Who is Erik Paulsen, anyway?

Erik Paulsen is my representative to the US Congress. This is his first term. He replaced a very centrist Republican (Jim Ramstad) who retired honorably. I worked for the Democratic Party (DFL, we call it in Minnesota) candidate, Ash Madia during that election. Ash was a good candidate but he was inexperienced (which may or may not have been a factor) not quite waspy enough for this very waspy district (which may or may not have been a factor), and although his politics matched those of the district’s constituents quite well (at least as well as the long-lasting Jim Ramstad’s politics did) he was probably viewed as too liberal and people chose the “centrist” candidate Erik Paulsen.

~ a timely repost ~

But people are not always smart about these things (sorry, people, but I gotta be honest about that). Erik Paulsen was actually one of the more conservative members of the State Republican delegation in the Minnesota State House, far to the right of the average 3rd district voter, but when he ran for congress, he disguised himself as a centrist and promised, more or less, to be a Ramstad Republican. But he’s not.

Paulsen opposed the “public option,” claiming that this would be a government takeover of health care. In fact, he claims that the current bill (which does not have public option) is a government takeover anyway. I think Representative Paulsen may not know what the word “option” means. Or “Takeover.” Paulsen voted against the recently debated American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. He appears to be a global warming denialist. Paulsen voted against the 2009 Wall Street Reform act designed to protect consumers. He appears to be against regular people.

He is anti-choice and anti-gay, based on his prior record in Minnesota.

So before he ran in the liberal-for-a-Republican district he was as right-leaning as any member of the Minnesota congressional delegation. Then he got liberal-ish. Then he got to Washington. So, where does he stand now?

According to him, he is not like that one particular other member of Congress from Minnesota, the infamous Michele “Investigate My Enemies” Bachmann. Paulsen explicitly separates himself from Bachmann by running an essay by Derek Wallbank on his web site that includes this:

Contrast [Paulsen's position on various issues] … with his neighbor to the north, Michele Bachmann. She has become a regular on Fox News and Sean Hannity’s radio show, emerged as a darling of the Tea Party right and is now called upon by conservatives across the nation to headline their rallies and fundraisers. Several in the Republican caucus are trying to copy her model for a stratospheric rise in the conservative esteem, but seemingly not Paulsen.

So Paulsen is maintaining his distance from Bachmann, as a continuation of the “I’m not too right wing for Plymouth (one of our centrist suburbs)” persona. But is it true? Is Paulsen different from Bachmann?

Well, it turns out that he isn’t except in one area. Paulsen is a bit more liberal on water conservation issues than Bachmann. Otherwise, he seems to be pretty much a Bachmann clone.

So far this year, the house has voted just under 300 times. Of those, Bachmann and Paulsen both voted (i.e, neither was marked as “not voting” which we presume is absent from the House) a total of 282 times. Of those, they voted the same way 271 times. Michele Bachmann and Erik Paulsen voted the same way, according to this year’s voting record, over 96% of the time.

How were they different?

Paulsen favored recognizing the significant accomplishments of AmeriCorps, and supporting the goals and ideals of National Train Day. Bachmann voted against these things. Paulsen was in favor of reauthorizing the Federal Water Pollution Control Act’s Estuary Program, and two or three other water-related conservation bills. Apparently Michele Bachmann does not like natural water or trains.

They both voted against the Home Star Retrofit Rebate Program (aka “cash for caulkers”) and for Mother’s day. They both voted for National Assistant Principals Week (those are usually the disciplinarians, right?) and against disaster relief and summer jobs. Generally, they voted against Obama, against regular people, against home owners, and in favor of selected ideals and corporate interests.

In virtual lockstep.

If you would like to see the voting record, here’s a PDF, compiled from data provided on Govtrack.us.

If you are a voter in the Third District who voted for Paulsen, you may already know about this. If you’re a Third Districter who voted for Ash Madia (and good for you if you did) then you really, really want to know about this. Either way, you may want to explore other options this year, because it appears that Representative Paulsen, aka “Son of Bachmann,” is running for re-election.

Comments

  1. #1 Curtis
    October 28, 2010

    I live in the 3rd district. I attended Erik Paulsen’s town hall meeting the summer of 2009 when the healthcare debate was at it’s zenith. The first comment from Mr.Paulsen was him stating he was against the U.S. Government having any involvement in ANY healthcare programs. Mr. Paulson has supported Rep. Ryan’s (R-WI) Roadmap for America plan that would dismantle Medicare and provide vouchers to seniors for buying medical coverage in the private market from insurance companies. Unfortunately, the vouchers are not indexed to inflation. With medical costs increasing over 10% per year, the voucher’s buying power will be worth half their value in seven years.
    I find it so interesting that Mr. Paulsen’s campaign ads depict him as a protector of Medicare. And so sad that people are naive enough to believe him.

  2. #2 jacksmith
    October 28, 2010

    I’M PROUD OF YOU LABOR!. Keep standing up. The lives and health of all the American people and the World are in serious jeopardy.

    Further, unemployment healthcare benefits are critically needed. But they should be provided through the Medicare program at cost, less the 65% government premium subsidy provided now to private for profit health insurance.

    Congress should stop wasting hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money on private for profit health insurance subsidies. Subsidies that cost the taxpayer 10x as much or more than Medicare does. Private for profit health insurance plans cost more. But provide dangerous and poorer quality patient care.

