I Am Ashamed That Eric Cantor Is My Congressman

I understand that most don’t have the leisure I have, as a retiree, to follow issues, to stay tuned to political debates, to spend time and become involved in local politics. However, it is appalling that those fellow citizens of my 7th District in Virginia have such a knee jerk reaction to this current financial crisis such as to swallow the political rhetoric of Congressman Cantor and to not see this partisan politician for who he is.

To see Congressman Cantor spotlighted on national news holding up House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s floor remarks and using this as the reason that Republicans failed to pass their administration’s backed financial crisis bill was nauseating. Cantor was playing politics. Cantor was petty. Cantor was being used by his party handlers to try and shift this failure to reach accord onto the Democrats for political gain. Cantor was seen as a safe spokesman who is from the brightest red district of a red state with little formidable opposition to push this malarkey.

It is an insult to the intelligence of his constituency to essentially say that because Pelosi hurt their feelings they changed their vote and decided to put their fragile egos ahead of the interest of the country.

Congressman Cantor needs to accept his lack of leadership and the responsibility of his Party over the last eight years for their part in this financial disaster.


Anonymous said…
Cantor is an idiot. he votes w/Bush 100% of the time & then takes no responsiblity for all of the crap that's happened in the last 8 years. he is useless!he is a perfect example of why people have such a low view of congress.
James Young said…
How can this possibly be "a Republican failure"? Last time I checked, the GOP was the minority in the House. They have the power neither to pass legislation, nor stop legislation.

The failure here obviously is that of House Democrat leadership. Any other conclusion to the contrary is Democrat spin/lying of the worst sort.
Bill Garnett said…
Mr. Young,

Your pejorative and juvenile use of the “Democrat” label suggests a type of silliness and pettiness that adds nothing to the debate. I would rather you give some semblance of an argument to defend the Bush tenure over our economy and the lack of action by the Republican Congress during the first six years of his presidency,
Anonymous said…
I cannot believe Mr. Cantor did not make tough logical decision in voting to pass this bill. Most everyone did not like this bill, but most democrats did the right thing and put the country first.
Bill Garnett said…
To anonymous:

Cantor voted "aye" for the rescue plan.
So I am little baffled here. You are upset with Cantor voting in support of the bill or is it that as one of the minority leaders he spoke to what many of his fellow Republicans were telling him and he then informed the public as to why some may not have supported the bill?
Were you in support of the bill? If so, whats your problem with Cantor?
If seems to me you are simply repeating what you appear to find lacking in Cantor's leadership by voicing rejection of him because of what he said in the news conference about others and not b/c of his vote on the bill.

Is this not the same thing Cantor was addressing regarding Pelosi speech and effect upon some conservatives?

If you do not support the bill in its current form I could understand attacking Cantor for supporting it. But if you do support the bill, Cantor was in the minority of conservatives who supported the bill and did take a very unpopular stand.

By the way, Bobby Scott (D) did NOT support the bill. How is it that five of the committee chairs; all Democrats did not support this bill; exactly who did Pelosi deliver?

Last night John Kerry (D) provided exactly what the real "deal" was; the Democrats would deliver 50% of the votes required and the Republicans were supposed to deliver 50%. So it begs the question, in those closed door meetings where they just deciding which Congressman were safe enough to vote yes. Are our Congressman being told to vote a certain way by the leadership and not the constituency?

We are finally being educated as to just how Washington works in HD frankly. Nobody votes their conscience or has anything to do with patriotic duty but vote the way they are told to vote so that an appearance of bipartisanship can be "displayed". the reality is something much different.

It matters little if you are a Democrat or Republican, Congress is broken.

One of the first things I had published in RTD Op ED years ago was the fact that the Congressional committee system is what is to blame here. Woodrow Wilson pointed to the fact that this system would eventually undermine the effectiveness of government and permit the corrupting of its leaders without any transparency.

So in effect, Wilson saw the impact of a Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac-type episode some ninety-five years ago and long before those institutions were even created.
James said…
I tend to agree Freedom.

But I love how its always the GOP who needs to take ownership of things while the Democrats in the room get a free pass.

Pelosi/Reid have had Congress for two years. They have controlled every committee for two years. Whats very typical is that the Democrats cry foul at every turn and play victim with every issue and nothing gets accomplished.

Take Obama and the Democrats criticizing the policy in implemented for Afghanistan. Obama heads that committee and has never even called a hearing; never. Look at Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd and the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac issue. Lots of money their way, but no actions taken on behalf of the taxpayer since the last hearing in 2005 when the GOP held Congress.

