I had the opportunity to meet my congressman, Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N. C., at the Industrial Opportunities, Inc. (IOI) luncheon for military veterans on 8-26-10. I asked him several questions, including about his voting record.
I asked why, in his four years in office, he has never had a face to face Town Hall meeting with his constituents. I previously tried to get an appointment to see him and called in to his two telephone Townhall meetings last summer, but I guess his call screeners did not like my questions.
My question appeared to upset him and he replied that he was not going to waste his time having a bunch of people yelling at him at Townhall meetings! I said that he appeared more afraid of answering constituents’ questions than he was of defensive linemen. He countered somewhat derisively, “I am not afraid of you!” grabbing my shoulder like a schoolyard bully ex-professional football player.
I asked him why last year he voted against 67 of the 68 amendments to take out earmarks/pork from legislation and the year before he was one of only four in the House who voted against all 50 anti-pork amendments. He rather heatedly replied that “You did not understand how the system works. I have to vote for others bills so that I can get money for this District.”
I replied that is how we got into this economic mess. Then I tried to explain that I spent my working life analyzing what government policies hurt/helped job growth and prosperity and why taking money out of the pockets of those who earned it to subsidize uncompetitive and unsustainable projects lowers everyone’s standard of living except the direct recipients and only for a while. We cannot build up the weak by weakening the strong. He said, “I do not to want to hear this stuff” and walked away.
The Club for Growth rates congressmen on their pro growth voting record which includes expanding free trade, legal and regulatory reform, school choice, deregulation, tax cuts, etc. Last year Shuler rated a 2% out of a 100; in 2008 his score was 22%, making him one of the most anti job growth Liberal Congressman.
The American Conservative Union rates Shuler as having voted conservative 24% of the time and with Liberals and Pelosi 76% of the time.
Shuler will present himself as a Blue dog conservative in his ads this fall. He will remind his constituents that he voted against the TARP, Stimulus and Healthcare bills. People who follow votes closely noted he voted no only after the bills had enough votes to pass, just in case Pelosi needed his vote.
Shuler only votes conservative when he thinks his constituents are looking. Do not be fooled by his ads and imposing good looks. He is a big government Liberal.
James F. Davis is the president of Accuracy in Academia and the author of this guest column, which he graciously shared.
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