Let’s talk about 2016! (Republican primary, Part 4)

Editorial note: This article is the fifth installment in a series about prospective 2016 Presidential candidates by Noah M. Horwitz. On Saturday, he wrote at length about Democratic candidates. On Sunday, he wrote at length about Republican candidates in a subset he called “Establishment Conservatives.” On Monday, he wrote about Republican candidates in a subset he called “Establishment Tea Party.” On Tuesday, he wrote about Republican candidates in a subset he called “Fringe Tea Party.” This evening, he will write about Republican candidates within the “Outcast” subset.

I opined three days ago that there are four basic categories of prospective Republican candidates for President. The “Establishment Conservatives,” “Establishment Tea Party,” “Fringe Tea Party” and “Outcast.” The main distinction between the outcast and the other categories is the presence of some semblance of political experience. The main distinction between the “fringe” and the “establishment” is how well-renowned the individual is on the national stage. Finally, Tea Party is a bit of an arbitrary descriptor, as there is no monolithic organization to which a member might belong, but I have done my best to weed out the so-called RINOs, to borrow the group’s lexicon. For example, in the 2012 Republican primaries, Herman Cain and Donald Trump would be “outcasts.” Michele ovewas “Fringe Tea Party,” Rick Santorum was “Establishment Tea Party” and Mitt Romney was “Establishment Conservative.” Hopefully, that clears it up.

OUTCAST

1. Ben Carson
Let me start off with a precursor: Beyond the shadow of a doubt, Carson is an exceptionable brilliant man. Rising out of poverty, he attended Yale undergrad and then medical school at the University of Michigan. He went to work at John Hopkins, where he became a phenomenally gifted surgeon, and eventually the director of Pediatric Surgery. In 1987, he became the first person to successfully separate conjoined twins who were together at the head.

However, these impressive medical credentials do not give Carson the political credentials necessary to run for President. They just don’t. Longtime readers of my writings will be familiar with my notion that non-political expertise simply does not substitute political histories, when one runs for higher office. Carson would be supremely qualified to run for Congress, for example, but the Presidency is for politicians and generals…full stop.

On the topic of politics, however, it goes without saying that I strongly disagree with Carson’s viewpoints. He is an outspoken social conservative, and for an intellectual he has some surprisingly backwards views (such as a rejection of evolution). For Carson’s part, The Weekly Standard reports that he is warming up to the idea.

2. Ted Nugent
“I might run for President in 2016,” Nugent recently said, in comments picked up by Salon Magazine, among others. The Motor City Madman may have once been famous for B-hits like “Cat scratch fever,” but has more recently become something of a folk hero to the Tea Party. He has nearly made death-threats toward the President and is replete with offensive statements that rile up a base somewhere. Tea Party Troubadour? Sure. Future President? Nope.

3. Donald Trump
My position on a prospective Trump candidacy is probably summed up better by Seth Meyers’ epic roast of him at the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner. “Donald Trump has been saying that he is running for President as a Republican,” Meyers said at the time, “which is surprising because I had just assumed he was running as a joke.”

In a lengthy interview with Time Magazine, Trump let on that he still had some desire to run for President. At the risk of stating the obvious, Trump would make a terrible candidate for President. Like Carson, he has no legitimate experience. Unlike Carson, he is not that bright or nonsensical. Evidently the joke is still on him.

CLOSING ANALYSIS

There are a number of other possible candidates who have never confirmed their interest in running. Many of these people would probably be among the strongest candidates if they were to run.

Scott Walker, the Governor of Wisconsin,has been mentioned as an ideal dark-horse by many on the right. He has all the right conservative bona fides, such as vivid opposition to abortion, same-sex marriage and Medicaid expansion. He notoriously went after the unions in one of his first acts. But he has also tried recently to moderate his tone ever so slightly, especially in a State such as Wisconsin with Democratic fundamentals.

