Posts Tagged ‘Matheson’

Jim Matheson, king of spin

October 8, 2010

If you can’t run on your record of voting for the stimulus, for Cash for Clunkers, and for Nancy Pelosi, then by golly, spin, spin, spin.

Congressman Jim Matheson is deflecting and twisting when he tells Utah Policy Daily that his GOP opponent, Morgan Philpot “is saying things that are just not true – like his ad that says I’ve only sponsored two bills” in 10 years in the U.S. House. “That is demonstratively false – I’ve done a lot more than that.” Except what the ad actually said was that he had only PASSED two bills while in the US House.

Matheson also has a new ad out that says he knows “Every penny counts” – so surely that’s why he voted to raise the debt ceiling twice in the last year, or why he has twice earned the “Big Spender” rating from NTU. He also asserts that he didn’t vote for a bailout and while it’s true he didn’t vote for TARP, he DID vote for the stimulus package. And son of stimulus. And son of stimulus 2……

Matheson – whose campaign is almost completely funded by outside PACS – also sent out fundraising letters decrying FreedomWorks “coming to Utah.” These are people “who know nothing about what matters to Utah families.” Really? Really?!*I* am FreedomWorks in Utah, Mr. Matheson. I DO know what matters to Utah families. I write about what matters to Utah families. I advocate for what matters to Utah families – and guess what – it’s not more debt and failed stimulus programs. It’s surely not the Pelosi/Reid/Obama debacle Matheson so clearly favors. Larry Jensen is FreedomWorks in Utah. He lives in Salt Lake County and works for Utah families and their rights every single day. Darcy Van Orden is FreedomWorks in Utah. Becky Pirente is FreedomWorks in Utah. All Utah residents, all here, on the ground working to keep the freedoms you and your fellow Democrats seem so intent on wrenching from us. WE are the ones placing signs, walking neighborhoods and talking to people. And we do know Utah.

Poor hurt the most by expiration of Bush tax cuts

October 7, 2010

On Jan 1st, the Bush tax cuts are set to expire. The child tax credit will be cut in half, the standard deductions and income credits decrease and the 10 percent tax bracket – aimed at non-wealthy taxpayers – goes away.

While wealthier taxpayers pay more in taxes and stand to lose more in total dollars, the impact on low-income taxpayers will be far greater since they live on much slimmer margins.

In a new report from the Tax Foundation, author Nick Kasprak points out that in spite of repeated promises that the cuts will be extended, “the current Congress has shown itself to be unusually susceptible to gridlock so the threat of automatic, full expiration of all these cuts is quite real.” In fact, even though we heard last year that the death tax would go away completely, ten months later, Democratic leaders have yet to follow through on that promise.

If predictions for Republican wins in the Senate races in Illinois and West Virginia hold true, those new members will be sworn in immediately. That will give the GOP 43 seats in the upper chamber and the Democrats will have a very difficult time getting the 60 votes they need to pass the legislation to extend the tax cuts for the middle class, but let them expire for the “wealthy.” They will then be faced with the choice to extend the cuts for ALL, or do nothing and let them expire, hurting those at the lower end of the income scale.

“When comparing changes in after-tax income, low-income workers benefited substantially from the Bush-era tax cuts, and so they would pay much higher taxes if political gridlock allows the imminent expirations to occur on schedule,” Kasprak said.

Additionally, low-income taxpayers have benefited from many temporary stimulus measures enacted in 2009 that are also set to expire at the end of this year: a further expansion of the earned income credit for couples, greater refundability of the child tax credit, and bigger credits for college education.

The Making Work Pay credit that appears in paychecks and boosts take-home pay up to $400 for individuals and $800 for couples is also slated to expire next year.

The report shows that inaction on these tax measures will cost a married couple with two dependents earning $40,000 about $2,643. Their after-tax income would drop from $41,513 (if the cuts are extended) to $38,870.

Those cuts could have been extended if the Blue Dog coalition, led by Jim Matheson, had not hidden behind Pelosi’s skirts.

Who does Matheson vote with?

October 4, 2010

If you think it’s the Republicans, you’d be wrong.  He votes partyline over 93% of the time.  See for yourself.

