of that crowd, he was the valiant hero.

This isn't an endorsement of what he does or how he thinks, I'd prefer someone who takes pragmatic steps toward lowering taxes by making government more efficient, as opposed to floating "going nowhere" resolutions. The Bergen County Republicans' shellacking last November proves that voters would rather pay more for services due to corruption and inefficiency than have no services at all. I'd hedge a bet that if you showed his speech to the majority of voters in our District, and they have a true conservative alternative, Garrett might actually lose an election. However, I'm a firm believer in giving credit where credit is due. Garrett's a rising star to his base and when given the opportunity to talk just to them, he shines.

1 comment:

Jill said...

He's also good at couching his views in moderate clothing. He didn't get where he is by showing himself as the rabid wingnut he is; he got there by stealth.

The successful Democratic candidate is one who will take him on and strip off the mask to show the gargoyle beneath it. With Paul Aronsohn seemingly planning another run, I'm not optimistic.