Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Invisible Hand Makes a Rude Gesture

Well, it looks like I was wrong: Mr. Rogers actually did set foot in the district last week.

After his interesting stab at "talking" to voters on WHMI (a radio town hall, which ensured Rogers wouldn't have to be in the same room as unscreened constitutents), the Press & Argus' Mike Malott noted that Our Republican congressman from Brighton dropped by the offices of the Daily Press & Argus last week to chit-chat about a variety of topics.

The "chit-chat" got off to a jolly start with Mr. Rogers' ideas about health care (!) and the presidential race. Things took a turn for the indignant, though, when the topic turned to the auto industry and alternative energy.

Seems that last year's changes in CAFE standards (which Rogers considered an effort to "make a fat guy skinny by mandating smaller pant sizes") have really offended Mr. Rogers' free-market sensibilities:

If pollution from our internal combustion cars is threatening to cause global warming, Rogers said, the better solution would be to let car companies innovate our way out of the problem.

Hmmmm. Fair enough. Some car companies HAVE innovated their way out of the problem, which is why there's a waiting list for Toyota Prius and Honda Civic hybrids.

[The Prius, as you may recall, is a vehicle which irks Mr. Rogers to no end. When the 2007 energy bill was delivered to the White House in a Prius -- currently, it's the only vehicle that meets the new CAFE standards -- Mr. Rogers called it a slap in the face. And he called it a "pregnant roller skate" in this morning's Freep. What is it about this tiny car that so gets under Mr. Rogers' skin?]

But wait -- how can Mr. Rogers be an advocate for zero Congressional interference in auto and energy policy AND at the same time push for billions of taxpayer dollars in research subsidies?

This doubletalk isn't anything new. Late last year, Rogers was cranky about a Californian bill to regulate auto emissions
"California would still be allowed to design American cars, and the only thing worse than that is to have Congress designing our cars," Rogers said in a statement. "American families ought to decide what cars they want to drive, not the state of California where extremism continues to damage the manufacture of American cars and hurt American workers."
Wow! A statement like that gets high-five from the invisible hand!

That high-five turns into a slap upside the head when you see how much taxpayer money Mr. Rogers has thrown at the auto and energy industries over the years, including $20 billion for a proposed "green technology incentive program," ethanol subsidies, oil & gas tax breaks...

Here's another thing: when the Big Three were trying desperately to meet with President Bush in the summer of 2006, Mr. Rogers didn't lift a finger to help them. He even said to the Free Press, "I have always been a little bit amazed at the lack of prowess of the Big Three in Congress."

SUMMARY: Complain when Congress sets guidelines for industry, but nod vigorously when Congress doles out federal $$ to those industries. Take money from those industries, then crack wise when they need your help.

Don't laugh -- this strategy has been working for Mike Rogers over the past 8 years!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Too Little, Too Late

In today's Press & Argus, you'll find a quarter-page ad inviting you to join Mike Rogers in a radio town hall on Wednesday (2/20). The topic is "Protecting Our Homes Against Foreclosure." In the ad, Mr. Rogers writes,

I know that 2007 was a difficult year for Michigan families. My top priority is protecting mid-Michigan jobs and helping families get through the current housing crisis. I look forward to talking with you on February 20 about protecting our homes against foreclosure.
Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that things are not looking good around here.

It's telling that Mr. Rogers chose this format. A radio call-in means he won't have to be in the same room -- or even the same state -- as actual voters. Calls will be screened, so he won't have to answer any tough questions. Ah, the sweet smell of control...

Have you noticed that Mr. Rogers has a rather unique concept of "representative"?

He's rarely in the district.

When he is in town, it's for a fundraiser or partisan political event. (He was a no-show at the Brighton 4th of July parade and the Howell MelonFest parade)

His Lansing office grudgingly tolerates walk-in visits, but don't even think about bringing anything in: the staff throws away flowers from peace activists and shrinks from touching yard signs. On occasion, they even head out the back door when they don't want to deal with annoying constituents.

You can make an appointment to see him in Washington, but that's no guarantee he'll actually meet with you -- in fact, you may not get to enter the office.

His spokeswoman doesn't speak to the local media.

So just how representative is our Representative? Is this level of service worth a $162,000 salary, gold-plated health care coverage and a nice pension?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Busy, Busy

The House was considering a 21-day extension to the temporary electronic surveillance law; at least, they were until House Republicans orchestrated a series of votes to derail it.

On Tuesday, the Senate basically rolled over for the Bush Administration's lust to spy on American citizens. (At least Senator Levin stood up for us!)

The House version would place more restrictions on the administration’s surveillance authority.
You'd think that this is worth a little discussion...

Mr. Rogers disagrees.

He was quoted in the lead paragraph of a National Association of Manufacturers liveblog :
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) rejects the arguments that the House needs more time, saying that if the House has time to investigate Roger Clemons, name post offices, and pass commemorations, then it has time to act to protect the United States.

