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In just a few days early voting will commence (13 Oct. to 28 Oct.) and you, gentle reader will be confronted by a choice of whom you will vote for to be governor of our beloved state for the next four years, and who will represent you the next two years in both the state House of Representatives and the national House of Representatives.
In each case the incumbent is a long serving Democrat, and the major opposition is from a first time Republican challenger. In the state House race Roane County native son Dennis Ferguson is challenged by Loudon County native Julia Hurley, and in the U.S. House race, Fentress County native son, Rep. Lincoln Davis, is challenged by South Dakota native, Scott DesJarlais, now living in Marion County.
It is this latter race we write about today.
As long-time readers know, we sometimes find Rep. Davis to be much too conservative in some of his views for our taste, (in fact, if memory serves, we once wrote a paragraph unfavourably comparing Rep. Davis’s stand on an issue with that of Republican Rep. John Duncan, for whom we have great respect for many of his principled stands); however, one should never, as some one once said, allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good.
And once one considers what DesJarlais offers, Davis looks even better.
Personal faults are not often a thing that should dominate too greatly how one views a potential public servant.
After all, many of our great men have had feet of clay and have not lived lives of unsullied rectitude.
However, in these times, when all too many “public servants” have had to leave office on account of personal peccadilloes, it may now be time to enquire more deeply than usual into personal matters that might otherwise be considered none of our business, but which could later develop into scandal that would impair the candidates’ ability to serve.
Mr. DesJarlais, (who makes a great point of his professional title of “Doctor,” a point which we wonder at inasmuch as physicians do not have the best of track records in government) has had a questionable personal record which probably shouldn’t be gone into too deeply, except for the fact that he has himself brought it to the fore.
For instance, in some of his campaign literature he says that he is for marriage, and “proud of it.”
We cannot help but wonder which marriage he’s “proud of?”
Is it the one to wife Susan from whom he had a messy divorce in 2001?
Or is it the one to wife Amy to whom he is presently married?
Chancery Judge Jeffrey Stewart who granted the 2001 divorce chastised both parties, saying: “Frankly, the conduct of both parties has been below what I think would be the standard you would want your child to have after you raised him to adulthood.”
Accusations from the court records have been published recently which we will not go into, but which certainly seem to justify the judge’s criticism.
DesJarlais claims to be a family man, yet the child to whom the Chancellor referred has been a responsibility which he has repeatedly tried to avoid by petitioning to have his child support payments cut several times, both during and after the divorce.
The reader may recall a campaign a few years ago when a Republican candidate condemned his Democratic opponent as being a “dead-beat dad” for questioning a child support decree.
Would such an appellation apply here?
Is Scott DesJarlais a dead-beat dad? Shouldn’t he tell us?
Another statement in his campaign literature says: “Scott and his wife, Amy, have three children....”
One of his TV ads showing him and persons that one is supposed to conclude are his family, would at first glance seem to call this statement into question.
We certainly would not assert that all three children are not his, but a couple of them appear to be too old to have that status.
Shouldn’t he clarify their status if he is going to use them as campaign props?
But, much more disturbing than any of his personal moral shortcomings are his political and philosophical positions.
The reader may recall that back in August we raised a question as to whether DesJarlais wanted to abolish Social Security.
Whether in response to this question or otherwise, he has had an Internet posting come out entitled “DesJarlais: Social Security Must be Saved.”
This sounds good; this sounds reassuring; that is until one reads what he says, or doesn’t say, as to how he would propose to “Save Social Security”.
For instance he writes, “Social Security benefits can be protected without raising the retirement age on our seniors and without raising taxes. To make any change like these would be reckless and would destroy our commitment to seniors. Unfortunately, Washington liberals are poised to break this promise. Their outrageous spending policies are running up deficits as far as the eye can see. Not only are they putting our seniors in jeopardy, they are putting our nation in danger. That must stop.”
The next paragraph continues: “In order to save the program and provide complete benefits for our seniors, I firmly believe Washington’s reckless spending must end. We can balance the budget, reduce the size and scope of government and allow the private sector to create jobs once again all the while maintaining our promise to seniors...”
You, sapient reader, recognize the sophistry of these statements.
You know, as DesJarlais apparently does not, that ending Washington’s spending, whether reckless or not, will not increase the amount of money in the Social Security Trust Fund, nor will balancing the budget, or reducing the size or scope of government.
To put the S. S. Trust Fund in a sound actuarial status will require some increase in the amount of payments going into the fund sufficient to balance the anticipated payments going out.
This is a matter that is very simple to resolve as we have previously written, and as President Obama pointed out during the 2008 campaign: Just raise, or better yet remove, the cap on the amount of income subject to Social Security contributions.
If the cap were removed, this would make all earned income be treated the same, and subjected to the same deductions.
Why should multi-million dollar salaries and bonuses be exempt from Social Security contributions when every dollar of the wages and salary of ordinary working men and women is charged with the contributions?
Some of the readers may not be well acquainted with the concept of the Trust Fund, or with the role Social Security plays in our national economy, and how it bolsters and strengthens our social order, so we will continue on this topic next week, barring some unforeseen development requiring comment.
Possibly someone will see that Mr. DesJarlais reads it and understands why we say his statements are either ignorant, naive, or deliberately misleading.