In response to a recent Gallup poll which recorded record-high anti-incumbent sentiment toward Congress, Yahoo! Voices asked contributors whether their representatives deserved to be re-elected.
COMMENTARY | Congressman Michael Grimm is not even a full year into his term. However, his re-election campaign is already in full swing.
The freshman representative kicked off the holiday season on Broadway with a weekend of fundraising events. Eager to unseat the incumbent, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee pounced on the news of the fundraising musicals. Their sophomoric response ridiculed Grimm’s business acumen and included the circulation of several mock posters depicting Grimm and his business partner, convicted felon Carlos Luquis, as starring in the hit musical “Anything Goes.” Another shows Grimm wearing a baby-blue bow tie on the poster for “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying.”
It marks the beginning of what will likely be a hotly contested congressional race in the 2012 election. A slew of possible opponents have been rumored to be mulling a run against Grimm including Michael McMahon, whom Grimm unseated in 2010 (the only Democratic representative to be elected for the Staten Island district since 1980). Other possible contenders include Assemblyman Michael Cusick, Bill de Blasio aide Mark Murphy, Councilwoman Debi Rose, Councilman Vincent Gentile, and even disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner.
Many of the possible Democratic contenders are waiting to see how the nightmarish legislative redistricting process pans out. New York’s 13th Congressional District could potentially be one of the two seats eliminated. However, other scenarios would see NY-13 growing into the Democratic areas of Sunset Park, Coney Island, or Gravesend. Or if Anthony Weiner’s old district is eliminated, Grimm’s congressional district could potentially take over parts of Midwood, Brighton Beach, or even Breezy Point — all conservative areas.
The stage is set for a major legislative battle starting in January. And given Albany’s track record of complete and total dysfunction, candidates will likely have to start their campaigns for congressional districts that may or may not even exist come election day.
Why Michael Grimm Does Not Deserve Re-Election
However the Staten Island and South Brooklyn districts get redrawn, Michael Grimm is not the right candidate for the job.
In his first year, Grimm has been a near constant fixture on the 24-hour news networks and local news channels. And while he is often quoted and interviewed, he has not made any distinct gaffs or mistakes — to the surprise of many of his critics.
Grimm has been named to the House Financial Services Committee, helped introduce the Homes for Heroes Act to stem the problem of veterans’ homelessness, inserted language into an appropriations bill that prohibits the Army Corps from using government funds to relocate from Fort Hamilton even if the move would save taxpayer money, and secured a $120,000 federal grant to help start a Green Zone along Staten Island’s waterfront. All good things.
However, Grimm has also signed Grover Norquist’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge prohibiting him from supporting any legislation that would result in a tax increase. Like all of Washington for the last 10 years, Grimm is perfectly fine with increased spending, but balks at any attempt to cover our bills.
Grimm was elected as a Tea Party firebrand who would help balance the budget, oppose Wall Street bailouts, oppose healthcare reform and big government spending, and end politics as usual inside the Beltway. However, Grimm is using his position on the House Financial Services Committee to cozy up to Wall Street so they can fund his re-election campaign.
In the spring, Grimm introduced the Business Risk Mitigation and Price Stabilization Act of 2011 that essentially eliminates the new margin requirements for two-party derivative transactions outlined in Dodd-Frank, allowing banks to trade derivatives the same way they did before the financial meltdown.
Grimm doesn’t represent reform. He represents the status quo. And the status quo isn’t working.