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Faso reflects on what might have been

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    Rep. John Faso, R-Kinderhook, his wife, Mary Frances, and daughter, Margaret, in Kinderhook after voting Nov. 6.
December 6, 2018 10:15 pm Updated: December 6, 2018 10:15 pm

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. John Faso, R-19, hosted a conference call Thursday to discuss his past 23 months in office and what lies ahead in the final month of the 115th Congress, calling Republicans’ losses last month a wake-up call to the president and party.

The freshman Congressman praised President Donald Trump’s judicial picks and rollbacks on long-standing economic policies that he said are important for economic growth. But, Faso was critical of the president’s approach to trade and concerned about what fellow Republicans have called a “chaotic White House.”

The incumbent congressman, of Kinderhook, lost to Democrat Antonio Delgado, of Rhinebeck, who moved to the district in 2017. Delgado received 132,001 votes with 49.3 percent of the vote, to Faso’s 46.2 percent, or 124,408 on Election Day on Nov. 6.

“I felt I was going to win right up until 10 p.m. on election night,” Faso said. “I had told my wife earlier in the summer that if we lost 20 seats in the house, we would most likely win, and I told my wife if we lost 40 seats in the House, we would lose.”

Faso largely attributed the shift to nationwide opposition to Trump’s policies and statements.

“These are factors that are largely beyond your control,” Faso said. “In that context, I guess, I wasn’t surprised, but in the moment, you always believe you are going to win.”

Historically, the political party in the White House usually loses about 2Faso0-30 House seats in the midterm election. Republicans gained three, but lost 40 seats in the House to Democratic candidates Nov. 6. Three seats remained undecided as of Thursday.

“This is a real warning and a wake-up call to the president and administration and Republicans generally,” Faso said. “The party is in trouble and it is something that has been coming for a long time. If you look at demographics and enrollment pattern across the state… We really have to do self-analysis on this question.”

Speaking with other Republicans, Faso said, many are concerned “by the daily chaos and the personality issues that surrounded the president and the White House.”

“They wish he [Trump] wouldn’t say a lot of what he says,” the Congressman added.

After the November election, Trump called out a number of Republicans who lost their House seats and did not seek his help during their campaigns for re-election. Faso’s name was among them.

The president’s statement was unfortunate, Faso said, adding he has always vowed to support whoever was elected to become the nation’s leader.

Though Faso was not elected to a second term last month, as he looks back at his one-term holding federal office, the Congressman has remained optimistic about his role in government and his service, admitting he was successful at times, but not in others.


As the legislative session wraps up within the next two weeks, Faso plans to return home to Kinderhook for the holidays, he said.

He and his family will decide what’s next for the former lawyer, who also served 16 years in the state Assembly representing the 102nd District and Minority Leader from 1998 to 2002.

“As to whether I do anything in the future, I literally have no idea what I am going to do in January,” Faso said. “I certainly can’t tell you what I will be doing two years from now.”

Faso and Congressman-elect Delgado have not spoken since election night, Faso said, however, their staff have been in touch to determine the logistics of the transition.

On Thursday, Faso offered Delgado a piece of advice: “Be true to your principals and let the chips fall where they may.”

At the end of the call, Faso said he disagreed with the belief that the press is the enemy of the people — a statement Trump has made at his rallies and on Twitter since his campaign.

“The press is integral part of informing citizenry and keeping government honest,” Faso said.

Throughout his term, protesters regularly gathered at Faso’s district offices in Kinderhook and Kingston to hold “Faso Fridays” — protesting issues related to immigration, funding for Planned Parenthood and Trump’s federal appointments.

“By and large, most of the folks were people that were very much opposed to President Trump and his administration and became identified with that by extension because I was a Republican,” Faso said. “Outside of that, it didn’t have a tremendous impact, although sometimes, it made it difficult sometimes to conduct business in our office.

“The people were vociferous and, by and large, respectful,” he added. “Protesting is their first amendment rights and I totally respect that. This is a divided district. A lot of people aren’t going to agree with me on some issues… They had a right to protest and make their voices heard, and I respect that.”

