The Waning Cain

I first met Herman Cain this past February when he addressed a Republican luncheon in Las Vegas, and spoke about his ideas as a potential candidate for president in 2012. Overall, I liked his frankness and some of his ideas to tackle some of the most serious issues our country is facing. If I had to describe Herman Cain in one way, it would be that he pulls no punches, tells it like it is, and has no patience for nonsense.

When I saw Cain for the second and third time, in early March and again in May, his speech was pretty much the same. He recited his sturdy one-liners like “not on our watch,” and his “immigration is four problems.” He didn’t offer too many specifics on foreign policy, but all three times he gave the audience some applause-worthy red meat. Herman Cain is an outsider, a different kind of presidential candidate. He’s not a politician, and he’ll tell you so.

However, is that what American wants? Or needs?

If you’re anything like me, you don’t like the typical career politician. You know the type: Always running for office, avoiding controversy once elected, putting on the fake smile, and never actually doing anything. Washington has too much of that. Too many people want to be something, rather than do something. There is a difference.

Now, suppose I need to have surgery to remove my appendix. Do I want the career doctor? Or would I prefer to have the receptionist operate on me? If my football team – the New England Patriots, if anyone cares – makes it to the Superbowl, do I want a career quarterback in the game? Or would I settle for the guy who runs the concession stand?

In the world of government and politics, it is important to understand how the system works. Regardless of how much a presidential candidate may want to change the system, he or she is just one cog in the machine. One could say that in order to change the system, you have to know the ins and outs first.

Herman Cain says he doesn’t want to know how Washington works. In fact, he said at the Right Online conference in Minneapolis this weekend that he doesn’t need to know how it works, because it doesn’t.

Wouldn’t fixing the problems of our country be more difficult, if our next president had no idea how the system works? Is Herman Cain ready to be president, simply because of his business credentials?

Some examples from the campaign trail may shed some light on the situation.

While being interviewed on Fox News Sunday last month, Mr. Cain was asked about the Palestinian concept of “right of return.” This refers back to the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, when more than 700,000 Palestinian Arabs either fled or were expelled from their homes in what became Israel. Palestinians believe that these refugees, and their descendants, have the sacred right to return to their homes and property in Israel, or be compensated by Israel. This has become a major sticking point in the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Herman Cain was caught flat-footed, only able to demonstrate that he was not familiar with the concept. His answer was convoluted at best, first stating that it should be negotiated, and then claiming that Israel doesn’t have a big problem with people returning. This was after slamming President Obama for “throwing Israel under the bus.”

The previous day, when announcing his candidacy for president in Atlanta, Herman Cain said that Americans do not need to re-write the Constitution, they need to re-read the Constitution. This line grew great applause from the audience in attendance. However, Mr. Cain went on to quote the Constitution as including a line about “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” which actually appears in the Declaration of Independence. Cain went on to talk about Americans’ right to “alter or to abolish” government – also found in the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution. This prompted several pundits to suggest that it was Herman Cain who needed to re-read the Constitution, and with good reason.

On Afghanistan, Herman Cain refuses to put forward a plan, saying that he would defer to the experts – unnamed experts. While I certainly hope he would surround himself with knowledgeable experts as president, it is still concerning that he has no tentative plan with which to deduce how he would handle the issue as a whole if elected. Cain has used the “defer to experts” line so often, it became part of the Daily Caller’s New Hampshire GOP Debate drinking game, this past week.

Then there’s the 2nd Amendment. Herman Cain, in an interview with Wolf Blitzer earlier this month, stated that he supports the 2nd Amendment. That’s great! But when asked about gun control, and whether states or local governments should be allowed to control guns, he answered, “Yes.” Now perhaps this was yet another example of how Mr. Cain was unprepared for the question, but he’s not running for president of Wendy’s, he’s running for president of the United States. And if he truly wants to be the next president, he needs to know that these questions are coming, and have answers.

Finally, there is a problem of messaging. It’s a problem most Republicans have, so it’s hard to be too critical of Cain.

In one interview, Mr. Cain was asked about his position on homosexuality. He replied, “I believe homosexuality is a sin because I’m a Bible-believing Christian. I believe it’s a sin. But I know that some people make that choice. That’s their choice.” When asked to clarify his position that homosexuality was a choice, Cain replied, “I believe it is a choice.”

Now, having been raised Catholic, I understand that Herman Cain’s view of homosexuality being a sin is perfectly valid. It is what his faith teaches him, and he has a right to believe that. However, as president of the entire United States, Cain would have to represent all Americans – even homosexuals. Last week, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie answered the same question with the following:

“My religion says it’s a sin, but I’ve always believed that people are born with the predisposition to be homosexual. So I think if someone is born that way, it’s very difficult to say that’s a sin. My church says that, but I don’t look upon someone who is homosexual as a sinner.”