The Democrats won control in November 2006 and did not follow up on any of the hearings undertaken by the GOP regarding the foundations of this crisis.

And yet, where is the clamor for accepting responsibility for the inaction by Congress since 2006 as they get up and blame the GOP and Bush?

While it may be quite cute for them to say McCain would be Bush 3, have we really considered what a Pelosi/Reid/Obama administration would bring given the current crisis. Is'nt it logical that they would suspend the Bush tax cuts and in effect raise taxes and NOT cut spending at all and in fact increase it. Look how they tried to crame all kinds of money for special interest like ACORN group into this bailout package.

John John why are you not making these legislators famous?
Scott Nolan said…
Take heart and know hope, Bill. You know you're rattling their cages when they attack you in such a juvenile manner. Some of us really appreciate your writing and opinion, and share your attitudes.

Please keep it up.

Alter, I respect you; I think what Bill is saying is that Cantor's speech is a rather obvious and ineffective attempt at misdirection. Cantor was free to vote how he liked because his incumbent advantage is huge. If you analyze the voting roll, most of the "no" votes came from people defending seats with a narrow lead; from both parties.

Cantor's vote is probably a reflection of how he really feels (spend freely, someone else's kids can pay for it) because he has the luxury of being in a district that blindly votes his party affiliation despite his propensity to spend. If he'd simply kept his mouth shut and voted I doubt we'd all be talking about him in such pejorative terms this week.

Sadly he had to play cry-baby and introduce the silly notion that Pelosi's speech (which was the wrong speech at the wrong time) had anything to do with how people voted. To that we call Bull-Feathers! Cantor's history of saying this sort of nonsense is why we are embarrassed he is in congress from our state... not his vote on this issue.
J. Scott said…
Scott & Bill did I get this right in the debate tonight that BOTH Joseph Biden and Sarah Palin are aligned and against gay marriage.

Did they both just not say they did not support it, but supported certains rights be conveyed as partners like hospital visits and insurance. Okay, so the media has portrayed Palin as a wacko-social conservative, but Biden. I doubt this will be good at all for the Obama campaign.

Funny, no abortion questions tonight in the debate. I was looking forward to another Catholic gaffe by Biden on the church teachings.
Bill Garnett said…
I found both Biden’s and Palin’s positions on gay rights confusing and seemingly disingenuous.

Biden espoused some profound philosophy about American values of equality and tolerance but seems not to get that denying homosexuals the same equality to participate in one of the most cherished rights granted by government, this is civil marriage, with all its rights and benefits, is not equality – it is separate but equal all over again.

And Palin said with a straight face basically the same thing, which is so out of character with her past statements and contrary to the core values of her party.

However, the fact that two vice presidential candidates could come to such a (uncomfortably) shared agreement in front of millions of viewers shows how far the nation has come on this issue and again suggests the growing national shift in this social argument.
Scott Nolan said…
Yes, it shows real change in the American public, and that is still a very good thing. That these candidates would pay lip service to the issue of equality for gay and lesbian couples is an awesome step forward.
Anonymous said…
I did not see the same way at all gentlemen. Senator Biden statements are counter to everything that he has said in the past on the issue. Its pure politics and you claim "lip service" is a good thing?

Biden and Obama in an attempt to swing the independent vote are moving right on social issues and avoiding them all togther in an attmept to win the middle where previous candidates have lost.

They know by stating they support gay marriage, which has been my impression of both for years now, they will lose support in Southwest Virginia and Eastern Virginia as well as North Carolina which also appears in play.

Lip service? No. Lies. Yes. These two support gay marriage and should have the guts to stand up for what they believe and make the case for the American people.

America, especially the younger generations, are already well ahead of the curve on homosexuality than those in Congress. It may simply be a matter of time, but these men are simple pandering to the very people who may be prejudice against gay families and couples in order simply to win votes.

That may be politics, but it does not make it right. Any gay individual condoning such action or inaction should be ashamed. Its like dropping a fallen tree across the road towards real equality.
Bill Garnett said…
TO: anonymous,

I generally agree with you. I don’t think either party in this election really wants to deal with gay rights on this cycle and my guess is that is for realistic political reasons.

I refer you to the actual wording of both parties in their platforms which you can access online.

My point was reflective. And it was to suggest how far this issue has moved both in politics and in America in general. I insist on absolutely equal civil rights for all Americans regardless of sexual orientation. And I make that clear to every phone call I receive from either party that requests my support or my money.

And though I consider my sexual orientation to be a private matter and don’t wave this in anyone’s face, I also am neither ashamed of my sexual orientation nor willing to live a duplicitous life or masquerade as a straight.

