Crossposted at Calitics
Wally Herger, CA-02, just prevailed in his primary against a teabagger, but will he survive this fall against Democratic candidate Jim Reed, who is far more in touch with the beliefs of his California constituents when it comes to drilling and environmental issues?
You might think a Republican would reconsider the safety of deep water drilling after the endless eruption of the oil volcano in the Gulf.
You would be wrong. Herger still maintains that with our superior 21st Century technology we can drill-baby-drill with no harm to the environment.
Those of us in the reality-based community, including Jim Reed, see it differently.
(But wait! There's more.....)
From Herger's Website: (emphasis mine)
I've long supported efforts to allow for the exploration of oil and natural gas in a small section of the frozen "ANWR" tundra in Alaska. ANWR spans nearly 20 million acres, but energy exploration would only occur on 2,000 acres, or .01 percent of the land area. And importantly, 21st Century technology would also allow us to recover energy resources without harming the environment.
Wondering If Herger might have updated his files on that amazing 21st Century technology keeping us safe story, I spoke with Herger's Chico office where his representative got back to me and confirmed that yes, Herger IS still in favor of deep water drilling.
At least he's consistent. Why bother to re-think a position in the face of compelling new evidence when it's so much easier to just rubber-stamp your party line, even when failing to think for yourself can cause irreparable harm to your own constituents?
While Herger gives pleasant lip-service to alternative and clean energies on his website, his voting record shows where his heart truly is-- with the oil companies. Votes on energy:
Voted NO on tax incentives for energy production and conservation.(May 2008)
Voted NO on tax incentives for renewable energy. (Feb 2008)
Voted NO on investing in homegrown bio-fuel. (Aug 2007)
Voted YES on criminalizing oil cartels like OPEC. (May 2007)
Voted NO on removing oil & gas exploration subsidies. (Jan 2007)
Voted NO on keeping moratorium on drilling for oil offshore. (Jun 2006)
Voted YES on scheduling permitting for new oil refineries. (Jun 2006)
Voted YES on authorizing construction of new oil refineries. (Oct 2005)
Jim Reed in the Comments section of his introductory diary at Daily Kosstated:
I am against any expansion of off shore drilling and the gulf accident just proves there will be human error with disaster to follow.
Cheers to Jim Reed be his willingness to dive into a notoriously thorny political site like the Daily Kos and to stick around to answer all questions for the next two hours. Check out Reed's diary for an impressive example of an intelligent, decent, open-minded approach to differences of opinion.
In this 30 minute interview with Jim Swanson of Progressive News Radio Jim Reed makes a convincing case for how Wally Herger has become an increasingly lazy and ineffective legislator. In 24 years in office Herger has only sponsored one piece of legislation where teamed up with Diana Feinstein. He's voted with the Republican party 94% of the time, and some of those times appeared to be errors on his part.
As Jim Swanson of Progressive News Radio comments,
A Republican with a horrible voting record, even for topics that matter for his constituency. He does hold the honor of being in the top ten percentile of the worst Congressional Representatives in the United States government. As he no doubt sits at his desk in Washington, D.C., doodling on paper, reading the latest edition of "Field and Stream" and waiting for House Minority leader John Boehner to phone Wally’s office and tell him how to vote, the time has plainly come to send Wally home to retirement.
As a personal anecdote, I and many other of Herger's constituents have written lengthy letters in support of HCR and energy independence, only to get "Thank you for support!" form letters in reply. Apparently even his staff doesn't bother to read his mail.
As we know, ousting Herger will take some money. As Gail Collins wrote in The New York Times::
We have been entertaining ourselves with theories about how this election year is going to be all about voter anger. Or Washington insiders. Or health care. Or TARP. But, really, it’s going to be about money. Gobs of cash falling on campaigns like tar balls on a beach.
Jim Reed has already done some innovative fund-raising in sending out his unique "Talking Mailpieces" to Democrats all over the country, where he uses Herger's own words against him, to devastating effect:
If you agree that California needs a representative in Washington who will actually work for and represent us, contribute to Jim Reed now!