Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Jim Marshall & Why there's a Love/Hate Relationship between the Extreme Left & Right wings of both parties?

A member of the Blue Dog Coalition, Marshall is one of the House's most conservative Democrats, particularly on national security issues. A Vietnam War veteran, Marshall has been a staunch defender of the Iraq war, chiding his party for booing in the middle of our own team’s play and criticizing the press for misrepresenting the country’s situation.

In 2007, he was one of only two Democrats to reject a congressional resolution opposing a military surge in Iraq.

Marshall is just as willing to buck his party on economic and social issues, perhaps more strikingly than when he cast the lone Democratic vote against the reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program. He also supported George W. Bush's 2003 tax cuts and a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage while opposing the cash-for-clunkers program and stem-cell research. In March 2010, he said he would vote "no" on the Senate health-care reform measure (he also voted against the November 2009 House health bill).

Marshall’s 8th district is a conservative one and the congressman has survived two of the closest elections in recent history. In 2002, he narrowly prevailed in an open-seat race before surviving by just 1,752 votes in 2006. In between those two contests, an unusual mid-decade redistricting left the district more Republican and less African-American than was drawn by aides of former congressman Mac Collins to increase his chances of unseating Marshall. It Failed!

Marshall has also opposed gay rights. Besides voting for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, he supported barring federal courts from hearing challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act and was one of 25 Democrats to oppose a ban on employment discrimination based on sexual orientation.

He supported the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which made human fetuses legal victimsRoll call vote (32)Roll call vote , and the so-called Stupak Amendment in the 2009 House Democrat health-reform bill, which toughened restrictions on federal funding for abortion coverage.

A fiscally-conservative lawmaker, Marshall has sided with Republicans on major economic votes. He was one of only seven House Democrats to support George W. Bush’s 2003 tax cuts. In 2006, he voted in favor of a permament repeal of the estate tax.Roll call vote. In 2009, he voted against the Waxman-Markey bill, which sought to address climate change by establishing a cap-and-trade system, and against extending the cash-for-clunkers program, a measure 77 Republicans supported.

Marshall did supported Barack Obama’s stimulus package. While he described himself as wavering, he argued that the economy needed a “big jolt” and that “doing nothing is being stupid. Other Democratic bills he supported during Obama’s presidency included legislation strengthening financial industry regulations and legislation seeking to address the home foreclosure crisis by allowing judges to change the terms of a mortgage.

In 2009, Marshall opposed Democratic attempts to reform the health-care system. He criticized centralized decision-making on health-care matters, whether it be by private companies or through government programs like Medicare and Medicaid. "Any system which has a great deal of central planning is bound to have terrific inefficiencies,” he said, drawing an analogy to the Soviet Union.

The Left hates him because he votes against what some would call "core" issues dear to the democratic party like the Healthcare Reform & S-CHIP & supporting the Bush Tax Cuts, while the right hates him for voting for things like the Obama Stimulus Package for example. But in all he's been a good congressman for the people over in the 8th District since gerrymandering created the current district in 2005. He's not perfect, but if I were living over there, I would rather have a independent-minded legislator like Marshall than a politician that'll toe the party line whether its a democrat or republican.

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