Friday, August 31, 2007

The Failure of Dean Heller

The Reno Gazette Journal has, more or less, summarized the accomplishments, or lack thereof, of Nevada Congressman Dean Heller since his election to Congress.

Noting that Heller has joined hips with President George W. Bush, the RGJ writes:

President Bush came through for Dean Heller on the campaign trail. So far, the freshman lawmaker hasn't given Bush much reason to regret it.

Heller, a Carson City Republican, has proven a reliable vote in the House for Bush's Iraq policies while developing a strong conservative voting record. He opposed an increase to the federal minimum wage and tax increases for oil companies.

“The president also helped Heller's cash-drained campaign raise $325,000 in one night” during the 2006 election. Well, that demonstrates Heller’s concern for Nevada’s minimum wage workers. Zilch. It figures Heller would vote against increasing taxes on oil companies, who are achieving record profits. He is smart enough to recognize that you don’t bite the hand that feeds your re-election campaigns. Certainly we “little people” aren’t capable of filling his re-election campaign coffers when we earn at the minimum wage level.

Critics say Heller's votes in his first seven months in office, typically in lockstep with GOP leaders, are a far cry from his campaign pledge to be independent from party leadership in Washington.

"Dean Heller ran as an independent voice," said Kirsten Searer, a spokeswoman for the Nevada Democratic Party. "But he has become a cookie-cutter member of the Republican House caucus."

A “cookie-cutter member of the Republican House caucus” eh? Sounds like an apt description of Congressman Heller.

Heller, 47, defends his voting record, saying the GOP has been right to fight against what he called bad Democratic proposals that could lead to higher taxes.

The former Nevada secretary of state said the Democratic Congress has achieved little beyond passing a law to raise the minimum wage, which he contends could hurt small businesses.

"There isn't a lot for the majority party to talk about," he said. "What the minority party is talking about is the ability to avoid a lot of spending."

“Avoid a lot of spending?” Heller spews the Republican Party line that Democrats “tax and spend” but ignores the “borrow and spend” record of the Republican Party. Just look at the national debt since the Bush-Cheney regime has been in office. The United States is in record level debt because of the borrowing and increased spending accomplished by the Republican Party while they were in control of Congress. What’s the difference between “taxing” and “borrowing?” The end result is the same; taxpayers have to pay the debt plus interest on it. “Pay as you go” is the way to keep taxing and spending within manageable limits. No one seems interested in “pay as you go” however.

While the vast majority of his constituents want the war on Iraq ended, Heller ignores them. Sort of gives them the middle finger:

Much of the criticism against Heller centers on his support for U.S. military involvement in Iraq. Heller said he plans to wait for an assessment of the war by Army Gen. David Petraeus on the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks before he decides how to proceed.

His constituents have already “assessed” the war on Iraq. Yet Heller stalls, continuing to blindly follow Bush’s line, “stay the course.” Heller needs to realize he represents his constituents in Nevada, not George Bush in Washington, D.C. That’s the “cookie-cutter” aspect of Heller to which Ms. Searer refers. Where is the “independence” Mr. Heller? You know represent both Democrats and Republicans and Independents—you don’t represent Bush or the Republican Party. Wake up man!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Reno Protesters demand change in war policy

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Nevada Congressman Dean Heller

George Bush has been addressing the American Legion in Reno. As he hailed his strategy in Iraq as a necessity for the security of the United States, protesters lined the street corners outside the Reno-Sparks Convention Center Tuesday morning, calling for the end of the war and for Bush's impeachment. [Michael]

"Support the Troops, End the War" was the dominant message from the group. Other signs read: "Get out of Iraq," "Impeach," "Support Troops -- Fund the VA," and "How many soldiers does it take to fill your tank?"

Dean Heller has steadfastly supported Bush in remaining in Iraq. “The anti-war group has focused its attention nationwide on members of Congress who have opposed ending the war, including Heller, R-Carson City, he said. Later in the day, the organization planned a "take a stand" town hall meeting to call for [Dean] Heller's support.”

