Some Thoughts After Listening in on Rep. Jack Bergman’s "Tele-Town Hall",
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Regarding Veterans Affairs, Mr. Bergman spoke proudly of his work on Veterans issues. He advocates for the use of local facilities such as Munson Hospital to treat veterans when a local VA facility cannot perform the service rather than transporting Vets long distances to downstate VA facilities.
Unfortunately, Mr. Bergman was smooth and evasive on other matters. On several environmental questions, he prefaced his answers by expressing enormous love for our environment and water. However, when we cut through his poetics, his positions reflected an ardor that had cooled considerably. For example:
On the EPA, he said that it would still exist but be very reigned in. Several times he stated that environmental protection should be the role of state and local government. He likened water quality protection to snow removal, claiming disingenuously that water is a local issue because not all areas have water issues just as not all areas have snow removal issues. In reality, all people have a stake in clean water. He also claimed, without any citation of source or reasoning, that EPA over-reach cost individual households $5000 per year with "extra regulations put in place on an annual basis that probably do not have the positive effect that we would hope… so the over-regulation by the Federal Government has cost us money without any positive result." He gave no evidence for this outlandish claim.
On climate, he gave the smooth talking code words “you have to understand the climate is changing all the time whether man is there or not.” This slick statement ignores the overwhelming evidence that human produced carbon dioxide is causing significant, measurable global warming.Here again he is ignoring the obvious, environmental regulation cannot be managed as local issue.
On health care, he promises, despite current economic cost analysis to the contrary, that the Republican bill will lower our healthcare costs. He stands by his repeal and replace position. He offers only assertion, not data, or even reasoning, on his position that the Republican plan will reduce our individual health care costs.
On requiring the president to release his taxes, he used a procedural defense of his vote against having the house make a request for Mr. Trump’s tax returns. His argument was that he would evaluate a bill that went through the usual committee process. In so doing he evaded answering the question (should the President release his tax returns and should the Congress pursue the release). Obviously, this ploy allows Republicans to block the attempt in committee without Mr. Bergman having to take a position.
On investigating Russian intervention in the election, Trump campaign contact and possible collusion with the Russians, he again evaded stating his position by giving another procedural answer. He said the “Congress has been investigating the Russians for years and continues to do so…” He pointed to the work of the House Intelligence Committee and deferred any position he might have on investigations until they completed their work.
What can we do? We have to make it clear that we are not fooled by our congressman’s smooth, evasive talk. Mr. Bergman promised us he was a "clear talking Marine" , not a "political operative". We have to hold him to his campaign promise.
As my friends at Indivisible Traverse City point out: the General is afraid to face Grandma and Grandpa face to face. It's easier to slick talk on the phone.
In case you missed our congressman’s town hall, you can hear it at this location, thanks to Interlochen Public Radio:
Communications Committee Chair
for the GT Dems