Friday, October 22, 2010

Jim Jordan, why did you need to lie?

It is expected, if not guaranteed, that everyone who gets into elected office will at some point or another lie to their constituents in order to maintain short-term favor with them. Far more often than not, the falsehoods they utter or publish in press releases are aimed at those voters who are on the fence when it comes to how they will vote in whatever election may be forthcoming.

But that does not make the situation any less perplexing when a politician serves-up a bold-faced lie to those who typically can be counted-on to be his most dependable voters.

Such is the case with Representative Jim Jordan (R-Urbana), who could not find it in his heart to be straightforward with the members of the local Tea Party organization based in Lima.

At the center of this story is Jordan’s lack of participation in the Abigail Adams Project. This is one of the grassroots efforts that sprung to life over the last year-and-a-half. Yet instead of involving demonstrations or protests, Abigail Adams Project is focused entirely on informing voters whether candidates for local, state, and federal offices support or oppose previous, current, or proposed legislative issues.

On September 9, Jordan showed up at the monthly meeting of the Allen County Ohio Patriots and accepted questions from members and anyone else in attendance. With the deadline for candidates’ responses to the Abigail Adams questionnaire looming, Jordan was asked whether or not he was going to participate in it. He told the members that evening that it was “under consideration.”

The problem with that reply involves a letter he sent to the Ohio organizers of the Abigail Adams Project dated September 7 – two days before the ACOP meeting. Jordan’s letter spells-out where he stands on matters of federal spending, abortion, and other issues commonly important to conservatives in America. The letter’s message, ultimately, was that he would not be going to their Website to answer their survey.

So if he knew on the 7th that he was not going to participate in that organization’s effort, why would he tell the membership of Allen County’s Tea Party group that in essence he was looking into it? Why not tell them the truth that he was letting it go by the wayside?

To the casual follower of such political affairs, this would seem like such a trivial matter and non-story. “So, he didn’t fill out a questionnaire.”

Here is the rub: as conservative as the majority of voters in West-Central and Northwestern Ohio tend to be and in light of the rise of the grassroots political action committee movement over the past 18 months, the Tea Party represents Jordan’s base. Much of the participation over the last eight to 10 months in the county organizations that have sprung-up comes from staunch conservatives – the people who would be considered his base supporters.

Why would any politician in his or her right mind so casually lie to their base?

And there still is more to this story.

At the October 11 meeting of the Auglaize County Patriots, which was a candidates night event, Ohio General Assembly incumbents Cliff Hite and John Adams – both Republicans – were straightforward in mentioning that the Ohio Republican Party had instructed its candidates specifically not to fill-out the Abigail Adams Project surveys. Also to their credit, Hite and Adams chose to tackle the Abigail Adams questions and not comply with party leaders.

In an election year when both the country and Ohio are expected to lean very heavily to the right at the polls, what could the strategy possibly be with refusing to cooperate with organizations playing a key role in bolstering the Republican Party’s expected large-scale gains in offices held?

One answer to that last question is the simple truth that Ohio Republicans have as little interest in acknowledging the legitimacy of or extending respect to the Tea Party movement as most Democrats.

We have seen this in Secretary of State candidate Jon Husted’s television ads which open with the Flag of Gadsden waving in the beginning and end with the narrator proclaiming him to share “your values.” Considering that Husted was Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives during the Bob Taft years – when state Republicans were running up spending and taxes like they were disciples of Jimmy Carter – such a claim is laughable and insulting.

Then there is the plight of would-be-candidate for Ohio Attorney General Steve Christopher. He would have been a bona fide Tea Party candidate had he been certified on the primary ballot as opposed to getting shafted eight ways to Sunday – when the Secretary of State’s office could not find the majority of the signatures Christopher had submitted (And this is not a baseless assertion. None of the signatures collected for him in Mercer County were counted – and I have spoken with Mercer County residents who circulated his candidate petitions and they still bristle when the subject comes up).

The ORP made no effort to investigate the situation and would not demonstrate the decency to even pay lip service to Christopher with any form of support.

And now, we have the same Republican Party establishment spitting in the face of an important Tea Party effort designed to help voters know more about how their candidates lean on various issues.

Jordan’s choice to lie outright about the situation has him falling right in line with his fellow Ohio GOP faithful.

As much as Jim Jordan likes to tout himself as standing apart from other Republicans when they are in the wrong, on this matter he certainly has proven himself to be a good little servant of the Party when they called on him to be one. What more could we expect from a lawyer turned career politician?

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