In speaking with young people daily about politics, both gay and straight, I can say that the “religious right” is one of the reasons many people leave or avoid the Republican Party. That is not to say that having a foundation of faith is a bad thing. I simply believe that most Americans do not want to get their moral advice from a political party.

As a gay man, I know I was born with a predisposition to be gay, as Governor Christie speculates. Much like heterosexual people develop an attraction for the opposite sex, gay people develop it for the same sex. It’s just that simple. And while the church would advise gays to not act on those attractions, the reality of life necessitates otherwise.

For Herman Cain to believe that homosexuality is a choice, not actually being homosexual himself, would be like me, as a Caucasian, believing Black people face no discrimination in America today. It is simply presumptuous. What it does do, is ensure that many homosexuals never hear his conservative vision for America – because he has already turned them off.

As a gay conservative, I know first-hand how hard it is to convince gays of the merits of conservatism – due in large part to the religious standards within the GOP.

Again, it all goes back to messaging.

This past week on the Alan Stock News Show in Las Vegas, Herman Cain stated that “all Muslims are not terrorists, but all terrorists have been Muslim – except a couple.”

This is up there with John McCain’s “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” song.

While conservatives will stand up and say “But he’s right! All terrorists ARE Muslim,” they are wrong. There are terrorists all over the world. Some are Black, some are white. Some are male, some are female. Some are right here in the United States, and aren’t Muslim at all.

It’s one thing to say that the radical Islamists who have attacked us look similar, come from similar places, etc. It’s another to make an insensitive statement that all terrorists are Muslim.

Herman Cain is a good guy, and he wants to get involved and help save his country. I get it. And I applaud his willingness to get out there, in front of the public, in front of the media, and be a candidate.

However, we elected a candidate with no experience in 2008, and look where it got us.

Up on stage with six other candidates for the 2012 nomination, Herman Cain, for the first time, looked to be outclassed. His answers were vague, he repeated his standby lines, and offered very little new information as to who he is, and what he would do as our next president.

Herman Cain might make a great CEO and even a great elected official some day. But he is not ready to be president of the United States.

We conservatives may like his no-nonsense attitude, but that and three F-bombs landed Donald Trump back on Celebrity Apprentice, if you know what I mean.

 

2010 Midterms: What Did We Learn?

Now that the 2010 midterms are over I finally have time to write again, and there is no better topic than last week’s election results. Republicans made gains all over the nation in Congress, Governor’s Mansions and countless state legislatures, as voters sent a clear message of fiscal conservatism to Washington. The pundits have all weighed in, and it seems the general consensus is that the Republican wave swept through the country, halting at the Rockies, and leaving Nevada and California with their seemingly unpopular Senators Harry Reid and Barbara Boxer. The end result, at the time of this writing, is a 64-seat gain for the GOP in the House, and a 5-seat gain in the Senate. This puts an end to the Democrat super-majority in the House, and its rubber-stamp U.S. Senate.

Many are left wondering what impact the Tea Party had on races across the country, why candidates like Carl Paladino, Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle were unsuccessful, and what the future has in store for the Republican Party. The real question is: Why did key Senate candidates lose, and what will we learn from their mistakes?

The Tea Party

The Tea Party at face value is an amazing movement. It confronted fiscal policy, engaged voters across the country, and promoted candidates who focused on economic issues and fiscally conservative solutions. The movement cared very little about the two major parties or establishment candidates. Instead, it placed the most value on those candidates who realized the seriousness of our economic conditions, and pledged to work toward a solution that stops out of control spending, creates the economic conditions for job growth, and refuses to allow unions and other special interests to dictate policy. There is little doubt that the energy created by the Tea Party movement is largely responsible for the success of the minority party, in this case the GOP, as evidenced by the sheer number of victories. The movement, however, is not permanently aligned with Republicans. This means that 2012 will be a very interesting year if the GOP does not follow through with their promises to voters.

Some self-identified Tea Party candidates were not successful on Election Night, namely Carl Paladino in New York, Christine O’Donnell in Delaware, and Sharron Angle in Nevada. These three candidates have a lot in common, believe it or not. Each candidate won their GOP primary by defeating an establishment candidate, all three of these Tea Party characters committed gaffe after gaffe right up until Election Day, and they all found more support from outside their home states than inside.

Taking on the Establishment

In the Empire State, Gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio was a pro-choice moderate who supports affirmative action and domestic partnerships, but opposes taxpayer-funded abortion, same-sex marriage, and repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. He is best known nationally as the man Hillary Clinton defeated to win her Senate seat in 2000 when Mayor Giuliani dropped out of the race after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. Carl Paladino was the outsider candidate, a pro-life social and fiscal conservative with Tea Party support. Paladino was down only six points to Democrat Andrew Cuomo a week after the New York primary, but ended up on the losing end of a 27-point drubbing. Despite the fact that New York is one of the bluest states in the nation, Paladino didn’t make his task of defeating Cuomo easy on himself. He first offended women by referring to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand as Charles Schumer’s “little girl.” Then he offended gays by saying that he doesn’t want children to be “brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option,” citing that “it isn’t.” He went further to say that Cuomo’s appearance at a gay pride parade was “not the example we should be showing our children.” He said all this, despite the fact that Paladino’s own nephew is gay. Insensitive? Yes. Stupid? For sure. A winning strategy? Hell no.

