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(Cross-posted from

Jim Himes talks with seniors about protecting Social Security

With just three-plus weeks to go until election day, an article in tomorrow's New York Times characterizes Orange-to-Blue candidate Jim Himes' campaign as Chris Shays' "biggest challenge ever":

But this election comes against the backdrop of an economic crisis and a presidential election. Not only is the state considered to be safely in Senator Barack Obama's column, but state polls also show the Democratic presidential candidate running strong in Mr. Shays's district. That trend, coupled with what the secretary of state's office says is a record number of voters registered in Democratic-leaning Bridgeport this election, may present the biggest challenge ever to Mr. Shays, who has been in office for 21 years. 

In the same article, Jim takes Chris Shays to task for having missed the mark when it comes to the financial crisis:

He has reminded voters that in September, Mr. Shays said that the fundamentals of the economy were sound, and he has questioned why, with Mr. Shays's position as a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, on which he has served since 2001, he has failed to take measures to prevent the banking meltdowns....

"He was dead wrong on Iraq and has supported the administration's disastrous economic policies," Mr. Himes said during a recent interview at his campaign headquarters in Norwalk....

Mr. Himes said Mr. Shays's policy of supporting deregulation left the economy vulnerable to abusive and reckless actions by banks. Having worked as an investment banker, Mr. Himes said he knew what needed to be done to better regulate the financial industry.

Mr. Shays bristles at his opponent's criticism, saying he was one of the first to voice concerns about lack of oversight of the mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, supporting legislation in 2003 to require the two companies to comply with the same reporting requirements as publicly traded companies despite fierce opposition and pressure from his party and lobbyists. In 2006, he said, he raised concerns about the increased commercial operations of banks in a letter to the comptroller of the currency. But Mr. Himes retorts: "While the basement was full of dynamite, Chris Shays was checking on the smoke in the attic."

As if to prove Jim's point, in an editorial board interview with the Westport News published yesterday, Chris Shays continues to stand by his absurd assertion that the economy is "fundamentally strong", engaging in some McCain-like parsing of his out-of-touch mantra:

"The good news is that there's no hope of getting out of this recession unless the fundamentals of our economy are strong, and they are. We have a strong industrial base, a strong agricultural base; we have the best educated and trained work force in the world. We have the best technology and we have the most innovative society. These are fundamentals that are going to get us out of this mess."

Shays also defends the Bush tax cuts. Here was Jim's answer to the same question posed to him about the economy:

"Frankly, a big reason that I decided to run for Congress was that I sensed our economic policy was driving us in the wrong direction We got past the bailout plan, but it doesn't seem to have calmed the market, and I'm a little unclear if it will achieve what it was designed to do. We are where we are today because of a massive failure of oversight and regulation in an immensely risky industry. I think the bill should have had a commitment the very next day to reconstruct oversight structure. There's very little question we're headed into a recession. I also think we're going to have to do another stimulus plan, but something that's stimulative around infrastructure."

Compare these two answers, and it's pretty clear which candidate this race is in touch with voters, and which one has the energy, the ideas, and the understanding to get our economy back on track.

Originally posted to Jim Himes for Congress on Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 09:23 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Also (21+ / 0-)

    Here's Jim's statement on yesterday's historic CT Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality:

    "I applaud the Supreme Court's decision. Every person is entitled to respect, dignity, and equality under the law. This is true regardless of race, religion, national origin, disability, gender, or sexual orientation. Connecticut should be proud to lead the fight against discrimination."

  •  Put the Himes sign on my lawn yesterday (6+ / 0-)
    but we have a lot of work to do -- I can't believe Shays is leading in some polls.  This guy has had 21 years and I can't think of single thing he's done to make my life better.  Go Himes!

    The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me' MT 25:40

    by Ed G on Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 09:51:04 AM PDT

  •  Maybe Mr "Economy is Fundamentally Strong" Shays (0+ / 0-)

    would care to replace the 30 cents I've lost on every dollar in my retirement account. That would make - at least me, my retirement, my economy - fundamentally strong. And why not? He's asking me to contribute those 30 cents so his economy would be strong.

    "How do you think that will happen? An Act of God?" "God is a scientist, Lindsay." -Mac Taylor, CSI:New York

    by JohnMac on Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 10:54:48 AM PDT

  •  Time to boot Shays (0+ / 0-)

    This guy is basically Joe Lieberman lite, he's got the personality of a wet dishrag. His durability is something that is really hard to explain. If anybody could have negative charisma, he might be the one.

    CT is very Dem for presidential elections, but is willing to put losers like Shays and Bush toadie Nancy Johnson in year after year just because they are in extremely wealthy districts and those people are not "values" people, they are strictly "pocket book people", it's as simple as that. They've go their pile and they want to protect it.

    This might be the year he finally gets tossed.

  •  does shays admit he's a repuglitard ??? (0+ / 0-)

    out here in Cali, the conservatives have never heard of the repuglitard party

    and they spen all day singing the praises of bi=partisanship

    all this from a bunch of clod hoppers who don't believe in evolution

  •  Couldn't believe NYT quoted Gary Rose again! (0+ / 0-)

    Fran Silverman also mentioned "experts", but only named Gary Rose.  When will the MSM finally admit that Rose is a right-wing shill?  Jeezzz!!!!  He's shameless!  What are the chances that the NYT reporter will actually seek out some of the bloggers who know Shays best?  Slim?  None?  Might happen?

    Perhaps she (?) will take Shays to task in her next article for claiming CO status, but now being a leading chickenhawk.  Or perhaps she'll go back and take a look at the timing of Shays' single vote for a timeline for troop withdrawal- just days after he figured out that Jim Himes was for real, and he would have to face the voters yet again.  Recall that after telling voters in 2006 that he was "anti-war" and that he favored pulling most of our troops out by the end of 2007 (Washington Post, August 25, 2006).  Maybe she'll even take him to task for his pre-election flip flop on timelines in late 2006.  Could happen...

    Or maybe Silverman will take a close look at Shays' support for privatizing Social Security over the years.

    Or perhaps, in the time remaining, Silverman might actually point out how hypocritical SHays is for using Barack Obama's image in his advertizing, pretending that he supports him, while actually serving as John McCain's campaign co-chair for Connecticut?  Think there's a chance?

  •  We Call Him Both Ways Shays (0+ / 0-)

    Serving alongside Joe Lieberman as Connecticut's Co-Chair for the McCain Campaign, Shays nevertheless shows no shame in employing Obama's photograph in a recent campaign ad. Never mind that Obama supports Jim Himes. . .  This is just the latest in many efforts -- going back several years -- in which Shays tries to play two ends against the middle.

    Shays has been a consistent supporter of the Admninistration's Iraq War and a vocal supporter of Blackwater; he has tangled with a DC policeman; and he has been known to shout at constituents who ask unwelcome questions at so-called Town Meetings. Some voters in Connecticut's 4th District remember Chris Shays as a "nice guy" who once held moderate views; but that person disappeared at least 8 years ago, certainly once the Bush-Cheney Administration swung into action. Shays now has become an unaffordable relic. As has already been mentioned, he still seems to think that the economy is sound; and he has long supported privatizing social security.

    Our district is fortunate to have in Jim Himes a smart, thoughtful and also truly nice challenger -- who happens to have credentials in both financial services and affordable housing. Congress will very much need this sort of expertise in its next session. Jim Himes will be a terrific contributor to the kind of problem solving that now challenges this country.

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