Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Long Overdue End Of Chris Shays' Political Career?


A few days ago we talked with Jeff Merkley, the progressive Democrat challenging rubber stamp Republican Senator Gordon Smith in Oregon. Jeff makes it clear that Smith follows a pattern of rubber stamping the most extremist and narrow-minded Republican policies for 5 years and then in the year before he has to face the voters, he tries running as a "moderate" and an "independent," hoping no one has the time to examine his lockstep voting record. In the state where Bush has one of his lowest approval ratings Smith has a breathtaking record of unquestioning support for the entire Bush agenda. Interestingly his lifetime ProgressivePunch score is 19.09. This year, as he comes to grips with a disapproval number higher than an approval number, he has crossed the aisle more and more frequently to try to make himself look like a Democrat or even a moderate Republican; his ProgressivePunch score for 2007-'08 is a more respectable 42.66-- and shows a great deal of effort having been put in to deceive Oregon voters. The new Rasmussen polling data shows the ploy isn't working and that Merkley is beating him.

And this is a pattern around the country, with rubber stamp Republicans desperately trying to inoculate themselves from Bush, Cheney and McCain and the radical right agenda they have been rubber stamping. On the Senate side we have down-the-line Bush-Cheney supporters like Susan Collins (R-ME), Norm Coleman (R-MN), Smith of course, John Sununu (R-NH) and even lunatic fringe incumbents like Ted Stevens (R-AK), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Liddy Dole (R-NC) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) trying, absurdly, to pass themselves off as moderates and independent voices who have stood up to Bush. They're not and they haven't.

Less examined are identical claims being made by Republican members of the House. One of the most successful rubber stamp Republicans to pass himself off as a "moderate" has been Connecticut's deceptive Congressman Chris Shays. Tell me how moderate Shays' record on Iraq looks to you. Since voting in total lockstep with Bush-and Cheney on the 4 bills to authorize the use of force against Iraq on October 10, 2002, Shays has voted on 63 roll calls regarding Iraq. Of the 63 opportunities he's had to break with Bush and Cheney's catastrophic policies he refused to go along with them exactly 2 times. How "moderate" is that! One was to join bipartisan coalition demanding an end to no bid contracts; and the other was to join an even wider bipartisan coalition to change the status to Iraq rebuilding funds from grants to loans. He never once voted to end the war or occupation or to slow down Bush's aggression. At the same time Shays was rubber stamping Bush's entire policy of Middle east war he was voting against our active duty military personnel (he voted against them 21 times out of 23 roll calls-- and both were procedural votes whereas the votes like supplying body armor and up-armored vehicles for our fighting men... well Shays decided to support Bush and Cheney instead.) Military veterans have gotten the same treatment from Shays: of 24 rolls calls, Shays has stood behind American vets exactly one time and that was voting to approve the overall budget to fund the federal government, a budget that included relief for veterans that Shays had opposed!

OK, so he's bad on foreign affairs, war and the military, so how does he get his "moderate" cred, you ask? Don't think it's on domestic issues. When it comes to fair taxation, Shays is as anti-working family as Bush could want. There have been 134 rolls calls regarding fair taxation since 2002. How many time was Shays on the side of working and middle class families in Bush's battle to redistribute the wealth of the nation upwards? Six times, mostly on procedural votes of no real consequence on the Republican war against the middle class.

And on all of the most contentious recent votes, Shays has stuck with Bush. On June 20 Shays was with Bush and Cheney again as he voted to permit warrantless wiretaps and retroactive immunity for those who already used them illegally. Of course, in this instance Shays had a special little extra incentive-- $5,500 in campaign contributions from the very people who were so desperate for the retroactive immunity. Would you call that bribery? I would. Oh, and on the latest Bush request for money to keep the occupation in Iraq going, Congressman "Moderate" voted a resounding and consistent YES, yes for Bush, no for peace.

Blue America endorsed Jim Himes one year ago this week and he's proven himself very much worthy of our endorsement, fighting against the war and against Bush's and Shays' FISA bill. Jim has been running neck and neck with the corporately funded Shays when it comes to fundraising. Shays has scooped up $2,330,014 and Jim has taken in $2,087,832. But where Jim is absolutely kicking Shays' ass is in voter registration-- and it's what looks like the decisive factor in ending the shameful career of the last of the Connecticut fake moderates.
Democratic voter registration is up sharply in southwestern Connecticut's 4th Congressional District, and political analysts said Friday that Republican U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays may face the toughest challenge of his career.

In fact, if city Democrats in Bridgeport, Norwalk and Stamford show up on Election Day in a tide of anticipated statewide urban support for Sen. Barack Obama, Shays' narrow 5,747-vote margin of 2006 could evaporate into a forced political retirement.

...Since Jan. 1, 11,329 new Democrats have registered in the 17-town district. Only 3,462 Republicans have signed up so far this year and only 8,299 unaffiliated voters.

Traditionally, unaffiliated voters outnumber Democrats and current statewide totals still hold true, with 801,002 unaffiliated; 707,885 Democrats; and 408,376 Republicans, with registration open until Oct. 28. But statewide this year, more than 47,000 new voters have declared themselves Democrats, compared to 38,000 unaffiliated and 14,000 new Republicans, Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz announced on Friday.

That immediately prompted the Congressional Quarterly to change the race's rating from Leans Republican to Toss Up. The fact that the African-American population of Bridgeport wasn't enthusiastic enough of John Kerry's lackluster campaign to turn out in big numbers, worked in Shays' favor in 2004. With Barack Obama at the top of the ticket in November, it is clear that Shays' luck has hit a brick wall.

Labels: , , , , ,


At 1:48 PM, Blogger Corner Stone said...

and against Bush's and Shays' FISA bill

Waaaiiiitt a second...don't you mean the Democratic Leadership's FISA bill? Including Obama who voted Yay! Yay! A Thousand Times YAY!
Last I checked the D's were in control of submitting, or not submitting, bills for votes. Why would they submit FISA for a vote? Where was the constituency outcry that their reps weren't voting to change this law?
Oh that's right, the constituency was the telcos who have a bunch of bought and paid for politicians from BOTH parties doing their bidding.


Post a Comment

<< Home