In the Delaware Primary, Christine O’Donnell defeated GOP sweetheart Mike Castle who had won 13 elections in a row dating back to 1980 for various offices including Governor and U.S. Representative, in a state where only 29% of registered voters are Republican. In September, Mike Castle led Democrat Chris Coons by 11 points, the same advantage Coons had over O’Donnell in the same Rasmussen poll. That didn’t stop Tea Party advocates like radio talk show host Mark Levin and conservative kingmaker Sarah Palin from pushing for an O’Donnell primary win by attacking Castle for being a moderate. Many pundits claimed she was not a viable candidate for U.S. Senate, and the fact that O’Donnell was on video claiming to have “dabbled” in witchcraft, and that she was involved in an anti-masturbation campaign in the mid-1990s, didn’t help to counter those claims. The Republicans in Delaware were convinced to support a conservative in a state where a moderate is the only type of Republican that can win.  The conservative lost to the liberal by almost 17 points.

Even with Republicans poised to take back control of the House, all eyes were on the U.S. Senate race in Nevada as voters in the Silver State were salivating over the opportunity to retire Harry Reid. When 2010 began Harry Reid’s approval rating in Nevada sat at a dismal 33%, months before the passage of the unpopular health care and financial reform bills. Republicans saw a 6-way race in the primary to determine the Senate Majority Leader’s opponent, including former Assemblywoman Sharron Angle, former Republican Party Chair Sue Lowden and perennial candidate Danny Tarkanian. Lowden was the early favorite, as she was seen as the candidate most likely to win over independent voters. Independents and Non-Partisans are a key voter bloc in Nevada where registered Democrats (588,970) outnumber Republicans (484,791) by more than 105,000, with 304,000 voters belonging to neither Party. Because Sharron Angle comes from the northern part of the state, and the other 5 candidates come from the South, she had a decisive advantage in the primary once the votes were split among her opponents. To put it in perspective, only 70,424 GOP voters backed Angle in the primary, compared with 175,674 who backed someone else. Does that help explain why Angle had such a hard time uniting her own party behind her? How can you expect a candidate to win over Independents, Non-Partisans, Libertarians and conservative Democrats when 71.3% of their own party feels they aren’t the best candidate? In addition to this glaring challenge, the Angle campaign had no shortage of pitfalls, many of which were self-imposed:

-          Fighting against Tonopah High School’s decision to wear black jerseys for a homecoming game in 1992, because black is the color of evil.

-          Stating she believed Social Security should be “phased out,” in favor of something “privatized,” then denying having ever said it.

-          Refusing to accept contributions from political action committees of corporations offering same-sex partner benefits to gay employees, and then accepting them anyway.

-          Ignoring Hispanic media, while dodging local reporters and unsuccessfully trying to ban one local TV station from the GOP Election Night party.

I could go on and on, but I think my point is clear. I am a conservative, and I would have supported just about anyone over Harry Reid, but no candidate can expect to earn widespread support across party lines with a track record like Angle’s. That’s exactly what happened. According to CNN exit polls, Angle lost among women, all minority groups, voters under 50, voters earning under $50,000/year and voters without college degrees. She only won Independents by 4 points, and she lost 17% of voters who self-identify as conservatives. None of this adds up to a fighting chance against Harry Reid and his union-fueled turnout machine. Bill Buckley was famous for saying it, Charles Krauthammer re-iterated it, and over the summer I tried to communicate it. In Delaware they ignored it, and in Nevada we didn’t think we needed it: Support the most conservative candidate who can win the general.

The Future

The Republican Party will cease to exist if we do not learn from these mistakes.

The story of the 2010 midterm elections should be one of GOP victory. Republicans gained over 60 seats in the House, made gains in the Senate, dominated Governors races, and elected the most unconventional Republicans in the history of our Party with wins by Brian Sandoval (NV), Marco Rubio (FL), Col. Allen West (FL), Tim Scott (SC), Susana Martinez (NM) and Nikki Haley (SC) for starters.

We must continue to grow our party so we can continue to compete against Democrats in every state. We must realize that different kinds of Republicans are needed to win in different parts of the country. We must better articulate conservative values, and welcome all of those who share most of them with us into our Party. We must continue to produce great candidates who appeal to a wide range of voters, including Independents and conservative Democrats. We cannot afford to be divisive, insensitive, or damage our Party’s image, and we can do that without compromising our values. These should be our goals, and anything that compromises our success should not be tolerated.

