Who, indeed, is Fred Upton?

Washington’s conservative establishment continues to rally around Rep. Fred Upton’s bid to become Charman of the power House Energy and Commerce Committee. Previously, I commented on Fred Barnes’ attempt to sell Upton to skeptical conservatives. Now comes this effort, , called “Who’Is Fred Upton,” by Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former Director of the Congressional Budget Office and former chief economic policy adviser to U.S. Senator John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign.
Holtz-Eakin describes Upton as “chairman apparent,” which is probably an accurate description. His argument that Upton should be the chairman is less persuasive.
Holtz-Eakin relies on certain “pledges” Upton made in order to become “chairman apparent.” He notes that Upton “has pledged to “reveal, repeal, and replace” Obamacare and “to oppose innovation-killing network neutrality regulations for the Internet.”
These are positive developments. But Upton’s voting record on a wide-range issues, including some that are directly relevant to the work of the Energy and Commerce Committee reveals him to be less than reliably conservative. So when Holtz-Eakin asserts that voters will like the answer to the question “Who is Fred Upton,” that claim is dubious if the voters in question are conservative.
This looks like a case in which the fix is in. Upton has made the pledges necessary to secure the chairmanship and the establishment is duly singing his praises.
If the end product is a new Fred Upton, then great. But many of us were hoping that this time around, the Republican leadership would be more assertive in promoting reliably conservative goverance and less willing to leave it to chance.


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