I also encourage commenters to post in the light of day. To identify themselves and to not post anonymously as I think people should be willing to be personally accountable for their statements – even on the Internet.
I tend to agree on this Bill.

I find the position in reality that Biden took to be purely political.

I thought that this was a change in politics message, but it appears as though the only "change" they are seeking is what Party controls the White House.

The gay issue struck me as very strange having those two in agreement, but was rather absurd was the measure in which Biden suggested that there is someohow a degree of genocide that is acceptable. His wording indicated that there was a "level" in which it gets unacceptable to tolerate.

No Joe. Genocide needs to be confronted as soon as it is acknowledged. We should not be placing some "level" of deaths before we act.

Our nations policy toward Darfur is a disgrace and Biden gave us a window into why it is our leaders fail continually to act on behalf of people suffering from genocide.
Bill Garnett said…
Thanks Alter,

I agree with you on the genocide issue. I appreciate that we can’t be the world’s policeman and I don’t want us to be. But we also can’t stand immobile in the face of such genocide as we saw in Rwanda and which is now occurring in Darfur.

I appreciate that a response to such atrocities is best done in union with other nations and I believe that we have lost much of our persuasive power and leadership on such international issues over recent years.

I tend to see things in shades of gray, and past the obvious genocides, just knowing that “at least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day” makes me aware that it is not just the atrocities of Darfur which should catch our attention. This is not just a glaring inequity, a challenge to those who espouse Christian values, but this is a threat to world stability – and thus to us. It seems unconscionable to me that “the median income per household member (including all working and non-working members above the age of 14) was $71 per day in the US in 2006.” While 80% of the world exits on less than $10 a day – and half on less than $2.50 per day.

And the disparity of wealth in America is also troubling, especially as the chasm is growing. Don’t get me wrong – I support free enterprise and a free market system – but overarching that I support intelligent and reasoned constraints -- that means that the common good trumps run away capitalism, trumps monopoly, trumps unfair practices.

This is partly why I favor universal health care, why I favor mediation rather than litigation where appropriate, why I favor inordinately high taxes on vulgar inheritances . . . and also why I favor an overhaul of our revenue generation (tax system) such that personal and corporative taxes are drastically reduced or eliminated (as they are disincentives to work, and production) and that the tax base be shifted more onto personal wealth.

I know I have strayed far off topic – but then all things are connected.
I guess I would only add the the older I get and of course I am a little over twenty years your junior is I feel as though the Democrats ever since the welfare system was created have used it as a base of people to fill their ranks. Its as if they market themselves as looking out for those at the bottom of poverty line, when in fact I am gradually becoming of the view they intend on manipulating them by keeping them there.

I just do not see the effort to help pull those people up above the poverty line. Its more than just a living wage issue. Its as if they (Democrats) need this base more and actaully seem to prefer to keep those individuals at those levels by rewarding them for being there. I know the term "reward" is harsh, but if you look at the stats of how long people are staying on welfare its almost like an addiction of sorts. They become dependent upon the system and in my view the Democrats have been the biggest enablers.

That said, I do not believe all Democrats are guilty of this but many long time Washington ones are. I do not believe Mark Warner aligns himself to such endeavors and many other Virginia Democrats do not either, but I think there seems to be an older line in Washington still subscribing to the new society ideology.

We need to be providing opportunity as well as support and somehow that gets lost in translation.

It amazes me how much more successful Christian groups and other churches are at assistance both here and overseas than our government is. The problem is in some of those areas in the world they are not permitted to engage or are not provided security to provide humanitarian assistance.
Bill Garnett said…

I appreciate your honesty. You touch on an issue that is most troubling. At about age 14 I had my first plane ride. I flew on the old Capital Airlines from Richmond to Washington. It was amazing and I was stuck to the window for the whole flight. The old DC-3’s didn’t fly that high on a short trip and I was taken with the landscape and wondered at who owned all those buildings and land, and the reality was that perhaps 99% of all I surveyed was owned by whites. And had been since Jamestown. That was in 1957.

I grew up in a lower middle class neighborhood in South Richmond and at age seven my mother went to work when every woman in the neighborhood was home all day. We had a black maid to keep house and who to some degree raised my three younger siblings and me and was with our family for decades. My dad worked as a maintenance superintendent at a local paper company and when he would take me to the plant on Saturdays I saw the restrooms for blacks and the water fountains marked for blacks. My family and separately four aunts and their families who lived in Richmond moved west into Chesterfield county ahead of approaching blacks, deteriorating home values, and an escape to white suburbs. My church, my schools, and even when I went to the University of Richmond, were all 100% white. My experience was not unique.

