Monday, June 02, 2008

Trials and Tribulations of Being Tiberi

Pat Tiberi (R-Galena) has been getting a lot more attention in the news and on the blogs lately, as election year eyes turn to Congress. In one instance, a blog called 'That's My Congress' wants to know why so many Republicans voted against the Crane Conservation Act, which was conservatively designed to get maximum bang for minimum bucks in promoting the survival of cranes, most species of which are endangered. The blogger listed off the Congressfolks voting against the bill, and Pat Tiberi was on the list. Well, perhaps PT voted against the bill because Crane Conservation has nothing to do with Ohio. Er, actually, Sandhill Cranes are a state-endangered species in Ohio, and the incredibly rare Whooping Crane has been migrating through Ohio the last several years, including an unconfirmed stop less than 20 miles from his house, right here in OH-12, in Delaware, OH during April of 2007.

Perhaps it was the conservative principle, one of those nasty but inevitable party-line votes. Well, um, here in Ohio all of the Democrats voted for the bill, as did Republicans Chabot, Schmidt, Turner, Hobson, LaTourette, Pryce, and Regula. It would appear that this was actually one of those rare instances of bi-partisan co-operation that I'm always hearing about. Pat unfortunately just doesn't actually tend to like bi-partisanship.

See, Pat's a Republican's Republican. Republican Minority Leader John Boehner (incidentally, one of the few other Ohio Republicans who thinks endangered Cranes are no big Whoop) recently put Pat in charge of figuring out why, exactly, Republicans keep losing special elections in previously safe districts. Washington has been all abuzz with news that the person who should be in charge of such an effort (Tom Cole of the NRCC) is being usurped by a Boehner-appointed tag team of Tiberi and Tom Davis (R-VA). Apparently, the Republicans need to be more like Pat, which means going far behind animal apathy. It means that we can expect an election full of Republicans blaming Nancy Pelosi for everything from high gas prices to the decline of Western Civilization, then turning around and claiming that Democrats are creating a toxic partisan environment. It will involve accusing Democrats of not being serious about entitlement spending without offering any details of any 'serious Republican ideas' beyond the huge increase in entitlement spending that created a drug company windfall in the form of the Medicaid Drug Benefit (even its staunchest proponents, like those prominently featured on Pat's Congressional website, admit: "Many fiscal conservatives--including Senator John McCain--opposed the drug benefit because of its undeniably high cost--$49 billion last year. Those concerns were legitimate"). We can expect that it will, in fact, involve mocking any and all Democratic proposals without offering anything more substantial than, say, mortuary deregulation.

My guess is that the Tom and Pat Show will conclude with a rousing number about Republican Identity. It will then be interesting to see if Pat can figure out who he actually is before November. Is he the moderate his supporters tout him as, or the out-of-step ideologue his voting record suggests? Is he the anti-spending activist his rhetoric suggests, or the principles-be-damned spender his record of voting against unnecessary-spending-as-long-as-it-isn't-popular-at-home would indicate? Is he the nice guy with the Pillsbury Cheeks, or the candidate who tried to falsely smear his last opponent as a man who encouraged experimentation on live fetuses?

I shot an email to the campaign of his current opponent, David Robinson, asking what they thought of Pat's new assignment as the guy who's supposed to figure out why Republicans are out of favor with voters. This was Mr. Robinson's reply:

"How will Tiberi's participation in this audit solve our energy problems? How will it help the middle class or create a single job? This is another example of inside-the-beltway thinking; that the rejection of incumbents is somehow a result of tactics or mis-marketing of the Republican "brand" and that it all can somehow be solved by an audit. The real problem is the very real effect of Bush policies supported by Tiberi over 95% of the time."

Seems simple enough to me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just to let you know, Boehner has an opponent too -- Nick von Stein. He needs support and donations to beat Boehner and his Bush rhetoric/votes.