Today I was listening to the AM Salisbury radio show when I heard this commercial in support of Wayne Gilchrest. But the spot wasn’t from the Gilchrest campaign, instead it comes from a group called VoteVets.org. Billing themselves as “The Voice of America’s 21st Century Patriots” a closer look at the group reveals that they generally throw their support behind Democrat candidates – all seven Congressional candidates (four incumbents, three challengers) they are endorsing for 2008 are Democrats and one member of their Board of Directors is antiwar Democrat and 2006 Ohio Congressional aspirant, Paul Hackett. Apparently this group throws its support behind those who served in the armed forces but have turned against the war in Iraq. Not only does this radio campaign work for Wayne Gilchrest, but two other Republicans who are running for re-election with a record of antiwar votes – Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina and Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska.
Obviously the Gilchrest campaign isn’t directly behind these ads, but you may wonder if a group that lists among its weblinks the SEIU union, MoveOn.org, and the Daily Kos really wants to see a Republican in office, or if Wayne’s just a useful idiot to them until he gets through the primary where they’ll revert back to supporting a Democrat knowing they have that ace in the hole.
Tuesday brought to my e-mail box another press release from GOP Congressional hopeful Joe Arminio. This time he talks about the budget.
Gilchrest and Harris Argue About Budget Trivia, Forsake Big Matters
In the previous report released by this office, I warned the voter that neither Congressman Gilchrest nor State Senator Harris is a deficit hawk. Gilchrest shares in the blame for the nearly doubling of the federal debt—the adding of $4 Trillion–over the period 1995 to 2006, or, expressed another way, he voted in lockstep with the neoconservative-controlled Congress to raise the debt by about $28,000 per adult in the country. Harris does not help the situation, for he has not exposed the Gilchrest record in question. Let us now look more closely at Gilchrest’s budget record in 2007 and the reaction of Harris.
In 2007, Gilchrest mercifully opposed yet another increase in the public debt limit, and went against the Pelosi Democrats who voted for the increase. What is one vote against raising the debt, compared to a dozen years of nearly doubling it to a critical, dangerous level, however? Also Gilchrest proudly announced on his legislative website in late July that he cast two votes this year that would have saved us $790 million, but he did not mention this savings would have amounted to about $5.50 per adult in the country. These are hardly sufficient amends.
Meanwhile, Harris cannot bring himself to admit that Gilchrest voted against raising the public debt limit this year. But Harris trots out his own version of trivia, to wit, he cited, on August 10, a Club For Growth study which found Gilchrest guilty of voting on a variety of occasions for pork, and the total amount of pork amounts to approximately $100 million. What Harris fails to mention is this pork spending amounts to all of 66 cents per adult in the country. Mostly for reasons such as this, Harris claims that Gilchrest has now gotten out of control, and he implies that it was not until this year that Gilchrest abandoned fiscal responsibility for wasteful spending. In reality, Gilchrest (and his neoconservative allies) abandoned fiscal responsibility a long time ago!
What kind of leader is Harris? He acts as if the world began in 2007 and confines his examination of the Gilchrest budget record to 2007. He also exaggerates the damage that Gilchrest’s votes in 2007 inflicted on the economy. Why all this? The best explanation is Harris himself is a neoconservative, or tilts toward them. Someone who favors the neoconservatives would not want to expose the massive damage they, along with Gilchrest, have inflicted on the economy, especially from 1995 to 2006. And Harris is exaggerating the significance of Gilchrest’s 2007 budget votes because, being in or leaning toward the neoconservative camp, Harris has nothing else to work with—nothing else to distinguish himself from Gilchrest–except votes cast in 2007.
What kind of leader is Gilchrest? He has not come forward and said what needs to be said. “I let the country down in previous years. I let the country down so badly that the economy is in dire trouble. We had better make swift, broad and deep amends.” Instead Gilchrest dabbles at being the deficit hawk in this primary season. He refuses to push desperately needed comprehensive and deep reform, that is, measures to ratchet down government and private sector debt creation relentlessly, and to boost industrial production and farming vigorously. He fails to promote long-term laws that would hold government and private sector borrowing within tight limits—like laws we used to have–and also fails to reverse the effects of devastating votes he cast against industry and farms, including those that weakened the brilliant American patent system and brought about anti-American trade measures, such as GATT, the WTO, NAFTA and CAFTA.
