MIKE ROGERS: MICHIGAN'S MOST CORRUPT AND EXTREME CONGRESSMAN-- FUNNY HOW THOSE TWO FACTORS ALWAYS SEEM TO GO TOGETHER
There are two Mike Rogers in the House. Both are right wing Republicans. One is from the heart of Alabama's Buy Bull Belt and the other is from a moderate central Michigan district encompassing the heavily Democratic Lansing area and heavily Republican Livingston County (white refugees from Detroit). If I asked you to guess which of these two was more of an extremist and fanatic, you'd have to say Mike Rogers from Michigan to be correct. When it comes to issues involving the well-being of the middle class, DMI has each scoring a zero and assigns each an F rating. But when you examine their records more deeply, you find that Michigan Mike is not just the most extreme right wing congressman from the state of Michigan, you find his 3.81 Progressive Punch score is one of the most abysmal of any congressman anywhere. Michigan Mike is one of the most reactionary and least moderate of any congressman regardless of political party with a voting record very much mirroring out-and-out kooks like J.D. Hayworth and John Doolittle on a scale of extremism).
But the truly destructive nature of Rogers' tenure as the 8th congressional district's representative in Congress is far worse than just his voting record would indicate. Rogers' grotesque role in the Republican Culture of Corruption goes way beyond the tainted funds he has received from crooks like DeLay, Boehner, Blunt and Team Abramoff (around $50,000). Rogers is one of the most bought-off politicians by Big Business of any congressman of either party. And he serves their interests well-- much to the detriment of his central Michigan constituents.
Although Michigan Mike has led a jihad against any government oversight of the gas and oil industries, always votes to give them huge taxpayer subsidies, and fanatically fought all attempts to stop gasoline price gauging-- for which the oil and gas industries have rewarded him with over $150,000 in legal bribes-- an even more egregious and repulsive role Mike has claimed for himself is as affordable health care's worst enemy in the entire Congress. But after greedily taking nearly $300,000 in legal bribes from Big Pharma and HMOs, is this a shock to anyone?
Put aside for a moment that Rogers has been an hysterical opponent of the kind of stem cell research being urged by Nancy Reagan and put aside for a moment that Rogers led the battle to pass the Corporate-written National Uniformity for Food Act (H.R. 4167) which interferes with the right of more progressive and enlightened state governments from putting warning labels on questionable packaged food. Instead, let's look at Rogers' repulsive and disgraceful role in denying his own constituents the right to affordable health care. More in the pocket of the for-profit-regardless-of-consequences Corporate Health Care Industry than anyone else in the House of Representatives, Rogers has taken it upon himself to viciously attack anyone who urges Congress to do something effective about solving the Health Care crisis in this country. When his own Michigan constituents, mostly the poor and elderly, started looking for less expensive prescription medicines in nearby Canada, it was Rogers who led the way to criminalize this. McCarthy-like, he violently berates and smears congressional witnesses urging universal health care or anything that would interfere with the billions and billions of dollars of profits made by the Pharmaceutical industry that had been making him rich and powerful with their "generosity." (Ironically, while he was fighting like his life depended on it to deprive Michigan residents of affordable health care, he was also voting against-- one of only two congressmen from Michigan to do so-- John McCain's amendment to outlaw torture by U.S. personnel.) Mike Rogers is a very, very disturbed man; many who have watched him say sociopathic. He doesn't belong in public office.
So what are people in Michigan doing about it? Democrats, independents and even moderate Republicans have united around Fighting Dem and former FBI agent, former CIA agent and former Republican Jim Marcinkowski. (You may recognize him as someone who was interviewed on 60 Minutes and on Nightline after Bush, Cheney and Rove exposed the identity of undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame in an act of political retribution against her husband, Ambassador Joe Wilson.) Marcinkowski seems like a patriotic, rational moderate Democrat well-suited for Michigan's 8th CD. He is campaigning against unwarranted government intrusion into peoples' lives and for Main Street Values over Wall Street Values (the issue where his whacko opponent is weakest). He has staked out positions very contrary to Rogers' priorities of always coming to the aid of the rich and powerful against ordinary people. He is doing his best to get voters to focus on the export of jobs, Rogers' refusal to back an increase in the minimum wage, and Rogers' assistance to corporations who dump pensions with predatory bankruptcy laws that protect corporations and destroy the lives of the middle class.
There are few races as clear cut as the congressional battle in Michigan's 8th CD-- a thoroughly corrupt corporate shill and extreme right wing hack being taken to task by a mainstream, straight-arrow citizen who is just plain fed up and unwilling to take it any more.