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Tim Myers: Congressman McKeon and the 'rump' party

Myers’ Musings

Posted: February 21, 2009 10:31 p.m.
Updated: February 22, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Rump: A small or inferior remnant or offshoot; especially a group ... carrying on in the name of the original body after the departure or expulsion of a large number of its members.
- Merriam Webster Online Dictionary

Full disclosure: I personally met Congressman McKeon on several occasions and believe he may constitute one of the finest, most genuine gentleman in the SCV.

I believe he endeavors earnestly to represent his constituency and also did not attempt to rape the treasury of the nation with excessive federal money for his district.

In these times of economic distress, he knows the pain and embarrassment of a business failing to which he devoted many years, and in the bankruptcy of that business sought to fulfill his obligations of the business personally guaranteed by him to his own financial detriment.

When the Congressman retires from the House, he will at most secure a reasonable lifestyle for his retirement from his relatively modest Congressional pension and the sale of his residence in the Washington area.

Second full disclosure: Congressman McKeon ceased to effectively represent the 25th District in 2006 when he became, through no personal fault, the member of the "rump" minority of Republicans in the Congress.

My fellow Republican brethren, to the extent they engage in deep thought, may wonder why experienced Republican Senators and Congressmen will flee the House and Senate over the next two years.

The most recent example: Adam Putnam, the Florida Congressmen who held the third highest leadership position for the Republican Caucus prior to the 2008 election, recently announced he would run for Secretary of Agriculture in Florida and leave Congress in 2010.

The intelligent know their rump status and seek to run from it, leaving only the delusional and those seeking to end their career gracefully.

Look at the numbers: A mere four years ago the Republicans held 232 seats in Congress and now hold only 178; a shocking turn of events fueled by incompetence in the face of Katrina, an unpopular war in Iraq and an imploding economy.

For a historical analogy imagine the counterfactual history of the Civil War if the states of New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts suddenly joined the Confederacy in 1865.

Imagine a sports analogy where a football team believes they can win with eight men against eleven, or a victorious basketball team that can play with four players for the first two quarters and three for the second half.

And the much vaunted filibuster of the Senate leaves much gap in rational Republican egos.

Al Franken will eventually take the second seat from Minnesota and then the Senate Democrats will only find it necessary to pick off one of the two phony Republican Senators from Maine, a state the President carried by double digits, to foist the majority's will.

I can thus understand why the Republicans in the Congress voted in lockstep against the Stimulus Act.

If they voted in favor they would disappear into total irrelevance, at least now disparaged by Obama supporters and invited to speak on the Sean Hannity show and held up to ridicule in other media outlets.

It bemused me to read our Congressman's editorial regarding his distaste for the majority stimulus.

It seemed like either a cut and paste job from Rush Limbaugh's daily talking points or a writing of someone who made it a point to never read the Economist.

Unfortunately, the Congressmen will pay a price in embarrassment.

The local Obama for Change organization, a poly-partisan grass-roots organization containing nearly 200 local Obama supporters, already hatched plans to remind the SCV of the Congressman's rump status.

Soon they will take a resolution to the SCV City Council and the local school district governing boards, asking them to express "disappointment" the Congressman did not support federal spending for states and schools contained in the stimulus desperately needed in this time of declining state and local revenues.

When the Republican honeycombed elected bodies decline to adopt the resolution the group will ask for an alternative resolution stating the bodies will decline any relief provided by the stimulus, therefore exposing the partisan hypocrisy when this also fails to pass when local officials must face the nonpartisan reality they need the money to plug serious gaps in their own budgets to continue to provide necessary services.

It pains me to see the gracious Buck McKeon held up to this ridicule, when through no fault of his own he became a member of the Republican "rump" minority.

Tim Myers is a Valencia resident. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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