Posts Tagged ‘scandal’

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.


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