Susana Martinez and Brian Sandoval, respectively, are two more great candidates, if they were to choose to run. The Governor of New Mexico and the Governor of Nevada, respectively, both deal with State Legislatures strongly controlled by the Democratic Party, and work with them on bipartisan, pragmatic agendas and pieces of legislation. This would likely sink them in a Republican primary, however.

Among the other serious names thrown out there are Mitch Daniels (former Governor of Indiana), John Kasich (Governor of Ohio), Rob Portman (Senator from Ohio) and Rick Snyder (Governor of Michigan). Among the non-serious are Sarah Palin (former Governor of Alaska), Condoleezza Rice (former Secretary of State) and Allen West (former Congressman from Florida). Oh yeah, and there is still an active draft movement for Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts and the Republican Presidential nominee in 2012.

Notwithstanding some of the good prospecting candidates I first mentioned in the previous three paragraphs, I have some serious doubts as to how successful the Republicans may be against Hillary Clinton, if she is the Democratic nominee.

It is useless to speculate how the candidates with no Name ID would do once their recognition had been built up; that being said, just within the subset of candidates who already have sterling identifications, Clinton blows each and every one of them out of the water. I just do not see a way that any of them bounce back in a significant way, with the noticeable exception of Cruz.

Ted Cruz, as I noted back in my third part of this series, has the unique capacity to shift back to the center –even with the primary– without being clobbered by the Republican base. Those laughing him off as a silly and non-serious candidate truly need to readjust their sights. I recall a very similar thing being said about another Texan about 15 years ago…and that Texan wasn’t half as smart.

All in all, the 2016 Election will be quite the exciting spectacle. I, for one, am looking forward to covering it with great zeal and alacrity.

 

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Elisa Chan, bigot

The San Antonio Express-News ran an exposé on a member of the City Council there, Elisa Chan, on awfully homophobic comments she made while under secret recording. The recording is from May and involves Chan’s opposition to the city’s proposed non-discrimination ordinance.

For those not familiar, the City of San Antonio is debating an ordinance that would add both “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the city’s non-discrimination laws, adding the categories with protected classes such as race, sex, religion and disability (among others). The ordinance was perhaps most controversial for awhile when it included a clause that would have prohibited the holding of public office for those found guilty of violating the ordinance. That clause has since been removed, because, to be fair, we do have a constitutional right to be bigoted (see: “Westboro Baptist Church”). After the revision, some major figures in the evangelical community gave their full support to the bill.

The specific calumnies do not deserve the honor of being reprinted, because they are totally without substance. What is important to know is that, when the eyes of the public were away, Chan revealed her untethered hatred for the LGBT community, and then, perhaps more offensive, formulated ways to veil this hatred as a policy disagreement with the ordinance. Chan discussed, at length, her intention to write an op-ed in the Express-News explaining her opposition to the ordinance. Her candid hatred, however, would not be included.

The Mayor of San Antonio, Julian Castro, pulled no punches when rightly criticizing Chan for her hurtful, defamatory remark. As the Mayor stated on his personal Facebook account:

Councilwoman Chan’s remarks were hurtful and ignorant. They do not reflect the views of the overwhelming majority of San Antonians. Ours is a city that respects and appreciates all people.

These sorts of opinions are the exact reason why a non-discrimination ordinance protecting LGBT is completely necessary. Sadly though, it is the reason why homophobia may continue being an ugly part of our lives well into the future.

Homophobia is not like racism. In fact, the two types of prejudice could not be more different. Prejudice exists in two different forms: institutional and overt. In years past, overt racism existed quite extensively. Following the passage of the Civil Rights Act, overt racism all but disappeared except for a few unfortunate pockets in the South. Institutional racism, however, has persisted.

Now, as being gay is becoming more and more accepted within our culture, overt homophobia is rapidly diminishing, making comments like Chan’s all the more controversial. Institutional homophobia, however, is becoming non-existent. This is because, no matter what you do, no matter how you raise your family, no matter who you associate yourself with, the rich and powerful could have a gay son or a lesbian daughter.

To be blunt, Republican Senators (like Rob Portman) have gay sons, but not African-American sons. This will cause institutional homophobia to disappear within a generation or two while institutional racism (unfortunately) will persist.