Matheson=Pelosi lap dog

October 4, 2010

This weekend, the Wall Street Journal published an article titled “The Lap Dog Coalition” about the self-described fiscal conservatives from the D side of the aisle. “The Blue Dog Coalition isn’t a vehicle to help conservative Democrats influence policy,” the article states. “It is a marketing brand to help vulnerable Democrats deceive voters.”

In the words of Pete Geren of Texas, they were “yellow dogs choked blue” by the strident economic liberalism of their party leaders. Actually, “yellow” is a more accurate color to describe the cowardly actions of these Pelosi lap dogs led by none other than Utah’s own Jim Matheson.

Remember that he was quite certain that the House needed to remain in session to extend the Bush tax cuts, but when Pelosi needed him to vote to adjourn, he fell right in line. Back at home, he is under fire. Radio talk show king, Doug Wright, berated him for an hour. The blog-o-spere erupted with posts like “Matheson Appeases,” “One Vote Makes a Difference,” and “Matheson chooses Pelosi over Utah“. Even the Trib comment boards went after him.

Jim tried to soft-pedal his unwillingness to stand up to Pelosi by passing the buck: “There was no reason to stay. The bill was never going to be brought up. The Senate wasn’t going to move its bill. I think it’s important for members go out and be with their constituents and hear from them. I hope that will get some people in a better frame of mind for addressing this issue.”

Really? REALLY? And just when will he be holding a town hall to “hear from his constituents”? Oh that’s right – never.

Never fear – Jim can hear from his constituents on November 2nd when they send that blue-dog home with his tail between his legs.  Arf, arf.

Phantom Jim is also do-nothing Jim

September 14, 2010

Utah’s token Democrat, Jim Matheson, votes with Nancy Pelosi over 93% of the time. He has a “Big Spender” rating by NTU, voted twice in the last year to extend the debt ceiling, voted for cash for clunkers and yes, he voted for the stimulus, so let’s just put the “blue dog” label to rest, shall we? He could more aptly be called a Pelosi lap-dog, voting “no” only when she allows him to.

In addition to voting yes on spending the taxpayers’ money over and over again, he is remarkably timid when it comes to sponsoring bills. In 10 years (10. As in a decade.) he has sponsored only 59 bills. The first two years he was in office, he barely managed to sponsor 5 bills, none of which passed. According to the “Govtrack” website, he has only passed two bills during that decade.

So, he won’t hold town halls, he spends like a drunken sailor, he votes FOR and WITH Nancy Pelosi, won’t sponsor bills and his own party keeps him in the dark, even on things like the nominee for Utah’s US attorney. Oh, and he’ll be in the minority party once again come November.

Republican opponent Morgan Philpot points out Matheson’s remarkable lack of effectiveness in his latest campaign ad. Time for this “blue dog” to come on home.

Philpot swings at Matheson’s land use policies

August 31, 2010

Utah’s delegation is almost universally united in standing up to Ken Salazar, his cronies and their control of 2/3 of the land in Utah. The lone hold-out is, of course, Democrat Jim Matheson.  Matheson – aka Phantom Jim – didn’t have the, um, …. courage…. to stand up to Salazar when 77 leases were yanked in Uintah county. (He did ask Salazar in a letter to pretty please restore them. Nothing happened, of course.) Matheson stayed in the background when Rep Rob Bishop and others spoke out on the administration’s backdoor plan to claim millions of acres. Matheson DID, however, announce a plan earlier this year to set aside 26,000 additional acres of wilderness in the Wasatch Mountains, prompting Alta mayor Tom Ballard to remark “It’s been kind of jammed down our throats.”

Yesterday, Matheson’s Republican opponent, Morgan Philpot took him to task as he unveiled his short, medium and long-term goals for land use.. He claimed that with 67% of the state owned by the federal government, we are no longer a sovereign state, but a “geographic area administrator” for the feds. He announced that he is endorsed by all three Washington county commissioners and said that his campaign is on track to wrap up the endorsements of 75% of the county commissioners in the second district.  He pointed to Matheson’s absenteeism and said the district – and especially the rural counties – needed someone who would go to bat for them.  The current Congressman simply will not.

Congressman Rob Bishop appeared with Philpot at his press conference. He said unequivocally that Philpot’s ideas “hit the core” of what needs to be done. “They are the kind of proactive, positive ideas that need to go back there to Congress,” he said. “He will fit in brilliantly with the entire delegation, as well as within Congress.”

