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The Two Chris Smiths

There are two Rep Chris Smiths (NJ 4th District) much like there are two Mitt Romneys.

There appears to be two US Representative Chris Smiths (NJ 4th District) much like there are two Mitt Romneys. There is the responsive and the non-responsive Chris Smith and there is the privately extreme and the publicly moderate Mitt Romney.

In a letter last week a writer, apparently a Republican, wrote about Chris Smith responding to her request while she was visiting the Republican Headquarters. From that incident she extrapolated that he had a world of wonderful characteristics. Other people (and the press) have made similar extrapolations based on Smith’s involvement in a few high profile cases (e.g. the Goldman matter.)        

Of course then there is the non-responsive Chris Smith. Obviously, as a Democratic candidate, I have heard hundreds of stories from unhappy constituents about Smith’s lack of responsiveness to their issues and communications. But there are many more public examples. You can go online to Youtube and find a video of people visiting his office after having been frustrated with his complete lack of responsiveness to their inquiries.  An obvious and very public example was Smith’s feigned ignorance about the biggest publication in his district writing stories about the biggest problem (education) in the biggest town (Lakewood) in his district.

He then further claimed that he didn’t get the phone calls from the publication about the story. Similarly there was a story last week in another publication about their great difficulty in contacting and arranging an interview with Rep Smith which, after it had finally been arranged, he then no-showed for. And, despite being publicly criticized in previous campaigns for not participating in any public forums or debates, he has no-showed for all of the town hall meetings that he has been invited to so far in this campaign. Apparently responding to the public or media generally is not one of his wonderful characteristics.

On other issues two Smiths also appear.  Rep Smith publicly proclaims his interest in overall human rights, not just abortion. But a look at the specifics of his words and actions seem to belie that protestation. In the 1980s Smith (and Rep Dick Cheney) voted against a Congressional resolution to free Nelson Mandela from prison. In the 1990s he voted against the Women’s Equal Rights amendment specifically because of its effect on abortion. In the 2000s Kenya spent extensive efforts and several years revising their 1969 Constitution to include freedom of the press, an independent judiciary, a permanent human rights commission, and other important safeguards.

The Constitution was approved by 70% of the people and the process was almost unanimously acclaimed as a model for the rest of the world. Yet Rep Smith accused President Obama and his administration of criminal activity for supporting that process since the Constitution contained a woman’s right to abortion in the case of rape, incest, or health. Most recently he has been very public about China human rights. But his principle and very specific concern has been the Chinese abortion policy. Most of his other rights activities revolve around this same abortion issue. 

Similarly Gov Romney expresses public affection for all people and private disdain for many. He has publicly espoused his support for, and the importance of, education and privately said he intends to eliminate the entire US Department of Education. His different positions on topics as varied as the Blunt Amendment (contraception) and gun control leave people scratching their heads. On some issues Romney has had so many different positions you wonder if he is a victim of multiple personality disorder.  Even his home based Salt Lake City Tribune said there was too many Mitts and endorsed President Obama.  

Smith’s public relations issues might not be so bad if they didn’t come at the cost of even worse public policy. He opposed Obamacare, voted for the Ryan Plan (privatizing Social Security, voucherizing Medicare, and devastating Medicaid), supported still more tax cuts for the wealthy, and made the Norquist pledge never to raise those taxes. Since those are similar to the Bush era polices that he supported (and that got us into this great recession) perhaps that is the one area where he has, unfortunately, been singularly consistent.

In any event, we certainly have at least one too many Rep Chris Smiths.      

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Menendez & Corzine Perfect Together October 25, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Good. NJ is overtaxed. Does this include property taxes. Who out there wants higher property taxes because of pensions and healthcare payments to unions?? Let's eliminate the pensions in NJ and provide $3 billion in tax relief to the towns, counties and state. http://www.njtanews.blogspot.com/2012/09/sign-pledge-for-fairer-pension-system.html
Menendez & Corzine Perfect Together October 25, 2012 at 09:03 PM
What and expect people to take personal responsibility? Are you MAD???
George Clark October 25, 2012 at 09:08 PM
menendez, you silly shill. you answer nothing and hide behind people's name you claim to dislike. Don't you know advertisement is a form of flattery and by putting that handle on yourself you actually are looking totally stupid advertising for them? Go on and tell us how ryan and romneys economic plan would reduce deficit by one sent? let's save money by stopping aid to Israel that doesnt need it. At least the other countries need it for some reason or other. Israel sends it back to congress through the lobbyist pac of theirs. kick backs through corrupt souls in the name of God? nice.
Menendez & Corzine Perfect Together October 25, 2012 at 09:18 PM
yep just like Obama blame someone or something else. Never take responsibility. You are the shill with your crazy comments, no basic facts or knowledge of budgets, economics or finances. I bet you still think Corzine wasn't a filthy rich, liberal spender who is as corrupt as they come. He was Mr. Goldman Sachs. He screwed up NJ and then like Obama lied about the events the caused MF Global to go bankrupt. Is that your idea of a good man and leader? Joe Biden thinks Corzine is the go to man!!! We cannot afford anyone that thinks Corzine is worth anything. Do you want to take a stab at answering the question. I now know Brian is afraid to even though by supporting BS he knows the answer is he will cut Medicare AND borrow more money to pay what's left. Did Obama lie when in 2008 he attacked the debt? Did he just say that to get elected and attack Bush....he was right by the way so why did he add $7 trillion to the debt. Are you anti-Israel like Obama too?
NJarhead October 26, 2012 at 11:08 AM
I guess not. But the silence leads me to believe that you do support the conspiracy theory.

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