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The Case for Change in the Fourth District

October 29, 2010
tags: 2010 House, Gene Taylor, MS-04, Steven Palazzo
by Frank Corder

Gene Taylor is not a bad guy. Heck, he’s not all that bad of a Congressman if you judge his body of work through a narrow lens, which is exactly what his campaign wants you to do in this November 2nd election. But the future of South Mississippi and America are about something bigger than narrow, spin driven, seat ensuring issues that sound good on the campaign trail but are often forgotten once inside the D.C. Beltway.

Since 1989, Democrat Gene Taylor has been South Mississippi’s Congressman. Taylor, a former City Councilman and State Senator, currently sits on the House Armed Services Committee and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. He also chairs the subcommittee on Seapower and Expeditionary Forces. Such committee appointments are ideal for Taylor, having served in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve. They have been advantageous for many industries in South Mississippi as well.

According to his campaign website, “because of Taylor’s seniority and expertise, the U.S. House of Representatives included South Mississippi’s $2.6 billion in projects and contracts in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011″ that passed this May. This is one reason why in recent weeks you’ve seen many local industry executives speak on Taylor’s behalf; special interests even exist at the local level. What’s interesting about this is that Taylor did vote to pass the bill out of committee but he did not vote for it on the House floor. Statements from Taylor surrounding that bill indicate he did not support the final House version due to the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” provision. While many would agree with him on DADT, the fact is Congressman Taylor did not vote to fund the National Defense Authorization Act yet he is now parading it’s pork as a reason to vote for his reelection.

This is just one of many examples of why Congressman Taylor’s voting record is a mixed bag that must be carefully examined and not simply taken at face value. Such examination puts the good Congressman’s true effectiveness into question.

Take a look at govtrack.us and you’ll find that Taylor has sponsored 38 bills in his 20 years in Congress of which 22 haven’t made it out of committee and 7 were successfully enacted, most of which were to name Post Offices in the district. Taylor is listed as a “follower” according to their statistical analysis of bills in this legislative session. He tends to cosponsor the bills of other members of Congress who do not cosponsor Taylor’s own bills. This essentially points to the fact that Taylor has very little influence to show for his time in D.C.

Yet, Taylor has carefully walked the tightrope between party loyalist in Washington D.C. and populist back home with only the occasional wobble. But now, Taylor is facing his toughest reelection of his political career and his acrobatics aren’t working so well this time around.

Much has been said to date of Taylor’s votes supporting Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. “Fire Pelosi” has become a rallying cry throughout America. The message is simple: the most important vote a new member of the U.S. House of Representatives will take is the vote on that first day in Congress for the Speaker of the House. According to Pelosi’s own website, the Speaker of the House is responsible for, among other things, setting the legislative agenda, leading the appointment process for the chairs of the various committees and subcommittees in the House, including conference committees which negotiate final versions of legislation, and, by the way, the Speaker is second in line to the Presidency after the Vice President (just thought I’d throw that in for good measure). Hopefully you can see why there’s so much fuss about this one vote – it can make a tremendous difference on what comes out of Washington and into our homes.

You see, whether Taylor may not vote for a piece of legislation brought forth by Madam Pelosi, by voting to elect her as Speaker of the House he is endorsing her agenda and will be led by her leash, no matter what color Democrat dog he proclaims to be.

Taylor has now said that he would not vote for Pelosi again and that the only reason he voted for her was because of her opponent, Republican Rep. John Boehner. This contradicts what the Congressman said in a town hall meeting in Ocean Springs earlier this year. When asked about his vote for Pelosi at that meeting, Taylor responded by saying, “I voted for me.” We can assume by that Taylor meant that his vote for Pelosi put him in a better position within his party and within the House. Clearly, his vote for Pelosi was not in the best interest of the people he represents here in the 4th District, which, in our representative form of government, he is suppose to be voting on behalf of the last time I checked.

