Friday, July 28, 2006

Not-So-Safe Republican

By David: The New York Times generally has little good to say about the people of Michigan. Sitting high a top their "East-Coast" bias tower they view us flyover staters and interesting every four years when we decide who becomes President. The Times has a fascinating Election Guide 2006 on their website, but they obviously do not delve greatly into the races here in Michigan. For example my congressional district, the "Fighting 9th" is listed as "Safe Republican". Finally, this year it seems this is not the case. Despite the fact that the 9th voted for Bush twice, despite the fact that Republican tax cuts favor a district with a median income of $65,358 our district is changing. The issue of abortion is altering our viewpoints of Congressman Knollenberg and it is about time.

What may have once seemed safe is now under assault. Congressman Knollenberg doesn't have to just contend with Nancy Skinner in the November 7th election, but also with a primary opponent who is gaining steam, Pan Godcheaux. The Detroit News highlights the differences between Knollenberg and Godcheaux as such:

She's for abortion rights, opposes the war in Iraq, is a strong environmentalist and, as a former teacher, education is her staple issue. Knollenberg opposes abortion, supports the war, takes pride in his many votes to cut taxes and scores high on the national pro-business agenda.

Godcheaux likely won't win, but her presence really does bring up the issue. Is Knollenberg more conservative than the district? I think the answer is a clear yes. But more so than that, Knollenberg has stopped representing Michigan's 9th and only represents the Republican Party. In the same Detroit News article this following question was posed (and following is Knollenberg's response):

Detroit News: What do you think the federal government ought to do to help the struggling domestic auto industry?

Knollenberg : The federal government needs to improve the overall regulatory environment for manufacturers, reduce the cost of health care by cracking down on frivolous lawsuits, and promote alternative fuel technology like E85. We also need to ensure that the Japanese automakers are not gaining a competitive advantage by manipulating their currency rates. Finally, we need to get serious about enforcing intellectual property rights and cracking down on counterfeit manufactured goods. Counterfeiting is rampant in China and it's a problem that costs the auto industry hundreds of billions of dollars. I recently authored a new law that strengthens our domestic laws against counterfeiting. We now need to demand that China do the same.

Whether or not the government actually does have a responsibility to assist the domestic auto industry is a matter of one's own opinion, but Congressman Knollenberg represents suburban Detroit. If the government wanted to throw money at the automakers he should support it regardless. As Godcheaux answered the same question:

Godchaux: The federal government could at least put the resources into the auto industry that go to subsidize the oil industry, as we pay them to drill wells and lease public right-of-ways at giveaway prices. We should support the U.S. auto industry with capital to expand research on alternative fuels and more fuel efficient cars and invest in public transportation, at a time when U.S. auto companies have little capital to take chances.

While I do not support Godcheaux's candidacy over that of Nancy Skinner, she certainly is more in line with the district than is the irresponsible Knollenberg. This issue is indicative of Knollenberg's contempt for the people who elect him, and his blind loyalty to the Bush administration who in response to General Motors' alledged possible bankruptcy said that GM could not expect the same treatement Chrysler received under President Reagan, as he said at Fort Meade, MD in January, "I have been very reluctant - I'm mindful of the past where at one point in time, a predecessor of mine was faced with that same dilemma. I would hope I wouldn't be asked to make that decision [to facilitate a bailout]...And I haven't been asked by any automobile manufacturer about a bailout...I think it's very important for the market to function," (i.e. General Motors you are out of luck, thanks Michigan for not voting for me twice). Knollenberg's signing onto a Bush platform that would have a huge impact upon his district (yes, they don't vote for you but Pontiac is in your district Congressman Knollenberg, as are some plants of that aforementioned General Motors), he is saying party loyalty trumps the needs of constituents. This is just further evidence of Knollenberg's being out of touch.

Nancy Skinner is in tune with the district, and her ideas are bright. She acknowledges situations at hand while looking at the future. Her website, describes her energy polcy as "we must move toward a sustainable energy policy using American ingenuity and innovation. Meanwhile, we must expand our gasoline refining capacity." This is correct. The future is alternative energy, but in the meantime we need to expand the resource we use. This is the sort of thinking we need in Washington, vision and pragmatism, not Knollenberg's assinine assertions that benefit Toyota and conservatives in the Mountain West.

Hey Joe, its not so safe out in the ninth district...


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