Thursday, October 30, 2008

GOP congressman misses debate with blind, Jewish adversary. Sends blind, Jewish surrogate with no knowledge of issues.

I recently wrote about Dennis Shulman, a blind clinical psychologist and Rabbi who's running to unseat the man described as the most conservative congressman from the Northeast, Scott Garrett (read here). Garrett is so far right, other conservatives call him a nut (read here and here). Now Garrett has outdone himself. He had the nerve not to show up for a debate with Shulman at a local shul, instead sending a blind, Jewish surrogate who didn't know his stand on any of the issues. (If the backstory weren't so involved, this would be a great definition for chutzpah.)

from Jason Springer at Blue Jersey: Wanted: Garrett surrogate - Must be Jewish, blind... knowledge of issues optional

This past Sunday morning at Temple Emanuel in River Edge, both candidates for Congress in the 5th district were invited to speak with voters in the Community.

Congressman Garrett has attended events at the Synagogue before, but chose not to attend this one instead sending a surrogate to represent him. Rabbi Dennis Shulman attended the event himself.

Apparently, the most appropriate representative Garrett could find was a blind and Jewish gentleman from Tenafly. He didn't know of Congressman Garrett's opposition to SCHIP or his vote on the most recent compromise Energy bill on drilling. Conservative voters won't be thrilled to know that he didn't even know where Scott Garrett stood on gay marriage.

I'm sure the Garrett representative is a very nice man, but being that he didn't know Garrett's positions, I wonder why the campaign thought he'd be the most appropriate surrogate? It would be interesting to know whether he's been a surrogate before or if this was a one time deal.

Garrett's power derives from his seat on the House Financial Services Committee, where he been a staunch advocate of deregulation. According to the Newark Star Ledger

"Garrett has received thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from financial-service firms and in March hired as his chief of staff a former lobbyist for Countrywide Financial, the nation's former largest mortgage lender that earlier this year became synonymous with the financial-services meltdown."


Scott Garrett

Garrett's been ranked among the most conservative members of Congress by liberal groups. (Read here. Remember, they're grading him on a scale of 0 - 100, not 0 - 10.) Garret's record includes no votes for bills to assist the disabled and to improve health care for veterans (read here).

While opposing middle class tax breaks, Garrett himself claimed a $41,000 tax break on his 9 acres of property in western New Jersey by declaring it a farm because his family sold some of his shrubbery for $700 (read here, view video here).



http://www.21stcenturydems.org/assets/2008/5/19/HS_Shulman_Dennis_150.jpg
Dennis Shulman

Shulman, in my opinion, would make an excellent congressman. Check out this profile by Jeffrey Toobin in the New Yorker (read here), and this interview in Heeb magazine (read here). For those interested in supporting him, here's his website.

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