GOP Congressman Bill Posey and “Demagogue Donald”—“Birds of a Political Feather Flock Together” February 22, 2017
The early reviews of the Trump administration keep coming in, and they are not very good. Demagogue Donald’s repeated whoppers over his “y uu ge” inaugural crowd sizes, “gi nor mous” Electoral College victory,” and the millions of illegal voters going for Hillary have been refuted time and again by pundits and even GOPers. The over-the-top lies by Donald’s aides, witness Kellyanne Conway’s made up story about the Bowling Green, Ky. “massacre,” have made millions of reasonable people question Trump’s competency. Donald’s top 1% billionaire, anti-civil rights, and special interest Cabinet appointees have faced nearly uniform Senate Democratic opposition. One of the worst of them, fast food king, Andy Puzder withdrew from being considered for Secretary of Labor when he realized he didn’t have enough votes. Education Dept. nominee, “I love vouchers/not public schools” Betsy De Vos, won confirmation only because VP Pence cast a tie-breaking vote. Trump’s first National Security (NSC) adviser pick wacky Mike Flynn quit, because of a controversial phone call he made to a Russian official before Trump even took office. Trump’s hastily and poorly drawn initial executive order banning Muslim immigrants from coming into this country was unanimously slapped down by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Trump’s tweets and comments calling the major news organizations the “real enemy” have been rightly condemned by many, including Ariz. GOP Senator John McCain. McCain aptly warned Trump and the rest of the American public that “dictators get started by suppressing free press (CNN, Scott, E., 2/18/17).” Trump’s most recent 77- minute press conference looked like a total meltdown. He told a friendly Orthodox Jewish reporter to “sit down,” and told a black correspondent to set up a meeting for him with the Congressional Black Caucus (because blacks all know each other). Trump attacked the major media outlets for “fake news” and said his administration was a “well- oiled machine.” Welcome to Trump’s alternate universe.
Non-popular vote winner Trump could care less about reaching out to the opposition. According to a Pew Poll, Trump has a 36%-56% favorable/unfavorable rating. Forty-six percent of the public “strongly disapproves” of him. Gallup gave him a recent 38%--56% favorable/unfavorable score. All of these polls constitute historic lows for an incoming chief executive (“Upshot,” NY Times, Cohn, N., 2/17/17). So, what’s narcissist-in-chief Trump to do? First, file for re-election on 1/20/2017, just five hours after his inauguration, an unprecedented move (docquery.fec.gov, 1/20/17, Morehouse, Lee, 1/30/17). Next, go back to political rally mode with his “red meat” base. On 2/18/2017, Trump went to Melbourne, Fla. Before an adoring crowd of 9,000, Donald returned to campaign form and spouted his usual demagogic drivel. The Washington Post caught him in 13 lies. The looniest was a comment that because of increased immigration to Sweden, “something had happened last night,” (2/17/17), there. What? Nothing. No terrorist attack, or anything resembling one, had occurred the night before in Sweden. Swedes, including former prime minister Carl Bildt, immediately refuted that Trump lie (Wash. Post, Kessler, G., 2/19/17). At this Fla. rally, Donald constantly spoke of the “fake news” created by the media. Before Trump spoke, Congressman Bill Posey addressed this crowd (Gaul, dailymail.com, 2/18/17). Here’s Cong. Posey.
Fifth-term GOP Congressman Bill Posey (69) represents Florida’s 8th Congressional District (CD). The Sunshine State 8th, located in East Central Fla., has been dubbed the “Space Coast” district. NASA’s space shuttle program, operated out of the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, lies in the 8th CD. The 8th takes in all of Indian River County, Brevard County, and a sparsely populated part of Orange County. The post-2010 redistricted 8th CD was built from the old 15th CD. The reconfigured 8th starts at Brevard County’s northern edge, just north of Titusville. This CD continues along the Atlantic Coast. The 8th includes the towns of Cocoa Beach, Melbourne, Palm Bay, and Vero Beach. Rockledge and Merritt Island are also in the 8th. The Kennedy Space Center provides the economic “booster thrust” for Brevard County, where 80% of the CD’s residents live. Electronics, aerospace technology, and tourism are economic pillars. Patrick Air Force Base and military jobs are also part of the 8th . The 8th’s Port Canaveral is the world’s third- largest passenger port (CQ & Barone 14 Political Almanacs).
