Thursday, June 02, 2005

It's simple, really
Political Wire sees a problem with the fact that the Republicans are supporting my congressman's reelection bid:

Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT) has publicly criticized his party�s leadership and was the first Republican to call on the GOP's majority leader to resign. Nonetheless, House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) raised approximately $70,000 for Shays at a Greenwich fund-raiser yesterday, 'and called the 4th District congressman a key member of the GOP team,' the AP reports.

Shays said he invited Hastert to the fund-raiser to 'put to bed the criticism that a moderate, independent voice like mine means I don't have the support and respect of my own leadership.'
So, if Shays is so critical of the Party, why do they continue to support him?

There are a few things at play. First off, Shays is the only kind of Republican that can win in Connecticut: a moderate, small government conservative—no matter what the Shays-Meehan Bill (the Senate version was called McCain-Feingold) might imply. While the Democratic Party has shown in Rhode Island that it doesn't understand the idea that moderate Party members are better than moderate opposition, the Republicans still get that.

Furthermore, Diane Farrell (Shay's opponent in the most recent election) is a lunatic, whose only policy position is that our district shouldn't ever vote Republican. She attacks a Shays precisely because he's a member of the GOP—nevermind that on policy questions he often disagrees with the Party, all that matters is his affiliation. Before Farrell, the Dems in this district ran Stephanie Sanchez, who, I kid you not, used to be a registered Communist. In other words, this is correlated to the first point. Shays may not be an ideal Republican by national Party standards, but he's definitely an improvement over whomever might beat him.

Finally, he's not Olympia Snowe, et al. He's not wishy-washy, sometimes going some ways, sometimes going others. Though he was shaky on the Clinton impeachment, he does posess very strong convictions. He knows what he believes in, and he sticks to it pretty well.

Bascially, Political Wire is setting up a false premise that Shays' criticism of his party leadership means he can't be considered a loyal party member.

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