In the 4th congressional district of Pennsylvania (north and west of Pittsburgh), perhaps the most important race in the country (aside from the presidential battle) is shaping up. It pits former congresswoman Melissa Hart against Rep. Jason Altmire.
Altmire seeks to portray himself as a "conservative" Democrat. However, he voted for the Iraq War timetable (after telling voters he would not do so). He also voted for federal funding of embryonic stem cell research (after telling voters he was pro-life). And he opposes the Medicare Prescription Drug benefit (after telling seniors they had his undying love).
Recently, one of Altmire's minions challenged me on my statement that Altmire supports the largest tax increase in American history. The situation is this: the congressman backs Nancy Pelosi's and Charlie Rangel's effort to let the Bush tax cuts die in 2010. If that happens, it will re-impose the marriage penalty, reduce deductions for children, and bring back the "death tax," which means you'll still be paying taxes after your demise.
Of great significance, an end to the Bush tax cuts will raise the minimum tax category from 10% to 15%. In other words, it will hit hardest those least able to pay, essentially raising their tax bill by 50%.
Obviously, there are many reasons to oppose Jason Altmire. However, perhaps the most important consideration is the need John McCain will have for a supportive Congress.
Recently, Democratic presidential front-runner Barack Obama made comments denigrating the religious beliefs and "hunting culture" of Pennsylvanians. Essentially, Obama called the people of Pennsylvania a bunch of gun-toting, Bible-thumping rubes and bigots. We are not.
So far, Jason Altmire has made no statement criticizing Obama's statements. Senator McCain and Melissa Hart strongly disagree with Obama's offensive comments. Are we to take Altmire's silence as a sign that he agrees with Illinois Senator? Jason, in some cases "silence is golden," but in this case it's a sign of political cowardice.
If you're voting for McCain, it makes no sense to vote for Altmire. Why elect McCain and at the same time tie his hands behind his back? Why make it impossible for him to carry out the mandate he will get from American voters?
In other words, anyone who wants to support John McCain should avoid sending Altmire back to Congress. One of the best ways to stand with McCain is to cast a ballot for Melissa Hart. Please go to her web site to see how you can help.