Please keep in mind that NAM is led by none other than John Engler, which should give you a bit of perspective...

It's ironic that Mr. Rogers thinks the House is wasting time on issues like steroid use and commemorations. He is, after all, the guy who has brought us such gems as H.Res. 488 (Commemorating the 2006 Detroit Tigers), H. Res. 325 (Honoring the MSU hockey team), the City of Lansing for being a High Growth Community, Dick DeVos and Alticor, and H.Res. 1749 (to end insurance discrimination against motorcyclists).

See? Mr. Roger is REALLY busy protecting the United States from foreign bad guys! He's so busy doing this, in fact, that he doesn't have time keep appointments with constitutents who visit him in Washington.

He certainly doesn't have time to waste on debating fundamental constitutional issues like warrantless wiretapping of U.S. citizens.

Monday, February 11, 2008

There's Your Sign

As if we need any more confirmation that Mike Rogers does not, in fact, represent the people of Michigan's Eighth District, Judy over at Living Blue has a story about some constituents who had an appointment to meet with Mr. Rogers when they visited Washington, D.C. last week:

The group of nine constitutents were among 2,000 UAW members in town for the UAW Community Action Program meeting and had scheduled a meeting with Rogers for 3 p.m. They had already heard from both Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, who spoke to the event on Monday.

But when they showed up for their confirmed appointment with their congressional representative -- not a last-minute drop-in visit -- Rogers was nowhere to be seen.

In fact, the constituents -- who are in effect Rogers' bosses because they pay his salary and decide whether to keep him on each November -- had trouble getting their collective foot in the door.

As one member of the group said, "All of these constituents had issues that they wanted to discuss with him (Rogers) but instead we met with his Legislative Director, Mike Ward - in the hallway!"

Hop on over to LivingBlue for the rest of the story.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Hands Across the Blogiverse

One of the neatest things about the internet is the way you can find people all over the world who share your interests, your concerns and even your sense of humor.

For those of us in Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood (MI-08), it was cool to find that there is Another Mike Rogers (AL-03)... and in return, Mooncat over at Left In Alabama gave us a shout out:
There's a Mike Rogers underrepresenting folks in Michigan, too. Keep tabs on him at Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.
This was part of a post on Blogroll Amnesty Day ("Look Up! Link Down!"). Jon Swift has this take on the power of today:
Ironically, Blogroll Amnesty Day had a net positive effect for the blogosphere as a whole. I discovered a number of great blogs and made new friends and I am sure that is true for others as well. And so instead of remembering February 3 as a day that will live in infamy, let's turn this day into a celebration of the power of smaller blogs. Let's recognize that building an inclusive community of diverse voices is what the blogosphere should be about, not creating a new elite to replace the old mainstream media elite.
Do your part -- visit a new blog, share the links, share the love.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Mason, Meet Dixon

Michiganders are about as Northern as you get (next stop, Canada). Yet it's nice, in a strange way, to find that there are Southerners who share our problems and concerns.

Example Number One: Mike Rogers

As you know, there is another Mike Rogers in Congress -- from Alabama's Third District. While he doesn't have much of a physical resemblance to Michigan Mike, intellectually (ahem) they are two peas in a very conservative pod.

They even share their talking points, something of which Michigan Mike is very fond.

Alabama Mike also voted against overriding the Bush veto of SCHIP, and issued this statement:
The debate over SCHIP is serious business, which is why I find these types of political games so disappointing.
Compare this with Michigan Mike's statements:
As we look forward, it is crucial to end political gimmicks such as the veto override vote. [skip] I had hoped for an end to the political posturing when the flawed measure was vetoed
Those darn Democrats! Curse their posturing, gimmicks and game playing!

Here at MRN, we've spent a lot of time talking about Michigan Mike's anti-SCHIP votes, including a post earlier this week.

Just for fun, I poked around to see what the stout-hearted bloggers at Left in Alabama (the southern equivalent of Michigan Liberal) and found posts and comments like these:
I have beat this S-CHIP horse until my arms are tired, but I still believe it is the clearest example of the unfeeling, callous disregard these Congressmen (don't call them representatives) show every day. (normboyd40)
For more posts about Alabama Mike, visit Left in Alabama and check out Mooncat's diaries. The most recent, Mike Rogers: Fundraising Passes For Leadership in the Republican Party, could have been posted here with very few changes.

(Perhaps this calls for a blogger exchange! We frozen Michiganders would be more than happy to visit the land of camellias and Gulf breezes. In the summer, the Alabamans could come on up and enjoy our pleasant peninsula and lakes...)

In the meantime, we're still stuck with Congresscritters who live in their own Bush-centric universe. Keep on blogging, Mooncat -- I'm right beside you working for a Mike Rogers-free Congress in 2009!