Diatribes of Jay

This is a blog of essays on public policy. It shuns ideology and applies facts, logic and math to economic, social and political problems. It has a subject-matter index, a list of recent posts, and permalinks at the ends of posts. Comments are moderated and may take time to appear. Note: Profile updated 4/7/12

22 October 2010

Coussoule and Boehner, A Comparison

Voters say they want moderate candidates who will work for them, and not for the money bags who pay for campaigns. They say they don’t like pols who nix others’ constructive ideas just to score political points.

Voters in Ohio’s Eighth Congressional District have the chance to vote that way this November. They can elect a young, positive, well educated, forward-looking candidate, who represents the best of America. And they can send the whole House of Representatives a message by retiring one of its worst members ever.

You probably haven’t heard much about Justin Coussoule (pronounced “kuh-SOO-lee”). He doesn’t make the kind of news that rates headlines today. He’s never said he’s a witch. He’s never kicked anyone in the groin (except maybe in Army training) or vowed to “take out” a reporter he didn’t like. He’s never embarrassed himself by exposing appalling ignorance of how our country and our Constitution work.

Maybe that’s because he graduated from West Point, served over five years in the Army, got a law degree, and earned experience as a laborer, a manager in both small and big business, a lawyer fighting for ordinary people, and a worker in local, state and federal government. He’s done pretty much everything a man can do―and for years at a stretch―to know what makes our country tick.

Oh, and did I mention that he’s running against John Boehner, the Apostle of “No”?

But let the facts speak for themselves. All the facts below come straight from the candidates’ own official biographies, from a nonpartisan scoreboard of voting records, or from other links shown:

Military Service:

Boehner: Discharged [search for “Boehner”] from Navy training after eight weeks due to bad back
Coussoule: Five and a half years as Army officer, achieving rank of captain


Boehner: Bachelor’s degree in business (Xavier University, Cincinnati)
Coussoule: West Point bachelor’s degree, J.D. in law (University of Maryland)

Experience of ordinary workers:

Boehner: None listed
Coussoule: Painter and roofer in father’s business, construction worker in own small business, helping workers get compensation for on-the-job injuries

Small business experience:

Boehner: packaging and plastics
Coussoule: property rehabilitation (reclaiming blighted property for small businesses)

Big business experience:

Boehner: None
Coussoule: Corporate purchasing manager at Procter & Gamble (a multinational consumer-products company)

Government experience:

Boehner: Township trustee, Ohio State Representative, Member of Congress (total: 26 years)
Coussoule: work in city, state and local government as student; Capitol Hill internship

Position on health care:

Boehner: Out of 44 bills, concurrences, House-Senate Conference reports or veto overrides on health issues passed by the whole House since 2006, voted for only two: a defense authorization bill and a bill for infant mortality pilot programs
Coussoule: supports “insuring the health and well-being of our citizenry through affordable and accessible healthcare for all”

Position on energy:

Boehner: Out of 26 bills, concurrences or House-Senate Conference reports passed by the whole House since 2006, voted for only three: a nuclear agreement with India, a bill for energy futures trading, and a bill to suspend filling our Strategic Petroleum Reserve
Coussoule: “I am committed to eliminating the national security threat posed by our country’s reliance on foreign oil [by] . . . aggressively investing in and promoting American manufacture of alternative energy products”

Position on protecting consumers and regulating business:

Boehner: Out of 80 bills, concurrences, joint resolutions, House-Senate Conference reports, or veto overrides passed by the whole House since 2006, voted for only ten: (1) an extension of emergency unemployment benefits, (2) the release of economic stabilization funds authorized in the Bush administration, (3) toxic asset purchases, (4) energy futures trading, (4) foreign intelligence surveillance, (5) an omnibus bill that passed 416 to 12, (6) and (7) two Bush Administration economic stimulus plans, (8) an expansion of jurisdiction over suspected terrorists, (9) an Iran counter-proliferation bill, and (10) a bill outlawing prescription-drug imports
Coussoule: supports a comprehensive package of reforms to curtail abuses by Wall Street, protect consumers against swindling by banks and insurance companies, and keep financial corporations from getting “too big to fail”

Position on women’s issues (employment discrimination, equal pay, hate crimes, and school programs):

Boehner: Out of 8 bills or concurrences passed by the whole House since 1996, voted for only one, a bill on agriculture, rural development and the FDA
Coussoule: supports “fair, equitable, living wages for American workers”

Position on education:

Boehner: Out of 26 bills, concurrences, House-Senate Conference reports and motions passed by the whole House since 2006, voted for only 4: a motion to prohibit federal assistance to ACORN, an omnibus bill that passed 416 to 12, and bills for student loan changes and Head Start
Coussoule: supports “making a high-quality public education available to all our children [a]s the foundation for America’s future” in several specific ways

Position on tobacco:

Boehner: Admits [set time to 1:16] handing out tobacco-company lobbying checks on the House floor; financed campaigns with tobacco money
Coussoule: worked to enforce tobacco regulation and restrict its sale

Vanity in small things:

Boehner: picture on Website, in fancy tailored suit, looks at least ten years out of date
Coussoule: informal pictures of self in ill-fitting Army uniform, plus informal shots of wife (also a veteran) and kids

Coussoule is not in Congress yet, so he has no voting record. But Boehner is truly the Apostle of “No.” He talks a good line about cooperation and bipartisanship, but actions speak louder than words.

Boehner’s voting record in the House shows no trace of moderation or bipartisanship. Ever since voters put the Democrats in charge of Congress, Boehner supported only a handful of the measures that the House as a whole adopted, when he—as a key House leader—could have worked cooperatively to shape measures all Republicans could support. The negativity I found in my research of his voting record (summarized above) surprised even me.

Boehner’s voting record speaks for itself. It’s not a record of problem-solving or cooperation. It’s a record of obstruction.

Ohio’s Eighth District voters have a clear choice of new blood—a small-town family man with a sterling military record, a great education, and experience in everything of importance today: working, running a small business, helping manage a big one, and helping ordinary people get compensation for injuries and fight city blight. He promises to be a problem-solver, not a nay-sayer.

Let’s hope that Ohio’s Eighth District voters respect the promise of youth over the corruption of age and make the right choice. This is truly a case in which “throwing the bums out” would make a vast improvement.

Footnote: Votes on successful amendments were not included in the statistics in this post because: (1) their effect is included in votes on the measures that they amended, and (2) it was difficult to determine the nature or intent of individual amendments, which were so few in number as to make research into them pointless. (The nonpartisan scorecard reported only major amendments with recorded votes of the whole House.)

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