I of course, mean Cheesehead as in the Cheesehead Revolution, and I intend it as a compliment. I refer to an excellent diary by Puddytat on the real meaning of the Cheesehead Revolution.
This November, the good people of the Wisconsin 1st Congressional District have a choice: Paul Ryan, the Chariot of Liar, the guy who would privatize your Social Security even when it was Social Security benefits that helped put him through college or Rob Zerban, who is a progressive who stands with the real backbone of Wisconsin.
Rob Zerban sees that Congress is out of touch with Americans. On one of his issues pages, this is what he says:
Term Limits- I support limiting members of the House of Representatives and Senate to twelve years in office. That means a maximum of six two-year terms in the House and two six-year terms in Senate.Zerban's support for term limits may get popular support, but it's the wrong approach. Institutional memory is one of the most underrated resources that we Democrats should talk about. One of the main reasons that Ted Kennedy was the Lion of the Senate was that he served in it for so long. I believe that a real progressive should oppose term limits because that would make lobbyists that ones with the only real long-term memory and you can see from real-world examples that term limits bring lobbyists more power. And this should be food for thought: if we didn't have term limits for Presidents, Bill Clinton could have been President beyond 2000.
I will take a serious look at supporting any bipartisan term-limit proposal.
Redistricting- I support independent redistricting committees to end corruption in the way districts are drawn up.
I support any ban on lobbying by former Members of Congress.
The redistricting proposal sounds like a good idea, I hope that in practice it could work. We already know how the GOP loves to manipulate districts. And a lobbying ban on former Congresscritters is also a good measure. Anything that keeps Washington away from the likes of former Senator Evan Bayh is a good thing in my book.
Let's look at Zerban's economic policy and how it differs from Paul Ryan's:
I will oppose Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), and will promote Fair Trade that benefits the workers of all nations involved. FTAs do not work, they hurt American industry, and I will oppose the outsourcing of American jobs. See trade policy.I generally agree with Zerban on opposing FTAs. One could look at NAFTA, and all the harm that it brought to the Mexican people as well as American workers. I am no expert in how the global marketplace works, and so I don't know the practicality of pursuing only Fair Trade. Paul Ryan, on the other hand, loves free trade.. He voted yes on free trade with Peru.(it became law) He voted yes on CAFTA (that became law)
I will support changes to our tax code to reward job creation in America, not outsourcing of jobs.
I support rebuilding our infrastructure to increase economic activity and create construction jobs.
I support education for workers including low or no-cost job retraining.
I support Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, and will fight to protect them. I support retirement security for all Americans.
We know that the GOP opposes changing our tax codes so outsourcers can continue getting tax breaks to ship our jobs overseas. Zerban, on the other hand, supports the American people and thus good policy.
I love infrastructure spending, and the GOP used to love it too. It just makes sense for the country. And if Congress had passed Obama's American Jobs bill, we could have had more construction jobs already.
Mitt Romney hates education. He thinks he don't need more teachers. And Paul Ryan? Fewer teachers, the banksters back in the student loan business, more expensive student loans and less money to help students afford college.
Paul Ryan's history on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid is already well-known to us. He'd privatize both Social Security and Medicare and he'd made severe cuts to Medicaid. All policies that are bad for seniors, just so millionaires can afford more ivory backscratchers with their tax cuts.
Rob Zerban also has excellent environmental policy decisions:
I support investments in research and development, as well as adoption, of renewable energy technologies including solar, wind, biofuels, hydroelectric power, and emerging hydrogen technology.Renewable Energy is the future for America, and our investment in that sector will not only create American jobs, and make investors a ton of money, it's good for the planet.
I support greening transportation including stronger emissions standards (CAFÉ) and increased support for hybrid and electric vehicles. I support other options for commuters including bike paths, funding for high-speed rail, and light rail.
I support legislation to reduce carbon emissions and to encourage utilities to adopt more renewable energy in their portfolios. I support a Renewable Electricity Standard of 25% by 2025.
I support funding for green materials research and for retrofitting of buildings to conserve energy and create construction jobs.
I oppose hydraulic fracking.
I oppose Mountain-top removal mining (MTR) and will work to protect streams and waterways from coal-mining waste.
I oppose oil drilling in the Great Lakes and the Everglades and disagree with Paul Ryan’s vote to allow this.
I support the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act and will defend these bills and the Environmental Protection Agency’s funding and ability to enforce this legislation.
I will focus on ending our dependence on foreign oil and lowering the cost of energy for American families.
Paul Ryan's record?
Voted NO on tax credits for renewable electricity, with PAYGO offsets (2008)Congressman Ryan, along with Governor Scott Walker's hatred for wind would certainly have made Don Quixote proud(that is if he were real, which he wasn't).
Voted NO on tax incentives for energy production and conservation (2008)
Voted NO on tax incentives for renewable energy (2008)
Voted NO on investing in homegrown biofuel (2007)
Not only that, but Congressman Ryan just loves oil. As Mother Nature Network put it:
Aside from voting against a 2001 bill to prohibit oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, he also voted in 2006 to nix a mortorium on offshore oil drilling, and voted in 2011 to open more of the Outer Continental Shelf to oil rigs. He's an advocate for U.S. energy independence, yet also supports the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada, which he says "will not only lessen our dependence on Middle Eastern oil, but also create thousands of American jobs."One wonders how many oil spills we need before politicans like Paul Ryan see the need to decrease our dangerous offshore drilling and Congress's irresponsible propping up of oil companies.
Zerban is also right to oppose hydraulic fracking and MTR. We ought not let gas and coal companies despoil our environment any further for very temporary gains in "cheap power". The damage they do is long-term but the benefit is decidedly short-term.
Paul Ryan? He loves fracking. This quote from Badger Democracy says it all:
The Oklahoma mining and land companies Ryan is invested in have lease contracts (according to the Oklahoma Secretary of State) with three of the most extensive “frackers” in the world. The gas and oil giants are leasing land and mineral rights from these companies in pursuit of natural gas trapped in the enormous shale deposits in the region. Expanded fracking and tax incentives would net Ryan, the Littles, and the Gas Companies millions more in profits.One area where I can see Rob Zerban drawing a huge contrast to himself and Congressman Ryan is on choice. Rob Zerban is pro-choice. Paul Ryan is so anti-choice that he deserves the nickname "Congressman Ultrasound". in fact, we should make it a hashtag #CongressmanUltrasound (if it isn't already). Here's the overview of the bill in case anyone wants to read it. Let's not forget that Paul Ryan(and his BFF Todd Akin) also supported a national Personhood bill.
I would love to see Zerban (or Vice President Biden) to remind us visually with a prop that Congressman Ryan wanted to force a medically unnecessary and expensive procedure on women that they would have had to pay out of pocket for. I imagine many women will run away from Congressman Ultrasound as fast as they can.
Rob Zerban faces a real challenge here. Paul Ryan is well-funded, and depending on which poll you believe has somewhere between a 8-point to 25 point lead. My rough guess is that Ryan polls around 52-53 and Zerban is around 36-37, but that is just my opinion. As Willard Mitt Romney is proving more and more toxic to voters, I expect Ryan's numbers to take more of a hit. Zerban needs to establish himself. Some DCCC funding would be great, but I'll also post his ActBlue so activists can give to him and help him get his name out there.
Rob Zerban would be a voice for progress, and votes for him would mean that Wisconsin, the United States and our planet would all be better if he were elected to Congress this November.