Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Walz graduates from NBL to Statesman

Today’s Congress seems to be composed of mostly of ideologists and party loyalists with a few Natural Born Leaders (NBL) and definitely a shortage of Statesmen.
On particular issues, some members of Congress break party instructions and vote based on District or State needs, but too often, the Roll Call votes are dictated by party managers. Vision is based on the next election … not what is best for the nation’s long-term future.

Statesmen are those that think outside of party ideology. They generally don’t become Statesmen until the end of their political career or as a result of some political loss. For example, after losing to George Bush the Republican Presidential endorsement, Senator John McCain became a Statesman – enacting Campaign Finance Reform , brokering the Gang of 14 resolution to the Judicial Appointment dispute, and offering Immigration legislation – but now Candidate McCain has reverted to embrace the Bush economic ideology and other ideology favored by his Party. This week, the Senate is debating a Cap-and-Trade bill that is authored by retiring Republican John Warner and Independent Joe Lieberman. Consider them to be examples of Statesmen. In Minnesota, I would call Republican Jim Ramstad a Statesman … check out his votes and note how many times he bucks the party managers and votes in the Country’s best interest. Conversely, look at Republican John Kline’s voting record and he not only votes with the party most of the time, his Conservative ideology has him voting against the Party majority on many issues.
Jim Ramstad will be missed in the next Congress, but Minnesotans should be glad that Congressman Tim Walz is demonstrating Statesman vision.

On Monday, June 2nd, Congressman Walz arranged an economic summit consisting of five panels related to consumer issues, health care, education, workforce requirements, etc. Bluestem Prairie performed yeoman’s service by live-blogging the events of the day. It’s a great read, as you can virtually see the presentation of ideas and the exchanges from some of the audience. Walz described the conference as an idea-generator- “gathering from the people and forming that into legislation or initiatives back in D.C." with the intended results to make "a huge difference on the impact felt by the average person."

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) recently said “There’s no end to the drive of members to get good, cheap publicity,” so one might question the motives when a member of Congress schedules a public event just months before re-election. But Walz, has had numerous similar events – the first economic summit was last July in Austin. Getting citizen involvement is not unusual for Walz who has at least six summits on Veterans issues this year.

When Walz started his Congressional term, I labeled him a NBL and a few summits does not earn some Statesman status, but what he said as Keynote Speaker does.
Once again, read Bluestem Prairie’s summation.

Walz has moved beyond party politics and into public policy.
He talks of his own real world experiences and those offered by the presenters and audience.
He sees what needs to be done … not for Tim Walz, nor for Tim Walz’s re-election, but for the nation … that’s Statesmanship !

As voters consider who to cast their votes for, ask “Am I voting for a Statesman or an Ideologist ?
I will vote for a Statesman every time --- regardless of political party --- but never an Ideologist.

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