Republicans Target Mississippi Blue Dog Travis ChildersIs Childers really just a lap dog for Nancy Pelosi?

Nunnelee hopes to capitalize on the GOP trend, as well as the prevailing feeling among people and businesses that congressional Democrats—Childers included—are not working to improve the economy and rein in government spending. “People are very disturbed about the debt, about excessive spending, and about jobs,” Nunnelee says.

Those concerns have manifested themselves in a healthy Tea Party movement in the district. Nunnelee says he is aligned with the Tea Party. “I’m for what they’re for,” he says. “And they’re for what I’m for.” And what about the newly-approved House Tea Party Caucus? “I’m very interested in joining it,” he says.

Despite the “no” votes on Obamacare and cap-and trade, Childers’s record on spending isn’t friendly to Tea Party concerns. He voted for the stimulus bill, which Nunnelee says has not helped stimulate the economy in northern Mississippi. According to Recovery.gov, over $566 million has been awarded in the first district, with a total of 393 jobs created. That’s over $1.4 million per job. Nunnelee says most of that money has gone to the state and local governments, but the jobs in the private sector aren’t picking up.

On financial regulation, Nunnelee believes the Democrats’ plan stifles business growth. Banks, he says, won’t be able to extend loans to businesses who need them. “Around the district, I’ve talked to more local bankers who are scared to death,” Nunnelee says. Childers voted for the House’s financial regulation bill in 2009 but voted against the conference committee bill last month.

And when it comes to extending unemployment benefits, Nunnelee brings up Pelosi again. “Speaker Pelosi says unemployment benefits are economic stimulus,” he says. “Those are bare-bones benefits, [people would] much prefers jobs.” Nunnelee won’t say whether he’d vote against extending benefits; Childers voted for an extension in April.

Weekly Standard
7/27/10