Now let’s get ready for 2012!

The views expressed in this blog are the author’s, and do not necessarily represent the views of Right Pride or GOProud.

 

Dear readers of QVegas, Las Vegas Night Beat and the Las Vegas gay community:

This month, a list of primary election endorsements appears on NevadaImpact.com, a joint effort of Rob Schlegel, QVegas and Las Vegas Night Beat. These endorsements are also published in the current issue of both aforementioned publications. Under the guise of helping “the LGBT community be better informed about candidates,” Rob Schlegel and his cohorts have gone out of their way to continue the long history of spiteful partisanship by the so-called leaders in our community. Schlegel endorses in 47 of the 67 races he lists, backing 50 Democrats and 8 Republicans. He even used three of the eight Republican endorsements to take petty swipes at the candidates, and ripped another half-dozen GOP candidates just for fun.

Now more than ever the gay community needs guidance on issues that come from an objective source. Democrats continually fail to deliver on campaign promises made to the gay community. Congress has been under Democratic control since 2006 and they have yet to enact legislation that is important to the community: gays are still kicked out of the military for their sexuality via Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT), the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is still in place, The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) – factually contrary to Mr. Schlegel’s assertion that Harry Reid had passed it on behalf of the gay community – still languishes in committee, and our President had police push media away from LGBT service members protesting DADT at the White House just last month. As publications that claim to represent our entire community, QVegas and Las Vegas Night Beat should be embarrassed by their inclusion of this blanket-endorsement of the Democratic Party.

Some highlights of Schlegel’s ill-informed endorsements include a mockery of Sue Lowden. “While we’re endorsing Sen. Reid, “ Schlegel writes, “if it came down to a choice of a Republican, throw in a chicken and Sue Lowden would get our vote.” Is this the way to refer to a candidate who was a leader in overturning sodomy laws in Nevada during the 1993 legislature? Sue was also a strong supporter of the Log Cabin Republicans when they were relevant in Nevada and has a strong belief in inclusion within the Republican Party – something Schlegel should know as a former Republican himself.

In the U.S. Congressional District 1 race, Schlegel writes, “There isn’t a primary in this race because every Republican with any intelligence will be voting for Shelley Berkley.” There is Republican Primary in this race, because many CD-1 residents are fed-up with Berkley’s unconditional support of Obama’s policies and Pelosi’s agenda in the House. Berkley proposes to stand up for seniors and the Jewish community, yet fell in line on a health care bill which robs seniors of much-needed Medicare funds. Furthermore, she has remained largely silent on Obama’s mistreatment of our closest ally in the Middle East – Israel. While Berkley is a popular incumbent, Schlegel makes it seem as if she’s running unopposed. It should also be noted that Dina Titus was praised in the CD-3 race, despite her complete lack of accomplishments – including a complete cave to Pelosi on Obamacare after initially pledging to oppose it.

For Governor, Schlegel fails to surprise anyone. “(Rory Reid) did endorse Question 2 back in 2000-2002 but otherwise, he’s been a great friend of our community.” Most of the spite coming from Rob Schlegel is directed at Republicans that are supposedly bad on gay issues. However, he has no problem endorsing Rory Reid, who openly supported the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage – the community’s most important issue. I guess the “D” next to his name is sufficient for Schlegel’s stamp of approval.

For State Controller, hardly the sexiest race in the 2010 mid-terms, Schlegel feels the need to opine: “Kim Wallin, the Democrat incumbent, doesn’t have a primary and there’s not a Republican qualified for the job.” I suppose a Republican candidate who is a CPA, President of the Nevada Society of CPAs – Las Vegas Chapter, Member of the American Institute of CPAs, Member of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and former Adjunct Professor at UNLV, who has experience in the public and private sector with domestic and international companies as an accountant, is not qualified. His name is Barry Herr. “Perhaps had Mr. Schlegel contacted me to discuss my qualifications,” said Herr, “he would be in a position to better justify his comments.” Herr is right. Schlegel didn’t contact any Republican candidates for this piece.

In the Assembly District 2 race, Schlegel has no Republican endorsement, but adds, “We’ll tell you John Hambrick is a jackass.” This level of immaturity is inexcusable. Not only does Schlegel not explain why he apparently dislikes Assemblyman Hambrick, but there is no mention of the incumbent’s young, political up-start primary opponent, Annie Black. Both Hambrick and Black have been strong supporters of Right Pride, the only gay conservative organization in Nevada. Also in this primary is Mark Slotta, a gay Republican, who received no attention from Schlegel or QVegas. “It’s unfortunate that opinions are voiced when the writer never met the person involved,” said Assemblyman John Hambrick. “I would be more than willing to sit down and talk with (Schlegel).” Annie Black commented, “(Schlegel) is doing his readers a horrible disservice, advising them about candidates based purely on his personal assumptions. If he is going to represent these as legitimate endorsements then he should conduct them in such a manner, and have some honor when dealing with matters that affect people who trust him.” All three GOP candidates in this race believe gay Republicans and gay conservatives deserve a seat at the table, which is a far more open-minded view than many of our gay “leaders” hold.