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John Faso probably felt the need to vent a little after voting with President Donald Trump 99% of the time, and then losing his reelection in his view, largely due to Trump making this election (and everything else under the sun) all about HIMSELF.

I am among those who John Faso knows has been completely opposed to him and the values he represents, as we have engaged in a long running correspondence. It should be dawning on John about now that there is far more to the problems of Donald Trump than a disruptive personality. Trump is lazy, incompetent, self-dealing, and ultimately a traitor to our nation and all the values it represents.

The “judicial picks” that Faso singles out for praise that Trump has made have been mostly disastrous, without even touching on the Brett Kavanaugh controversies. I’m not even just addressing the fact that all of them seemed to have been chosen on the basis of ideology v. their grasp or respect for law. Their basic qualifications have frequently been lacking. The American Bar Association, a bastion of conservative social perspective, Standing Committee on Federal Judiciary rated 6 of Trump’s nominees as “Not Qualified.” This was as of 11/15/18, roughly one week after the November elections. Since then, one of those candidates has withdrawn. Overall, this commission has disapproved of more Trump judicial appointees than in any previous presidential administration.

Faso also praises Trump for “economic growth.” This too proves to be a mirage built on smoke and mirrors. Trump got elected and caused a short-term runup by feeding the markets junk food stimulus in the form of tax cuts for the very rich, and contributing to inventory stockpiling by initiating tariffs on foreign goods, triggering the trade war that now is threatening all of that growth with the first signs of a recession.

Faso is attempting to attribute his loss to Trump. But, should share the blame because he shared in the very tactics he criticizes. The NRCC ran non-stop ads on television, radio, web media and elsewhere depicting his Rhodes scholar opponent, Antonio Delgado as a gangster rapper porn advocate.

Now it turns out that the NRCC was hacked ‘probably by a foreign power.’ This means likely Russia, which raises the issue of why the NRCC wasn’t “leaked” to the press via Wiki as the Democrats were in 2016? The answer lies in Kompromat. A foreign hostile power can use damaging information gained from hacks to influence legislators via blackmail even more easily than through trying to influence voters. Faso, like Trump, and the whole Republican Party has weakened our nation’s security by failing to respond to the proven threats presented by Russia’s attacks on our democratic institutions and free, independent news media.

Health Care – Faso voted to end Obamacare. The voters held him to account for this, and it played a major role in his defeat.

Faso’s GOP backing were advantaged by two third party candidates with no chance of winning, who siphoned off and additional 3% of the vote that would most likely have contributed to Delgado’s winning margin. Fortunately, that tactic did not make Faso a winner with the minority of voters solidly endorsing him over a splinter vote for the democratic and Independent/Green party candidates.

On the issue of the Mueller Investigation, and the need to protect the prosecutor from the flagrant witness tampering in plain view that Trump and Giuliani have attempted to indulge, John Faso is mute.

Trying to portray Trump’s problems as behavioral is a gross understatement. They are much more than that. They go to the heart of our democracy and erosions of our freedoms that our forefathers tried to guard against when they crafted our Constitution and separation of powers. This is far from the first time our nation has crossed these waters. But, presidential historians have been untied in their consensus that Trump is the worst president ever in his attempt to impose the prerogatives of a king upon our democracy, and gain personally from his office directly and through emoluments.
Faso was among those Trump singled out in one of his rants for losing their seat, because, “he didn’t accept my help.” Most of us voted against Faso for voting with Trump 99% of the time. If Trump had appeared personally, I suspect the margin for Delgado might have even grown slightly. Trump has divided us and preyed on prejudice and fear. I hope we find more constructive ground once Trump is impeached and deservedly imprisoned for his many and serious crimes against the people of these United States.
In the final analysis, John Faso and I might agree, At the end of his call, Faso said he disagreed with the belief that the press is the enemy of the people — a statement Trump has made at his rallies and on Twitter since his campaign.
“The press is integral part of informing citizenry and keeping government honest,” Faso said. So is our congress, and that is where John Faso and the GOP failed us.