Mark Souder: Agent of Changing Direction to Whichever Way the Wind Blows

Congressman Mark Souder wrote an editorial in yesterday’s News-Sentinel. In his column, he argued against efforts to establish a single-payer health care system in America and states his opposition to legislation he supported last year. From Souder’s column:

“The critics, including me, feel that the Obama administration has taken unprecedented steps toward nationalizing our economy. When someone inserts the idea of a “single-payer” system, they are not talking about competition and capitalism. It is one of the steps toward socialism.

Some object to this characterization, claiming conservatives are distorting the truth. The president even, ridiculously, accused opponents of “bearing false witness” against his bill.

Ironically, his criticism makes our point: The president is not God. The problem with single-payer socialist approaches is that it presumes that a “single” source (the government or its “blessed” proxy) has a corner on truth.

I have co-sponsored legislation introduced by my friend, Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio). It simply says the federal government is banned from taking ownership of common stock.

America has long debated loans, bailouts and debt relief — since the beginning of our republic. But we have now moved to a different level. Our government has taken majority ownership and appointed the board of GM. It has stock ownership of banks and all of AIG.

Now, in effect, the federal government wants to take over all health care.”

Souder’s current statements contradict his past vote in support of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 which “provide(ed) authority for the Federal Government to purchase and insure certain types of troubled assets for the purposes of providing stability to and preventing disruption in the economy and financial system and protecting taxpayers, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide incentives for energy production and conservation, to extend certain expiring provisions, to provide individual income tax relief, and for other purposes.”

Again, Congressman Souder voted for this bill’s passage, and now he uses actions he once supported to criticize the President. Another example of Souder’s duplicity can be found later in his column:

“The president has attacked profits and the companies that make a profit. He claims competition is inefficient and thus more expensive. It has been an especially nasty debate, on both sides, because the stakes are so high.”

Compare that statement with this press release from Souder’s own website, dated October 7, 2008:

U.S. Rep. Mark Souder questioned top executives from AIG at a hearing in the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The Committee held the hearing to examine the financial excesses that led to the government bailout of AIG. Included below are a few of Souder’s questions:

“One of the big frustrations of anyone across America watching this right now is that you keep referencing a market driven, financial tsunami, as if you were not a part of it. The taxpayers have already put in 61 billion dollars (of the 80 billion available). Do you feel that you have any personal responsibility for the current state of our economy?

“You took incredible risk without warning people and the evidence of that risk is that, by your own explanation, one accounting rule change put your company under and the taxpayers had to step in. How in the world does an executive leave their company so vulnerable, that when they leave, all the sudden the company goes broke? Especially when you claim you were making money before and you act astounded, like everything would have been fine if they had not changed this one accounting rule. The fact is you went belly-up and now you’re sticking it to everyone else in America”

Following the hearing, Congressman Souder issued the following statement:

“It is absolutely unbelievable that these executives refused to take responsibility for their role in the current financial situation. This unbridled greed and callous abuse of the trust of hard-working Americans’ savings is just so disgusting it is hard to put into words.”

The fact is, Mark Souder once supported “stock ownership of banks and AIG” through his votes and his words. Now, the Congressman sees a political advantage in attacking these very same policies. Mark Souder once attacked AIG executives for their relentless pursuit of profit. Now he criticizes the President for trying to reign it in and put some governmental controls on it.

As I recently wrote to Congressman Souder, I knew his father, Ed. Ed Souder was a kind, honest man who would do anything for anyone in a time of need. He was what Christians are supposed to actually be and represented values that were heartfelt, genuine, and honest. As I told the Congressman, “You’re no Ed Souder. Your venality, dishonesty, and reactionary idealogy are anathema to what your father believed, lived, and stood for. Your father would be ashamed to see what you have become, because those of us who knew Ed and believe in the values that he held are ashamed of, and for, you.”

Let’s make this Mark Souder’s last term in office. Vote anybody but Souder in 2010.