Further down the Democratic check-list is the State Senate District 22 race. There are no endorsements in this race, but Schlegel warns readers not to vote for Lynn Stewart or Calanit Atia. Schlegel has not spoken to Calanit Atia, so once again his disdain for a candidate is unfounded. “I have not had the pleasure of being contacted by anyone from the magazine,” said Atia, who is a small business owner working in the entertainment industry. “Perhaps the nice people at QVegas should have contacted a few of my entertainers before forming such an opinion.” It seems to me that if Schlegel doesn’t like Assemblyman Lynn Stewart, he should at least attempt to suggest an alternative from the three other Republicans in the race: Calanit Atia, Scott Chappell and Duane Christy.

Schlegel also chose not to endorse in the Las Vegas Township Constable race, despite the fact that Peter Gariano has been a long-time supporter of the gay community. In his 21-year law enforcement career, he has attended numerous Gay Pride events, including this year when he and his entire family joined Right Pride at the parade. Perhaps Schlegel should have researched these races, before offering recommendations in print. “I would have appreciated the opportunity to meet with QVegas before they made their decisions,” said Gariano. “The fact that they chose not to support me does not change my views on equal rights for members of the LGBT community, whom I will continue to support.”

Yet another instance of Schlegel’s biased endorsements came in the Justice of the Peace Las Vegas Township Dept. 14 race, when he proclaimed, “No endorsement in this race but don’t vote for Bernie Zadrowski.” Again Schlegel does not explain his outwardly hostile comments. Bernie Zadrowski has been incredibly supportive of Right Pride, and doesn’t have a discriminating bone in his body. As chairman of the Clark County Republican Party he never made social issues the central focus. “It doesn’t really matter what positions I have held or stated, because any group with an agenda will ascribe positions to you based on your general political philosophy whether it is true or not,” said Zadrowski, who is a regular guest at Right Pride meetings.

Conspicuously absent from Schlegel’s list of endorsements are conservative Republicans Assemblyman Ed Goedhart and Assembly candidate Dan Hill. Goedhart broke rank as the only Republican member of the State Assembly to vote for the override of the Governor’s veto of the Domestic Partnership bill last summer. Dan Hill, an openly-gay Republican candidate running in Assembly 29, has been endorsed by Right Pride. Neither of these men have primaries, but that didn’t stop Schlegel from announcing his support for a number of non-primary Democrats. It is clear where his priorities lie. Schlegel endorses Republican Dennis Nolan because he “was the lone Republican to vote ‘yes’ for domestic partnerships,” but that is incorrect. State Senators Mike McGinness and Randolph Townsend, and Assemblyman Ed Goedhart, were the only Republicans to vote for SB 283 as a bill, and again for the veto override. State Senators Dennis Nolan and Dean Rhoads initially voted no for domestic partnerships.

During election years, readers pay attention to publications. Words carry weight. The gay community in Las Vegas deserves representation and advice that is sincere, honest, transparent, and reliable. The endorsements that Schlegel issued last month via QVegas and Las Vegas Night Beat represent the worst in politics: opaque backroom agreements with little or no research and a byline attributing the endorsements to one of the most left-wing, partisan individuals in the community. What we need from publications that claim to be non-partisan is objective endorsements in both parties, based on facts and research, and not the partisan hackery of Mr. Schlegel.

I look forward to a follow-up story which includes well thought out, researched endorsements and not a Who’s Who in the Democratic Party.

Mark Ciavola

President – Right Pride

mark.ciavola@rightpride.org

*The views expressed in this blog are the author’s, and do not necessarily represent the views of Right Pride or GOProud.

 

Everywhere across the country, incumbent politicians from both parties seem to be dropping like hundred dollars bills from a Goldman Sachs executive’s pocket.

Just yesterday, the Associated Press reported that Representative Alan Mollohan, a 14-term incumbent Democrat, was ousted by State Senator Mike Oliverio in West Virginia’s Democratic primary by double digits. And of course who can forget Republican Senator Robert Bennett of Utah who got unceremoniously dumped for being part of the establishment in Washington just last week.

With the Tea Party movement sweeping across our nation and Sarah Palin drawing large applause at the 2008 GOP convention for her attack on the “Good ol’ Boy network,” America is seeing the same red the French saw during it’s revolution where aristocratic heads rolled off guillotine blades faster than PETA can throw red paint on lavish fur.

