I was obviously disappointed by the Asbury Park Press’ (APP) Congressional 4th District endorsement of incumbent Chris Smith. It seemed internally inconsistent and contradictory with other endorsements. Apparently, according to the APP, you can be wrong on the national economy as long as you answer constituent phone calls. And you can be for curing individual diseases but not fixing the national healthcare system.
Interestingly APP said that Smith’s constituent service, “by all accounts, is excellent”. Yet per APP’s own 5/8/12 editorial, Smith was missing in action on Lakewood issues and didn’t even return their phone calls. And in their 2008 endorsement of Smith the APP said that he needed to publicly debate his opponents and send more time in New Jersey. He has done neither since. Apparently if you ignore the APP criticisms they are retracted. In prior blogs I have also documented Smith failing in this area. In addition, I am not aware of a single Congressman in the history of the Republic who was accused of poor constituent service.
In the APP editorial meeting all three candidates agreed that the most important issue facing the nation and the district was the economy. Yet the APP, admitting that Smith’s positions on that issue were “not realistic”, endorsed him none the less.
Similarly, all three candidates agreed that healthcare was also a critical issue. Smith and Marshal were against Obamacare and favored repealing it and I supported it. Passage of Obamacare was one of the reasons APP gave for endorsing both Obama and Pallone for re-election and opposition to Obamacare was one of the reasons that the APP said Marshall was not a “serious option.” Yet they listed neither Smith's opposition nor my support in their analysis.
On abortion, in the APP meeting Smith said, and the APP printed, that he “only agrees with abortion when the mother’s life is in jeopardy or in cases of pregnancy through rape and incest”. Yet in an interview with another publication he admitted that “he sees those abortions (i.e. for rape and incest) as morally wrong as well”. But he agreed to those exceptions in order to get a bill passed with at least some restrictions. In sum, he is only waiting for a chance to remove those exceptions as well.
I can actually simplify the analysis for the voters.
I have no idea where Governor Romney stands on any issue given all of his various statements and positions over time. But I know exactly where Rep Paul Ryan stands on taxes, seniors, spending, religion, government and other issues. He has a clear voting record, is proud of it, and is happy to discuss it (unlike Rep Smith.) Ryan’s published Plan calls for cutting taxes further (for the wealthy), privatizing social security, voucherizing Medicare, and slashing Medicaid. He is for large increases in defense spending and all our wars. He is comfortable imposing his religious beliefs on others (e.g. Personhood Amendment.) And he is ‘full throated’ in his attack on, and obstruction of, all Presidential initiatives. (Something the APP called ‘dysfunctional’ Washington.)
And Rep Chris Smith is Rep Paul Ryan’s policy blood brother. He has supported (with votes) Ryan’s proposals and is second to no one in calling the President a liar, criminal, etc.
In short, if you are voting for Rep Paul Ryan you should vote for Rep Smith. If not you should vote for Brian Froelich.
Now, isn’t that simple.