When it comes to overt prejudice, the opposite is true. As big of a scandal Chan’s comments made, if she would have been this racist, she would have already resigned. Racism in public is still much more controversial than public homophobia. This is because racism is guided by culture, whereas homophobia is guided by religion, and culture is much easier to change.

I get this inkling when I see polls that say 58% of Americans support gay marriage, whereas 37% of Americans believe being gay is a horrible, horrible sin. That 37% is motivated by religion, and will be very hard-pressed to change their minds.

Gay marriage will most definitely be inevitable, but I fear nationwide acceptance will not. People like Elisa Chan sadly remind me of that.

Burnt Orange Report has more.

Davis on gay marriage

The Dallas Voice has a big article about my State Representative, Sarah Davis. Evidently, this past weekend, as the huge Equality Forward summit was going on in Austin, the Log Cabin Republicans were holding a meeting next door. Their keynote speaker was Representative Davis.

Davis said “It’s not the job of the government to socially engineer society,” as she sharply critiqued her contemporaries in the legislature. She talked about how she believes in limited government, and why this led her to go to odds with her party over social issues, including gay rights and contraception/abortion.

The article stated that Davis “pledged support for gay rights” in the headline, though I could never actually find something that says she explicitly endorses gay marriage. Still, just being okay with being featured prominently in the Dallas Voice is really something for a self-proclaimed Tea Party Republican.

District 134 had always been relatively liberal on these social issues. Ellen Cohen supported gay marriage back when elected Democrats supporting the issue were limited to “Gavin Newsom, Dennis Kucinich and that Governor of New Jersey who went all Brokeback Mountain with his bodyguard,” and Davis’ opponent last year, Ann Johnson, is openly gay herself. Accordingly, Davis is in good company to not be so small-minded on these social issues.

Still, Davis needs to be a little bit more specific about her views, though. She could be the Rob Portman of the State Legislature by announcing her support for gay marriage. It would be a great victory for the gay rights movement, as well as all those who strive for equality and liberty. In a very rare occurrence, I could truly state that I am very proud of my State Representative.

Gene Green on gay rights

I have, in the past, vented about my disdain towards some of Congressman Gene Green’s more conservative views. I like to think that I offered Congressman Green an ultimatum: drag his social issues into the 21st century or face a Bloomberg-funded primary challenger. Since I wrote that a little over a week ago, the main issue that everyone has been talking about has been gay marriage* (*-I don’t use terms like “same-sex marriage” or “marriage equality” all that often, because I have a philosophical problem with euphemisms), with the Supreme Court taking up a pair of recent cases last Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. In recent days, a plethora of Democrats have come out of the bigotry closet to endorse gay marriage. These include historically conservative Democrats that I have had some problems with in the past, including Claire McCaskill, Kay Hagan, Bob Casey, etc. I figured that this would be a good chance for Congressman Green to redeem himself, by repudiating the outdated views he has on gay marriage.

For the record, those “outdated views” include not only a personal opposition to gay marriage, but a vigorous support for the Defense of Marriage Act. The Chron stated that Green voted to uphold DOMA in 2011, but I, for the life of me, cannot actually find the roll call vote. The same Chron article goes on to say that the Congressman is not changing his position any time soon on either personal support of gay marriage or his support of the Defense of Marriage Act. For comparison, President Obama’s big bad gay rights position was believing that DOMA was unconstitutional while still personally opposing the implementation of gay marriage. That position was wrong, but Green’s is far worse.

I again plead for a good liberal to start making noise about challenging Green in the primary. Either to defeat him, or, at the very least, to move him back a little towards the left on social issues. I am not, by any means, a purist Democrat, and I usually am not an especially big advocate of primarying moderate-to-conservative Democrats. However, there are just some social values that you MUST accept to be an officeholder nowadays in the Democratic Party, and one of them is equality. It’s 2013, for Pete’s sake. Dick Cheney, Laura Bush, and Rob Portman support gay marriage. All I’m asking for is a Houston Democrat.