Monday, July 2, 2007

God Bless Your Loyalty, DBeck

Even though I find myself a man without a party, I respect those who are loyal to their party and their party's public office holders. One such blogger is DBeck over at Red Jersey. S/he wrote a lengthy piece about how Representative Scott Garrett can help bring the Republicans in Bergen County back. When I argued that for the BCRO to make a comeback they needed to dump Garrett and Talarico, I wasn't joking. From DBeck's piece:
Clearly Ridgewood voters are losing confidence that the Republicans stand for what they believe in, but we can win them back with the right message.

Another fact is that the home base of Marge Roukema voted for the bumbling, McGreeveyite Rotarian Democrat Paul Ahronsohn over an incumbent GOP congressman by a margin of 4,814 to 3,820! This margin is probably partly frustration with Iraq and other issues, but it also means that work is cut out for Republicans. Yet I believe we can rise to the challenge.

First off, Garrett is not Marge Roukema; nor does he want to be. People genuinely loved Marge, because they trusted her to do no harm. She voted Republican, but she wasn't going to be in lockstep with the leadership when they did things that would harm the families of our District. She was more pragmatic and infinitely less of an ideologue than Garrett. As opposed to Garrett's rigid partisan mentality that leads him to attack fellow Republicans, the voters here respected Marge for bi-partisanship and bucking authority when appropriate. Marge also didn't misrepresent her voting record. After two terms, people are starting to realize Garrett is no Marge.
His stands on the economic and national security issues of the day are with the voters in these towns and against the welfare state values many in the NJ Democratic Party support, but sadly the Ferriero-Cryan regime has tried to define the Congressman as an extremist which is not the case.

It's (mostly) the social beliefs, DBeck.

Garrett is true to his beliefs, however many of those beliefs fly in the face of the moderate or classic conservative mindset of so many here in Bergen. The hard right turn of the national agenda by the Republicans has already been cited by Stuart Rothenberg and others as being a problem for the BCRO. Making Garrett the poster child for the BCRO would put local candidates in his spotlight: Intelligent design in public schools? Global warming doesn't exist? Terri Schiavo? What about reaching out to theocracy proponents or contributing website content that brings in advertising dollars to pay for the bandwidth to host murder fantasies? I'm sure most would agree that this is what the BCRO doesn't need, and Papa Joe would like nothing more than to see it happen.

Garrett is who Garrett is, and although he has his ardent backers, the more time he spends in office the less people in Bergen seem to like him. It really has very little to do with some bias against him or conservatives. It has to do with those votes he makes on our behalf where he is among 5-17% of the House voting against a bill. Ten years of tax cuts for small businesses, he votes no. Restoring funds to community policing programs, he votes no. Renewing the Voting Rights Act, he votes no. Reducing interest on student loans, he votes no. The list goes on.

Garrett almost lost Bergen in '06, and the Dems are going to have a field day reporting his voting record against so many of the issues so many moderates and classic conservatives support. Many Republicans and Republican leaning independents still vote for Garrett because they don't want to lose the seat, not because they support him personally. The longer he serves, and the more super minority votes he makes, the less support he's going to have. As a loyal campaign staffer, I respect DBeck believing this is the man who can help save the BCRO. However, I couldn't disagree more.

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