Striving to achieve extremist status:
U.S. Reps. Renee Ellmers and Robert Pittenger, both Republicans, predicted the current political and fiscal mess and tried to tell their constituents that defunding the health care law by halting government operations was a bad idea. But then they voted for the shutdown anyway, facing intense pressure from conservative groups.
During a town hall meeting at Queens University in Charlotte during the August recess, Pittenger sought to warn the public of the risks of trying to defund the health care act by tying it to a spending bill. He said he’d vote against it, triggering an intense backlash. Video of the exchange was posted online by a tea party group. Pittenger eventually voted for the measure.
In both cases, it appears the freshman Republicans put their own political careers ahead of the people they were elected to represent. With Pittenger it was fear of the Tea Party nut-jobs, and with Ellmers it was fear of a well-financed primary challenger:
Ellmers has one of the most conservative voting records in the House, but when she said voting for a government shutdown would be trading one economic disaster for another, the D.C.-based conservative group Heritage Action announced it would spend $550,000 on online ads against her and other GOP opponents of the shutdown.
She has since picked up competition for the Republican primary in May with other challengers considering similar bids. Cary stock trader Frank Roche, her opponent, has called her a “faux conservative.”
They are both dutifully trying to destroy our country now, but they would have much more likely to get re-elected if they had stuck with their original positions. But when you lack integrity, it's hard to do.