Supports Keown

Published 2:59 pm Tuesday, October 19, 2010

As the mid-term election rapidly approaches, if you have not already cast your vote in the congressional race, try to ignore the negative campaigning currently in vogue and concentrate on the record of our incumbent Congressman, Sanford Bishop.

Speaking of his record, I have to wonder why Mr. Bishop doesn’t run on that instead of attacking his opponent. Could it be that he would like voters to forget Obamacare, the latest jewel on his resume?

Mr. Bishop claims membership in the Democratic Blue Dog Coalition, supposedly composed of conservative Democrats. That claim of “conservative” is, of course, his right. Figuratively speaking, however, if a duck calls itself an eagle, does that make it so? The facts are that Mr. Bishop is every bit a progressive and is lock-step with Pelosi in furthering Obama’s socialist agenda.

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Remember the health care reform? Remember how we would come to like it after we “learn more about it” after its passage?

Well, we’re finding out what’s in it and, except for some self-serving individuals who reaped personal benefits, not many of us are happy with it. Neither, it seems, are many businesses that recently had to receive “waivers” to avoid provisions that would force them to drop employee insurance coverage. There’s a frightening thought: The HHS Secretary can arbitrarily decide who becomes “exempt” from the provisions. Is that one of those things Mr. Bishop thinks we’ll come to like, that the bill applies to everyone—except when it doesn’t?

Rates are going to spike, an inherent feature when insurance companies are forced to cover pre-existing conditions, drop benefit caps and add more people. Well, Mr. Bishop’s assertion that “health care for every American citizen is a right” really told us all we needed to know about his views—and Obama’s, for that matter.

Why doesn’t he (Bishop) tell us how many of those 2nd District constituents who couldn’t previously afford health care are now able to do so? You know, the ones he considered most when he voted for the bill? How many now have Obamacare, and who is really paying for it? If it’s the government paying (i.e., the taxpayer), we’ve merely switched subsidizing emergency room care for subsidizing doctor care; not much cost-saving there for those who have been footing the bill all along.

Another enigma in the health care debacle is Mr. Bishop’s idea that we will realize $500 billion in Medicare fraud cuts, which will then be returned to Medicare, extending the life of the program for a number of years (why it suddenly dawned on Congress that they need to address Medicare fraud only now is a question best not addressed presently for brevity’s sake). Now, I’ve never been great at math or economics, but it just seems to me that spending money, whether for good results (extending the life of the program) or bad (funding fraud) is still spending money. If it were going for debt reduction, maybe the claim could be made that we “saved” that much more debt, but even that is a shaky assertion. Money spent is money spent, not saved. Sorry, Mr. Bishop, but this propensity for spending seems to belie your claim to “Blue Dog” status.

About that “Blue Dog Letter” Mr. Bishop signed: it states “We cannot support a bill that exacerbates the challenges faced by small businesses” and “It is imperative that comprehensive health care include the ideas of members of Congress on both sides of the aisle.”

Finally, the next-to-last paragraph states any bill brought to the floor must be available for sufficient time before being voted on. To quote, “We need time to review it and discuss it with our constituents. Too short of a review period is unacceptable and only undermines Congress’ ability to pass responsible health care reform.”

Mr. Bishop wrote a lengthy letter to The Post-Searchlight wherein he defended his vote and denied the bill was “rushed through.” Yet it appears that’s exactly what happened. Far from assisting small businesses, most are not comfortable expanding until they see the full effects this bill will have on their costs, and we know there was no input from “both sides of the aisle.”

Any literate person knows the claim that Republicans offered no alternatives is false. The problem wasn’t the lack of proffered alternatives; it was the unwillingness of Obama to entertain any of those alternatives. As far as talking to constituents, it’s true, Mr. Bishop did talk to his constituents. Therein lay the problem: he talked so much at Bainbridge College’s Kirbo Center that his constituents felt he was monopolizing their time to ask questions and present their concerns.

All that aside, the bottom line is that Mr. Bishop did not stick to the principles in that letter he signed. No, he caved and signed on supporting the Senate’s version of the bill; we’ll iron out the differences later. Why the rush? Is it any wonder small businesses are apprehensive as to how it will affect them when it’s still evidently a “work in progress”? Is that what we in Southwest Georgia consider sticking to our principles these days? Is that what Mr. Bishop considers it? Or is that selling out to Pelosi and Obama?

I know many will say Obamacare is a thing of the past. Unfortunately, it’s not, and it appears the worst is yet to come, especially if we continue to send the same cast of characters to Washington to represent us. Mr. Bishop has been there long enough to have become a Washington insider.

I don’t know if Mike Keown would do a better job; that remains to be seen. What I do know is that Mr. Keown’s stated positions are in line with what I believe to be the values of Southwest Georgia, and he would start his term in Congress with a clean slate. Because of that and his newcomer status, he is more likely to remember who sent him there and to whom he owes his loyalty and his Congressional vote. That in itself seems to be a good indication it might be worth giving him your support—and your vote.

Roy Zimmerman
Bainbridge, Ga.