Then there was the article from The Hill where Taylor is quoted as saying, “My ideal candidate for Speaker would be Ike Skelton.” He goes on to say, “What I would want is a Democratic nominee for Speaker that is much more in tune with what I believe.” He still beats the Democratic drum mind you. While Skelton may be a good friend to Taylor, the Missouri Congressman votes with Pelosi 95% of the time according to the Washington Post; that’s even higher than Taylor’s 80% reported by the same news outlet. While Ike Skelton may be moderately strong on abortion, defense and other issues as is Taylor, he is a long way from the House Speaker America needs and deserves at this time in our history, yet Gene Taylor is ducking and running for cover from the fact that he voted not once, but twice for the liberal Nancy Pelosi and his constituency has taken notice. Ike Skelton is nothing more than Gene Taylor’s patsy.

Make no mistake, these stories and others like them around the country are being propagated by the liberal spin machine to help provide vulnerable Democrats a little cover, to take a little heat off their candidates. Like it or not, Pelosi has already said she fully expects to be Speaker after the elections and even if the Democrats lose control of the House, it’s widely known that she will be up for Minority Leader. Pelosi is not going away quietly into the night.

What’s more, Taylor’s reelection desperation reached a climax this past week when he noted that he voted for John McCain for President in 2008, not the Democrat nominee now-President Obama. Here in Mississippi, any other Democrat would have been decertified for such a statement (i.e. George Dale) but the state Democrat Party has overlooked Taylor’s campaign ploy to date, likely due to the tight race he’s facing. Further, when asked who he voted for for President in 2000 and 2004, Taylor conveniently cannot remember. I don’t know about you but I can remember almost every vote I have cast in local, state, and national elections since I began voting. Either Taylor’s 20 years in Washington has impeded his memory or he is politically ashamed to admit his previous votes.

Truth is, if Taylor does go back to Washington to represent the 4th District any stock he has had will be greatly diminished. Neither party, Democrat or Republican, will jump at the chance to bring Taylor into their fold meaning any influence he may have given his tenure will essentially be gone. Taylor will bring no value to the people of the 4th District if reelected.

A few years ago this 4th District seat didn’t seem all that important to many of us; Congressman Taylor seemed liked one of us, for all of us as his campaign says. Truth be told, if it weren’t for conservatives and Republicans Taylor wouldn’t have held office for so long. But South Mississippi and America has changed. This South Mississippi Congressional seat must symbolize and portray how we in this area truly believe to our core. The 4th District seat should be a sign to the rest of the nation that we are fed up with government intrusion, rising debt, unresolved domestic and foreign affairs, and needless tax and spend liberal antics. The truth is South Mississippi and the nation deserve better than Gene Taylor and his liberal cohorts. I believe we can do better this November 2nd.

It is for these reasons and more that I have endorsed Republican candidate state Rep. Steven Palazzo’s campaign for Congress.

South Mississippi needs a Congressman that will stand up and fight for Mississippi, not vote and leave the House floor while encouraging his colleagues to do the same. We need a Congressman who will stand on the principles of the Constitution to uphold our individual freedoms we hold dear, to speak against the progressive ills of the day and actively support a different direction than what is being proposed by those now in leadership – leadership supported and encouraged by Congressman Taylor. We need a Congressman who understands that we are a government of the people, by the people and answerable to the people, who treats every constituent with the respect they deserve despite ideological and philosophical differences. We need a Congressman who believes in personal responsibility, limited government, free markets, traditional Mississippi values and strong national security while recognizing the importance of God in our lives. We need a Congressman like Steven Palazzo.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” My friends in South Mississippi, this election matters, not only for our 4th District but for the future of America. We can no longer sit silently by while local and national special interests take over our country, while our national debt continues to spiral out of control and while our Constitutional foundations continue to be eroded by progressives. America desperately needs the next generation of leaders to take hold now, not tomorrow. I encourage you all to consider the 2010 Congressional race and help make this a November to remember by joining me in voting for Steven Palazzo as our next 4th District Congressman from South Mississippi.

Frank Corder is a Republican City Councilman from Pascagoula. He blogs at frankcorder.com/blog and you can e-mail him at . Learn more at frankcorder.com.

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