Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Burr, Under His Blanket

The thing to note about Dick Burr's recent flip-flop in saying we don't need Bush's Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage (see previous posting here) is how under-the-radar this guy tries to fly, racking up one of the most conservative voting records in Congress while also trying to sound positively moderate when talking to, say, young people in Raleigh. Burr gets a whopping 91 percent certified, gold-plated, lifetime "Conservative" rating from the American Conservative Union, which does not suffer "moderates" gladly.

We fondly recall that after Burr took office in Congress in January 1995, swept into office in the fateful Gingrich Revolution of 1994, he proudly came to Watauga County for an open "town-hall meeting" at the Watauga County Courthouse. We attended, along with a bunch of local citizens we did not know, whose motivations were unknown to us, at least until they started speaking. Burr was all proud grins about how well the "Contract With America" was going in Congress ... about how he and all the other Gingrich clones were happily dismantling "government for the people" (though he didn't put it exactly that way), and then he fatefully threw the meeting open for public comment. He did not hear what he was expecting to hear, clearly. You could see him pulling himself into a rabbit hole under the barage of criticism, probing questions, angry looks. And this hostility was not coming from the usual Democratic activists, though we feel sure he THOUGHT that was the case. Because he never came back to Watauga County for an open forum after that. Not once. He instead began to choose "safe" venues, like Chamber of Commerce gatherings that were rarely advertized in advance nor open to the probing questions of the Great Unwashed Electorate in Watauga County.

Brave Congressman Burr!

When Neal Cashion ran against Burr in 1996, we urged him to get a school bus and drive from county seat to county seat with a banner: "Has Anyone Seen Our Congressman?" We thought people might actually notice that their representative in Washington absolutely can't STAND being challenged on his beliefs, his votes, or his philosophy (which appears from his abyssmal voting record to be coldly and doctrinairely pro-big business but which in an election cycle goes conveniently under cover).

If Erskine Bowles tries to play nice with this guy, you can forget it. Because nobody PLAYS nice better than Dick Burr. Bowles needs to highlight that legislative career, those ACTUAL VOTES, because most voters haven't got a clue how he's screwed them to the wall (just as most voters don't have a clue just what, exactly, Virginia Foxx is all about).

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