Ever since Alan Grayson took to the House floor last fall and declared that the Republican health care plan was to have people "die quickly," he's been a darling of liberals who regularly doles out red meat as a guest on MSNBC.
The problem for Democrats, however, is that Grayson represents a Congressional district in Florida that has traditionally voted Republican, and his new found fame as a liberal bomb thrower puts him at odds with people back home.Cook Political Report now rates the race as a "toss-up."
Earlier this afternoon, I had a chance to speak with Kurt Kelly, a state representative from Ocala, Florida who is one of the Republicans hoping to take advantage of Grayson's full-throated embrace of the left. The owner of an employment background search firm who entered politics when former Gov. Jeb Bush appointed him to the county school board in 2001, Kelly was elected to the state House in a 2007 special election.
"If we can't take this seat, we can't take back the House," Kelly said of the bellwether tendencies of the district. (Bush carried it twice and Obama took it in 2008).
Kelly blasted Grayson as an "extreme leftist" who lacked dignity and decorum
"He makes Obama and Pelosi look conservative," Kelly said of Grayson. He added that Grayson had devolved into a "potty mouthed shock jock" who had "brought embarrassment to the district.
Before he can get to Grayson, however, he'll have to win the Republican primary. On that front, Kelly makes the case that he's uniquely qualified because of his experience balancing budgets and debating legislation on the state House floor.
I asked Kelly how he would take on the debt crisis facing the federal government, and he said that he supported passage of a balanced budget amendment. He argued that having that requirement in Florida forced the state to cut spending and slash many agencies. When asked if he was worried that such a move could have the unintended consequences of paving the way for tax increases in the name of balancing the budget, he touted the fact that he signed American for Tax Reform's no tax hike pledge.
I pressed him further on this point, noting that our long term budget problems couldn't be solved by trimming or eliminating agencies, but only by confronting our long term entitlement crisis. In response, he insisted that if there were a balanced budget requirement, it would force lawmakers to make difficult decisions that otherwise get deferred.
Unfortunately, the crisis we face is so severe, that it's difficult to take any politician running for federal office seriously when claiming a commitment to reduce the budget, if they aren't getting behind specific measures to rein in entitlements.
Share this Article
Like this Article
Print this ArticlePrint Article