This toxic political climate for established Washingtonians has created the perfect brew for those opportunity seekers who’ve long been sitting on the floor, filtering off the scraps, dreaming of the day where they can sit with the big leaguers at the dinner table and properly eat their slice of cake too.

All across the nation, those seeking political office are lining the ballot of every position possible, seeking a way into government by any means necessary. This leaves primary voters, especially Republicans who occupy the minority, with a very serious question.

Is it more about viability, or is it solely about principle?

We don’t have to look far to encounter this dilemma. The Republican primary in Nevada features a slew of candidates who are riding on the coattails of the political atmosphere, trying to make enough of an impression to eke out a primary win.

Take a look at the Governor’s race in Nevada. Even with rising polling numbers, Governor Jim Gibbons is still trying to fill a significant gap between him and ex-federal judge Brian Sandoval, whose campaign calls him “the reason to believe again.”

In this race alone, Republicans in Nevada have a dichotomy. Do you go with the incumbent Governor who has the conservative “street cred,” but who is saddled with scandal and a high unfavorable rating with general voters? Or, do you go with the charismatic upstart whose conservative record is all but laughable – but polls a bit higher than the incumbent in the general election?

And of course most races have that distant guy in third, in this case Mike Montandon. “Mayor Mike” brands himself smartly as “the only electable conservative candidate,” but has such low polling figures that people question whether voting for him would be a waste of ballot paper.

So where do you go?

If the entire purpose of this current political climate was to keep politicians accountable and honest, then the answer has to be and only can be: principle first, viability second.

When people continue the routine of, “oh I like this guy, but we’re going to have to go with the guy who can win” mentality, then this entire process becomes a giant circle of constant dissatisfaction due to mediocre results by viable, yet mediocre candidates.

If we continue down this path, we will forever be burdened with trying to figure out, which of the two is the lesser evil.

Even after all this head-chopping, the people, if focusing on viability alone, will end up exactly where they started in the first place.

If enough people started voting on principle, without trying to factor in every ratio and percentage thrown out there, maybe it wouldn’t matter whether you’re the upstart, incumbent, or that guy in distant third.

Maybe, just maybe, for once in our lives we’ll vote in a guy who’ll do a decent enough job.

*The views expressed in this blog are the author’s, and do not necessarily represent the views of Right Pride or GOProud.

 

In a year where Republicans stand to make major gains in Congress, several races across the country are garnering national attention. The biggest race by far is Harry Reid’s quest to remain a useless windbag for another six years, as the old, grumpy senior senator from Nevada. But just a short hop across the border in Arizona, another race is beginning to heat up.

John McCain, the 2008 Republican cant-idate for President, is seeking to return to the Senate for what would be a total of 34 years in Congress. One man stands in his way. His opponent is J.D. Hayworth, former Congressman who served in the House from the Republican sweep in 1994 to the Democratic sweep in 2006. He has excited conservatives who believe McCain is too wishy-washy to stand up to Obama’s liberal agenda. So on August 24th, voters in Arizona will cast their ballots in the Republican Primary, and send one of these men up against a Democrat for control of the seat.

So who is the “consistent conservative” in this race? J.D. Hayworth uses that phrase to describe himself, but McCain and his supporters disagree. The sad truth is that neither of these guys have any right to use the term “conservative” at all. John McCain has a lifetime rating of “82” from the American Conservative Union, while Hayworth’s rating is just over 96. But Hayworth supported expensive government programs and pork-laden legislation like the No Child Left Behind Act, Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the 2005 highway bill that included the “bridge to nowhere,” and of course the hugely expensive Medicare Part D plan. So how does he have a 96? What’s a conservative to do?

Hayworth is better on immigration, as the Kennedy-McCain immigration reform legislation basically gives amnesty to illegals living here, without addressing border security. But he was still supportive of Bush-era spending, and McCain didn’t compare gay marriage in Massachusetts to a man marrying his horse, as Hayworth did. Now I had the opportunity to meet Congressman Hayworth at a private media event yesterday, to ask a man about a horse. He admitted it was a stupid comment, and said it was “counterproductive to make your point using absurdity,” as it only opened him to ridicule. In my opinion, the worst of that ridicule came at the hands of the bad Danny DeVito impersonator Rachel Maddow, when she grilled him over the non-existent language he was referring to in the Massachusetts marriage statute.  (Sorry Danny DeVito, I love you in “Sunny”)

However, the matter remains. The Republican Party will continue to be painted as racist, bigoted and intolerant as long as people like J.D. Hayworth are making stupid remarks like that. As a conservative, Hayworth ignores the principles of less government and individual liberty he supposedly stands for and supports a federal amendment defining marriage. I asked him if he would support a federal constitutional amendment allowing government to decide what qualifies as a legal relationship, if it wasn’t HIS definition of marriage being added. He responded that he supports the amendment process, which is the politically safe way of saying, “Of course I only want MY definition added.”

