2nd Congressional Representative Glenn Nye appears to be afraid of his own shadow. No matter what he does, the Republicans are going to challenge him next year. From where I sit, he might as well man up and do what he was elected to do: represent.
I recall the buzz from the very first debate that Nye and then incumbent Thelma Drake were not very far apart on their stances. The area they differed sharply on was the war in Iraq: Nye’s experience there as a member of the foreign service was a big part of his reason for wanting to run in the first place. Nye, however, agreed with Drake on such issues as rolling back the Bush tax cuts – neither felt like that was appropriate. At that time, I wrote:
… he wanted to establish that he is of the group of leadership that offers pragmatic, bipartisan solutions to the issues.
It was clear to me that day that our Democratic candidate was no Yellow Dog. His subsequent announcement that he had joined the Blue Dog Coalition came as no surprise.
What I didn’t expect – but should have – was Nye’s complete abdication of any responsibility to the hard-working Democrats who put him into office. Yes, Republicans voted for him, but they weren’t the ones hustling for him from the beginning. Nye, who seems to make his decisions not from a well-centered sense of right and wrong, but rather from the latest poll results, will often say that he votes with the Democrats 81% of the time. Problem is, he takes a walk on the big issues that are important to Democrats, the latest being health care reform.
Nye won’t be holding a health care reform town hall meeting during this recess. No doubt he’s afraid of getting it from both sides. But just how does ducking constituents constitute leadership? Holding what amount to private gatherings to discuss topics isn’t leadership. In fact, there is another word I’d call it: cowardice.
Take a look at another freshman representative from Virginia, Tom Perriello. Think his district is any bluer than Nye’s? Hardly. Yet Perriello held a town hall meeting. No, it wasn’t fun. But Perriello has shown he’s not afraid of anybody despite his 727-vote landslide victory. He knows the Republicans are coming after him in 2010, just as they are coming after Nye. Not a problem for Perriello – he’s just going to do the people’s business, anyway, re-election be damned.
At the end of the day, what good does it do the people of the 2nd District, myself included, to have a representative who is afraid and whose only concern appears to be positioning for re-election? I say none.
You sought out this responsibility, Glenn. No one forced it on you. Time to man up and actually do something with it. After all, the worse thing that could happen is that you don’t get re-elected next year.