Bluestem has been cross about the breathless reporting and tweeting about how Minnesota Nice Sixth District freshman Congressman Tom Emmer has been, because those fawning articles and posts mention surface niceties, not policy.
We don't care how much a congressman--or a commoner--makes us cry with his or her storytelling; indeed, the debasement of the storytelling form by marketing and issue campaigns now cause the mere delivery of a personal witness Youtube to our mailboxes fire up our fact checking.
As this is the current state of "storytelling," we appreciate St. Cloud Times Writers Group columnist Karen Cryson's latest, Emmer's style, votes paint different pictures:
The first quarter of the first year of U.S. 6th District Rep. Tom Emmer's first term is drawing to a close. If you, as a constituent, had to grade him, how's he doing?
Based on the articles and opinion pieces in the St. Cloud Times and the Star Tribune concerning Emmer's efforts to assimilate in Washington, work with both "sides," and listen to people, plus his town hall meetings and email newsletters, under "Conduct" we'd certainly have to award him a "+" and a smiley face in the category "Plays well with others."
That's nice, but how's he voting? That is how he represents us.
There's been little or no reporting on this subject. I've pulled the information on a few of the key votes taken in the U.S. House so far this session. This is how our Republican representative voted:
•In favor of HR 161, which allows only 90 days for environmental reviews of gas pipeline permit applications after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has evaluated the application.
•Against a motion to amend HR 161 to make gas companies responsible for cleanup in case of explosions and hold pipeline owners responsible for loss of life and other damages.
Did you see a headline "Emmer OKs rushing pipeline studies. If shoddy workmanship results in explosion, taxpayers will pay for cleanup"? Me neither. . . .
•Against a motion to require Keystone's owners to pay into a Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.
I guess I missed the oil pipeline one, too. "Emmer votes to OK Keystone; owners excited that spills won't be their worry."
•Against a motion to deny tax benefits, as part of HR 644, to any business that reincorporates overseas to avoid U.S. taxes.
I never saw "Emmer votes to allow businesses to skip the country and skip paying taxes. . . .
And my personal favorite:
•In favor of HR 1029 to reshape the Environmental Protection Agency's Advisory Board, reducing the number of academic scientists on the board and filling those seats with members of the industries being regulated. How could this go wrong?
But wait. There's more.
Emmer also voted against an amendment that would have required those captains of polluting industries to not have been convicted of pollution crimes.
The net effect is the scientists who actually study pollution and its effects will be replaced on the regulatory board by industry insiders who may actually have been convicted of crimes related to environmental pollution.
This isn't legislation. It's an environmental atrocity. . . .
Read the entire article in the Times, then make sure each time a good progressive friend starts rattling on about What A Nice Guy Tom Emmer Has Become, you rescue your friend from the walking dead by asking: which votes?
Photo: Tom Emmer, Mr. Nice Guy, back when he was doing infomercials for Renters Warehouse. Pay no attention to the votes behind the CSPAN screen.
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