Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Senator Gregg: The good, the bad, and the hypocritical

Senator Judd Gregg is a dedicated and principled member of the Republican Party; of that I have no doubt. He has been in public office for close to 30 years and is highly respected by fellow members of the GOP. As testimony to his dedication is his incredible voting record: 173 votes missed out of a possible 5,652 (3%) since 1993. Senator McCain, on the other hand, has missed 836 votes (12%) since 1989. McCain’s record is not considered to be a poor one; it merely amplifies the dedication of Sen. Gregg. I confess that I’m not sure how current these statistics are since they were derived from, an organization that is devoted to tracking congressional information. It was not dated but appeared to be somewhat current. Though I don’t question his dedication; I do take issue with other segments of his character.

Among the problems is that Sen. Gregg has a propensity to be hypocritical at times; a trait not uncommon on the Hill. Case in point: Before he chose to withdraw from his appointment as commerce secretary, he stood beside President Obama and stated “This is not a time when we should stand in our ideological corners and shout at each other.” It seems to me that since his change of heart, he has done nothing but shout by taking shots at the President’s budget at every possible opportunity. He contends that it isn’t personal and that he supports the President on other issues such as his handling of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Perry Bacon of The Washington Post points out another clear case of his hypocritical nature. His reaction to the Democrats’ proposing the implementation of a method known as reconciliation in regard to expediting the health care reform issue was rather drastic, to say the least. He declared that it was an “act of violence against the system here in the Senate” and continued his diatribe by saying that they were “running over the minority, putting them in cement and throwing them in the Chicago River.” WOW-he certainly didn’t hold anything back there. My question is what does he have against the Potomac River? After all; it’s much closer and would save everyone a lot of time and energy. What he seems to forget while perched on his soapbox is that he proposed the very same thing in 2005 to help push through a Republican bill allowing oil drilling in Alaska-in a National Wildlife Refuge!! I’m sure this can be explained as a mere oversight on his part.

Gregg insists that the President’s budget will threaten the future of our children by leaving them with an incredibly large national debt. Apparently, his memory really has failed him. He forgot to mention that he was a staunch supporter of the Bush tax cuts that invariably led to the deficit they left behind. He also neglected to mention the $4 trillion deficit the Reagan/Bush duo left to our children. Kent Conrad, D-ND, who isn’t particularly fond of Gregg, says that his exaggerated projections are in sharp contrast with the Democrats’ projections. Conrad agrees with the President’s assessment of reducing the debt by two thirds over the next 5 years. Conrad asks the question that many of us are dying to hear the answer to-“Where’s your plan?”

Will Lester of the Associated Press reported on March 28th that Gregg has resorted to using the conservative rhetoric now prevalent. “It is the individual American who creates prosperity and good jobs, not the government.” Now that had to have been taken directly from Limbaugh’s playbook. What the hell kind of a statement is that? It is nothing more than a deflection tool to avoid taking any responsibility for this mess we’re in. It is obvious that whenever Sen. Gregg is pressed to provide possible solutions, he simply isn’t capable of coming up with anything substantial. A strong opponent of national health care; his alternative was “ensuring that every American has access to quality health care and choices in health care.” Now isn’t that an original concept? I’m amazed nobody else had thought of that.

Senator Gregg has declared that he will not be seeking re-election in 2010. I think this is a very wise decision. Though revered by the GOP; the man has obviously lost a step or two or ten. Evidence of this is his repeated hypocrisy and failure to provide substantive resolutions to the very real problems we are facing. He has continued to be the most outspoken Republican (in office Rush!), which I equate to shouting when there is no positive input included. His inability to bring anything to the table is further proof that it is time to say goodbye. His cookie cutter answers are akin to those you hear from Limbaugh, Coulter, and Hannity. It is time to take that ride off into the sunset Senator; while you still maintain a modicum of dignity.

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