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CONGRESS | 15TH DISTRICT | Some will assert a political moderate is merely someone who doesn’t believe in anything, a Cafeteria Catholic picking and choosing positions within a clearly defined doctrine designed to be followed as a whole and not by its individual parts.

In December, Rep. Eric Swalwell took a hit from some in his congressional district when he voted for a bipartisan budget plan that failed to extend unemployment benefits to over 1.3 million Americans. In a statement made through his bipartisan caucus of freshman moderates, Swalwell noted the bill was not perfect, but he also failed to specifically acknowledge leaving unemployment benefits on the table as one of its downsides. “No legislation can be all things to all people, but we cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” said the statement.

Swalwell and other Democrats up for re-election this year, however, get another stab at rebuffing challengers who may used the vote to negatively portray them as inconsiderate to those currently in economic hardship. The U.S. Senate discussed the issue last week before Senate Republicans squashed the bill on Tuesday. Swalwell made statements indicating he was now firmly in favor of extending benefits, but is he really or not totally sure?

Curiously, also on Tuesday, Swalwell sent an email to constituents plainly asking, “Should Congress extend unemployment insurance?” They are then urged to click yes, no or don’t know. However, the email makes it clear Swalwell already favors extending benefits this time around. “It’s the right thing to do for millions of Americans who are trying to support their families, and it is the right thing to do for our economy,” he said.

Swalwell used a similar tactic late last year when he asked voters whether they wanted to allow cell phone use on domestic flights. On this issue, Swalwell, a self-promoted frequent flier, also declared opposition beforehand to the proposed Federal Communications Commission plan. No nearby passenger yammering on their cells. However, can we be sure he doesn’t also support crying babies across the aisle in Seat A3?