What a pair Gilchrest and Harris make. The former helped bring the economy to the cliff, the latter cannot bring himself to expose the former’s fatal deeds. Each argues over trivia, how, in effect, a few nickels and dimes per adult in the country was saved or squandered in the last several months. They both neglect a far more serious matter: this economy is in mortal peril and needs sophisticated, comprehensive resuscitation right now. But then again what is surprising about all this? Neither Gilchrest nor Harris are vintage Republicans; neither are in the tradition of the Party of Lincoln whose policies went a long, long way toward making America great, and included such vital measures as a balanced budget, tariffs where appropriate, a revolutionary pro-inventor patent system and the fiscal discipline that the gold standard or something like it provided. Let us revive these and other American Way policies that were prodigiously successful, as fast as we can. Let us back American Way leaders, such as myself, wherever they are found.
Actually, Harris states that he’s voted against 6 of the 9 state budgets he was presented so he may be more of a deficit hawk than his opponent Arminio will admit. Regardless, I think Joe should detail a little more about what he would cut, or at least enough to whet interest in the book he’s also pushing. (Arminio plugs the book in a postscript I chose not to include.)
Also picking on Harris is the aforementioned Wayne Gilchrest, who disputes Harris’s assertions on Wayne’s immigration record:
U.S. Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest strongly objected to the factually incorrect and highly negative campaign mail sent out by an opponent this week, cautioning voters that this type of false and negative campaigning should be rejected by candidates running for office on any level.
A campaign fundraising letter sent by Andrew Harris this week states that Gilchrest voted recently to grant government benefits to illegal immigrants, when in fact Gilchrest voted this month for a measure which would have specifically prohibited such benefits. On August 2, 2007 Gilchrest voted for a measure (Roll Call Vote 814) which sought to further strengthen the existing prohibitions against benefits for illegal immigrants. Days later Gilchrest’s opponent sent the letter charging Gilchrest voted the opposite way.
“I think a debate of the issues is healthy, but that depends on candidates being honest, which doesn’t appear to be happening now,” said Gilchrest.
In fact, Gilchrest has a consistent record of voting against benefits for illegal immigrants, including his vote for The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 which explicitly states that illegal immigrants are not eligible for “federal public benefits,” including public and assisted housing. He also voted for the Immigration Control and Financial Responsibility Act of 1996, which tightened the loopholes under which states granted unauthorized aliens certain educational benefits on the basis of state residence.
“The unfortunate fact of the matter is that many of the laws already on the books can help fix the problems we face with illegal immigration and the drain on our social programs,” Gilchrest states. Gilchrest continues to push for better enforcement of current laws and has cosponsored House Resolution 499, which calls on the Administration to rigorously enforce the laws of the US to better enforce and reduce illegal immigration and improve border security.
Gilchrest also criticized the tone and language as some of the most negative, mean-spirited campaigning ever used in the Congressional district, and noted that it is part of a disturbing pattern in this race. Last week the same campaign made false allegations about Gilchrest’s votes on federal spending measures, charging that Gilchrest voted against every measure to cut federal spending when in fact, Gilchrest voted last month for two across the board spending cuts for deficit reduction. (Roll Call No. 710 – Musgrave amendment 7/24/07 ) (Roll Call No. 741 – Musgrave amendment 7/26/07 )
“This is exactly the type of mean-spirited and negative politics that the American people have rejected, and I believe that they will only work to turn more voters away from our elections,” said Gilchrest.
In the interest of full disclosure, the particular roll-call vote Gilchrest cites (No. 814) was on a Motion to Recommit with Instructions, which failed 216-212. The next two votes were the Motion to Reconsider (No. 815, passed 238-12, Gilchrest in favor and not among the 127 Republicans not voting); and No. 816, On Passage of HR 3161, “Making appropriations for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies programs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008, and for other purposes.” Similarly it passed 237-18 with 165 Republicans abstaining. Gilchrest joined the Democrats in that vote.
In this case, it’s quite possible that both Gilchrest and Harris are in the right – Gilchrest voting to recommit the bill because of the immigration provisions but then Harris may properly cite the subsequent roll call for final passage.
To be sure, the race is getting more interesting and I may have to do more and more updates as time goes on. Thanks to Dave Parker for passing the latter Gilchrest missive on to me and the remainder of the WCRC. Guess I got tossed off Wayne’s list – I wonder why?