Volume 47, Issue 9 - November/December 2008
Who's Running the Wheelhouse?
Window Guy Asks His Representative
Some Tough Questions
by R. Mark Reasbeck
The disadvantage of forward planning is the unknown future events that could change an outcome. Since I have to write these articles 30 to 60 days before a publication date, lots of things can change in our world, especially in regards to politics. What I’m trying to say is the incident in this article happened in mid-October and, by the time this article is printed, the election will be behind us.
You Sure You Want to Invite Me?
It was a Wednesday afternoon and my cell phone rang. The familiar voice was Mick, longtime customer/friend and current president of the Southern Nevada Homebuilders Association.
“Mark, I’d like to invite you to a last-minute jobsite meeting with U.S. Rep. Jon Porter [a Republican congressman for the 3rd district in Nevada],” he said. Mick continued and said there would be approximately 30 to 35 people on one of his tract-home jobsites and wanted me to be there.
I asked, “You sure you want ME there? Can I ask him any question I want?” Apparently, he was OK with that and said he would see me the next day.
You Sure I’m in the Right Place?
I arrived at 9 a.m. right on time. The jobsite was unbelievable. Stucco crew was clean, had on the same shirts, grounds were spotless and no mariachi music was blasting away. The Congressman arrived late and his handlers herded him through the model homes, like it was his first time in a model complex. Next they took him to a production house and then to our special equipped Congressional Town Hall Two-Car Garage Meet ‘n Greet.
As I was talking to a couple of ladies from the National Association of Home Builders, I saw the good Congressman head down a row of chairs that would run right in to me.
I introduced myself as a 50-year resident of Nevada, and then, I took advantage of my invitation. “Congressman Porter, I live in Pahrump, Nevada, on two acres. Paid cash for my ‘Broke’n Down’ Ranch, and I’m watching my equity disappear. I drive a 2006 Ford diesel pickup. I have always driven American cars, and always will. I picked a diesel vehicle because it is the most durable motor and, at the time, the most affordable fuel. I’m $15,000 upside down on that truck. I’ve owned my own window business since 1996, and my business is off at least 75 percent from two years ago. Mr. Porter, where is my bailout? Sir, before you answer that, I’m not your everyday person. I pay attention.” I then pulled from my pocket his voting record for the Economic Stimulus Package, which I called the Economic Sabotage Package.“
At 10:15 a.m. you and 18 other Republicans voted for it. At 10:33 you voted against it, at 1:22, you with 90 other Republicans, voted for it again and this vote stood.”
Needless to say, he was quite shocked that I was that prepared and said more people should do that. He was called to the front to speak to the group and he said we would continue this afterwards.
You Sure You’re Not Reading My Columns?
Mr. Porter gave us the “standing answer” we heard from everyone in Congress about the economic bailout. “It’s not the best solution, but we had to do something,” he said. Midway through the dialogue, a mortgage guy stood up and asked why Congress didn’t mandate that the banks holding the collapsed mortgages sit down with the homeowners and find out their payment threshold and just add it to the back-end of the loan. WHAT? Dude, you been reading my columns? (See Shelter March 2008 on page 44, “If I’m Elected President.”) I said this way back when. It’s too late now, but you should have written me in for President on the ballot.
I have learned that no matter where they are, politicians always have to be somewhere else, Rep. Porter included. As he headed toward his car, I managed to catch him one more time.
“Mr. Porter, the economy is like the Titanic. There are 200,000,000 voters in the belly of the ship and we see the iceberg. But when we try to tell this to the wheelhouse, no one listens. We’ve lost faith in the one’s steering the ship, and quite frankly, we don’t believe Congress knows how to steer the ship.” He said thanks and rushed to his car.
After he departed, I thought of one more thing. In June of this year on page 48, I wrote “For the Want of a Rivet,” based on the fact that inferior rivets were used in the bow of the Titanic, a ship that was thought “unsinkable.” The weakened rivets caused the demise of the ship. A weakened dollar is the “rivets” holding our Titanic economy.
Man the lifeboats.
Editor's Note: Rep. Porter was defeated by Rep.-Elect Dina Titus. Titus won 47 percent of the vote, and Porter won 42 percent.
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