The 8th is popular with retirees because of its warm climate and sunny beaches. The post-2010 redistricting resulted in the loss of the Democratic-leaning portions of Osceola County. Because of this redistricting, the Cook Partisan Voting Index (PVI) went from a fairly weak +4 “R” lean to a strong Republican +9 (Barone 08, Barone 14). Registered GOPers outnumber Democrats. In 2016, Trump beat Hillary in Fla. by just 1.2%, 49%-47.8% (Fla. Div. of Elections). Trump owed his key Fla. electoral victory to turnout in counties like Brevard where Melbourne is located. While Hillary improved upon Obama’s performance in key Fla. Democratic strongholds, Trump overcame her margin by driving up turnout in conservative and GOP-leaning areas. In the 8th’s Brevard County, Trump earned nearly 182, 000 votes in 11/2016, an increase of more than 22,000 from Romney’s four years earlier, when Mitt narrowly lost Fla. Trump’s 62, 169 Brevard County victory vote margin marked a 71% increase from Romney’s Brevard lead over Obama (LA Times, Memoli, 2/18/17).
Because of his father’s work in the aircraft business, Washington, D.C. native Bill Posey moved several times before his family settled in Brevard County in 1956. After graduating high school, Posey worked for McDonnell Douglas Astronautics at the Kennedy Space Center as an engineering inspector. He worked on the Apollo 11 Launch Team and attended Brevard Community College at night, earning his A.A. degree in 1969. After Apollo 11 put the first astronauts on the moon, Posey was laid off. He went into real estate. He founded Posey & Company in 1974, of which he is still president. Posey was also a stock car racer, won an award as a short-track driver, and bought a racetrack with a friend (Barone & CQ 14).
Posey was the first member of his family to register as a GOPer. He felt Democrats were too “pro-inflation” and big on deficit spending. Posey was elected to the Rockledge City Council in 1976 where he served until 1986. In 1992, he won a seat in the Fla. House where he served until 2000. In 2000, Posey ran and won a race for the State Senate, where he served until 2008. In the Fla. House, he authored legislation dealing with governmental accountability and wrote a book about it. When the incumbent GOP Congressman announced his retirement in 2008, Posey ran for his seat. He heavily outspent and beat his Democratic opponent by 11 points (CQ & Barone 14). He has easily won re-election since. In 2016, he won by 30 points (CQ &Barone 14, Early Guide 115th Congress).
In the House, Congressman Posey has demonstrated little ability to pass laws (Kabaservice, G., theguardian.com, 2/18/17). He is more concerned with being known for his ideological stands. He has been labelled a “Far-Right” Republican on “GovTrack’s” political spectrum. He is a member of the Republican Study Committee (RSC), the most conservative bloc and dominant force within the House GOP caucus. Posey is part of the approximately 40- member Liberty Caucus. This group, associated with the anti-government Tea Party, has a libertarian/conservative tilt. It focuses on “economic freedom, individual liberty, and following (1787 style) the Constitution (Washington Examiner, 1/24/14).” Translation: pushing a laissez -faire “dog-eat-dog” reactionary view of American politics. Posey gets top ratings from right wing groups and has high 90+% scores for voting with his “Team Red” fellows (See “Gov. Track,” CQ & Barone 14). He has signed right wing stalwart Grover Norquist’s “no new taxes now and forever” Taxpayer Protection Pledge (See votesmart.org).
Despite not passing much legislation, Posey has made waves from the beginning of his congressional career. In 2009, freshman Posey made headlines by introducing a bill to require presidential candidates to provide a copy of their original birth certificate and other documentation to prove that they are “natural born” citizens. Under Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution, if one does not meet this requirement, he/she can’t be President. With this proposed legislation, Posey was joining the “tin foil hat” GOP conspiracy gang pushing “birtherism,” or the absurd notion that Pres. Barack Obama had not been born in the U.S. (“Politico,” B. Smith, 3/16/09, Kabaservice, G., theguardian.com, 2/18/17). And who was the most prominent “birther” supporter who used this issue to launch his successful drive to the White House? None other than “the Donald (Kabaservice).” Where else would Cong. Posey be than introducing Donald at the Melbourne, Fla. rally? “Political birds of a feather flock together.” Cong. Posey flocks with the “Donald Bird” on another key issue. He supported Trump’s initial travel ban that the courts rejected. In Posey’s words, “allowing unvetted immigration into the United States when we have been told there will be terrorists among them is risky and dangerous (Posey Press Release, 1/30/17).” Never mind that our government has very strict vetting procedures for immigrants and refugees. Posey and the “Donald Bird” live in a world of alternative facts.
Posey can probably keep getting re-elected in his “hot-Red” Fla. 8th CD. However, if Democrats and moderates come out in droves in 11/18/2018, they can vote out 24 other “Team Red” congressional members and take back the House. Donald and Posey could still “flock together,” but their reactionary agenda would be stopped.