MI-06 Who is the “New” Fred Upton? Debates with Mike O’Brien Reveal Much in Michigan’s 6th CD Race

US Rep Fred Upton (R- St Joseph), the current Republican Chair of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee is facing the first serious challenge in 13 terms by a relative new comer, Mike O’Brien (D- Douglas), whose O’Brien for Congress campaign continues to close the gap on the 26-year congressional veteran, Upton.

This ANALYSIS and story of Congressman Fred Upton describes the metamorphosis of a man, a politician coming from a wealthy family with a generational tradition of public service of the “old school” class of local politician. A man that has been converted into a faceless marionette, a political puppet, created by the pressures in the quest to gain and maintain political positions and power in Washington DC, and influenced by national partisanship and the corrupting post-Citizens United world ruled by the “monied corporations” our founding fathers, like Thomas Jefferson, warned us about.

Every once in awhile a young, eager local newspaper reporter does something that can really annoy incumbent politicians, they will… well, they report what they see.

From the article by Fritz Klug entitled “What did Howard Wolpe’s widow say to Congressman Fred Upton after Tuesday’s debate?” in the Kalamazoo Gazette on October 24, 2012:

BUCHANAN, MI — The debate between Republican Congressman Fred Upton and his Democratic challenger, Mike O’Brien, had just finished. As the audience applauded, a woman stood up, went to the front of the auditorium and approached Upton.

The woman was Julie Fletcher, the widow of Howard Wolpe, a Democrat who represented Kalamazoo in Congress for 14 years before Upton. Fletcher spoke to Upton for about a minute in what appeared to be a tense conversation. O’Brien stood nearby as they spoke.

Afterward, Upton declined to reveal what was said.

Presumably the conversation between Wolpe’s widow and Upton was not necessarily a friendly one. Only weeks prior to extremely popular Howard Wolpe’s death, the former Clinton administration and Obama administration’s “special adviser to the African Great Lakes”, had written a reluctant “Open Letter to Fred Upton” that was published in the local papers.

In this letter, Wolpe was critical of Upton’s “selling of his soul” and becoming a “right-wing extremist” – what some might call the political metamorphosis of Fred Upton.

FULL POSTING on DailyKos – but here are a couple clips:

Who was the “old” Fred Upton? And who is this “new” Fred Upton?Will the real Fred please step forward.

The change in the political views and positions of Fred Upton have taken a dramatic turn. Not only do his friend and allies, like Wolpe, not recognize his politics anymore, but even The Washington Post took notice.

Upton: A Solider for the Right-Wing or Protector of the Environment? Fred was “for the environment” before he was against it

This well-informed piece The Curious Case of Fred Upton goes on with a long list of Upton reversals and missteps the author claims were not to be expected from the Fred Upton he once knew to include: imports of same tar sands on a pipeline that polluted a river that flows through Upton’s own district into Lake Michigan, blocked carbon dioxide reduction legislation, denying of climate change particulars, making the case any “sensible regulations” on protecting the environment hurts the economy, and corporation funded regulatory battles with “a weird twist consistent with the whims” of his corporate backers like the Koch Brothers and organizations like the American Legislative Exchange Council Exchange Council (ALEC) backing Upton.

Other environmentalists and organizations both local and national have been asking “What Happened to Fred Upton”.

This year, in a statement on June 21, 2012, Upton joined in the chorus of “Solyndra” critics against the very technologies and companies he had supported for years before, all in the name of apparent political expediency. This “flip-flop” by Fred Upton, GOP Energy And Commerce Chairman, Pushes Obama To Disclose, But Defended Bush”>Upton drew immediate attention by just about all parties involved in the alternative energy and green technology debate.

The story doesn’t end there. Upton has been leading the charge on calling for and then leading an investigation of the so-called “Solyndra Affair” which has been ran non-stop on FOX News and the right wing “noise machine”.

On top of all that there is this UNBELIEVABLE TWIST. It seems that all during his criticism and calls for investigating Solyndra, Upton hired the top Solyndra lobbyist to work on his Energy & Commerce Committee Staff.

Upton was #1 in a list of the “10 Biggest Enemies of the Earth” in 2011 according the LA Times Editorial Board stating:

Upton is the gatekeeper for many of the disastrous anti-environment bills that have been approved or proposed in the House this year. Ironically, he was once known among his state’s conservatives as “Red Fred” because of a somewhat pro-environment voting record, but a recent electoral challenge from his right changed all that. Because of he powerful position and newfound disdain for green regulation, [Upton] represents one of the biggest threats to planet Earth on planet Earth.”

Between his new-found positions on climate change, the environment, the EPA and his avoidance of completing a new Farm Bill, Upton now finds himself on thin ice with many supporters.

PREVIOUS POST on BFM “MI-06 Mike O’Brien Shreds Fred Upton in first debate: Can He Do it Again? Polls & Race Closing” and the FULL POST on Kos.

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Hector Solon
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