The website: http://ontheissues.org/default.htm provides extensive information about politicians and political candidates in regard to various issues. Too many political candidates present a smiling face to the voters which hides their power lust and ferocious desire to impose their ideology on those they woo for votes. In the PA 12th district, a man named Keith Rothfus provides as case in point. What has been done in this essay can be done for any candidate by visiting the aforementioned site.
Congressman Keith Rothfus of PA’s 12th Congressional District, is a gifted actor. He presents himself as a congenial everyman and a person one would be happy to have as a neighbor. He is, however, a reactionary ideologue who is not nearly a benign as he seems.
1. Keith Rothfus is a staunch proponent of denying women the right to make their own reproductive choices.
In regards to a woman’s rights to make her own reproductive choices, Mr. Rothfus has taken the following actions. On keithpa4.com, “Issues”, Nov 6, 2012, Rothfus asserted: “Government funding of embryonic stem cell research violates the conscience of millions of Americans who are forced to pay for such research.” He falsely claims that adult cells can serve the purposes pertinent to stem cell research. He then states: “I will not support giving any tax dollars to any organization that provides or promotes abortion.” In this, he sought to carry out his ideological hostility toward Planned Parenthood. He is not keeping tax dollars from paying for abortion; he is keeping tax dollars from paying for various women’s health services that have nothing to do with abortion. On the Christian Coalition Voter Guide, Rothfus indicated he strongly opposes taxpayer funding for abortion. He is so ideologically extreme that he co-sponsored the “Protecting Life in Funding Education Act or the PRO-LIFE Act”–to prohibit the provision of federal education funding to state or local educational agencies that make health services available to students through school-based health centers, unless those centers certify that they will not provide students with abortions, abortion-related materials or referrals, or directions to abortion services. He does not want students to have information that runs counter to his position. Mr. Rothfus and I will never be pregnant the difference is Rothfus utterly refuses to recognize the rights of women to make choices in this circumstance while I firmly support their right to choose.
2. Keith Rothfus is a true believer in Voodoo Economics and has been endorsed by the Club for Growth which pushes an array of policies that plunder Americans of modest means to benefit corporations and the super-rich.
For example, Rothfus favors depriving government of needed revenue by cutting taxes, he wants to slash federal spending, create personal accounts for Social Security, ending the death tax, eliminating the capital gains tax, and sabotage public education by fostering diversion of monies under the guise of school choice and hobbling government’s efforts to rectify injustices that blight so many lives on a daily basis. He voted to “prioritize spending in case debt limit is reached” rather than voting to raise the debt limit. Thus, he put ideology ahead of the full faith and credit of the United States.
3. Keith Rothfus is weak on civil rights especially as regards marriage equality and domestic abuse.
Keith Rothfus is on record as follows: “I believe that the family is the basic building block of society and that the stronger the family, the stronger the society, and the less need for government intrusion into our lives. I will protect the family from threats to redefine it or to undercut its importance. I will vote to protect the institution of marriage as being between one man and one woman.” He voted against reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act for the following reasons: Rothfus and other House Republicans objected to provisions in the Senate bill that extended VAWA’s protections to lesbians, gays, immigrants, and Native Americans because it was a “politically–motivated, constitutionally-dubious Senate version bent on dividing women into categories by race, transgender politics and sexual preference.” Rothfus objected for two broad ideological reasons: 1. the law is an unnecessary overreach by the federal government, and 2. it represents a “feminist” attack on family values. Finally, he contends the act’s grants have encouraged states to implement “mandatory-arrest” policies, under which police responding to domestic-violence calls are required to make an arrest. Rothfus ignores the truth that such policies were intended to combat the too-common situation in which a victim is intimidated into recanting an abuse accusation.
4. Rothfus is a supporter of corporations rather than citizens.
Rothfus declared: “I will fight to return the Nation’s economic policies more toward those of our 40th President.” In this Rothfus was referring to Ronald Reagan whose economic policies derived from fanciful notions about restoring America’s economic vitality through massive tax cuts for the wealthy, a strategy called “supply-side” by its admirers and “trickle-down” by its critics. In reality, Reagan’s tax cuts brought a rapidly ballooning federal debt, which was $934 billion in January 1981 when Reagan took office. By January 1989, when Reagan left office, the debt had increased three-fold to $2.7 trillion. The consequences of Reagan’s reckless tax-cutting continued under his successor, George H.W. Bush, who left office in January 1993 with a national debt of $4.2 trillion, more than 4 times higher than it was at the arrival of Republican-dominated governance in 1981. The fact is that the United States has embraced “voodoo economics” for much of the past three-plus decades and has so far refused to recognize the statistical evidence of Reaganomics’ abject failure. This suggests that the larger lesson of this era is that the U.S. political process is dysfunctional; this larger point has been driven home by the recent Tea Party-led government shutdown and threatened debt default in which Mr. Rothfus played a complete and willing role.
Mr. Rothfus also promises to “Roll back the onslaught of unnecessary and onerous regulations that have stunted our job growth.” Given that his economic philosophy is aptly called voodoo economics, it should come as no surprise that the onslaught of regulations has all reality of a herd of unicorns.
5. Rothfus supports the continued over reliance on fossil fuels and the ongoing pollution of the environment and ravaging of the planet.
