Rodney Frelinghuysen and Scott Garrett – face-morphed
Without question, that we now know Rodney Frelinghuysen did – targeting a member of NJ 11th for Change by complaining about her activism to her employer – is intimidation and a massive abuse of power. Frelinghuysen’s been a congressman for 22 years, his party now in power. He chairs House Appropriations, and comes from a dynastic American political family that goes back more than 200 hundred years.
He probably assumes he can get away with it. Our job is to make sure he doesn’t. This story, local this morning, is now national news: Washington Post, Salon, Slate, ThinkProgress, New York Magazine, Mic, Politico and about 2 dozen other national media are also writing & talking about this. A congressman attempting to silence someone who called on him to face his constituents publicly, by threatening her livelihood. Which hundreds more in Rodney’s CD11 are also doing.
That’s called civic engagement. We encourage that. The freedom to make our views known to those who make our laws is one of the things we value as Americans. You’d think Rodney’d know that, coming from a dynastic political family and all. But things are getting tense up there.
Rodney is rattled. And that’s fine. He’s got NJ 11th for Change at his door.They’ve been asking him for months to come out and meet them in a public setting (he does a coward’s version, on the phone). Then he voted Yes on Trumpcare, after rumors Speaker Paul Ryan threatened his committee chairmanship. Now they really want to talk to him.
There are a lot of people angry at Frelinghuysen’s vote to dismantle the ACA. Justifiably so. Only 21% of voters approve of the bill Rodney signed. He’d better get used to dissent; he’s going to hear a lot of it, and that brand of fascistic intimidation cannot stand. I don’t know if this is actionable legally. It is actionable politically.
What Rodney did was vicious and dumb. But like Scott Garrett’s 2015 move to spurn his party’s campaign arm because some of the Republican candidates it supports may be gay, Rodney’s actions are borne of arrogance, insularity and the rank stupidity of someone who thinks they’re untouchable. Let this be Rodney’s undoing, as it was Garrett’s. Let his constituents continue seeking conversation with him. Let NJ 11th for Change feel our wind at their backs. Let good, strong opponents emerge. Let them be well-resourced and backed with our labor.
And let’s do this thing.