Congressman Wu, it's time to talk with us, your constituents

Carla Axtman

Being a Congressman has got to be a tough job. There are, I suspect, enormous pressures and responsibilities that can only really be understood by those who've walked in those shoes. I can absolutely understand that there must be stretches when things are overwhelming and difficult. I understand that Congressman Wu has had a very hard year. I have great compassion for the personal issues that he's having to work through.

That said, being a Congressman is also a privilege. It's a job that the people of a district confer upon a individual, allowing them to bear the standard of the people in the halls of Washington D.C. This kind of privilege is a serious trust for constituents. It's unusual and important work

Over the last week, the reports of Congressman David Wu's behavior, the exodus of his long-time major staffers and subsequent explanations have for me, as his constituent, been very disconcerting. I've voted for David Wu each time I've had an opportunity on my ballot. I've done so of late more because he's been the best of the alternatives presented to me, rather than because I felt I was being exceptionally represented. He's certainly a reliable vote for the Democrats. But there's a lot more I want from my representation than someone who shows up to push the button.

All of this taken together has shaken my confidence in Congressman Wu. I've seen the interviews on Good Morning America and with Laural Porter at KGW. I find them deeply unsatisfying and unhelpful toward understanding whether or not the reported events have interfered, or are interfering, with the Congressman's ability to represent his constituents.

David Wu owes me and all of the rest of his constituents an explanation. He owes it to us in person, around the district, with the opportunity to ask questions. We deserve the chance to look him in the eye and assess whether or not he is keeping our trust. Anything less is unacceptable. Congress has been on a constituent work week all this last week. Unfortunately, Wu chose to squander this opportunity to sit down for a face to face discussion with the people that place their trust in him.

The citizens of Oregon's First Congressional District deserve excellent, progressive representation in D.C. It's entirely possible that David Wu could become that kind of Congressman, instead of just the guy that shows up to vote as a good Democrat. Clearly with the leaving of so many key staffers, his job has been affected. To what degree and for how long, we don't really know. We also don't know for sure if it's still being affected.

This isn't a time for TV interviews or even write-ups in the newspaper. It's a time to come to us and keep faith with us, his constituents.

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    Yeah, this is one of the more baffling aspects of this entire situation.

    As the story broke two Fridays ago, members of Congress were winging their way back home for the district work period. Wu chose instead to stay in DC, coming to Oregon a week late - on Friday.

    Then, once here, he's only done media interviews (and, I understand some one-on-ones with key supporters.)

    Even if he'd just found a friendly crowd of constituents - say, the Washington County Democrats - that would have shown a willingness to listen.

    It's downright comical that his spokesman told the press that Wu was "speaking to his constituents through media interviews."

    It's not about speaking, it's about listening.

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    One of Congressman Wu's explanations for his behavior involved leaving his painkillers in DC and accepting a couple of oxies from a supporter. It still bothers me because I'm wondering why my Congressman doesn't have a primary care physician in my district. It reinforces my sense that Mr. Wu has become a Beltway resident with increasingly less local identification.

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    Did the representative being attacked by BO and mainstream media vote for or against extension of Bush era tax cuts? I suspect that had he been a client of Blue Oregon he would have found less severe criticism.

    As an example, Kurt Schraeder was interviewed on Straight Talk and asked if he would support a ban on extended capacity magazines for handguns as was used in the attempt to murder G. Giffords.

    Kurt said that since she was shot first a magazine with 33 rounds was not the issue. Really? How about the others shot. In my opinion there is some faulty reasoning going on and it is not exclusive to Mr. Wu.

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      First, this is Carla's first post on the topic. I've had several. None of those could be described as "attacking". Mostly, we've been covering the news as it happens - and asking our readers to weigh in. Certainly, I continue to be undecided about his future in Congress.

      Second, BlueOregon doesn't have clients. BlueOregon is a blog with over 30 contributors. It's true that I am a political consultant, and I have clients.

      But I am not BlueOregon, and BlueOregon is not me.

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      Forgive me, but asking a Congressman to speak to his constituents in person at town halls constitutes an attack? Hardly.

      If I wanted to "attack" David Wu, you can be sure it would be an actual onslaught..not a post which implores him to do the most basic of tasks as a Representative: face his constituents in person.

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    Thanks for clearing up my questions Kari.

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      "I don't get why his staff would all bail on him based purely on the things we've heard so far."

      Nick -- that's EXACTLY the point!

      Why would a half dozen staffers - including his senior leadership and folks who had worked for him for a decade - all bail on him? Because of some stupid Halloween photos? Because he stupidly took a couple of pills from a friend?

      No way.

      Every single day, there's another new revelation from Wu. Put those two things together, and what you have is the inevitable conclusion that there's more to this story.

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      B) oxycodone is not the same as oxycontin, if you walk down the street past a doctor these days, they pop an oxycodone in your mouth as a greeting ...

      This is actually not true. Oxycodone is Purdue Pharma's brand for its time-release single-ingredient oxycodone oral medication.

      What you just stated is equivalent of saying that ibuprofen is not the same thing as Advil, Pfizer's brand name for its line ibuprofen medications.

      It is a distinction without a difference.

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    Nick makes several good points. Congressman wu does not represent my district and the whole unraveling is distressing to watch. Many who have witnessed these type events with family or friends know that his senior staff have been largely co-dependent and enabling to whatever has been going on. Apparently right after the Novemeber election they decided they had had enough.

    it is sad on a personal scale as well as for the district and the party. Do they stand by the elected representative or urge him to resign so that he can be replaced by a selected front runner in 2012? Either way, the state and national parties do not want to have to devote extra resources to maintaining the (d) in this district. 2012 will be problematic enough for democrats without this additional issue.

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