Chris Shays

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Republican Christopher Shays (born October 18, 1945 in Stamford, Connecticut), serves the Fourth Congressional District of Connecticut.


Posturing as a Moderate?

Shays has the reputation of a Republican moderate and thus a maverick in the highly disciplined Republican Party in the U.S. House of Representatives, but his m.o. is to use an opportunity to grab a "moderate/ renegade" headline, and then run and hide behind DeLay - who he voted with 86% of the time last cycle, and continuously refers to as a "great majority leader," by the way.  In fairness, this was not quite the lavish praise he has heaped upon Newt: "My hero is Newt Gingrich." Shays has also voted in favor of the original gutting of the ethics rules, for the record.

And his faux-moderate record continues. When the House was debating the repeal of the library search clause of the Patriot Act, yet another vote the GOP cheated their way to victory on, Shays had the nerve to stand up and announce:

I have 70 constituents who lost their rights on September 11; and to hear this debate, I am not sure we seem to care about that.

This was Jose Serrano's apt response:

...I am troubled by the comments of the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. SHAYS). To tell a New Yorker, to have a New Yorker hear that we somehow do not care for the victims of September 11 is really the cheapest kind of blow a Member can put on this House floor. I care and everybody else cares.  But in the process of caring for the victims of September 11, no one said we were supposed to throw away the Constitution of this country.[1]

Add that to other Shays classics such as, "Iraq is a terrorist nation. ... [Al Qaeda] and Iraq, they're like peas in a pod. They're like-minded," or his press release on Richard Clarke, "Clarke Statements Revisionist," and you see that Shays gives Cheney a run for his money in manipulative attack dog rhetoric.

In essence, Shays' function is to be trotted out any time DeLay or Bush wants to put a "softer edge" on something, using his "moderate" reputation to bless the foulest of actions. Take the swift boat liars:

Even a prominent opponent of the 527s says Republican-allied outsiders should press ahead with their activities. "If the Democrats are going to do this, you can't allow yourselves not to have a counterattack," Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., says.

Thus did Shays become as complicit as any Republican around in the most vile smear campaign, possibly in all of American history. And he did it by racking up "renegade" headlines and then lending his stamp of "moderate approval."

Now, some might argue that Shays has shown decency in the past. Another real maverick Republican, Gov. Lowell Weicker, was among them:

"The Chris Shays of today is a very pale reflection of the man I knew," he said.

Iraq War

  • "I believe the war in Iraq is a noble effort. I believe we botched it. I believe we could lose it. But we don't have to lose it, and losing it would be quite serious." Source: U.S. lawmaker says Iraq war "botched.

Abu Ghraib

  • Shays said "Now I've seen what happened in Abu Ghraib, and Abu Ghraib was not torture. It was outrageous, outrageous involvement of National Guard troops from (Maryland) who were involved in a sex ring and they took pictures of soldiers who were naked." Source: CT-04: Is Chris Shays Losing It?.


  • graduated Darien High School, Darien, Conn., 1964
  • B.A., Principia College, Elsah, Ill., 1968
  • M.B.A., New York University, New York, N.Y., 1974
  • M.P.A., New York University, New York, N.Y., 1978

Political history

  • Peace Corps, 1968-1970
  • executive aide to Trumbull, Conn., first selectman Larry Heimann, 1971-1972
  • member of the Connecticut state house of representatives, 1975-1987
  • elected as a Republican to the 100th United States Congress by special election to fill the vacancy caused by the death of United States Rep. Stewart McKinney and reelected to the ten succeeding Congresses (August 18, 1987-present)

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