MN-08 : Cravaack Would Not Need a Leased Car IF He WORKED in Washington

I have empathy for traveling salesmen.
It’s a demanding job … resolving customer complaints and promoting products all while spending days away from the family.
The perk … a company car.
Now, I am old enough to remember when cars had more options than standard features … forget multiple cupholders, the salesman was concerned whether the car would have air conditioning … in fact, back in the 60’s, one salesman I know got assigned to the St. Louis office because that office was deemed to be a “southern office” and thus all cars were ordered with air conditioning.

Working as Director of Procurement for a manufacturer that sold commercially as well as directly to the US Government and acted as a subcontractor to Prime Government Contractors, it was a normal day to see US Government cars in the visitor’s parking lot mixed in with the supplier’s salesman’s cars.
The US Government cars were easy to spot … even without noticing the stenciled US GOVERNMENT … they were four door sedans … generally in blue … basic but functional.
The salesmen’s cars were different … they changed annually … and you could tell which salesmen (and companies) were doing well based on the cars they drove … and my message to our buyers was : Demand price concessions from the drivers of expensive cars.

Yep, if you drove a Chevy Equinox AWD into our parking lot with a price tag approaching $30,000, we would wonder if your vehicle selection was motivated based on spending your weekends at some resort, or truly interested in serving our needs … regardless, we would target your company for price concessions.

I have no empathy for Raymond Cravaack (R-MN-08) … he has made the decision to lease a Chevy Equinox AWD … (which comes standard with four cup holders as well as four bottle holders !)
This vehicle is built for fun … but the voters elected Mr. Cravaack to Represent Minnesota in Washington.

Mr. Cravaack and the Republican-controlled House seem to want to avoid spending any time in Washington.
Consider that the House was called into session on Wednesday, January 5th “worked” through Friday and then took the next week off. CBS News reported last week that the House has been “dark” for four out of the last eight weeks. In fact, it wasn’t that they worked so hard in January through April that they need so time off … in January they “worked” nine days, February eleven days; March was fourteen; and then April was back down to eleven. There have been 158 days since the session started and the Republican-controlled House has only held votes on 61 days … less than THREE DAYS per week.

This “attention to their job” has not been lost on the stock markets as The Economist View observed … here are the highlights :

The economy’s biggest problems is that Republicans have erected the biggest overhang of economic policy uncertainty that anyone can remember.
One big difference between Washington and private markets is that politicians think everything they do is free-standing. Markets, however, combine all the potential costs of Washington’s policies and then decide whether to invest, or not.
Consider what private decision-makers see in their future:
They see Republican attempts to shut-down the government if they don’t get their way on the debt ceiling. This creates a high level of uncertainty and hurts business investment. There are also demands to cut the deficit even though it will hurt the economy and job creation, and this adds to the uncertainty.
Republicans have created even more uncertainty through their promise to overturn health care legislation.
Republicans have also created considerable uncertainty over the future of Medicare, programs to help the unemployed, and other social programs. And opposition to tax increases makes budget issues even harder to forecast.
The bottom line is that since taking over the House, the Republicans have done nothing but create more and more of the uncertainty about the future they have complained about so loudly.

Now, Mr. Cravaack is only a freshman legislator, who’s only control is over his Member’s Reimbursement Account … thus he’s free to spend taxpayer monies on a new leased vehicle.

But what’s the excuse for Minnesota’s senior Republican in the House … John Kline (R-MN-02) ?
When asked about the “replace” in the Repeal and Replace Healthcare 2010 campaign pledge … “The replacement pieces for healthcare are still on the table,” Kline said,but we’re not pushing them right now because we’ve got a full plate with other stuff.”
Mr. Kline if your place is full, then work more days.

Mr. Cravaack, it’s time to park that Chevy Equinox AWD and tell YOUR LEADERSHIP that’s its time WORK in Washington.

At least you could address one of the Republican Study Committee’s recommended savings: “About $100 billion from slashing the federal travel budget, reducing the federal vehicle fleet” — Mr. Cravaack your actions are adding to the spending problem, not resolving it.

For other thoughts on Mr. Cravaack’s focus on vehicles instead of on Washington, here are two good commentaries … here and here.

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