Before everyone comes down on me for criticizing Utah's only Democrat, let me say that I like Matheson. Most of the time.
In the wake of the Alternative Minimum Tax debate, Jim has been a vocal critic of his peers for not fighting more aggressively in the senate for the "pay-as-you-go" rule. From the Tribune:
Matheson called the parties "gutless" in a statement released after the House gave its final approval to a "patch" on the alternative minimum tax, or AMT.He's right. It was a gutless vote. But it is difficult to rally behind Matheson and the Bush Dogs as the bold warriors of principle he paints them as in his criticism.
The tax affected 4 million people in 2006, and an estimated 20 million families were facing the average $2,000 extra tax hit.
Democrats had pledged to vote against any bill that violates the House's pay-as-you-go rule, known as PayGo. The AMT bill is the first time the House bypassed the rule, which Democrats put in place after they took control last year.
"The day of reckoning will come if we continue to live beyond our means," Matheson warned.
But the president and congressional Republicans refused to pass an AMT bill that raised taxes.
His Blue Dog Coalition of Capitulation is responsible for the Protect America Act, failing to end the war, aiding the obstruction of conservatives, and effectively creating a "conservative majority" in giving Bush whatever he wants.
The polls show that this is a very bad political move for Democrats. Congress has an 18% approval rating, from Democrats, and 60% of all voters strongly disapprove of Bush's new wiretapping authority. Democrats haven't stopped the war, haven't stopped torture, haven't curbed corporate abuses, and haven't really done anything except raise the minimum wage as part of a package to send $100B of taxpayer into the sands of Iraq.So while he may be correct in his criticism this go round, the Bush Dogs have not shown leadership in any way meaningful to the wishes of a majority of voters, nor the effectiveness of Democratic congress, nor congressional Democrat's chances in 2008.