Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Profile In Cowardice: Rodney Frelinghuysen


Frelinghuysen doesn't do town halls... he goes to pancake breakfasts

When the deranged body slammer won the Montana special election, Wall Street-owned former bankster Steve Stivers (R-OH), the head of the NRCC-- the GOP's version of the DCCC-- said, "Nancy Pelosi and liberals in Washington were rejected again" but that "the best way for Greg to thank them would be to apologize for his actions, and I am glad he has done so." Jessica Wehrman, writing for the biggest newspaper in Stivers' district, the Columbus Dispatch, asserted yesterday that "Stivers knew that his job protecting the GOP’s House majority would be tough. But there’s no way he could’ve known he was signing up for this. Saddled with a polarizing president, Stivers, 52, also faces the perils of history: Midterm elections during a president’s first term historically have been lousy for the House majority party. The party has struggled to unite on issues such as health care. And Democrats, galvanized by Trump, have shown up to protest at town hall meetings of congressmen, often boisterously."

One of the seats Stivers will have to protect is the central New Jersey seat held by Rodney Frelinghuysen who was first elected in 1994 and has never had a serious electoral challenge. The scion of a long political pedigree going back to the American Revolution-- although several of ancestors fought on the British side against the Americans-- and of two sources of great wealth-- Proctor and Gamble and Ballantine beer. Frelinghuysen, an inbred goof-ball who was a spoiled, poor student and has had everything handed to him on a silver platter, normally wins reelection with between 60 and 70% of the votes. Congressman Frelinghuysen's net worth-- though he never worked a day in his life-- is over $50 million. His worst performance was last year (58%), when Trump's toxicity in the affluent New Jersey suburbs dragged him down. Romney had beaten Obama in the R+6 district 53-47% but Trump underperformed, taking the district narrowly, 48.8% to 47.9%. Next year Frelinghuysen is likely to face well-liked, well-financed and very much admired Assemblyman John McKeon. Over the weekend, a NY Times article by Nancy Solomon highlighted why Stivers is concerned about Frelinghuysen and his ability to hold onto his seat.

Frelinghuysen got a ton of really bad press in his district a couple of weeks ago for complaining about a political activist to her boss. The woman, a senior vice president at the bank, was forced to resign, primarily because the damage Frelinghuysen, as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, could do to the bank. Frelinghuysen will have to explain his behavior to the House Ethics Committee and-- more importantly0-- to angry voters in Morris, Essex and Passaic counties. Solomon write that "Singling out a lone constituent-- and being caught doing so-- suggests, perhaps, a feeling of disquiet. 'It seemed a particularly meanspirited and vengeful thing for Congressman Frelinghuysen to do-- a man who never had a reputation of being that kind of a bare-knuckles fighter,' Rutgers political science Professor Ross] Baker said. 'I think he senses that the ground is shifting from under him.' Solomon's point though is that Trump’s election and the Republican hold on Congress are forcing a confused and weak Frelinghuysen to choose between the party’s crackpot far right leadership and more moderate suburban constituents back home. And then the kicker:
Frelinghuysen’s response to Mr. Trump’s budget proposal has been lukewarm, and he opposed the first House Republican health plan. But, reportedly threatened with losing his chairmanship, he went along with conservatives and supported the House health plan’s second version.

Back home, Mr. Trump’s election has given rise to NJ 11th for Change, a group that has held weekly protests at Mr. Frelinghuysen’s office, jammed his phone lines and called on him to hold a town-hall meeting, which he has refused to do.

He did recently hold a telephone call-in event, which allowed him to cut off callers when they disagreed. His frustration showed. “For people who have jammed our lines and made it difficult for us to meet our constituent needs, it would be nice for you to back off,” Mr. Frelinghuysen said at one point.

Mr. Frelinghuysen’s 11th Congressional District, which includes Morris County and parts of Essex, Passaic and Sussex Counties, is what New Jerseyans call Republican horse country. It is one of the richest and most highly educated districts in the country, and the estates in Mr. Frelinghuysen’s hometown, Harding Township, make it one of the 25 richest ZIP codes in America, according to Forbes magazine.
Perfect district for Rodney Frelinghuysen XXIV (or whatever number he is) but antipathy for Trump and the crap Ryan is doing in Congress are an especially terrible match for the well-educated 11th district. Worse yet, as his party has come more and more under the thrall of neo-Confederate radicals in the House, ole Rodney himself has moved further and further right politically. No more Mr. Mainstream Conservative. He's got a nut-case voting record now. "Frelinghuysen," wrote Solomon, "once supported abortion rights but in recent years has voted to limit access to abortion. He also opposes gun control, gay marriage and regulations to limit greenhouse gas emissions." This is not where most voters in NJ-11 stand. Ex-Governor Tom Kean is insisting that Frelinghuysen, "despite his voting record, is still a moderate." How is someone a "moderate" if their voting record is extreme right? One House staffer from New Jersey put it bluntly: "Frelinghuysen has no integrity at all... He sold out whatever he once believed in so he could get-- and then keep-- his committee chair... It's kind of sad. He ought to retire. In fact, there are a lot of rumors that he's doing a Hamlet routine about it a couple times a week."

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home