I find for myself that it is hard to fight against one’s prejudice, one’s point of view, one’s bias. It takes an effort to attempt to imagine being in someone else’s shoes, it takes an effort to actually listen, it takes an effort to inform oneself – and I’m certainly a work in progress. But I find that if I can extract myself and view the landscape as I did in that early plane ride, I am given a broader view. Much like if a Martian were to come down and observe things going on here on Earth. And from that viewpoint I have come to an entirely different conclusion than I think you, and my relatives, and many conservative leaning Virginians come to.

I think a black child is just as much a product of his/her environment as is a white child. And parents who were children of parents who were children of slaves carry a lot of generational baggage. Add to that the expectations of the society around them, the peer pressure, the societal inequities, and I come to a different conclusion than do many of my contemporaries,

I don’t know the motivations of the designers of the Great Society nor do I know the motivations of those politicians who came after. I tend to check my paranoia at the door and not make too quick assumptions about these things. I have a hard enough time understanding my own motives. But I do believe that the failure to truly integrate, to truly create a tolerant society, to truly offer all children the equal opportunity to rise to their potential lessens us all – and for all the Barack Obamas, Tiger Woods, Colin Powells, there are so many black youth of equal potential who will never reach their potential. And that is as much the result of a white mentality as it is of a black mentality regarding race. Ignorant on both sides for different and generational reasons.
In all fairness, I never mentioned blacks. There are far too many "Americans" of all backgrounds and ethnicity in the system. The greatest increase being the Hispanic community in the last ten years.

The very fact that you associated "blacks" with my characterization is certainly an example of the mentality you may be expressing. I to came to Chesterfield early in my youth, but fortunately I came to the Richmond area after years in a rural (then rural) County where you determined the value and worth of a person on an individual basis not in groups and to be honest being a rural community it wwas tied to work ethic more times than not. In rural Virginia in the 70's I was raised it was about the value of a days hard work, whether in the field or in the home. It had nothing to do with race.

That could be why I may be prejudiced against a system that rewards something for nothing or rewards people by encouraging them to have more dependents to get a bigger check. Work ethic simply may have just been engraved in my soul as a child that today I just cannot embrace asystem or an ideology that seeks to encourage what I see is a life not centered around personal worth and opportunity.

I would much rather have a system if it is to encourage such behavior that appears to be rampant and is draining our financial resources in many localities, especially the healthcare aspect, that if people are staying on welfare for a certain period of time that be required to volunteer in some form of another with a non-profit or government-sponsored program in communities or through church activities while they are on welfare.

I do not, as others do, subscribed to the view that unemployment insurance is a form of welfare in reality because it in fact has some time constraints and requires a person to be attempting to secure employment while receiving benefits. I expect the rate to climb to about 7.3% over the next year nationally reaching levels it has not reached in a decade, The results of a very bad trade policy for two decades, NAFTA, and the like have come home to roost coupled with an adminstration whom focused too heavily on foriegn wars and not domestic issues driving up our long term debt.

We tend to want things instantanouesly in our culture now; whether a victory in a war or snapshot whose to blame for a certain event. These things are never one dimensional and often span multiple administrations in terms of effect. regardless, of whom is to blame the result will be the same; there is little money in the federal budget to cover what we are on the brink of.

Barack Obama, who I expect to win in November frankly, will have to increase the funding for the welfare system and the same time trying to re-start the economy. Without cutting spending and all the earmarks and pork going on (even in the latest bailout bill) I just cannot see anything else happening but an explosion of deficits that dwarf todays and the same time cutting taxes and revenue streams.

Alot of Obama supporters I know feel this economic situation is a godsend to their candidate and maybe so, but once Obama takes office it will become his nightmare. His plan is not based on declining GDP, nor increased ranks of the unemployed, nor having to fund the welfare system at the levels he will have to as well as plans to bailout mortgage/foreclosure defaults by individuals should they reach 1 million (currently there have been 650K nationwide).

This situation requires a brand new Plan that niether candidate has time to formulate before the election, but you can bet that regardless of the result on November 4th, the current plans they have been peddling to voters will be scrapped after the election.

I am not confident either in "motivations" just records over the years and there appears to be a direct correlation between those members having served in Congress over twenty years and the desire to maintain the status quo regarding our welfare system as well as the union situation in this country which they would like to return to its pre-80's role within society.
Bill Garnett said…

I’m not naïve about code words, and I know that included with welfare moms are illegal Mexicans and trailer trash whites. But the reality is that skin color trumps in Virginia. I ask you to look in your life and your community and your church and see if the participation matches the local demographics.