One member of the VFW displayed his disdain for the protestors.

While generally peaceful, one protester was pushed to the ground by a Veterans of Foreign Wars member on his way to hear Bush speak, said Georgia Hedrick, 67, of Reno.

"He had on an American Legion hat and was in a suit and was pushing his way through the people," Hedrick said. "He pushed one woman into the gutter, and he just kept walking. He didn't stop. He just went on into the parking lot."

Hedrick said the man spoke briefly with several officers standing nearby, but soon went into the center.

"If one of us had pushed him down, we'd be in jail," she said.

The woman who fell, Gail Pratt, 72, left the protest to seek medical attention, Hedrick said.

That action by the VFW member demonstrates his immaturity.

[Cross post with Nye-Gateway to Nevada's Rurals]

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

"Heller Supports Bush" Featured on BBC World Last Night

Cross posted from My Silver State:

Bush was in Reno, I was in Hamburg visiting a friend. Late last night before going to bed I watched the news on BBC World. They had a report on Bush's visit to Reno, his Iran threats and his Iraq policy (or lack thereof). Towards the end of the report, they also showed the anti-Bush protest. And while there were not all that many (25 according to the LVRJ, 50 according to the LV Sun - what's the true number?), your message came across. Prominently featured was a poster held up by a young man with the slogan:

Bush supports endless war, Heller supports Bush

That's one helluva way for Heller to make worldwide news, don't you think? Kudos to the protesters!

The report is on the BBC's website, there (below a photo of Bush) you can click to watch the video.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Heller's School Daze

Cross posted by request from Desert Beacon:

Congressman Dean Heller's (R-NV) sending post cards again. Franked of course, one wouldn't want the Congressman to actually have to pay postage on a relatively obvious 'campaign piece' complete with a smiling (and lily white) young girl on the front, to illustrate Heller's "Back to School Message." There is, however, one little catch. There's this line: "I have also supported legislation to reduce the cost of college by lowering interest rates on student loans."

Not. So. Fast. Rep. Heller refers to the "College Cost Reduction Act." This would be H.R. 2669, to provide for reconciliation pursuant to section 601 of the concurrent resolution on the FY 2008 budget. This bill reduced lender subsidies by $19 billion, and calls for investing those funds in programs to increase student grants, improve access to student loans, and cutting interest rates. [GovTrack] What Representative Heller omits to say on his postcard is that during roll call 612 he voted to have H.R. 2669 sent back to committee, adding his "yes" to 199 others who tried to kill the bill with a motion to recommit. Heller reversed his position and voted in favor of the bill's passage in the House during roll call 613. One might suppose that Rep. Heller's general statement is better than saying, "I was against it before I was for it." However, this wasn't the first occasion on which Representative Heller could have displayed his support for decreasing student loan interest rates.

Heller does not refer directly to H.R. 5 a bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to reduce interest rates for student borrowers. His record on that piece of legislation isn't what one might classify as enthusiastic support. For example, on January 17th roll call 29 on ordering the previous question to bring H.R. 5 to a vote Congressman Heller's name is noticeably absent from the 225 "yeas." It does appear among the 191 "nays." Perhaps Rep. Heller means he supported the resolution to bring H.R. 5 up for consideration?

Well, no. During roll call 30 on agreeing to H.Res. 65 providing for the consideration of the College Student Relief Act, Rep. Heller was among the 190 "nay" votes. 223 other Representatives voted "aye." Maybe Representative Heller means that he didn't support stuffing the bill back in committee on a motion to recommit?

Not exactly. Roll call 31 finds Rep. Heller standing shoulder to shoulder with 186 other Republicans voting in favor of the motion to recommit. 241 other Representatives voted to keep the bill alive.

It is only on the very last vote, roll call 32, that Rep. Heller votes in favor of H.R. 5, along with 356 other Representatives, 71 other members of the GOP held out and voted "no." In short, out of the four opportunities Representative Heller had to support "legislation to reduce the cost of college by lowering interest rates on student loans," he voted "no" during three of them.

