During the current campaign season, our congressional candidates have all expressed respect and admiration for the outgoing incumbent, Jim Ramstad. Rarely does one hear our solon's name without adjoining expressions of respect, admiration, 'honor personified,' etc. So occasionally it bears repeating: Some lucid, unfanatical individuals think quite little of Jim Ramstad. And many singers in the Up With Ramstad choir know better, deep down. The incentive to misrepresent one's true opinion is usually overwhelming. 'As scarce as truth is, the supply has always been in excess of the demand,' as Josh Billings said.
Independent-minded folks ought not be bamboozled: Ramstad has not been a good representative. He did not articulate an interesting or thoughtful philosophy of governance. He championed many harebrained ideas: the flag-burning amendment, the anti-gay-marriage amendment, the ongoing Iraq fiasco and draconian antinarcotics laws. He couldn't even marshal a compelling argument on behalf of his signature legislative proposal. He long claimed to sit on the board of 'The Violence Against Women Coalition,' even after a blogger had informed him that no such organization exists. As Ramstad observed his party lurch to the right, he didn't seriously consider the honorable response--to aggressively champion and grow the party's dwindling moderate wing. Instead, the Congressman entered into a mutual admiration society with a worshipful local media. Our guy never quite expressed himself as elegantly as he dressed. When he learned his party would try to replace him with an ultraconservative he let everyone know he didn't care.
Jim Ramstad is a difficult guy not to like. But one ought to try.