Markey Not Ready For Primetime

I’m sure the papers and pundits will have their chance to dissect the debate Thursday night between the candidates for the 4th Congressional district, Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave and her challenger Betsy Markey, but figured I’d throw in my two cents here. The video of this debate can be found at http://www.9news.com/news/article.aspx?storyid=101504&catid=339

Prior to this debate, I’ve met and spoke to Betsy Markey where she gave a speech to our organization, and of course the recent candidate forum here in Longmont last week (as mentioned in my recent podcast). I’ve never met Marilyn Musgrave, and have never seen her speak more than a sentence, usually during a news broadcast. I haven’t followed her career nearly as much as some others around town, who do it quite often in an obsessive manner. So in many ways, this debate was an introduction to Ms. Musgrave for me.

From what I’d previously read and heard about Ms. Musgrave, she didn’t appear to really set the world on fire, in and out of her own party. Ms. Markey seemed to me a friendly person, but I was never quite sure of her accomplishments and got the impression she was just running as the typical Democrat going for the anti-Republican or anti-Musgrave vote but not a lot behind her. After the Longmont event and this debate, I did get a little more feel for her experience, especially in relation to her small business.

But what struck me about this debate and her previous comments was that Ms. Markey doesn’t really speak to the specifics of this district. Most of her comments were the same generic Democratic talking points that you can hear from any candidate in any state or district. Ms. Musgrave by comparison often brought up her own experience in Washington and how it relates to people and cities within the district she represents.

A couple of points on this debate: Ms. Musgrave was on the attack and her shots appeared to hit more effectively than Ms. Markey’s. She brought up a YouTube video of Ms. Markey saying “You say drill. I say no. Debate’s over” to oil drilling, which brings up a question of when it really happened (during the DNC?), and who filmed and uploaded it (friend of Markey’s or Musgrave’s?), there were two versions of that story.

The other shot Ms. Musgrave took was this “women owned business” issue that her representative leveled at Ms. Markey at the Longmont event. Ms. Markey skated around this again and tried to be a little too fine with her comment that her company never sought contracts as a woman owned business, but Ms. Musgrave provided quotes from Ms. Markey and information on her companies website that are clearly contradictory on this subject. We probably haven’t heard the last of this issue.

Ms. Markey tried to hit Ms. Musgrave on money she’s taken from Wall Street bankers. But this backfired when Ms. Musgrave pointed out that those contributions were from small community banks and credit unions.

In summary, Ms. Musgrave showed much more knowledge of who she’s working for, which is probably why the Denver Post, of all newspapers, recently endorsed her. Personally, I was surprised at the strength of her performance and easy familiarity with the issues and her district.

Perhaps it was nerves and first time on a stage like this, but Ms. Markey was not nearly at ease and fell back on the obvious, stuff we’ve already heard and already know. While Ms. Markey may have a bright future in politics, voters should be considering knowledge and experience. In this race, there’s really no comparison. Can’t believe I’m about to agree with the Denver Post (thanks, by the way for printing me often in YourHub!), but as they said: “Musgrave has earned a fourth term.”

Pathetic Congress Deserves Its Rating

Historically lowest ratings for Congress, and today further highlighted why. This Democratically controlled excuse for our House of Representatives sent their hapless pack of leaders to the podium today for some of the more pathetic political theater witnessed in quite a while.

Lead by arguably the worst Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who stood up their giving kudos to the very people to blame for this bills failure. I had to laugh when she mentioned the “Whip”, who is supposed to “whip” the vote, and who obviously failed miserably at it. The Democrats have the majority, they don’t need a single Republican vote to do anything except override a veto. No veto was coming.

But this freakshow lead by Pelosi, Emanuel, Hoyer, and Frank (all D-who cares from where) couldn’t restrain themselves attacking those awful Republicans who voted against this. Further proof there never was any deal, and for Pelosi to call the vote was foolhardy at best. This, after ripping into the very Republicans she needed, apparently, to get this passed.

I say apparently because while you listen to these fools rip 133 Republicans who voted NO, they seem to forget the 95 Democrats who also said NO. Colorado Democrats Mark Udall and John Salazar among them, as did Republicans Musgrave and Lamborn. Members of the Colorado delegation voting YES were Degette (D), Perlmutter (D), and Tancredo (R).

Why is this worst rated Congress ever? Does anyone really have to ask that question any more? It all starts at the sad top of the Democratic Party and their inept leadership. Not only can’t they get any consensus from the opposing party, they can’t get it from their own. Representatives from the Democratic Party who voted against this, like Udall and Salazar, need to step forward and not only defend their vote, but give a vote of no confidence (if that matters) in Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Hoyer, and their whip Clyburn and demand a change in leadership ASAP.

This party wanted their chance and got it in 2006. They’ve made a mockery out of one branch of our government and showed that they are lead by a pack of buffoons. While they don’t deserve to be returned to the majority, they probably will, but at the very least can any of them, say senatorial candidate Mark Udall, show a little spine and leadership? If you stand by this NO vote as a way to stand up for your constituents, stand up against your party leadership and lead or get out of the way. They were insulting you, too, Mark.

How They Voted: Okinawa Pork aka HR-1591

This is the first of many “How They Voted” editions. It’s an expansion of the limited space the local paper gives to how your local representatives voted in issues of interest. I plan on limiting it just to the Longmont and East Boulder County area representatives at the local, county, state, and federal levels.

First up, HR-1591 “Making emergency supplemental appropriations for fiscal year ending September 30, 2007, and for other purposes”. Others have come up with catchy names for it, I came up with “Okinawa Pork” without putting much time or thought into it. This is the House bill to fund (or defund or underfund) the war in Iraq, but added in are all kinds of things that have nothing to do with it, like spinach, shrimp, peanuts, and shellfish. It’d make me angrier if it didn’t make me so hungry.

My take, and others you’ve probably read as well, is it’s an insult to our troops laden with earmarks (pork) to garner enough votes to pass. A little something for constituents back home, you know, the kind of thing that many congressmen were (rightly) lambasted for prior to the last election. Once again, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

So how did our reps vote? Mark Udall (Dem-Dist2) voted YES. Marilyn Musgrave (Rep-Dist4) voted NO. It passed 218-212 mostly along party lines, far from being veto-proof. I visited both of their websites to see if they had any comments on this bill. Rep Musgrave did not (site could be more current), Rep Udall did, here are some excerpts and some random comments: ” Many Americans are frustrated and angry because we are four years into a war the president assured us would be short and decisive”…I have swampland to sell you if you buy into assurances of ease and timeliness when it comes to wars or police actions.” So long as our troops are in the field, we must provide them what they need”

Apparently, what they need is “… scaling back our military mission in Iraq”. This has been called the “slow bleed” and “redeployment” bill, depending on which side you sit. Now here’s the pork: ” I am pleased that the Colorado delegation was successful in persuading the House leadership to include financial assistance for farmers and ranchers” I’m not sure who was part of the delegation, it doesn’t state, but we at least know Mr. Udall was part of adding unrelated earmarks.

I’m all for helping out those in need, whether it be from blizzards to natural or manmade disasters, but why as part of this bill? These are the kinds of games that tick off the general public. Politicians wonder why there is such disdain and apathy out there, here it is.