John Carter and Eric Cantor; A tale of two absentee congressmen

“There ain’t no cure for stupid.”

That was a line my grandfather once used when I was a kid. He was a gruff old Iowan, with a habit for cigars and a penchant for remarks like that one. Lately it seems one could apply that to a great number of politicians in congress. Whether a voter is conservative, liberal, tea party or libertarian they all have one thing in common these days; few in this country believe they are being ably and competently represented by their representatives or their government.

Louie Minor

Louie Minor

That was the subject of a conversation I had the other day with Louie Minor, candidate for the 31st congressional district in central Texas. Minor, a combat veteran, native Texan and a captain in the Army Reserves, reflected upon a theme I have been hearing lately from a number of friends and folks in the district, of various political leanings, that the current occupant of the office, Jack Carter, just isn’t there for constituents.

The recent Veterans Administration scandal is just one case in point. Carter, who appears so out of touch with his district, seems to be swatting reactively at issues as if they are an annoyance and not an indication of the need for real change and true oversight. Or is it that Carter feels that he can simply call himself a Tea party Candidate, republican or conservative and assume that voters will simply vote for a bumper sticker rather than their own best interests? In fact, that appears to be the assumption of far too many well-entrenched republican politicians, that the incessant pounding of partisan war drums is enough to distract voters from choosing candidates who have been and will remain out in the communities, on the battlefield or looking forward towards futures facing the community and our nation.

The unanimous consensus is that Virginia republican Erik Cantor lost to David Brat for being an absentee representative. Of course he wasn’t absent for his wealthiest friends and family. Despite a long history of issues and complaints at the VA facility in Temple Carter remained apparently uninterested until he could garner some partisan political benefit. None of that, however, likely will have any actual benefit for veterans, their families and taxpayers. Cantor’s defeat seems to have been a splash of cold water in the face of John Carter who, up to now, was also absent on two critical issues in the 31st district.

Rep. John Carter. Out of touch?

Rep. John Carter. Out of touch?

Light Rail and the VA. Minor highlighted each of these issues and underscored that there is hardly a cookie-cutter sort of approach when it comes to competently representing the district. The VA issue, and the necessary reforms to the system, in which Carter’s partisan sniping does little to address, is critical to Bell County, owing to the number of veterans there and to Fort Hood. Sadly, he finds himself arguing from a place of ignorance against a candidate and a veteran who knows the VA, has used it and who has workable ideas for reforming the system without disrupting the care that our nation’s veterans still rely upon daily. A proposed Light Rail line resonates strongest with voters and constituents in Williamson County just north of Austin. Minor, pointing out that the area will have a larger population than Austin within the next 25 years, sees the rail system as an opportunity to get ahead of issues created by that growth. The rail line would create jobs, and help cut CO2 emissions. A bus line proposed in place of the rail system would only add to taxpayer’s burden with rising fuel and maintenance costs and contribute to congestion as traffic increases with population. Minor spoke of having a clear vision for the future of Williamson county and the communities of Round Rock and Georgetown, something carter has been all but absent on.

What carter’s disconnect with constituents and voters, and the Cantor defeat reveals is that partisanship for partisanship’s sake has run its course; and still the voters are no closer to real world solutions to problems they face. Cantor ignored his constituents in favor of big money friends. John Carter seems to have made and continues to make those same mistakes, and seems more interested in the game of politics than the work of representation. As minor pointed out, paraphrasing Brat in Virginia, “Dollars don’t vote.” He’s right, people vote. And he might offer another line to his opponent, with all due credit to my grandfather, of course, though I think Minor might be too much of a gentlemen to use it…

Mr. Carter, there ain’t no cure for…well, you know the rest.

WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit

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