Congressman Fred Upton is the logical choice in the 6th District Republican primary race (Editorial)
Fred Upton is the best choice in the Republican primary to represent the 6th District congressional district.In other words, he's lying to conservatives.
Upton deftly maneuvers between two camps — one that accuse him of being too liberal and the other that calls him too conservative, and arrives at a place that is largely balanced. Although he tends to spout more conservative-leaning rhetoric, something that is at times tiresome, Upton's actions demonstrate a willingness to work across party lines to seek consensus.
As the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, for example, he instituted a policy that moved bills with bipartisan support to the top of the committee's agenda. That is a simple and effective approach that encourages Republicans and Democrats to work together.He is bragging about voting against Obama's stimulus plan.
He worked across party lines to push forward the widening of I-94 as part of President Barack Obama's stimulus package and helped find funds for improvements at the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport.
Congress often fails to find that note of compromise, much to the dismay of the general public. The Center on Congress at Indiana University in April released the results of a 2011 survey that found Americans understand legislators have to find consensus among widely disparate ideologies, and they would like to see Congress find that middle road quickly.Compromise is not a good thing in-and-of itself. It is only good if the compromise is actually good policy. The left and the media demand compromise to get conservatives to abandon their beliefs. The public likes 'compromise' because it is an easy way of avoiding studying the issues and deciding what position is right. Ideological battles can be unpleasant, but they are sometimes necessary to implement good policies.
The vast majority also believe Congress does a miserable job at that and is an ineffective institution, giving Congress an average grade of a "D" for dealing with major issues facing the country and a "D-" for keeping excessive partisanship in check. And, 47.9 percent of respondents to the first question and 57.6 percent of respondents to the second question gave Congress an "F."
Can it have escaped the Gazette's notice that the biggest policy disasters have been bipartisan? Enthusiasm for weakening lending standards to promote home-ownership was bipartisan. Support for the Wall Street bailout was bipartisan. Support for the Iraq War was bipartisan. Support for lax immigration standards has been bipartisan. Support for massive government spending and debt has been bipartisan. Policies that have wide bipartisan support tend to escape the close scrutiny that partisan opposition provides.
Jack Hoogendyk, the former state representative from Texas Township who is Upton's challenger in the Republican primary, actually agrees with Upton on many points, such as the need to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act and an economic policy that focuses on reducing business regulations and taxes that they say inhibit private sector growth, and thus slows job creation.Which 'ultra-conservative causes'? Official English, which had 82% support in Michigan? The Gazette labeled that 'divisive' several years back.
Hoogendyk, however is single-minded in his commitment to ultra-conservative causes and approaches and that would only exacerbate the ideological divide in Congress. His intransigence would lead to more of the gridlock that stymies Washington today, and the American public cannot afford more divisiveness as it waits for leadership to guide it out of the lingering recession.
Upton does not always succeed in his bipartisan efforts in Washington, D.C., most notably he participated in the failed "super committee," that was charged with trimming $1.5 trillion from the federal deficit last fall. But as committee chair of the aforementioned Committee on Energy and Commerce, he has used that position to advocate for measures that have direct impact on businesses in southwest Michigan, such as the streamlining of the FDA approval process and scuttling a tax on new medical devices. He has the potential to leverage that role into meaningful change for Michigan.Conservatives should take note of the Gazette's endorsement--and vote the opposite.
Fred Upton's experience and his demonstrated willingness to work with members of both parties makes him the stronger Republican candidate in the Aug. 7 primary. The winner will face Democrat Mike O'Brien in the Nov. 6 general election.
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