OUR POSITION: We understand Rep. Greg Steube’s tactics but we believe he should focus on fixing problems.
We know most politicians have two major goals: 1) raising money and 2) getting re-elected, or getting elected to a different, usually higher office.
Consequently, almost everything they do can be connected to one or both of those interrelated goals. Most often it takes the form of self-promotion.
That’s certainly the case with Rep. Greg Steube’s Sunday Update, distributed by email every week.
And that’s OK, up to a point. We expect politicians to toot their own horns and criticize the opposition in order to keep the contributions flowing and the votes wrapped up.
But we think there’s a line between the usual political “sales talk,” if you will, and some of what we see in Steube’s newsletter.
The 17th Congressional District includes all of Charlotte, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Highlands and Okeechobee counties and parts of Polk, Lee and Sarasota counties. It’s a very large, very red district, and Steube is a very conservative representative.
That very large district has a lot of residents who aren’t Republicans, however. In fact, in none of the counties that make up the district are Republicans in the majority of registered voters.
In other words, in every one of those counties GOP voters are outnumbered by registered Democrats and people who are members of other parties or no party.
So, we’re bothered by the hyperpartisan rhetoric Steube regularly indulges in and the misinformation he sometimes spreads.
For example, his June 27 email contained this paragraph on rising crime rates: “The only reason why we see violent crime spikes is because the Democrats spent the last year defunding and demonizing the police.”
That’s a bold statement for which Steube offers no evidence.
Violent crime did increase significantly during the last year of the Trump administration and the rise has continued this year. But it’s an oversimplification to say that a societal problem has “only” one cause and it’s wrong to say that cause was Democrats “defunding and demonizing” the police.
“While lots of people have talked about defunding the police, hardly anyone has done it,” Ronald Wright, Wake Forest University criminal law professor of told Mother Jones magazine for its July 2 issue. “And in the cities that have done it, there’s no correlation with (rising crime rates).”
Even if, hypothetically, Democrats did defund and demonize the police, excluding the pandemic, the economic downturn it caused and the spike in gun sales last year as contributing to the rise in violent crime is politics at its worst. It certainly won’t lead to any solutions.
Or consider this paragraph from Steube’s July 4 newsletter: “Those who dismissed Republicans as conspiracy theorists for questioning China’s role in developing COVID-19 at the Wuhan Institute of Virology were completely wrong.”
The origin of the virus is still under investigation, so whether China had a role in “developing” it has yet to be determined. The GOP could be right. Or it could be wrong.
The same newsletter calls Dr. Anthony Fauci a “shady government” official — a gratuitous, unexplained, unjustified slam.
Such posturing may be popular with some of Steube’s constituents, but we know something all of them would like even more — action to address the problems he raises, instead of unproductive finger-pointing and name-calling by a representative who has historically voted against bills that would help his constituents — such as relief funding following hurricanes.