Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Rep. Mike Sodrel profiled in today's Courier-Journal.

Representative and candidate Mike Sodrel is profiled in today's Courier-Journal:

Time as working stiff shaped political views, by Lesley Stedman Weidenbener (short shelf life for Courier-Journal links).

U.S. Rep. Mike Sodrel was smiling when he said it, but it was clear he felt frustrated.

Speaking to the Rotary Club last month in Clarksville, the first-term 9th District congressman said that people cheer when someone becomes a millionaire by winning the lottery.

But when you work 60 to 80 hours a week for 30 years, he said shaking his head, wealth suddenly is viewed as a negative.

Not in these quarters. You’ve not read the words “Millionaire Mike” at NAC, although on occasion I’ve referred to Sodrel as “Hot Wheels.” Personal wealth need not be a hindrance for a politician, and I’ll not say that it should disqualify a person from serving.

Rather, my objection to Sodrel’s continued presence in the U.S. House of Representatives stems from his positions and how these pertain to the state of the nation, not the state of his personal checking account.

Although Sodrel's campaigns initially focused on his business experience, he has emerged as much a social conservative as a fiscal one.

He opposes abortion in all circumstances except when the mother's life is at risk. He backs constitutional amendments to ban flag burning and gay marriage. And he has used those issues to political advantage, saying that he best represents the views of the fairly conservative 9th District.

In the House, Sodrel serves on the transportation, agriculture, science and small business committees. He won support for federal funds for the planned Ohio River bridges at Louisville. He introduced legislation that would have banned federal courts from interfering in the speech rights of state legislators, a reaction to a judicial order forbidding prayers in the Indiana House of Representatives that referred to Jesus or Christ.

And Sodrel has been a major supporter of President Bush, voting with him more than any other member of the Indiana delegation. Democrats call him a rubber stamp for a president whose policies have fallen out of favor.

In a nutshell, Sodrel platform personifies the distaste of so many Americans with the damning limitations of the two-party system.

It’s a simple question any child might ask: Can’t there be a political party that espouses fiscal conservatism, i.e., the Republican ethos of old, while maintaining a more libertarian stance on social issues?

It remains fascinating that Lee Hamilton managed to represent a conservative district for decades without curtsying to the siren’s call of extremism, as Sodrel does on a daily basis when the evangelical wing of the GOP comes calling. It remains ironic that an avowed free marketer touts one version of market freedom when it comes to earning income, and another one entirely different when the topic turns to matters of social conscience and civil rights, and yet could the theocratic state preferred by Sodrel’s clamorous faith-based supporters be further from the intent of the founders to separate church and state, and to keep them separated?

The bulk of Sodrel’s campaign talking points to date have constituted a repetitive ├╝ber-pander to the religious right, embracing such mindless inanities as accusing his opponent of favoring violent video games, torching flags, preferring the Sodom & Gomorrah of the City by the Bay for the simpler pleasures of prom queens, Miller Lite and beef jerky, and being improperly disposed to benign tolerance and cultural diversity when a homespun Sodrelesque version of Torquemada is far more in keeping with the exurban fundamentalist prejudice that must be assuaged.

As New Republic senior editor Jonathan Chait puts it in an op-ed piece (also in today’s C-J), it’s all about the mid-term Republican strategy of “Running against the bogeyman” – and Chait is demanding substance. Where does he find it? In a Democratic congressional platform that few imagine exists:

… Because the Democrats running for the House of Representatives actually have an agenda. Republicans aren't saying why the Democratic agenda is wrong, or why their own is better. They're just ignoring it.

If you're like most people, you probably have no idea what that agenda is. Let me list it:

  • Put new rules in place to break the link between lobbyists and legislation.
  • Enact all the recommendations made by the 9/11 commission.
  • Raise the federal minimum wage to $7.25 an hour.
  • Cut the interest rate on federally supported student loans in half.
  • Allow the government to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies for lower drug prices for Medicare patients.
  • Broaden the types of stem-cell research supported with federal funds.
  • Impose pay-as-you-go budget rules, requiring that new entitlement spending or tax cuts be offset with entitlement spending cuts or tax hikes.

