Out of touch

I sent an e-mail to my U. S. Representative, Vicky Hartzler, on Tuesday of this week asking her to join with other House conservatives and remove John Boehner as Speaker of the House. Ms Hartzler was first elected in 2010 with the assistance of the various Tea Party organizations in her district. With that help from the Tea Party, she sent long-time democrat Ike Skelton home.

However her conservative track record is not as solid as many would like. Case in point. She voted for the USDA bill that expanded the Food Stamp program.

It’s [the Food Stamp program] the fastest growing major program in the United States government. In the year 2000, we spent $20 billion on food stamps nationwide per year. This year it’s $80 billion. Last year it was $80 billion. It’s gone up fourfold in 10 years… It’s increasing every year and virtually every month. The most recent report in September had one of the largest increases in history, another 600,000 added to the rolls, totaling now 47.7 million people, one out of every six Americans receiving food stamps… — Committee on the Budget, US Senate.

The wild expansion of Food Stamps and the consequence increase of federal spending is not supported by conservatives of any stripe. Her vote upset many of her supporters. Frankly, this slipped past me. Research on another topic recently lead me to this and other votes by Ms Hartzler that is not consistent with conservative principles.  Unfortunately, those votes were consistent with the agenda of the ‘Pub establishment in Washington.

But Vicky Hartzler’s voting record is not the subject of this post. Her communications with her constituents, their concerns and how closely she monitors those concerns are. Here is the text of an email I sent Ms Hartzler earlier this week. I was greatly upset with the actions…or rather the record of liberal compliance, of John Boehner. I asked her to join with other conservative Representatives to remove John Boehner as Speaker.  Here is the text of that email.

Ms Hartzler, I’ve met you briefly at a number of events, the most recent at the Cass County Republican Christmas party.

I’m writing you to urge your support in removing John Boehner from his post as Speaker of the House. Representative Boehner has exhibited none of the qualities we need at this time as Speaker. He lacks leadership, fighting more often against members of his own party than he has our opponents. When push comes to shove against Obama and the democrats, he folds. Just review his activities with holding the debt limit. He has folded at every instance.

We cannot continue along this path. There are a number of strong conservatives who have the leadership abilities, the backbone to stand against Obama and the continuing demands for more taxes, more spending, more debt.

This cannot continue.

I urge you to support Paul Ryan as the next Speaker of the House. I know he is the Chairman of the House Budget Committee as you will be next year. He is needed more in the position of Speaker than as Chairman of the committee.

Please join the other conservative members of the House and remove John Boehner. He has failed in every issue that has come forward. Instead of supporting taxpayers, he has retaliated against those Representatives who do support less spending, fewer taxes and smaller government.

Thank you,

Mike Watson
Raymore, MO

It may not have been the most literate message but the subject of this email could not have been misunderstood. I received a response yesterday.

Dear Thomas,

Thank you for contacting me about the “fiscal cliff,” the looming increase in tax rates combined with deep cuts to defense and discretionary spending. Current tax rates on personal income and investment are due to expire December 31, 2012, immediately slamming individuals, families, senior citizens,  entrepreneurs, and business owners with tax increases. Simultaneously, automatic, across-the-board spending cuts (also known as “sequestration”) will occur on January 2, 2013, hitting the military with cuts that will jeopardize our readiness and defense capabilities. 

Allowing our country to go over the “fiscal cliff” would devastate our struggling economy and harm our long term recovery. I share your concerns and frustrations that we have reached this point of crisis after months of intense debate over how to address our country’s out of control national debt. Please know that I am committed to finding common ground to avoid the crisis and to protect families and businesses from huge tax increases. 

I have voted repeatedly throughout 2012 for legislation that would avoid the “fiscal cliff” by extending current tax rates and cutting waste in federal programs in order to pay for sequestration; yet, the Senate has failed to pass or even discuss the proposals put forth by the House. Now is the time for straightforward leadership from the President. The House has put forth multiple plans for replacing the sequester and beginning serious tax reform; we now wait for the President to present his plan so that meaningful discussions can begin and common ground can be found. Talk is not enough; the President must provide a framework to avert the crisis so negotiations can take place in good faith. 

Above all, it is time for an honest conversation with the American people. Under both Republican and Democratic leaders, our country has spent far more than it has, racking up an unprecedented $16 trillion in national debt. Even if income tax rates were now hiked to almost 100% for the wealthiest Americans, the federal government would still not have enough revenue to pay for its mandatory spending and budget commitments. And, raising tax rates would hurt businesses, destroy jobs, and wipe out long term economic growth. This reality underscores the fact that we must reassess what the federal government’s role should be and how it can be limited so we can preserve our country and prevent economic collapse. Our situation calls for urgency and honesty. 

I am committed and eager to begin substantive talks to implement a solution to this crisis, and I await serious action by the President to join this conversation. I and my Republican colleagues in the House of Representatives have passed several bills (H.R. 8, H.R. 5652, and H.R. 6365) any of which could serve as starting points for negotiation. While listening to your input and views, I will continue to work diligently in the coming weeks to avert the fiscal crisis facing our country. Again, thank you for contacting me on this serious matter. It is a privilege to work on your behalf.  

With best regards, I remain,

                                                    Very truly yours,
                                   Vicky Hartzler
                                   Member of Congress

Obviously, this is an automated response concerning the issue du jour and really says nothing. I’m not surprised by an automated acknowledgment of my email. That is common practice today. However, I did expect that “some” human eye would read my message and respond accordingly. That, apparently, is too much effort.

I know that our congressmen are busy and usually have canned responses when they get constituent messages on the same subject. What really upset me was her response had nothing to do with removing John Boehner.

Perhaps in 2014, it’s time for Ms Hartzler to have a conservative opponent in the primary. One more in touch with their constituents and not a rubber-stamp of the ‘Pub establishment.