Rothfus declared: “I will fight for an energy policy that ends overregulation and takes advantage of the great resources we have in our district and the entire United States. In addition to using coal, natural gas and nuclear power (which will all contribute to significant job gains in our district) we need to press ahead with drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and Outer Continental Shelf.” Rothfus signed the No Climate Tax Pledge saying: “I pledge to the taxpayers of my state, and to the American people, that I will oppose any legislation relating to climate change that includes a net increase in government revenue.” He also supported more offshore drilling. It is clear that the environment has no defender in Congressman Rothfus.
6. Rothfus turns a blind eye to the epidemic of gun violence in America.
Mr. Rothfus remarked” “Recently, in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the Supreme Court concluded that the Second Amendment does establish an individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense. I will pledge not to abridge that right, and I will do everything within my power to ensure that these rights are not abridged either through legislative or judicial means.” How many deaths will it take till Keith knows that too many people have died? It seems many more because, Rothfus strongly opposes restrictions on the right to purchase and possess guns. Based on the latest available figures as of 20 December 2012, 124.27 Americans per 100,000 have been killed, wounded, robbed or assaulted with guns. This carnage seems lost on Mr. Rothfus.
7. Rothfus is obstructive regarding providing healthcare coverage for the poor and uninsured.
In 2012, Rothfus said: “ObamaCare raids Medicare of $700 billion in funding over the next ten years while the Medicare population will grow from 47 million to 67 million. ObamaCare also creates what is called the Independent Payment Advisory Board, or IPAB. This board of unelected bureaucrats in D.C. is given the power to decide what is and what is not covered by Medicare and how much each service costs. With funding cut, the number of people covered by Medicare growing, and this unaccountable board in place, our seniors face a real threat of a rationing of care. This is unacceptable to anyone who is truly pro-life, is a betrayal of the promises made to our seniors, and is one of the reasons I strongly oppose ObamaCare and will fight for repeal.” This entire statement is a compound of distortions and outright lies. The $700 billion took nothing from Medicare beneficiaries it reduced payments to Medicare Advantage plans that were basically ripping of the system. Furthermore, the Republicans used the same $700 billion to make the Ryan budget appear to add up. The “board of unelected bureaucrats in D.C.” did nothing like it was accused of doing and Rothfus is essentially touting a chimera. His declaration that “I strongly oppose ObamaCare and will fight for repeal” explains why he and his Republican House colleagues voted more than 50 times for repeal and thereby wasted hundreds of hours and millions of dollars for no constructive purpose.
8. Rothfus is a supporter of the Military-Industrial complex and an opponent of International Arms Control.
Keith answered a Project Vote Smart question: “In order to balance the budget, do you support reducing defense spending?” by indicating he strongly opposed balancing the budget by reducing defense spending. He also indicated his indifference to controlling the International Arms Trade by co-sponsoring a resolution expressing the conditions for the US becoming a signatory to the UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). He participated in spreading the fiction that this treaty threatened the Second Amendment and perpetuated the paranoia regarding the United Nations so common among so-called conservatives. The reality was that the Arms Trade Treaty obligates member states to monitor arms exports and ensure that weapons don’t cross existing arms embargoes or end up being used for human-rights abuses, including terrorism. The ATT has nothing to do with the Second Amendment. The House Republicans knew that the Obama administration had stated these mandatory conditions for U.S. approval of such an arms trade treaty include the following:  The Second Amendment to the Constitution must be upheld.  There will be no restrictions on civilian possession or trade of firearms otherwise permitted by law or protected by the U.S. Constitution.  There will be no dilution or diminishing of sovereign control over issues involving the private acquisition, ownership, or possession of firearms, which must remain matters of domestic law. Nonetheless, Rothfus and the others engaged in posturing and pandering while wasting time and money voting on a meaningless resolution that was utter nonsense.
9. Rothfus voted to destroy the Weekend by allowing business to compensate workers with time off instead of overtime payments.
Rothfus voted to allow compensatory time off for working overtime. This vote was cast on the fifth time that the majority party introduced [this bill since] 1997; and each time, the huge flaws in this legislation resulted in its complete collapse. It never deserved support. If accurately named, this bill would be entitled the Work More for Less Pay Act. Despite the representations made that it promotes workers’ flexibility, that it gives workers choice, a close examination of the bill proves the opposite is true.
This bill does is it blurs that line protecting the 40 hour week and thus the weekend for people of modest means; it creates total chaos in terms of trying to come up with a system to set up ground rules with a case-by-case written contract. Then, it makes matters worse by farming out enforcement of the Wage and Hour Divisions of State Labor Departments. The majority party knows full well that these Divisions are totally incapable of going into the tens of thousands of workplaces all across America.
The 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act created a bright line to protect people’s right to a 40-hour work week, and make sure that that next hour after 40 hours is paid for with the time-and-a-half of wages. That bright line created the time off middle class families have taken for granted for decades. For a party or politician that claims to value the family and family life, endangering the weekend is a genuinely strange position to take.
10. Keith Rothfus is both a member of the so-called Young Guns and an endorsed member of the Tea Party.
Although they present themselves as “pro-market, small government” leaders the Young Guns are simply charlatans who use a concoction of repackaged Randian ideas and free market platitudes to rationalize the abandonment of individuals and families in need and the coddling of corporations and wealthy business owners and donors. The Tea Party is so deluded that they took the name of an historic event advancing the ideal of “No taxation without representation” to clamor and contest taxation enacted by their duly elected representatives. As birds of a feather flock together, Rothfus can be known by the company he has kept.