In the short term, Philpot proposes that the Utah delegation work to restore the recently canceled energy leases, to increase access, specifically to school trust lands, and to open them for development.

In the medium term, he says that we must establish “once and for all” the validity of county RS2477 road rights of way and to pursue permanent, full funding of PILT – Payments in Lieu of Taxes.

In the long-term, Philpot said we must pursue a “legal and legislative strategy designed to achieve parity (as required by the Constitution) between public lands states and the rest of the Union.”

Matheson told KSL he has nothing to be ashamed of and that he has worked well with county commissioners in the past. His spokeswoman said it was not surprising Philpot got the endorsement of the Washington county commissioners –  they were Republican, after all. Wonder if she’ll be surprised if Philpot also gets the majority of the votes in this R+15 district?

Phantom Jim making an appearance!

August 30, 2010

Quick! If Jim Matheson is your Congressman, Wednesday is your chance to catch him at a rare town hall. (OK, that’s what HE would call it anyway…..) He’ll be at the Hinckley Institute of Politics to talk about current issues starting at 9:40 am, then will attend a meeting held by the Hinckley Institute Student Alliance at 11:15. HISA is an umbrella organization that serves as a resource for politically active student groups. The meeting will serve as a more casual setting for students to talk with Matheson.

This free event will include a Q&A session and will be held at Orson Spencer Hall, in the Hinckley Caucus Room. (Me, me, me – pick me!!)

Both the forum and HISA meeting are open to all students. The forum starts at 9:40 a.m. and the meeting at 11:15 a.m. I am a “student of life” – does that count? I’m going. If I get to ask one hard question of Phantom Jim, what should it be? No softball suggestions – sorry.

Phantom Jim and “town halls”

August 13, 2010

Congressman Jim Matheson, aka “Phantom Jim“, has refused for years to hold town hall meetings.  Dogged by GOP chair, Dave Hansen, his constituents and his opponent, Morgan Philpot, Matheson finally responded – by changing the definition of “town hall.”

In case you missed the recent Tribune article, Matheson now counts “meet-and-greets at businesses, student forums and even radio interviews as town halls, essentially including any time he takes questions from a group in Utah.”  Even screened calls on a tele-town hall…..

Sounding very Clinton-esque, Matheson said “I guess it all depends on how you define ‘town hall meetings.’” Um, yeah. Pretty sure only Phantom Jim defines a phone call or radio interview as a town hall.  His campaign is holding a “meeting” this coming Saturday morning, “to talk to other voters in Millcreek.”  What do you bet he’ll count the neighborhood canvassing as a town hall too?  (Except he probably won’t even show up.)

So Phantom Jim won’t even schedule his own town halls, he refuses to meet with his opponent, Morgan Philpot in any sort of public venue.  Philpot tried to work with the Matheson campaign and asked them to choose a venue, choose a format, just make an appearance, but the Matheson campaign called town halls a campaign “stunt” and said it was outrageous Philpot would even ask. So far, Matheson has only agreed to one debate and that’s the one KSL is sponsoring in the fall. Maybe “Phantom Jim” could also be called “Chicken Jim”…..  (By the way – pretty sure the Trib hit a nerve.  Matheson’s spokeswoman is getting pretty heated.  And here’s another question.  Why can’t Jim answer his own questions? Is he hiding from the press too?)

In addition to pulling ongoing disappearing acts (and remember – he’s bipartisan in being unavailable – he wouldn’t talk to Rocky Anderson about Obamacare either and skipped out on his own national convention ), he is getting hammered for continuing to hang on to the tens of thousands of dollars good old Charlie Rangel ponied up for him over the last decade. The NRCC is on the attack, City Weekly is calling him out, for crying out loud, the Trib is blogging about it  and the Daily Herald has an editorial piece saying he needs to return the “tainted dough“. And let’s be honest here – with more than a million sitting in the bank, it’s not because Matheson can’t afford to return the money. The real question is, can he afford not to.

Phantom Jim has gotten a free pass for years, careful to never take a strong stand on anything (except his hatred of Energy Solutions).  That way, no one ever really gets too mad and he continues to get re-elected. This year, though, his arrogant, aloof attitude, coupled with a strong anti-incumbent sentiment and the fact that he votes with Pelosi over 90% of the time may well be his undoing.   He is a invisible to his own party, so having a Representative in the majority party does nothing for Utah.  And a “fiscal conservative” he ain’t.    Maybe he should have paid attention to something else Clinton said: “It’s the economy, stupid.”

