Congressman Mike Ross appeared with Talk Business editor Roby Brock this morning to take questions for viewers via email and twitter. It was a very enlightening interview in which Ross seemed remarkably open, perhaps freed up by his decision to not seek re-election in the upcoming 2012 election.
In addressing his confidence in that decision, he mentioned something that at first blush reminded me of North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue’s comments early this week where she said – "I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won’t hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover. I really hope that someone can agree with me on that. You want people who don’t worry about the next election."
Perdue has since backtracked from that saying she was only being sarcastic.
Ross’ comment was in response to a question as to whether he regretted his decision not to run for re-election in 2012, which he said that he does not.
"Like a lot of people, I too am fed up with Congress largely because of what I have described to you about how partisan in nature everything is becoming," said Ross. "I was part of the group last week that called for a time out on the 2012 elections and said let’s put country before party for once."
I sent a text message to Brock asking him to follow-up if Ross was referring to something similar to what Perdue had suggested earlier this week. He said that he was not familiar with Perdue’s comment, but clarified that he is not proposing any change to the current election system.
"When I first got to Congress, the odd years – the non-election years – there wasn’t so much political nonsense," explained Ross. There were people really trying to work to get the job done. It was bad enough that we were working one out of every two years. With the even year – the election year – pretty much everything was political, but now it is political year-round. I mean, we will cast lots of votes each week in the House and we may have one or two substantive votes each week in the House. The rest of those votes cast all week are what I call ‘gotcha votes’ and both parties do it in terms of trying to get a vote that get you on record on certain positions that often times have nothing to do with the bill and you know isn’t going anywhere. It’s simply to cause you to have to cast a vote that they can then take and twist and turn for a 30-second TV ad and attack you. I think the American people are fed up with that. You know, I have been elected to do a job – not play politics."
Ross went on to say that he does not have a problem with the two-year terms in the House which he says are healthy. Instead, he was referring to the members of Congress that focus too much on the upcoming election.
"That why I was part of a national press conference as co-chair of the Blue Dogs a few weeks ago to say let’s call a ‘time out’ on the 2012 elections and put country before party," said Ross.
Make sure to also check out Brock’s take on his interview with Ross. One interesting part was Ross’ argument that the upcoming Presidential election will help Democrats in Arkansas and also that many in his district favor the $1.5 trillion tax increase proposed by President Obama.