Chait concludes:

But nearly all of those campaigns are trying to run against a boogeyman. They raise the specter of a radical Democratic agenda, but they refuse to say what they don't like about that agenda. There's a reason for that: It's popular.

I always knew my vote against Sodrel was fitting and proper, and although it may have taken some time, now I’m feeling good about my vote for Baron Hill.

And, as Basil Fawlty once said, "don't mention the war."


edward parish said...

Not real sure where the CJ reporter got all of the info on Sodrel, but some of it was way misleading. His family had that business and US Mail contract that MS just happened to expand. To say he is a self made man would be like saying that Candice Bergman made it in Hollywood all by herslf with out the help of her father and Charlie McCarthy.


Jeff Gillenwater said...

At least 50,000 are dead due to U.S. intervention

The right to a fair trial in this country is now based on the decision making of a small group government employees rather than the Constitution

The number of people on the federal government's payroll has increased by over 2 million since 2002

The federal deficit is setting records

The federal government now has more control over our local schools than ever before in the history of the country

I'm supposed to believe that Sodrel supports all the above because he learned that "big government" is bad for us? My picture is on the wall of the gymnasium where the rally was held but, luckily, most of my time was spent in the classroom where I learned to question nonsense when I read it.

John Alton said...

I happened to catch MS spreading the BS on WHAS-TV's noon news yesterday boasting how he grew up in the projects in New Albany, and the different areas of the inner city, and that he wasn't always "this way" (rich). Then MS says he stands up for Indiana values, and understands what the people want. Well, he doesn't understand MY values. He doesn't understand the many low, or no income people who seem to be forgotten from President Bush down. I'd like to see how many people who live in the projects and the inner city areas, that MS was speaking of, actually got any benefit from Bush's "tax cut". I would venture to say..none of them. I would also bet that if MS still was still living in the projects or other areas, if he would be so willing to support a "tax relief" plan that only benefits those that are already wealthy. I'd venture to say...NO! MS also boasts that Baron Hill voted 6 times against the tax cuts. I say good for him if he did! Why should the wealthy get the tax cuts? MS recites how he voted on different issues. I would challenge anyone to look at his voting record and find ANY vote that was not along Republican party lines. If he did go against Bush, he'd not be getting free visits at Sellersburg, and $500 a plate fundraising dinners. He hadn't been in office 3 months and he already had one of these at Kye's in Jeffersonville. Every day in the mail I receive anywhere from 1 to 3 MS ads. I considered cutting them up in little pieces, putting some limburger cheese in the envelope, and mailing it back to the Indiana Republican State Committee.

(Sorry for rambling Roger)

Feel the Paine said...

Sociologists and psychologists should study the phenomenon involving wealthy Republicans who attribute their riches solely to the sweat of their brows, superior intellect and entreprenurial courage. A certain amnesia or protective delusion prevents them from acknowledging that but for an accident of birth, familial connections and associated advantages or, in many cases, mere luck, they would be scratching and clawing out a middle-class existence as their wages failed to keep pace with inflation. Sodrel has the syndrome in spades.

But to me, the most telling and asinine Sodrel quote in the Courier article was this:

"What I want to do in Congress is make sure my kids and everybody else's kids have the same opportunities that I've had."

First, I will wildly speculate that Sodrel's kids spend little time worrying about whether they will have any opportunities for financial success. Second, Edward Parish has correctly exposed Sodrel's "rags-to-riches" success story as a fraud. Third, the only opportunity Sodrel has provided for future generations is to pay off trillions in debt resulting from uprecedented deficit spending, including the Iraq debacle. At bottom, Sodrel's record of supporting the fiscally irresponsible Bush adminstration unmasks his manufactured persona as a conservative.

Finally, lets not forget that Sodrel reneged his oath of office to uphold the Constitution thru his outright contempt for the Separation of Powers and attempts to usurp the rulings of the Judiciary in the Terry Schiavo matter and others. His record is one of total fealty to his fundamentalist taskmasters.

John Alton said...

Amen! Nicely stated Feel The Paine!