Oh, Cry Me A River

August 12, 2010

By now you have probably heard that Rep Charlie Rangel (D-NY) got the floor this week when the House was called back to vote on Pelosi’s spending bill.  Good golly.  He took upwards of a half-hour to ramble about how it wasn’t that bad, how he wasn’t going anywhere, then double-dog dared his colleagues to expel him.  Ok, he didn’t use those exact words – but close! He said: “If I can’t get my dignity back here, then fire your best shot in getting rid of me through expulsion.”

I bet you also didn’t know that he is responsible for fundraising IN Republican districts like say, oh, Utah’s second Congressional district.   Of course Phantom Jim has gotten tens of thousands of dollars in donations from Rangel (that he won’t return because he spent it – and besides, his constituents don’t care anyway), but I’m pretty sure I would have remembered if Rangel had actually come to Utah to campaign and fundraise for Matheson.

What about me?”, he asked. He chastised his Democratic colleagues for not coming to his defense, told leadership he expected their help, railed on his lawyers (mostly).  At his lavish birthday party yesterday, he said “This sure ain’t no funeral, is it?”  Al Sharpton had some words for the press: “You have started and executed the political crucifixion, but stay tuned for the political resurrection,” he said. “Charlie Rangel will rise from the ashes and show that we will never fall on such allegations. We will rise as the Phoenix and keep on fighting.”

Today, Rangel went on CNN and started naming names of those he feels he has helped – and from whom he expects payback.  He also said nothing “will stop me from clearing my name from these vile and vicious charges.”  Um.  He’s already admitted guilt on a number of the charges – but it’s OK, because other people do it too.

During his rant on Monday had this to say:

“I don’t really think that the unfairness of this is to me. I don’t take it personally. I’m thinking about all of you. The president wants dignity. Let’s have dignity in this house where the ethics committee means something.”

Indeed, Mr. Rangel. Indeed.

Chaffetz: Taxpayer Hero

August 10, 2010

When Rep. Jason Chaffetz ran for office two years ago, he ran a lean, fiscally-conservative campaign, one that remained debt-free – an unusual feat for a challenger.  He campaigned hard on a promise of fiscal restraint and has earned a reputation as a fiscal hawk.  From pointing out money wasted on mohair subsidies to calling for a spending freeze after a few weeks in office, he is following through on that promise of restraint.

Today, the Council for Citizen’s Against Government Waste released their rankings for 2009. Chaffetz has a stellar rating of 98%, earning him the title of “Taxpayer Hero“.

The rest of the Utah delegation (all fans of earmarks, by the way) did not fare as well. Senator Bennett voted with CCAGW  70% of the time, Hatch – 79%, Rep Bishop – 77% and Rep Matheson – an utterly abysmal 11%.  (Matheson’s bottom-of-the-barrel rating earned him the title of hostile. So much for the Blue-Dog fiscal conservative.)

CCAGW’s 2009 Congressional Ratings scored 120 votes in the House and 74 votes in the Senate. By comparison, in 2008, CCAGW rated 48 votes in the House and 42 votes in the Senate. According to CCAGW, the dramatic increase in the number of votes scored in 2009 “is a reflection of the intensely partisan 111th Congress, the Obama administration’s relentless pro-spending agenda, and many members’ inability to support a pro-taxpayer agenda.”

Many House votes were Rep Jeff Flake’s “striking amendments” – the ones he offers which would cut pork out of the bills where they’ve been hidden in. For example, Mr. Flake, the champion of no earmarks, offered 553 amendments, comprising 1,102 earmarks to the defense appropriations bill last year.  (None passed.)

There is a mistaken notion that if an earmark were ever to be stripped from a bill (a rarity, to be sure), the money for that earmark would just go back into the big money pot.  However, that’s not true. The earmark and its funding would be removed completely, saving the government – I mean the US taxpayer – money – and lots of it.

Maybe when the House flips in November some fiscal sanity will be seen in DC.  (I was going to say return, but I’m not sure there’s ever really been any.)

Until then, we have groups like the CCAGW and  people like Congressman Chaffetz who will continue to shed light on – and fight against – the problem of out-of-control DC spending.


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