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This is a more complete response to Jim Smyers’ comment about Heath Shuler.  (Thanks Jim for your comment!)  I’m not sure if it will help or hurt Rep. Shuler to be Sandy’s favorite Democrat.  One could say it’s a compliment.  Another could say it’s the best of some bad choices.  I have said it before.  But I do admire and respect Shuler greatly for several reasons (not even counting the fact he played for the Saints!):

1.  Shuler is a strong outspoken believer in Christ.  He told Redeem the Vote (a great name – something every believer should do every election!  Redeem his/her vote and use it for His purposes!) this:

My faith has not only shaped who I am today, my faith is who I am today. As a Christian, I believe that the life that is taught by and modeled by Jesus really works – that it really makes a difference in the lives of people who genuinely pursue it. Living consistently with the teachings of the Bible works in all aspects of life, regardless of your job, your social status, your political beliefs or any other area by which society may try to label you. I want my life to be a living testimony of the promises that are given to believers. I want my community to see it, and I especially want my kids to see it.

I felt called to public office out of a duty and conviction to serve. I think that we need more men and women of faith that are willing to enter into public service who will not compromise themselves or their beliefs while serving as leaders. I feel blessed to be at my current position in life and believe that the resources and life experiences that God has given me uniquely lend themselves to being a public servant. I will do my best to faithfully answer that call.

It’s safe to say not too many in politics, whatever party, speak in these terms.  Even Shuler’s major fault – his vote on cap and trade – is due to his Christian beliefs about being a good steward of the earth:

Reps. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) and Tom Perriello (D-Va.) will join religious and military leaders on Tuesday in unveiling the campaign that includes ads on Christian radio stations in at least eight states, with a focus on members of Congress who may waver on climate change legislation as negotiations are taking place on Capitol Hill.

2.  Shuler votes right on many (but not all issues); from my previous blog entry at Conflicted Libertarian:

My next recommendation is to encourage my favorite Democrat officeholder to do the same:  Cong. Heath Shuler of North Carolina.  I admire Shuler for his character and integrity and he is a devout follower of Christ and a conservative.  He was critical of Speaker Pelosi, voted against the first stimulus, voted against ENDA and the hate crimes bill and voted against Obamacare (but for the Stupak amendment) and voted for Audit the Fed.  Even Shuler’s support for cap-and-trade was primarily a reflection of his faith – being a good steward of our resources.  I am disappointed but I can’t be too unhappy at an attempt at a principled stand.  Shuler is also a national security conservative.

That would be a pretty good record for a Republican.  As far as I am concerned, I’m available to help Rep. Shuler transition to the GOP!  Some of his fellow Dems would like to see him go:

He drew these comments from FireDogLake, NC progressives (just for the record, the NC progressives are right about that particular issue) and other sites too.  (I cannot condone the language at many of these sites!  I apologize!)

Shuler voted against Obamacare but refuses to support repeal yet and had a primary opponent.  He also has a GOP opponent and may be in a tight race according to Real Clear Politics poll reporting.  His Republican opponent is Jeff Miller, whose site is here.  One letter writer criticizes Shuler as a fake conservative:

As a freshman congressman, Rep. Heath Shuler, I believe, quickly mastered the art of deception. He walks the fence on critical legislative votes until it is evident that his vote will not affect the outcome demanded by House Speaker Pelosi.

This tactic provides Shuler with cover for the myth that he is really a conservative and represents Western North Carolina’s values.

Seems like Shuler can’t win for losing.  He’s in the wrong party.  He ought to switch.  Right after the election would be great.  Let me know and I’ll be glad to help out!

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)


  1. Joe Nowlin says:

    Sandy, with this type of strict scrutiny, I guess Nancy Pelosi is your second favorite Democrat. “Let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action”.

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s favorite word is The Word.

    “It covers everything. The Word. Fill it in with anything you want,” she told the Catholic Community Conference last month in Washington. In remarks reported by, and confirmed by her staff, Pelosi, a Catholic, explained how those religious views help guide her public policy.

    “They ask me all the time. What is your favorite this? What is your favorite that?” she said, “and one time, what is your favorite word? And I said, ‘My favorite word. That is really easy. My favorite word is The Word, is the Word.’ And that is everything; it says it all for us.”

    She continued how “we have to give voice to what that means in terms of public policy that would be keeping with the values of The Word.” Her voice growing soft, Pelosi asked, “Isn’t it a beautiful word when you think of it?”

    Pelosi quotes the Bible, “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.”

    What that means, she says, is “the great mystery of our faith. He will come again. He will come again. So we have to make sure we’re prepared to answer in this life, or otherwise, as to how we have measured up.”

    Read more:

    • Sandy Sanders

      Joe, this is thoughtful and interesting. No, Speaker Pelosi is not my second favorite Democrat! I think Shuler’s voting record is consonant with his faith. While I am incompetent to judge Speaker Pelosi’s heart or faith, I would also suggest the Word says “Be doers of the word and not hearers only.” (James 1:22 KJV from Sandy’s memory)

      Her policies and activities on issues like abortion, health care and spending as well as her recent comment that she wants opponents of the Ground Zero Mosque investigated give rise to legitimate questions about whether she has met this Biblical test.

  2. Joe Nowlin says:

    Of course it was not a serious question but a reaction to being disappointed time and again by politicians that talk the talk then fall flat on their face. The excuse of voting for cap and trade because he is a steward of the planet does not hold water. The proposed legislation will not change the carbon levels in the atmosphere and will be an economic burden on all with the greatest impact on lower income folks, not a very Christian thing to do.
    I try to support candidates who possess the ability to anticipate the consequences of their legislative actions and I don’t give any of them a pass for good intentions, we all know where they lead to!


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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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