Democracy in Action

So in a partial repeat of 2014, Bill Shuster (R-PA) is facing a vicious primary challenger from the right by the name of Art Halvorson.  In 2014 Shuster was able to fend off Halvorson’s challenge in a three way primary battle, with Shuster picking up 52.8% of the vote, Halvorson earning 34.5%, and livestock farmer Travis Schooley rounding out the race with 12.7%.  In the 2016 primary, Shuster and Halvorson will square off one against one for a seat in the US House that has been filled by a Shuster since 1973.  (Bill’s father, Bud Shuster, held the seat from 1973 until resigning in 2001 a few months before Bill won his first term.  Ah, political nepotism.)

The primary battle gives every indication of being a nasty one, with Halvorson running on a purely obstructionist platform, slamming Shuster for not shutting the government down to defund Obamacare, then ripping him for not shutting it down over Planned Parenthood funding.  If it gives you any idea, Halvorson’s campaign motto is “Rescue America.”  The candidates recently had a debate, which resulted in a very amusing write up in the Altoona Mirror as a conservative newspaper attempted to perform simultaneous fellatio on two candidates that seem to hate each other with the passion of a million white hot suns.

Art Halvorson, Republican primary challenger for the District 9 U.S. House seat, attacked incumbent Bill Shuster in a debate Saturday, calling him out for being part of a Republican failure to counter President Barack Obama’s liberalism and for alleged ethics problems because of his relationship with a lobbyist.

Shuster accused Halvorson of lying and of running a relentlessly negative campaign – to the extent of flip-flopping just to position himself opposite of the incumbent.

Shuster can’t duck responsibility for leaders in the Republican-majority House and Senate for failing to control spending, the national debt and taxes with a budget, a failure that has undermined the economy and damaged the nation’s confidence, Halvorson said.

That failure culminated in the $1.1-trillion “Cromnibus” spending bill passed in December – “an atrocity” – that failed to defund Obamacare, gave the president a “blank check” on executive amnesty for illegal immigrants and “caved” to Obama on Planned Parenthood, Halvorson said.

Shuster actually voted against a $1.5 trillion spending bill a few months earlier that had many of the same effects, according to an analysis by the Conservative Review.

Spending and revenue bills originate in the House, but the Senate needs to agree, and that’s been a stumbling block, Shuster said.

Still, Republicans over the last few years have cut $2.1 trillion, reducing it four years in a row, which had not happened for more than 60 years, he said.

They’ve also managed significant changes for cuts in the tax code, including some that have been made permanent, Shuster said.

I’m sorry, this is the most painful article on a political debate I believe I have ever read.  I’ve never seen a line by line recap of arguments for presidential debates, let alone House primary races.  Rather than writing anything original, it seems that the reporter just wants to avoid offending either candidate by making sure to repeat each of their talking points.  And it just keeps on going…..

The nation needs to pay its debt and most of the Obama-care spending is mandatory, Shuster said, adding that nevertheless, he has always opposed Obamacare and participated in successful efforts to eliminate or defund pieces of it, like the “death panels.” He opposes amnesty “in any way, shape or form,” opposes admitting anyone from “failed states,” favored building a wall along the Mexican border and the identification of illegal immigrants, followed by their processing for deportation.

Shuster’s not a true conservative, having received an F from the Club for Growth and the Heritage Foundation, Halvorson said.

Shuster is actually ranked 135 among the House’s 435 members by the club for 2014, a number that is broadly representative since 2005, in a chart on the club’s website.

The Club for Growth is “a bunch of millionaires and billionaires that have formed a little clique,” anyway, Shuster said.

It’s no credit to a lawmaker to try for a 100 percent voting record for any group, because you need to look at every piece of legislation, Shuster said.

He has an 86 percent rating from the American Conservative Union, a 90 percent rating from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a 100 percent rating from the National Right to Life Committee, he said. He has an A rating from the National Rifle Association.

Look, my right wing cock is bigger than yours!  No, my right wing testicles are heavier than yours! Time for someone to play the religion card…..

Halvorson said he’s a born-again Christian who follows the Scriptures and “upholds the highest ethical standards,” while Shuster has “a close, intimate relationship” with a lobbyist who has access to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, of which Shuster is the chairman, and that Shuster has cavorted in South Beach, almost as if to celebrate their successful partnership.

He is referring to Shelley Rubino, a lobbyist for Airlines for America. Shuster has said previously that she doesn’t lobby his office or his staff directly, and that legal counsel has cleared their handling of the matter.

The personal attacks and “misrepresentation” of his record is “disgraceful,” Shuster said.

“My campaign has been about me,” Shuster said. “Your campaign has been about me.”

Negative from start to what he expects to be the finish, he added.

Negative?  Where would he have ever got that idea?

The Republicans had the power of the purse, but have squandered it, surrendering to Obama, Halvorson said.

The nation is failing, confidence is low and the economy is weakening, Halvorson said.

“We’re supposed to be a city on a hill, but there’s nothing to look up to,” he said. “Two more years is not warranted.”

Confidence is low?  Hell yeah, because of Republicans like Halvorson is swearing he will be who think compromise is failure.  This guy is a True Believer, who seems to honestly think the nation would have rose up in support of the House Freedom Caucus if they would have shut the government down over Planned Parenthood.

“I represent conservative values,” Shuster said. “I’ve worked hard to find solutions.”

He’s faced election successfully eight times, he added.

And that is possibly the weakest rebuttal in the history of debates.  In 2010 this Congressional district was rated the most Republican district in the state.  Our last Democratic Representative lost his re-election bid……in 1939.  The GOP candidate could blow coke off a stripper’s ass on national television the day before the election and still draw 60%.  Shuster did make one strong point without trying, showing every moderate voter listening exactly why a GOP presidential win would be disastrous.

The key to the kind of accomplishments Halvorson is hammering him about will be getting a Republican president, which will enable Congress, working with that president, to drive down taxes, control spending, harness debt and appoint a conservative to the Supreme Court to replace the late Antonin Scalia, Shuster said.

The absolute worst part about this all?

Pennsylvania has a closed primary, so only registered Republicans get to decide between these candidates.  No Democrat has filed to run in opposition in November, although to be honest, why even bother when you know your opponent is going to pull 60% of the vote no matter what?  So 40% of the district gets to hope the Republican primary voters aren’t crazy enough to primary Shuster, who, for all of his failings, at least gets things done for the district.

So yeah.  Democracy in action.  The districts registered Republicans will choose our district Representative with no outside input.

What a system.

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