    It’s over. Tell congress to get the healthcare Merchants of death and injury out of the American peoples lives for good. 2010 is about THE PUBLIC OPTION!

    And that CORRUPT! UNDEMOCRATIC! filibuster must GO! NOW!

    Alan Grayson Honors The Dead http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TV9TRoYMtjs&feature=player_embedded

    Alan Grayson on Healthcare http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPpQ2MNaSDo&feature=player_embedded

    Ron Sparks HealthCareReform http://youtu.be/kqlBFRJh4Cw

    John Garamendi – The Public Option http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyBTEke68aQ&feature=player_embedded

    I want to commend all of you for working so hard and being so strong at helping the whitehouse and congress begin to address our U.S. and Global healthcare crisis. You have been AWESOME! my fellow Americans and peoples of the World. America and the World is better and safer for it. My greatest pride is the knowledge that I am one of you. And that you really get it. You really understand the importance of it all.

    There are some potentially very good things in the healthcare legislation. Especially with the reconciliation fix’s. The Democrats, Bernie Sanders and the Whitehouse did a GREAT! job of fighting to produce the best healthcare legislation that they could. They have earned all our strong support. And we should give it to them.

    But it was your relentless pressure and hard work that made the difference. Whatever good comes from this healthcare legislation, America and the peoples of the World will have each of you to thank. You were smart, creative, courageous and relentless. You fought together for the best legislation possible. And when you had to, you fought alone. No matter who stumbled and fell you continued to push and forge ahead. Fighting for the lives and health of the American people and the World. YOU SHOULD BE PROUD OF YOUR-SELVES :-)

    It may come to pass that future generations will look back on us and say that we were ALL Americas Greatest Generations. And that healthcare reform was our finest hour. You should be proud of our leaders President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid and the many other Democratic and independent fighters for the people in congress. They proved them-self worthy of the leadership of a GREAT! PEOPLE.

    But we are not done yet. This was just the beginning of healthcare reform, not the end. WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES, ARE NOT! divided on healthcare legislation. The vast majority of you have been consistently crystal clear that this legislation does not go far enough. You want a strong Government-run Public Option CHOICE!! available to everyone on day one. And you want it NOW!

    YOU MUST NOT ALLOW AN INDIVIDUAL MANDATE TO STAND WITHOUT A STRONG GOVERNMENT-RUN PUBLIC OPTION CHOICE! AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE.

    WE THE PEOPLE have been crystal clear that we want an end to dependence on for-profit healthcare and the for-profit proxies called private for non-profit healthcare. The American people want the CHOICE! of a strong Government-run Public Option to replace their need or dependence on healthcare providers whose primary motivation is profit. Rather than providing the highest quality, easiest accessible and most affordable medically necessary healthcare possible. This is what the rest of the developed World has. And the American people want it too. They want healthcare ASSURANCE! Not, for-profit health insurance. And they want it NOW!

    Now is the time to continue the push for a strong Government-run Public Option CHOICE! available to everyone that wants it on day one. Rationally it’s clear what we have to do to get this done. SUPPORT THE DEMOCRATS that supported you with a Public Option choice, and REMOVE as many republicans as you can. Not one republican in congress was willing to step across the isle to support a strong Government-run Public Option CHOICE!! available to everyone on day one. NOT ONE! Let no candidate prevail this November that does not support a Strong Government-run Public Option.

    47,000 AMERICANS die each year from lack of healthcare. 120,000 die from treatable illness that don’t die in other developed countries. Hundreds of thousands of you are dieing from medical accidents in a rush to profit. And Millions of you are injured. Millions more are driven into bankruptcy. All for the privilege of paying two to three times as much as any other people in the developed world for healthcare. HOGWASH!

    Additionally, tens of thousands of you and your children were killed and millions sickened and injured from a terror attack with H1N1 (swine flu). Released on the American people and the World by the for-profit healthcare industry. All in an attempt to panic and frighten you into accepting the oxymoronic criminal enterprise of private for-profit healthcare (The most costly, deadly, dangerous, and disgraceful product sold in America). H1N1 is still sickening people and killing them. Especially children, the young and the middle aged. And there will be a third wave. These are the terrorist you need to worry about the most. Even the so-called international terrorist would not do something so INSANE! But greed driven medical profiteers would and did.

    Apparently as far as republicans in GOVERNMENT are concerned, YOU! my fellow Americans – CAN JUST DROP DEAD! Including their own family members. Fools!… Hundreds of thousands of you, and possibly millions of you will die from the long-term effects of your infection and poisoning with H1N1.

    So my fellow Human Beings. Rest-up, Take good care of the basics (Balanced nutrition, hydration, exercise, rest and POSITIVE emotional supports). Then wade back into the FIGHT! for a strong Government-run Public Option CHOICE! available to everyone on day one. Drug re-importation, Abolishment or strong restrictions on patents for biologic and prescription drugs. And government controlled and negotiated drug and medical cost. You must take back control of your healthcare system from the Medical Industrial Complex. You MUST do it NOW! This is a matter of National and Global security. There can be NO MORE EXCUSES.

    God Bless You My Fellow Human Beings. I’m glad to know of you. And proud to be one of you.

    See you on the battle field.

    Sincerely

    jacksmith – WorkingClass :-)

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