WASHINGTON — Partisan politics have to stop, but it will take members of Congress shifting more toward the middle for it to happen.
That was the message from Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn., who told a group of about 200 people during the final day of the American Boating Congress on Wednesday that some of the extreme viewpoints were “not reality.”
“The Tea Party guys hate my guts because I’m ‘not conservative enough,’ which is ridiculous,” Fincher said. “I’ve been married 22 years. I don’t get everything I want at home. I’m certainly not going to get everything I want in Washington.”
The congressman was responding to an audience member’s question about what it will take for Congress to work together. The querier also said the federal government’s package of automatic spending cuts known as the sequester had “slammed our company.”
“What has happened is that the Democratic Party has shifted really far to the left and the Republicans have shifted really far to the right,” Fincher explained. “Now I’m in the middle. It’s unbelievable,” but that’s the climate in Washington today.
“A lot of you probably watch Fox News — people like Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh,” Fincher said. “I love to listen to them, but I’m never going to be as conservative as Sean Hannity. It’s just not going to happen. It’s not reality.”
Fincher said that at the heart of that is that Congress works for the taxpayers, not the other way around.
“Sometimes in Washington some of my colleagues lose sight of that,” he said, which is why they sometimes forget they have to compromise to accomplish things.
Fincher, addressing a question about the Dodd-Frank Act, said that although his colleagues on the left had good intentions, the financial services reform law has led to a lack of funding for people who want to buy boats. (That point was later argued by Don Parkhurst, of SunTrust Bank, during a panel discussion.)
“Most of you were doing it right all of your life, and you’re being punished for no reason at all,” Fincher said.