A wise man once told me this story. Two twin brothers one morning went down to the beach. One spent the day laboring over an elaborate sand sculpture of moats and minarets and towers. The other sat at waters edge and seemed to just gaze out at the horizon. At the end of the day both bothers left and with the incoming tide, all trace of either of them was washed away. Now, the man asked me, who accomplished the most?

This is not to downplay industry and perseverance and hard work, but merely to suggest that the rewards of such activity are often as not that they meet the needs and values of that particular person. Unbridled it becomes an obsessive discipline, sometimes greed, often a neglect of other facets of one’s life. And often as not it translates into some sense of superiority and judgmental admonition of others less industrious. And certainly a resentment, in a democracy, of anyone else benefiting from their own personal labors.

Rather than rail against others who don’t live up to their potential is it not better to look at how far we all, each and every one of us, fall far short of our own individual potentials?

Perhaps it is age, but I see things in a different perspective than I did after decades of working in large corporations and in a brief stint running my own company. And I think that being less judgmental of others, taking more personal responsibility beyond one’s self, and learning to bring a balance into one’s life is far more rewarding to me and certainly more rewarding to those around me.
I think you have it wrong here Bill. I have lived my life grounded in the principles that you judge a person by actions and deeds and not by color of skin or nationality.

I have worked hard but given what success I have achieved I was raised to demonstrate a responsibility to give back both to those who have little opportunity but also to those who have expressed a desire to succeed.

Consulting in the Restaurant Industry I have seen this routinely in my career, whether it be running restaurants or consulting franchisees who run them. Those that make up this workforce are often times green card carrying immigrants or workers in the lower middle class. We don't get many Harvard, Yale, and you name the college Bill more often than not.
I train managers and franchises to seek out and employ employees wwhom may have limited or no experience but Drive & Energy and people who understand the simple goal:
Guest Satisfaction if the Highest Priority.
How we get there matters little concerning ethnicity or nationality, but more over a passion for the work and a sense of pride in oneself and the team overall.
Code words are for pundits, pollsters, a media elite and have no place in modern society and I have as much a problem with them as I do people who think or see code words in peoples opinions. Code words divide people and thats the mission of those who use them or interpret them. Plain and simple.

I in no way "railed against others" in terms of individuals, but rather was speaking solely to the politicians who have a stake in the system. Again I do not play the grouping game.

And the question still stands why it has been more important to address the problems of poverty financially without the balance of providing opportunity.

I liken it to pro-life advocates who seem more interested in the political advancement or ideology of the agenda than they do the babies that are brought into the world. I am pro-life, but I am pro-whole life and believe that ANY pro-life platform must endorse a fully funded adoption program and reform in the State and country. Kaine has reduced such funding. Same for special needs where Virginia ranks 47th. $7th Bill. Thats aweful and yet we have those here in Virginia preaching that these babies, like Sarah Palin's for example, should be brought to term. Thats fine if you also provide and plan for the child once they are here for Gods sake.

See where I am going.

You cannot endorse things on the one hand and then not also provide the funding for the result in which you either hope to bring about or in reality the one that occurs.

People stay on welfare because one they can and two, because we all have done a poor job in demanding we return the opportunity to where it is needed. This should be the relationship between Government and the business community where both entities should have a vested interest in the community.

Look at Richmond. What was it that changed in the last twenty years in the City compared to the dreadful 70's and 80's? The business communities involvement and the expansion of VCU/MCV providing vital economic development.

I took in a Washington Nationals game a few weeks back and thought, wow, the baseball park downtown in Richmond could have really been a game changer given the Park I was in was in the once blighted Navy Yards in DC. The new stadium was a lost opportunity to bring in even more development around the Park and new business as well.

A job is more than a paycheck. I just wish our leaders in Washington understood as much.
Anonymous said…
Freedom you are preaching to the wrong choir here. You know that you will find little on the left in terms of personal responsibility, its all the collective community. In short, socialism.

Its one thing to for the government to help in job creation, but the idea somehow that it should be the apparatus to provide healthcare is unconstitutional, unless you believe universal healthcare is somehow a promotion of the general welfare. Thats a leap. The left panders to those in need, acts as saviour and then sucks them blind with so much as a thank you but a vote for me again. They certainhly got alot of people in homes with their agenda sure and reap the benefit personally for doing so and now that almost one million of those people will lose their homes, I don't see the left returning all the kickbacks it got the last three years from Fannie and Freddie.
James Young,
I really appreciate your Skeptical Observor blog and will cross list in my Rants section at Alter of Freedom.

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