This originally ran on May 16 of this year. For those who have my, "The Impotence of One" post memorized, you can skip to the end for the important question. ;)
On May 16th of this year I wrote a piece titled The Impotence of One, about Robin Hayes and his apparent lack of power in Congress based on how little he had accomplished. This was my opening paragraph:
Robin Hayes is learning a tough lesson in Washington. It stinks to belong to the party in power and yet, have none of your own. It must be lonely walking the halls of Congress knowing that you've been used and abused like an inflatable party doll. But that's not stopping Robin Hayes. Not at all.
I was admittedly sarcastic as I described a stunt Hayes pulled to try to get press attention and votes.
Please follow below the fold....
As reported in The Charlotte Observer, on May 9th, Robin Hayes held a press conference at a gas station outside of his district in Charlotte, NC and filled his SUV with E85 while at the same time announcing he would introduce a bill to offer tax incentives for businesses that develop facilities to sell E85. Good for Robin.
Wasn't he lucky to find one of only seven facilities in the entire state that sells E85? He's even luckier to have a car that will run on the gas and ethanol blend. Most of us aren't that lucky. Even if we lived in a city with stations that sell E85, we probably wouldn't be able to run our cars on it. The good news is, he took a step for the environment.
The bad news is, he sold it as a step to help reduce the pinch that most consumers are feeling at the pump. He did admit that an added bonus will be reduced reliance on foreign oil and a healthier environment, but this is a new venture for Representative Hayes. He's never shown any interest in alternative fuels or the environment before, so we'll cut him some slack on believing that the consumer is going to save any money in the short term.
I checked up on his stunt.
That's where playing nice ends, though. Robin Hayes has been in Congress for almost eight years and this is the first time he has introduced anything that has to do with energy independence, consumer savings or environmental protection. I decided to check on his stunt to make sure he actually introduced the bill. I'm sorry I doubted you Robin, because we find that baby here (PDF). It's so nice and clean. It's also likely to stay that way since it is probably the last time it will ever see action.
Then, in a hush-hush tone, I talked about Robin Hayes' delicate problem. It's unpleasant to divulge these issues publicly, but it is in the best interest of the voters.
You see, Robin has a problem. It isn't something that's nice to talk about in polite company. Most people speak of it in hushed voices, however most folks living in the district have caught on by now.
Robin Hayes is impotent.
He's powerless to get anything accomplished in Washington. He's been reduced to stunts like the one at the gas station to make people think he's doing something. The truth of the matter is about the only thing he's been able to accomplish in Washington is to get some post offices renamed and to get two buildings named after Orville and Wilbur Wright. No, I'm not kidding.
Robin Hayes names buildings. Hayes has introduced a total of 42 bills or resolutions in the House and only four have gone on to become public law. Of the four bills he's introduced or sponsored in the past 8 years that have been signed into law, three of them have been to rename buildings after people. If you don't believe me you can look them up yourself at the Library of Congress. It's free and easy, just go here
I know, I know, I should cut him some slack since he's a millionaire who's never really had to work to support his family. He inherited a family fortune and he doesn't understand what it takes to put food on the table when you're missing that silver spoon.
So, Robin Hayes wiles away the hours up in Washington coming up with names for buildings. Maybe I should consider it a stroke of good fortune for the district. Can you imagine the shape we would be in if the Republican leadership actually let Robin Hayes do anything important?
At the time, the thought of Robin Hayes cut loose by the Republican Party to think for himself and try to do anything without proper supervision was a bit scary. The only thing saving me from a terrible fright was the knowledge that the Republican leadership in Congress had a firm hold on the reigns. I outlined this here:
They do have a job for him though and we know what it is.
He's a puppet, a lap dog, a rubber stamp for the Republican agenda in Congress. He has voted against the best interests of the people living in his district and he's done so more than a couple of times, all because the Republican leadership told him to. That rod in his back that holds him up straight? It doesn't belong to Robin Hayes. It's on loan from the party. Hayes is spineless and doesn't have the strength to stand up and do what is right for the people living in his district. That's why he voted for CAFTA, after promising he would vote against it.
Free trade agreements have devastated the 8th Congressional District and the damage continues with manufacturing plants closing and an entire way of life coming to an end. Robin Hayes knew all of this because another free trade agreement, NAFTA had started that ball rolling. Even with that knowledge, Hayes voted against the workers in the 8th District. He voted against the people who voted for him.
