Rep. Charlie Bass (R-NH) is facing off with bold progressive candidate Annie Kuster on the November ballot, and he is desperately trying to avoid losing by trying to repair his image with voters who are steamed at the Republican Party.
At a recent candidate’s forum, he tried to portray himself as being fairly bipartisan:
Calling the election “very, very significant,” Bass said Congress needs bipartisan cooperation, and argued he’s been among the congressmen who most frequently reached across the aisle to cooperate with colleagues from the other party.
Bass noted that because of his backing of a failed bipartisan debt-reduction budget, he was one of the few congressmen endorsed jointly by Erskine Bowles, the former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton and a two-time Democratic Senate candidate, and Alan Simpson, an ex-Republican U.S. senator from Wyoming.
Bass also noted the he has broken ranks with the GOP on the issues of softening environmental standards and on women’s health care issues.
The first thing that should be mentioned is that the Simpson-Bowles plan to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits was rejected along a very bipartisan 382-38 vote. Additionally the vast majority of Americans reject its key proposals — a recenty McClatchy poll found that 80 percent of Americans oppose cuts to Medicare and Medicaid — as well. Bass is bragging about being on the fringe.
But the other major flaw in what Bass is saying is the idea that he frequently reaches across the aisle. He votes with his own party 83 percent of the time.