published Sunday, June 26th, 2011

Chuck? How’s he doing?

Chuck Fleischmann’s expensive and mostly impersonal effort last year to succeed the retiring Zach Wamp in Congress promised a lot. The winning Chuck for Congress campaign touted the candidate’s knowledge, experience and willingness to work hard for Tennessee’s 3rd District. The implication, of course, was that Chuck would be man of action in Congress. Not so. Fleischmann the Republican congressman doesn’t quite match the portrait proffered by Fleischmann the candidate.

The rookie representative has kept a low profile since assuming office in January. He’s quietly voted a strict and conservative party line, but he’s shown little initiative. He clearly prefers to react to events and issues rather than originate or promote them. That’s certainly not what he promised district voters.

He promised to act decisively and quickly for the district. Yet he waited until last Tuesday to introduce his first piece of legislation — a bill to roll back what he calls an unfunded mandate on Tennessee counties to update highway signs. Even that was barely original.

Fleischmann joined Scott DesJarlais, a fellow Republican and first-term Tennessee 4th District representative, to sponsor the House bill, which matches legislation introduced by Tennessee’s Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker in the Senate. The bill, incidentally, also was the first introduced by DesJarlais.

Fleischmann, to his credit, does his duty chores. According to a group that tracks such things, Fleischmann has not missed a single roll call — almost 500 — since taking office. That’s commendable, but akin to receiving an attendance award in school. It’s what an elected official does with his or her vote rather than the casting of it that is important.

Fleischmann’s votes reliably rubber-stamp the parochial interests of right-wing GOP orthodoxy. Such partisanship is a disservice to the district. Many of his constituents — including some in his own party — would prefer a more reasonable approach to the issues. That, however, would require a flexibility of mind, a willingness to compromise and a desire to engage in public discussion with all his constituents that Fleischmann has yet to display.

That’s in keeping with past practice. Fleischmann ran on a platform that catered to special interests rather than one that addressed the broad needs of the district. He was dogmatic, making it clear that he was not open to the give-and-take necessary to expedite representative government.

He’s always been wary of the public. His campaign relied heavily on TV ads and partisan gatherings, rather than events open to the public. Fleischmann even refused to debate opponents. That detachment remains.

A spokesman in Fleischmann’s Chattanooga office said Thursday that as far as she knew the congressman had no public engagements during the July 4th holiday. Constituents who want to talk to their congressman still can’t easily do so. They can, however, send an email.

Fleischmann seems to prefer it that way. He’s got an eye on the next election cycle. He obviously thinks that maintaining a low profile is the best way to avoid saying or doing anything that will stir up opposition. That is politically expedient, but makes it hard to evaluate what he’s accomplished for the 3rd District almost a fourth of the way through his two-year term. The performance-based answer? Not much.

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sandyonsignal said...

The GOP Primary in 2010 was based on sexism and fear. Fleischmann was able to woo the Democrats into the primary to vote for him because everyone feared the uber-conservative Robin Smith. Now, Democrats see, he is no different than Robin. His votes are exactly the same as hers. He has not shown any willingness to be reasonable and accomplish anything. He's a little rubber stamp for the dirty corporations.

It was blatant sexism. I hope she goes after him in 2012 because Democrats are not going to show up for him. The party is putting up some excellent candidates and our voters won't stray. When scared little Fleischmann has to compete with only Republican voters, it will be interesting to see how he does. Robin energizes the GOP base; Chuck doesn't. They are both the same with votes, although I think if Robin would have won, she would have introduced many bills. She'd be the Michelle Bachman of the south.

I've written and called Fleischmann's office with regards to clean water and mountain top removal. He wrote back stating how valuable it is to have a clean and beautiful environment ; yet, he voted to allow more pollution in to the rivers from mountain top removal. Ick! What a wishy-washy pile of goo he is. And he is a Sexist!

June 26, 2011 at 8:48 a.m.
Facts said...

I'm a moderate Republican who cringes to think of Chuck Fleischmann, Mike Huckabee and the group who elected this man. I would much rather have an honest broker like Robin Smith than a puppet who is completely invisible and not serving his district.

I'll be looking for a red Robin fan at Riverbend next year.

June 26, 2011 at 2:59 p.m.
cc333 said...

A typical GOP Rep: does nothing & has no ideas except to negate anything for the people... One & DONE!

June 26, 2011 at 7:14 p.m.
hambone said...

All the Democrats need to do in 2012 is point out Chuck's and the Doc's votes to keep tax payer funded subsidies for big oil and their support for the Ryan budget plan to kill Medicare.

Send Chuck a e-mail? That's a crock, I've sent 2 asking the same question and only got back a form letter!

June 26, 2011 at 7:20 p.m.
zjcavan said...

Chuck was so adamant in his commercials, "Stop spending. Period." which we all knew was either totally unreasonable or a campaign promise to those who don't understand how a major economy works (and we can be talking about the US as a major economy or the state of TN as a major economy; either way it doesn't work). So what's worse? The fact that he had unreasonable, scare tactic ideas as a candidate or the fact that he's toed every party line since he's gotten into office? Either way, it seems like a regular politician's MO.

Facts is right. He's transparent and acts as a puppet for those party leaders. It really is unfortunate that the people of the 3rd district of TN have to put up with such a low-life, do-nothing, politician.

June 27, 2011 at 8:20 a.m.
timbo said...

Chucks biggest problem, along with a lot of other politicians left and right, it he is a wimp. He reminds me of a little boy playing government. The only thing worse would be a democrat. I did not vote for Chuck and never will. He is doesn't have the background, demeanor or the political intelligence to represent the 3rd District. Both parties suck. Vote for the other guys next time.
Before you tell me I am "wasting" my vote, I voted for one side or the other every time and so did you. How did that work out for us so far?

I wasted my vote when I voted for a democrat or republican. It could be worse than that.

June 28, 2011 at 3:12 p.m.
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