The Fall of Mark Souder

The fall of Mark Souder happened with a whimper, not a bang. Souder, eight term Republican Congressman from my district in Indiana, announced his resignation from Congress, ostensibly for having an affair with a female staffer.

I know, Republithugs generally get caught dilly-dallying with male staffers, or pages, or “escorts.” I’ll give Souder that much. That’s not to say that he might not have such skeletons in his closet, but that’s not what he got caught doing.

My biggest question in this revelation, however, is, “Who is this woman, and how deperate could she have been?” I mean, come on, Mark Souder? He’s about as sexually appealing as an overripe avocado. While Souder acts all embarrased about getting caught in this situation, the woman is the one who should be embarrased. If you’re going to have your extramarital dalliances made public, at least have the good sense to get caught with someone who is worth the embarrassment, not a repulsive slug like Mark Souder.

Souder, for his part, was contrite, visibly nervous, and possibly humbled during the reading of his statement announcing his resignation. As well he should have been. But his humility was the product of embarrassment, not true remorse. Had he not gotten caught, I have no doubt that he would still be embroiled in the affair, still keeping it secret, and would not have had his public moment of contrition. See, it’s not about the impropriety, it’s about the story going public that led to his resignation and humiliation.

But then that’s Mark Souder for you. He’s always been above it all, from the spoiled little kid growing up in Grabill, Indiana to the arrogant Congressional staffer for Dan Coats, to the eight term Congressman who ran on the pledge of term limiting himself to four terms. Mark is, and has always been, an attention whore who enjoys feeling powerful, if only in his own mind.

Souder always seemed obsessed with the foibles of others, spouting moralizing piety at every turn. Maybe that adds to the pleasure I take in seeing him fall in this way. But a part of me really wanted to see him defeated in a Congressional race. To have him feel the humiliation of defeat, censured at the polls by the people of his district. That’s the end he deserved, but he short-circuited that process by being as weak in the flesh as he is mentally.

While he has “represented” this district for the last fifteen years, he never represented me. I was opposed to most all of what he claimed to stand for and on which he campaigned. I voted against him every election, wrote to him regularly in opposition to his state positions on issues that mattered, and kept waiting on the day when he would go down to defeat. That day came in a way and at a time that caught most of us off guard. Maybe now this district can elect a Congressman we can be proud of instead of embarrased by.

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.

Souder has to go

Mark Souder, U.S. Representative from my district, Indiana’s 3rd, has been an embarrassment and disappointment to any thinking person who follows politics. He lied to the voters about term limits, as a starter. He was for them when running for Congress initially, but when he reached the number of terms that he promised to limit himself to, he ran again anyway. And he continues to run.

In his Congressional career he has had to apologize to the people of Kentucky and Mexico for having made disparaging public remarks about the denizens of these two locales. He repeatedly sticks his foot in his mouth and makes residents of his district seem like buffoons by mere association.

These are reasons enough to put an end to his Congressional career, but recently I was looking over a list of some of his votes in Congress. These are the real reasons he needs to be replaced by a forward-looking, intelligent challenger.

This is a small list of some of his votes with which I disagree.

Souder voted

• NO on tax incentives for renewable energy. (Feb 2008)
• NO on investing in homegrown biofuel. (Aug 2007)
• NO on expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines. (Jan 2007)
• NO on allowing human embryonic stem cell research. (May 2005)
• NO on prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation. (Nov 2007)
• YES on replacing illegal export tax breaks with $140B in new breaks. (Jun 2004)
• NO on additional $10.2B for federal education & HHS projects. (Nov 2007)
• YES on implementing CAFTA, Central America Free Trade. (Jul 2005)
• YES on implementing free trade agreement with Chile. (Jul 2003)
• YES on promoting free trade with Peru. (Nov 2007)
• NO on protecting whistleblowers from employer recrimination. (Mar 2007)
• YES on restricting independent grassroots political committees. (Apr 2006)
• NO on campaign finance reform banning soft-money contributions. (Feb 2002)
• NO on banning soft money donations to national political parties. (Jul 2001)
• NO on banning soft money and issue ads. (Sep 1999)
• NO on adding 2 to 4 million children to SCHIP eligibility. (Oct 2007)
• NO on requiring negotiated Rx prices for Medicare part D. (Jan 2007)
• NO on requiring FISA warrants for wiretaps in US. (Mar 2008)
• NO on Veto override: Congressional oversight of CIA interrogations. (Mar 2008)
• NO on restricting no-bid defense contracts. (Mar 2007)
• YES on allowing electronic surveillance without a warrant. (Sep 2006)
• YES on continuing intelligence gathering without civil oversight. (Apr 2006)
• NO on restricting employer interference in union organizing. (Mar 2007)
• NO on increasing minimum wage to $7.25. (Jan 2007)
• YES on retroactive immunity for telecoms’ warrantless surveillance. (Jun 2008)