This is from the Asheville Citizen Times’ Op-Ed page. Strong statement.
Heath Shuler promises to be such a leader. Voters in Western North Carolina’s 11th District should send him to Washington to replace eight-term incumbent Charles Taylor.
During the past 16 years, we have often disagreed with Taylor on issues and been dismayed by questions about his ethics and reports of his failure to comply with government regulations without being coerced.
Even so, we have supported him because his seniority has helped bring to the district millions of dollars for infrastructure and other projects that support education and jobs.
But the failure of the 109th Congress to deal with the problems that threaten to overwhelm our nation and its unwillingness to act as a check on the Bush administration take precedence in this election.
To support Taylor is to endorse two more years of the same ineffectual leadership.
The 109th Congress was a disaster in almost every arena.
* Its members widened the gap between rich and poor by continuing a tax policy that favors the rich, by failing to address unfair trade policies that undermine American workers and to address the growing health care crisis.
* They allowed the federal deficit to continue spiraling out of control but failed to provide support for largely unfunded mandates such as No Child Left Behind.
They reduced the amount of funding for college grants and scholarships, and inadequately funded National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges. The list goes on.
Thanks to the deficits, the Untied States has gone from being the world’s largest creditor nation to its largest debtor nation, in hock to countries like China.
* They renewed the Patriot Act without any meaningful change to a bill that expands law enforcement surveillance and investigative powers in ways that undermine our civil liberties.
* They passed President Bush’s version of a detainee bill that imposes extraordinary limits on defendant’s traditional rights in the courtroom.
* They failed to pass meaningful immigration reform, a 700-mile fence notwithstanding.
* In fact, this Congress, which set an all-time record for the fewest days worked by a U.S. Congress (just 93), seemed to spend more of that time dealing with scandals including Tom Delay, Jack Abramoff, Randy Cunningham and Mark Foley than to passing meaningful legislation of any kind. And much of the time in session was spent grandstanding; the Senate, for example, slated 10 hours of debate on the detainee bill vs. three days for debate on the Marriage Protection Amendment. Continue reading