Recent letters-to-the-editor prompted these rebuttals from me.
We need more than image
Posted: Monday, September 1, 2014 12:15 am
Chief of Staff Athan Koutsiouroumbas recently dismissed as “partisan” a constituent/critic of his boss, Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick. This seems to be the go-to dismissal of anyone who is not drinking the Kool-Aid of the Congressman’s well-crafted PR campaign.
Rep Fitzpatrick presents himself as bipartisan to woo swing voters. But in 2013, by my calculations, he voted 73 percent of the time with what critics consider the extreme positions of the tea party. If we remove the Hurricane Sandy votes, his tally for extreme tea party positions is 78 percent. (TeaPartyScorecard.com. Footnoted analysis available.)
Rep. Fitzpatrick fueled the fires that led to a government shut down, and then capitulated when poll numbers were tanking. He allied himself with Paul Ryan to make Medicare a voucher system. He was not the voice of compromise when it came to the Affordable Care Act. The GOP issued drill commands. Obstruct a constitutional law no matter what. Our representative dutifully carried out his “partisan” marching orders.
One can object to the votes a representative takes. But when a representative makes a job out of presenting an image to the public that does not square with his voting record; when he does not openly discuss his votes at public meetings where his answers can be easily disseminated for the edification of all constituents; when he resorts to calling constituents “partisan” justifying a wave-of-the-hand dismissal, we have a GOP seat-holder whose job it is to campaign 24/7. He wants you to feel good about him and then pull the lever. You will never find this representative engaged in what I consider substantive public debate of the issues on the record.
Many times I have heard he is a nice guy and a hard worker. If he were running for the position of Nice Guy Hard Worker he’d have my vote. What one works hard on is what matters. Can we really afford another term of a representative selling us image? How about a hard core negotiator behind-the-scenes and in public who will challenge the GOP leadership to make meaningful compromises to move this country forward?
In these very contentious political times, our representative is out of his depth. We need a strong voice. Selling image is puff, not leadership.