PONTIAC, Mich. - With the first debate over between incumbent Democrat Gary Peters and his Republican and tea party backed challenger Andrew (Rocky) Raczkowski, voters have real reason for concern if Raczkowski were to be elected congressman in Michigan's 9th district.
During the debate Raczkowski continually professed he'd only be beholden to his Oakland County constituents. His words painted a far different picture.
Raczkowski attempted to demonize health care reform by saying it was "socialized medicine and the takeover of the entire practice of medicine." He blamed health care reform, not the insurance companies, for the increase in premiums many insurance companies enacted before the reform took effect.
Peters pointed to "some incredibly important aspects" of the bill including the provision that allows children under 26 to continue on their parents' policy.
He said because of a sliding scale based on income, "Middle income folks, who are just struggling, pay their bills everyday and can't afford it, now they will be able to have health care. Reform will bring peace of mind to many. We can't repeal health care: we have to keep it in place."
Peters pounded on Raczkowski's support for a 23 percent national sales tax. While Raczkowski tried to deny the charge, he has been endorsed by the Michigan Fair Tax Association because of his support for HR 25, the misnamed Fair Tax Act. This bill would eliminate the IRS (and taxes on CEOs and corporations) and put a 23 percent sales tax in its place.
Peters said it's anything but fair. "How many folks out there would like to pay 23 percent more for everything you buy? A gallon of gasoline? A gallon of milk? A house - 23 percent more, a car - 23 percent more."
Asked if the more than 14,000 men and women discharged for having a sexual persuasion different from the majority means "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" should be abolished, Raczkowski replied "absolutely not."
A far different answer came from Peters: "I am very proud to say I support the repeal."
While Peters touted his work on the Wall Street reform bill, Raczkowski has been quoted in local papers saying he was against Wall Street reform and was concerned the bill would "over regulate" the banking industry.
In addition, he wants individuals to open private Wall Street accounts for their Social Security savings. Luckily for seniors, this was not in place during the recent stock market crash.
To a question on the handling of Iran Raczkowski replied, "War is the last option but all options must be on the table." One got the distinct sense this candidate finger is quick on the trigger.
During his summary, Raczkowski repeated his mantra of opposition to health care reform, the stimulus package and cap and trade.
The Republican is a candidate who sees a very limited role - or no role at all - for government. This is deregulation on a vast scale with safeguards and oversight eliminated. If you're a conservative multi-millionaire, Raczkowski is your man.
Photo: PW/John Rummel