Fiscally nuts. Socially insane.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

From the Mailbag: Shays

I received an email from a reader in response to my longtime support of Congressman Shays (R-CT). He referenced this bill, supported by Shays, and said, quite succinctly:
That is why this Republican voted to throw Chris Shays out on his ear. I will not reward someone for pretending to be something they are not, and actively working against my constitutional rights.
Shays found himself as the last standing Republican in New England exclusively because of his "purple" philosophy, yet hardcore Republicans like the one quoted above seem to think voting out moderate Republicans to be replaced by left wingers like Mr. Himes makes a strong statement against R.I.N.O.s. In reality, it simply decreases an already shrinking minority of Republicans in the house, a number which Republicans - both moderates and hardcore conservatives alike - cannot afford to see decrease any further.
As a Republican in extraordinarily left-leaning Connecticut, what, exactly, is Congressman Shays supposed to do to please you, the hardcore right minority? Vote strongly in your favor on every bill and lose his seat after a brief two year stint? Or play the role of a moderate-conservative and come to terms with the fact that, while he cannot vote Republican on every ticket, he must act in a bipartisan manner to actually get things done and accomplish the actual progress? It is Shays' bipartisan nature that garners my respect and support, and your inability to see that he can do nothing less than what he does astounds me. You must understand that the loss of a Republican incumbant hurts you far more than it hurts Shays, who very much supports people on both sides of the aisle. Your willingness to make a statement hurts your cause. You are now a voiceless minority, and it's really no one's fault but your own.
So, goodbye to the little influence the hardcore right had in this region, and thank you for taking the slightly greater influence the moderate right had away from us. God knows Shays represented both sides of the aisle; only Himes knows how liberal he will be.

1 comment:

JSmith6620 said...

Will, this bill which Mr. Shays sees fit to try to cram down America's throat is somewhat unique in that it was the law of the land for 10 years, from 1994 until 2004. We can therefore be very precise in judging it on its merits. If one were to take an objective look at the law, and its documented effectiveness in achieving its stated goals, it would be easy to form an opinion on how wise it would be to reinstate it.

It does not speak well of Mr. Shays' judgement that he saw fit to reintroduce a bill that did not achieve any of its stated goals when it was the law of the land. If the law was effective in reducing crime, the crime rate would have dropped below the prevailing trend after the law took effect ; but no such drop occurred. More, if the law was effective in reducing crime, the crime rate would have increased above the prevailing trend when the law expired; but no such increase occurred.

To address your question, Will: what, exactly, is Congressman Shays supposed to do to please you, the hardcore right minority? Vote strongly in your favor on every bill and lose his seat after a brief two year stint?

The answer is to judge a bill on its merits. Not on voodoo or mumbo-jumbo, but facts.

And, Will, be careful with straw-man arguments. You would find it difficult to prove that a pro-choice, non-religious supporter of civil unions (in other words, me) is a member of the “hardcore right minority”.

So, what are the facts of this law? The BATFE says it "can in no way vouch for the validity" of Brady Campaign's claim that the ban was responsible for violent crime's decline. Even the Violence Policy Center says "you can't argue with a straight face that the ban has been effective," and scoffs at Brady's attempts to prevent it from expiring.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studied the "assault weapon" ban and other gun control schemes, and found "insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws reviewed for preventing violence."

Check the FBI crime statistics for gun crime and violent crime. The so-called “assault weapons ban” had no effect on crime.

Is it too much to ask that my representative in Congress have enough intelligence to find facts and use them to make his/her decisions? The fact that the law was not renewed when it expired is a testament to its lack of effectiveness. Remember, President Bush publicly said that he was willing to sign the law back into effect if Congress were to send it to him. Yet the Democrat majority in Congress had years to send the bill to President Bush and did not do so.

The whole concept of reintroducing this bill at this time smacks of groveling toadyism. Did Mr. Shays take money from the Brady Campaign to push this bill? Is he trying to earn an Ambassadorship? It is bad enough that a Republican would vote for a bill that is a direct assault on his party’s position on constitutional rights; but I understand that sometimes a legislator has to vote against his personal beliefs in order to fulfill his constituent’s wishes. But this was not a grudging sop to the Democrats, it was a deliberate act, when no action was required. And the bill had no effect on the crime rate. So why do it?

While you seem to be saying that Republicans have lost their voice in CT, I suggest that they were not being well represented by Mr. Shays. Where exactly are Mr. Shays' conservative positions? A sock-puppet for Democrats is not the same thing as a Republican.

It isn't just the second amendment that Mr. Shays has contempt for. He seems to have little use for the first amendment. Do you remember the Meehan-Shays Amendment? I do. Hence, my vote to eject Mr. Shays. The Bill of Rights is not a doormat. Mr. Shays paid the price for using it as one.

Chris Shays won’t be stabbing me in the back anymore. I hold no illusions about the Democrat that takes his place. Jim Himes will be held to account for his votes. And there will be no party loyalty to convince me to pull my punches.