Really, Bay Ridge? Really?
Voters in the southwestern corner of Brooklyn picked a strange way of displaying their apparent anger towards President Obama by repudiating freshman Rep. Mike McMahon, a centrist Democrat whose voting record and temperament showed that he was anything but a rubber stamp.
Though only a freshman, McMahon was an important presence in Washington, getting selected by his peers as the freshman class whip.
Rather than using that role to serve as a lapdog for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, however, McMahon was an independent voice for his district, and one of the most common-sense members of the House.
Yes, McMahon voted with the supposedly “out-of-control” Democratic leadership — on substantive initiatives such as a “cap-and-trade” system for pollution reduction that will also help ease our addiction to foreign oil; a children’s health care program; solar technology; regulations for the financial services industry; allowing federal health plans to cover abortion; and backing the $819-billion federal stimulus package, which remains controversial even though it helped pull the country out of the worst economic straits since the Depression.
Other times, however, McMahon cast his votes with the GOP — most notably for new weapons systems, against new taxes on Wall Street bonuses, against President Obama’s health reform bill, and against the release of photos depicting prisoners abused by American soldiers.
We don’t agree with all of those votes, but we have always respected McMahon’s integrity and common sense. His votes accurately reflect the centrist values and independent spirit of his majority Democratic Bay Ridge–Staten Island district.
That’s why Tuesday’s vote is so troubling. Call us old fashioned, but we believe that the electorate should closely consider a candidate’s voting record and character before fully embracing the popular, but ultimately short-sighted, “throw-the-bums-out” rhetoric.
In this particular race, Republican Michael Grimm, a former Marine and FBI agent, campaigned on little more than GOP talking points and Fox News Channel hysteria about America’s descent into Socialism. He now says that the first item on his agenda is to elect the ultimate Washington insider, Rep. John Boehner (R–Ohio), as Speaker of the House. Another initiative will be to cut taxes for the rich, a move that will punish the middle class, which makes up the vast majority of Congressman-elect Grimm’s constituency.
As Bay Ridge’s representative to the House, Grimm must remember that he works for middle-of-the-road Brooklynites, not the Tea Party or a conservative Speaker from the heartland.