McCain, on the other hand, is a hot-tempered, out of touch, centrist senior citizen, masquerading as a conservative. While I have the utmost respect for his service to our country, the “Maverick” spent his whole career bucking the GOP until 2008 when he tried to convince Americans he was a staunch Republican. He prides himself on being able to reach across the aisle, but in the process violates every conservative principle in the book. Even when he had the chance in 2008 to stand up for true conservative values and oppose the bank bailout, he fell right in line with Obama and the rest of the big government types.

So who should a conservative support? Who should a Republican support? Who should a Gay Conservative support? Well… here’s your answer:

Who cares?

Believe me, there is no greater goal in November than taking back Congress. Republicans must have the majority back, in order to stop Obama’s crazy train of liberal madness. But I’m tired of choosing the lesser of two evils. I expect more from my party, and we should all expect more from our elected officials. I want a candidate who is young, energetic, passionate, and knowledgeable and has good ideas about how to fix our country. Candidates like Paul Ryan, for example.

I would prefer to see Arizona Congressman Jeff Flake in the senate race. Flake has sworn off earmarks, and is very strong on immigration. He is a conservative first, and he’s exactly the type of candidate that makes you want to put your shoes on and go to the polls for. Until then, it’s just more of the same.

As I’ve said and written on countless occasions, conservatism stands on three core principles: (1) Keep government small; (2) Keep government out of my life; (3) Keep government out of my pocket.

These are the principles that allow us to flourish in this country, as citizens, as small businesses, and as human beings. These three tenets ensure us the individual liberty to be who we are, and what we hope to be, free of interference.  “Keeping government out of my life” is exactly what allows me to be a Gay Conservative, writing about how there is no significant difference between John McCain and J.D. Hayworth – except perhaps immigration (where I happen to agree 100% with Hayworth).

Many conservatives will disagree with me, and many liberals will spew hate at me, but in the end… I’m just a guy with an opinion.

The views expressed in this blog are the author’s, and do not necessarily represent the views of Right Pride or GOProud.

 

During Congressional elections in most districts voters usually get the same old show. The career politician or citizen turned Washington insider comes along after eighteen months of silence and tries to re-open a line of communication with the people which closed on election night two years earlier.

The message from the Member of Congress to the voter is always the same: I am the known, trusted and proven leader and if that isn’t reason enough to give me another two years of making six figures, then vote for me because my opponent is corrupt and their views represent a radical fringe minority. Sound familiar?

According to a poll conducted by Rasmussen in late October, touting experience and running a last minute campaign with a status quo message will most likely disqualify you if you are running on the Republican ticket.

In the poll 73% of Republicans spoke loud and clear: Congressional Republicans have lost touch with the voters.

Well, what does this have to do with capitalism? Simple, you can argue to what degree Republicans support free markets and capitalism, but the fact still remains that Democrats in Congress oppose free market principles and opt for government based solutions to economic issues which often go free from meaningful transparency, oversight and accountability.

This should concern every Republican seeking re-election in 2010. However, looking ahead to the 2012 race for President, two House Republicans in particular could pay the price for this vote of no confidence from GOP voters. Mike Pence (R-IN) and Eric Cantor (R-VA) are both considered by many to be eyeing the road to the White House. But unlike most of their fellow caucus members, these two hold key caucus leadership positions and could be on the receiving end of the blame for any GOP shortcomings should they throw their hat in the ring in 2012.

Other, more recent polls could spell further disaster for GOP incumbents. A December poll, also from Rasmussen, shows that 76% of voters in the United States prefer a free market economy. Not just Republicans, but voters across the political spectrum seem to be trending more toward libertarian principles with 79% of American voters saying that they favor auditing the Fed.

The Grand Old Party could find itself very divided and bleed out in some primaries. In conservative states like South Carolina, the trend toward the desire for a more fiscally responsible government is showing. Once again, in a Rasmussen survey, 51% of South Carolina Republicans said that the GOP should be represented by people more like Senator Jim DeMint rather than 32% who said the party should be represented by people more like Senator Lindsey Graham.

So, what do all of these surveys suggest? The GOP should not be taking anything for granted. It appears that the people are in line with what are perceived to be Republican principles, but their elected Republican leaders in Congress are out of line with those principles. This is not a place that the party wants to find itself in at the beginning of 2010.

Yet, this is not bad news for all Republicans, especially newcomers and political outsiders.

In California, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman is seeking the Republican nomination to succeed unpopular Republican governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. On the campaign trail when Whitman talks about California’s next chief executive, Whitman says that, “the next governor must have a spine of steel, know what she believes and sticks with it.” This message is resonating with voters. Whitman is leading in polls for the GOP nomination and is tied in the general election against former governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat.