Perhaps it would have taken too much space on the post card to write, "I had at least two definitive opportunities to vote in favor of lowering interest rates on student loans, and I voted against both of them until it was obvious they were going to pass, so then I voted in favor of them on the last possible roll call."

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Bush Republicans Swiftboating Heller and Porter

If you think there's any sanity left in the Bush White House, well... Honestly, the ship is sinking, the rats (Rove, Snow, et al) are leaving, and now Bush Republicans (led by former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer and others) are going batshit crazy and are swiftboating, blackmailing, and essentially taking down with them, Republican members of Congress with a new ad campaign.

Two of the targets - Dean Heller and Jon Porter. And they're spending big:

Porter* Las Vegas, NV $63,900

Heller* Reno, NV $138,210

Yup, they're actually spending more on Heller then on Porter. Here's the ad:

Yeah, they're insinuating Iraq had something to do with 9/11 which it did not. And, yeah, they're so desperate now that they're using veterans to support a war that is killing and injuring more American soldiers every single day.

And they're almost solely targeting Republican members of Congress. They're so afraid that Heller and Porter may jump ship in September.

And, of course they're working with dirty tricks again. From Taylor Marsh:

Ari Fleischer is the front man for "Freedom's Watch," just another swiftboating type group meant to do the president's bidding. Many of you know me through my anti swiftboating work in 2006, so when I talk about these types of organizations you can bet I know what I'm talking about.

Check out the number at the end of the ad: 1-877-222-8001. Go on, call it.

As I told my radio listeners earlier today, once you get through something amazing happens. The operator asks you a question. Yes, you're expected to take part in a survey before she puts you through to Congress. But there's a catch. The question asked goes something like this: Do you believe the Iraq war is important to the war on terror? They may have changed the question by now, because we're on to them, but that's what I was asked. If you say no, the operator immediately thanks you but doesn't connect you to Congress. Instead, she asks if you have anything else to say and then basically gets rid of you. They're only allowing people who agree with them through.




I hope this backfires on Bush. It's long past time to take a stand and stop the escalation in Iraq.

And just in case you wondered, here are the real numbers if you want to call your Congressman:

(202) 224-3121 for the Senate, and (202) 225-3121 for the House

cross posted at My Silver State

Monday, August 6, 2007

Dean Heller Declares Public Lack of Confidence in Himself

I'm not quite sure whether or not Dean Heller understands that he actually won his election last year and that that building he's been sitting in since January is called the Congress of the United State of America. It seems like he needs a reminder. From the Las Vegas Sun:

The House looked like the British House of Commons, observers said, verging on a hockey game brawl. Nevada Rep. Dean Heller was among those who walked out, but Rep. Jon Porter stayed behind, even though he believes his colleagues' protest was justified, his spokesman said.

The result is that it becomes very difficult to get anything done.

"I now fully understand the public's complete lack of confidence in Congress," Heller said.

So, there you have it. Heller finally understood that the public has no confidence in him. Welcome to the club, Congressman!

Cross posted at My Silver State.

Friday, August 3, 2007

68% of Nevada Appeal Readers Don't Agree with Dean Heller on Iraq

Earlier this week, the Nevada Appeal (Carson City) did an online poll on its website asking the following question:

Do you agree with Dean Heller that the U.S. is now on the right course in Iraq?

The poll has since been taken off the frontpage of the Nevada Appeal and with 646 votes, a mere 31.89% agree with Heller while an overwhelming 68.11% say Heller is wrong.

Any chance Heller will change his stance on Iraq this September?

Cross posted at My Silver State.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Nevada Appeal Poll: Is Dean Heller Right on Iraq

The Nevada Appeal website currently has a poll up asking the following question:

Do you agree with Dean Heller that the U.S. is now on the right course in Iraq?

At this point 520 votes have been cast with only 31.92% answering "yes" and a whopping 68.08& saying "no".

Make your voice heard and vote here.

I'll update the results once the Nevada Appeal has taken the poll of the frontpage.