A week before the vote, Hayes stated that he was "flat-out, completely, horizontally opposed to CAFTA," arguing that CAFTA is an extension of NAFTA that was "not in the best interest of a core constituency I represent. Every time I drive through Kannapolis and I see those empty plants, I know there is no way I could vote for CAFTA." Hayes initially cast a "no" vote but then was persuaded by Republican House leaders to change his vote to a "yes" after the House Republican leadership kept the voting open 45 minutes past the time limit.
Unbelievably, this is the second time Hayes has switched his vote on a major piece of trade legislation. As constituents of North Carolina's 8th District know, in 2001, Hayes switched from initially casting a "no" vote to "yes," making him the deciding vote that gave President Bush Fast Track trade authority, a measure he had previously (and vehemently) opposed, which was the authority under which the CAFTA NAFTA expansion was negotiated.
"Even in cynical Washington political circles, no one can understand how Hayes would elect to irreversibly destroy his voters' trust in him by again betraying the clear will of his constituents, and the obvious threat CAFTA poses to them...." said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch. "No one can imagine that he is so weak as to have been brow beaten into betraying his constituents again......"
Wait! After the destruction caused by free trade agreements to his district Hayes votes for another one! Did I say the Republicans had a tight reign on Hayes to prevent him from doing any harm? Obviously, I was wrong. It was that tight reign that guided Hayes into vote after vote that has pushed the unemployment figures up in almost every county in his district, forced senior citizens to go without life-saving prescription drugs and forced seniors in high school to go without college educations.
Hayes, however, has successfully sold himself as the folksy millionaire that everybody likes. He referred to the voters liking him in several newspaper stories during the campaign. He was reported to have said that he would win by his highest margin ever.
Now, we see he's locked in a tight race that will hinge on provisional ballots and a recount. I'm sure folks like him in some areas, but the fact that he isn't very much like any of his voters might be sinking in. It takes more than wearing an 82nd Airborne cap to make you "one of the fellas".
Other than a few pockets of wealthy folks living in Concord and Charlotte, this district is made up of working class people. These are the people who are the real backbone of this country and that makes it all the more surprising they would chose someone spineless like Robin Hayes to stand up for them in Washington.
The voters in the 8th District are smart people, though and they are tiring of the empty promises they get from Robin Hayes. The man who said he was "flat-out, completely, horizontally opposed to CAFTA", turned his back on his people and voted for the trade bill. What did they get in return? They got some shiny new names on their post offices.
That isn't going to put food on their tables or E85 in their gas tanks.
After outlining why Hayes isn't right for the district, I introduced the man who is. Larry Kissell.
Many voters in the 8th District have turned to their only clear choice, Larry Kissell. He's now a school teacher, but spent 27 years working in the textile industry. Larry would probably admit that he's one of the lucky ones. He was able to start a new career doing something he loves as he watched his job go to Mexico. Others in the district weren't as lucky.
It isn't surprising that Kissell has strong words for the most recent stunt pulled by Robin Hayes.
"Apparently Robin Hayes' hypocrisy knows no bounds. He is guilty of protecting the big oil companies. I'm not sure if that's a result of all the campaign money he's taken from them, or the massive amounts of stock he owns in oil companies. It's going to take more than a press conference to convince us that he truly supports alternative energy when we all know he's in the pocket of the oil companies," said Kissell.
Kissell pointed out the fact Hayes has voted against measures in the past that would have promoted an increase in efficiency standards and the research and development of alternative energy sources. These bills or amendments were sponsored by Democrats, so those of us savvy to Robin Hayes and his party puppet status know why he voted against these measures. The Republican leadership told him he had to. You see, they were more interested in sucking out the remaining fossil fuels from the earth and giving tax breaks to the already wealthy oil and gas industry giants.
One of the reasons I wanted to take a look at this piece again is that Robin Hayes was in the majority party and all he did was name buildings.
What good will he be able to do as a member of the minority party? North Carolina's 8th Congressional District is hurting. The folks need jobs and they need someone who is going to have some pull. Larry Kissell would have far greater influence as a freshman member of the majority party than Robin Hayes would have as a member of the minority party. Larry Kissell has earned more clout in a year running for Congress than Robin Hayes earned in eight years serving in Congress. The 8th District needs Larry Kissell.