Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Praise Where It's Due

As we looked back through our recent editions while we were on vacation break, we noticed that we'd missed covering a few stories recently - including some potentially well-earned praise that we missed handing out.

Since the President is back to work - apparently he's the only major part of our government back from vacation - but the rest of Washington, DC is still on vacation, we thought we should cover at least one of those items we'd bypassed earlier this month.

After all, what else would we talk about? The insanity of Rick Perry, the second-coming of George W. Bush, who is currently leading the 2012 GOP field? Not today. Maybe we'll look at that tomorrow.

The news item we're focusing on today - one we'd missed covering in early August - is a simple one. Nebraska Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, someone we haven't always had the kindest words for, did something amazing earlier this month at a town hall gathering in Lincoln. His action was amazing because, sadly, we've yet to hear almost any Republican at almost any level these days state what he did.

Fortenberry, in not so many words, told right-wing extremist Grover Norquist and his Tea Party minions to go to hell.

In case you're unfamiliar with the background, we'll give you the Cliff's Notes version. Grover Norquist, an anti-tax, pro-corporate lobbyist, has gained a political stranglehold over much of the Republican Party over the last twenty-five years. His most recent tactic is to demand that our elected officials bend to his whims, and not necessarily to the whims of the people who elected them. To accomplish that end, Norquist extracts a pledge from Republicans running for office that says they won't raise taxes for ANY reason... Period.

Admittedly, Rep. Foretenberry signed just such a pledge when he was trying to win his seat in the house of Representatives in 2004.

What Fortenberry did earlier this month, in that town hall in Lincoln, was to pointedly reject the pledge he'd previously signed with Norquist's anti-tax organization.

As a Republican, in a political atmosphere thick with extremist rhetoric, flush with massive amounts of outside cash from hard-to-track sources, Fortenberry finally took a stand for the moderate GOP members that truly make up the majority of Nebraska Republicans (and we believe, Republicans across the country).

We're not sure if Rep. Fortenberry will back up his comments - comments he's since repeated - with actions that make sense, like those that Warren Buffett has suggested this past summer.

What we will say is this: to our moderate Republican friends and readers who complain to us that they are tired of being tarred and feathered with the same political muck attached to the likes of Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Perry - adjectives like racist, ignorant, classist, uneducated, intolerant, and bigoted ...

If Fortenberry doesn't at least receive a word of praise from you for being to willing to stand up for the sane, moderate, sensible position we know that you truly support, then you'll have no one else to blame but yourself for the kinds of extremist nutball candidates you'll have to pick from in your primary elections in 2012.

We sincerely hope, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, that you follow through with your words, and find some revenue enhancements - meaning taxes on those who can afford them - that you can support.

If you do that, sir, we can honestly say you'll have earned the praise we're willing to afford you now.

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