Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Jeff Fortenberry: Enemy of the Middle Class

by Kyle Michaelis
1st District Nebraska Congressman Jeff Fotenberry is making quite the name for himself between his January ranking in the Student Debt Relief Hall of Shame and, now, his March ranking as one of Americans United for Changes's "Enemies of the Middle Class." Probably not the sort of reputation about which you or I would be proud, but there's no denying that both are well-deserved from where Fortenberry actually stands on the issues.

The following press release got sent out a couple of weeks back. Yet, I don't remember reading anything about it in the Nebraska press. Anyone? Anyone? Yeah, didn't think so. Anyway, take it away, AUC:
In response to their full frontal, unapologetic assault on the middle class agenda in the 110th session of the U.S. House of Representatives, Americans United for Change today dubbed eighteen Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, ‘Public Enemies of the Middle Class,' including:...Jeff Fortenberry (NE-1).....

Specifically, Americans United took issue with the Representatives' votes against: 1) H.R.2, the Fair Minimum Wage Act which would raise the federal minimum wage for the first time since 1997 from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour over two years; and 2) H.R. 800, the Employee Free Choice Act, which would level the playing field for middle class workers by fixing a badly broken system for forming unions and bargaining with big business and Corporate America for better pay and improved benefits.

Both bills passed in the U.S. House with bipartisan support, and Americans United for Change...is now urging Members of the U.S. Senate to do the right thing and move each element of the middle class agenda to the President's desk.....

Earlier this year, each of these Members opposed the first increase in the federal minimum wage in a decade. They couldn't even be counted on to stand up for the most vulnerable workers in their states who live in borderline poverty. A week later, half of these Members [Fortenberry included] took their insensitivity towards the middle class plight a step further by opposing legislation to make college more affordable by slashing student loan interest rates in half.

It's a question of priorities and a question of values - and it's clear that each of these Members have lost touch with the values of middle class Americans, whom overwhelmingly support these important initiatives. Until they get their priorities straight in Washington and stop pandering to the special interests at the expense of working people, we will continue to identify each Member as their districts' ‘middle class public enemy #1.'"

In response to Americans United for Change's promise to publicize Fortenberry's votes and to hold him accountable for his middle class betrayal, the Nebraska Republican Party has organized a silly online petition that reads:
Tell Americans United for Change to stay out of Nebraska!

Soon, a liberal 527 group called Americans United for Change will initiate negative media attacks against United States Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE-01). Americans United for Change is another left-wing organization in the same mold as Moveon.org that caters to liberal conspiracy theorists. Their mission is simple: to smear, attack, distort, and misrepresent Rep. Fortenberry’s vote on the minimum wage increase.

As a concerned voter in Nebraska I affirm my support for Rep. Fortenberry and hope that Americans United for Change will keep their ultra liberal agenda out of our state.
Darn that "ultra liberal agenda" of raising the minimum wage!!! And, thank God we have the Nebraska Republican Party protecting us from "liberal conspiracy theorists."

Wow, they should do a lot more of these online petitions. All I have to do is let our friendly local Republicans speak for themselves for their silliness and artificiality to shine through.

In announcing their petition to supporters, Nebraska GOP Chair Mark Quandahl also stated of Americans United for Change:
There is nothing mainstream about their group and there is nothing mainstream about their staff:

▪ Brad Woodhouse, President – Former spokesperson for the Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee....

▪ Suzanne Granville, Deputy Executive Director – Former Director of the Working Women’s Department of the AFL-CIO.

▪ Jeremy Funk, Field Director – Worked for Tom Daschle's re-election campaign and at Media Matters for America – “a web-based, not-for-profit, progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.”
Interesting to see that even the Nebraska GOP got their memo from Karl Rove to strike the last syllable from Democratic (as regards the DSCC). And, of course, one wonders whom they are talking about as not "mainstream" for being Democrats, being a labor leader, or - GASP - working for Tom Daschle's 2004 campaign.

Yeah, darn those crazy, ultra-liberals in South Dakota!

Then again, this is the same Nebraska Republican Party that currently denounces national Democratic Chairman Howard Dean for speaking ill of Republicans - while simultaneously calling him "crazy" for being a Democrat, daring to visit Omaha on April 11th, and famously getting a little too exciteable after the 2004 Iowa Presidential caucus.

I suppose it's good to see the GOPs penchant for hypocrisy remains so firmly intact. Honestly, would you really have it any other way?

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