As governor, Whitman plans to do exactly what she did to take eBay from a small dot com startup to a multibillion dollar, multinational corporation: focus. By doing three things at 100% as opposed to hundreds of things at 20%, Whitman plans to create jobs, cut spending and fix the state’s broken education system, which, at one time, was the envy of the nation. While this will be no easy task with the current makeup of the California State Legislature, Whitman is not going to worry about popularity, but instead focus on results and creating a stable, prosperous state for future generations of Californians and businesses.

Of course Whitman won’t be the only former female executive asking for the people’s trust. Long after one of the good old boys from the state legislature began his campaign to unseat Senator Barbara Boxer; polls still consistently suggested that former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina would have the best shot at unseating Boxer in 2010. With Fiorina on the GOP ticket, this could be a big year for women from the private sector in California, which is just the kind of experience the state needs to be put back on the right track.

The appeal of candidates like Meg Whitman can be related to that of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. At a time when people need experienced leaders, voters are specific in what type of experience they are looking for. Rather than candidates who have waited their turn in line, shuffling up the ladder of positions in government, they’re opting for people with a view from main street.

With Palin’s book still on the New York Times’ best sellers list and thousands camping out overnight in single digit temperatures to see her, there is no doubt that voters are craving representation from those who will govern alongside them, rather than above them. This is just the type of leadership that people like Whitman offer and voters are responding in an overwhelmingly positive way in a party that is not known for being fond of change.

With a variety of paths for the Republican party to take in 2010, it will be interesting to see which way the party will try to go and if voters will follow. Of course, it is highly likely that voters will blaze their own trails in 2010. If that is the case, the big question will be if the Republican party, its candidates and leaders follow.

Republicans voters have raised the standard for those who represent them and it is now up to those seeking re-election to get serious in their efforts if they are going to make the grade next November.

The opportunity for capitalism and free markets to make a comeback in the 112th Congress is certainly there. Will we seize it? I hope so.

In less than one year, the anti-capitalism majority in both Houses of Congress and the White House have declared war on the principles which have been a part of our nation’s core and what makes our system of self-government better than that of any other nation in the world.

Part of the threat to the future of capitalism and free markets in the United States lies within the Republican party as well. Being the party of diversity, when it comes to voting on the floor of the House or Senate, Republicans have not always succeeded in protecting capitalism.

Make no mistake, this is not a call for a “purity test” for Republican candidates, but it does point out the importance of primaries and supporting the candidates which will be the most effective voices for capitalism and free market principles.

Protecting these values is key to a healthy future for small businesses which are what will create a stronger economy and prosperous citizens.

Under the current majority in Washington, DC, the need for creation, invention, competition and innovation as the four cornerstones of economic prosperity are being addressed by Congress and the White House in the following way:

Creation: creating more government and more debt to give the illusion of meaningful job growth

The markets have not responded positively to alleged job growth because the only sector growing is government, not the private sector.

Invention: inventing trickle up poverty so that everyone feels the pinch

Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have focused on taking money from those who have created private sector jobs to employ more lemmings in government which has devastated middle class and blue collar workers alike. Robbing the poor to feed the rich: perhaps if they’re still not getting it, we ought to make them watch the Walt Disney version of Robin Hood again…perhaps that will meet their level of comprehension.

Competition: competing to see how many more minorities the government can hold hostage on generational welfare to protect labor unions

Did the government ever stop and think that by getting people off of welfare and allowing them to compete in the free marketplace that they might become wealthy and not burden those who work?

Innovation: finding new ways to make people dependent on the incumbent party for everything in life

It is the most immoral, but most successful way to ensure your re-election: put everyone in economic prison, put a gun to their head and then hand them a ballot.

By restoring a pro-capitalism and free market majority in Washington, DC, the four cornerstones to prosperity will be installed on a firm foundation of competition that rewards those who take risks, work hard, and create jobs. An economy build on the right sound principles will punish no one who is retired or earns an income.

Every time in history that the government has made an economic gamble it seems that the people loose. Every time the people both individually and collectively take risks on their own initiative that suit their own goals, the odds seem much more favorable.

It would seem that in Washington, DC, our lawmakers are so far from main street that no amount of technology could help them get a clear view of reality. It is up to the voters to show them the way in 2010 by not electing a partisan majority, but a pro-capitalism majority.

Of course I wouldn’t be doing anyone any justice if I did not point out the most important step in the process to bringing capitalism back to Congress: voter turnout! No one can (legally) vote for you. If you do not take 30 seconds to vote for the pro-capitalism candidates on your ballot and make a generous effort to make sure your friends, family and neighbors do the same, then you had better have no complaints.

Voting is a part of the equation of economic prosperity. You get out of it what you put into it.

What will your standards be in 2010?

*Drew Sweatte is the author of the Desert Capitalist Blog. The views expressed in this blog are the author’s, and do not necessarily represent the views of Right Pride or GOProud.