Long-serving Ohio Rep. Steve LaTourette blames the inability of Republican and Democratic lawmakers to work together as one of the top reasons he decided against running for another term last year.
“I was beginning to see what America is seeing and that is the extreme polarization of the parties . . . and things that we could accomplish,’’ LaTourette told Newsmax TV in an exclusive interview.
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“Now, [Republicans and Democrats] are fighting about everything . . . Congress [is] the least productive in history, in modern history anyway, in terms of getting bills through and actually signed into law by the president.’’
And the veteran Republican representative is not at all optimistic about future cooperation as Washington faces even bigger budget battles over the coming months.
“I wish I could say yes — but I don’t,’’ LaTourette said. “Speaker Boehner . . . would love to strike the big deal that actually begins the process of healing America and balancing the budget and stop having us borrow so much money from China and other places.
“Mr. Obama has refused . . . to my knowledge, to force his party to get serious on spending reductions. They just won’t touch that third rail of American politics which are the middle class entitlements.’’
LaTourette says until the president “gets off the notion that everybody has to pay their fair share and we need to whack rich people and begins to talk about spending, we’re stuck.’’
The former representative, who served Ohio’s 14th district for 18 years, said he was outraged by attempts by colleagues to boot John Boehner as House Speaker.
“It’s disgusting and I’ve seen that kind of behavior before. There was a coup when I first got here back in the ‘90s that 11 folks tried to get rid of Newt Gingrich at the time and that sort of fizzled famously,’’ he said.
“There is a core group in this class that was elected in 2010, that, in my opinion, is really not interested in governing. They are interested in just saying no to everything . . . By walking away from Plan B, they basically sent John Boehner into a knife fight when the other guys have guns.’’
LaTourette says in order for Republicans to recapture the White House, “you have to win states like mine, Ohio, you have to win Pennsylvania, you have to win the New England states.
“We don’t have one Republican House member in all of New England down to Rhode Island and Delaware. You can’t be an effective governing majority if you don’t attempt to find people that represent the party all over the country.’’
The nine-term congressman recently joined his wife Jennifer to help an Ohio-based law firm begin a Washington lobbying arm to be called McDonald Hopkins Government Strategies.
It’s a field under heavy criticism for having too much power, but LaTourette said he believes that as long as lobbyists follow the rules and act ethically “I don’t understand what the problem is.
“I’m a lawyer by training and there’s no difference between my going in front of a government entity today advocating on behalf of a client before a judge or before an agency,’’ he said.
"So I get it, but I will tell you that I don’t think anybody’s going to cut me any special favors because I’m a former member.’’
LaTourette is emphatic when asked if he’ll ever consider getting back into politics.
“No. I’m 18 years in the Congress, 25 years total public service,’’ he said. “That’s enough.’’
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