Dear Readers: If there is absolutely one lesson that can be learned from the Tea Party movement, it is that citizens need to get fully informed about their candidates at all stages of an election cycle. To that end, I wanted to share my thoughts about the debate amongst the GOP Senatorial hopefuls: CA Assemblyman Chuck Devore, McCain Campaigner Carly Fiorina, and former Congressman Tom Campbell.
Before I begin, I would like to note I am a Democrat. Most of my regular readers know I dislike our current California Senator, Babs Boxer, most profoundly. I am intent on maintaining my current party status, and hoping that my Republican friends do the right thing and nominate Chuck Devore during the primary. Meanwhile, I feared the best option I had was to simply skip the Boxer box on my ballot in June. It seems I have been given a reprieve: Blogger Mickey Kaus Plans to Challenge Boxer.
Could Kaus really be my dream candidate? Check out Patterico’s report:
Pioneering political blogger Mickey Kaus took out papers to run for U.S. Senate in California, he told LA Weekly. The Venice resident said he’ll run this year against Barbara Boxer for her seat. He said he took out papers at the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters.
The Democrat has been centrist and even conservative on some of the issues on which Boxer has taken a more left-leaning stand, including immigration: He does not favor amnesty and favors a more restrictive national policy.
The journalist’s Wiki entry says he’s also “skeptical of affirmative action, labor unions (particularly automotive workers’ unions and teachers’ unions), and gerrymandering of congressional districts.”
Kaus has the makings of a Tea Party Democrat! Now, if we can quickly locate another for the Gubernatorial slot, I would be content! 🙂
Turning back to the debate, which was hosted by radio station KTKZ 1380’s Eric Hogue (please click HERE to go to a page with the podcast, so that you can listen and judge for yourself), I was impressed by Devore’s calm intelligence and reasoned stances for the various topics addressed. The fact that he has an exceptional radio voice is an added value!
I must admit, I was a little surprised at the initial topic of the debate: Israel and national security matters. As a Californian, I am much more interested in economic principles. However, it seems Campbell has been roundly criticized for accepting $1,300 in contributions during his 2000 Senate campaign from former Florida professor Sami Al-Arian, who pleaded guilty in 2006 to conspiring to help a terrorist organization (the Palestinian Islamic Jihad). Further background on Campbell can be located in this post: Stop Tom Campbell: Pan-Jihadist in California U.S. Senate Race.
What impressed me most about Devore during this portion of the debate was the enormous amount of experience he has regarding the Middle East, which can be key in forming effective policy in the US Senate. Because he studied at the American University in Cairo, he (at least at one point), spoke Arabic fluently and had a grounding in Islamic religious and political thought. For example, during the debate, he actually talked about the history of circa 1948 and 1967, and provided background on Trans-Jordan. While Fiorina kept on saying Jerusalem was the Israeli capital, Devore put the situation more in context. Jerusalem is the country’s capital, although it is not recognized internationally as such; Israel’s main financial center is Tel Aviv and it is where the American embassy will remain until the Israelis deem it safe to move to Jerusalem.
Campbell ineffectively addressed any of the concerns regarding his previous vote, in which he joined only 33 other congressional representatives in not recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Furthermore, he voted against a $30 million increase in aid to Israel. In conclusion, I think we have enough trouble with the Obama administration’s treatment of our best allies without compounding it by adding Campbell to the US Senate.
What was most disconcerting for me, as a member of a military family who had men serving in Iraq, was Fiorina’s tenure at Hewlett Packard. During the course of the debate, I learned about HP’s use of a Mideast distributor called Redington Gulf to sell hundreds of millions of dollars of copiers and other products to Iran during Fiorina’s tenure — naming them “Best Wholesaler” in 2003. This occurred while she was the head of this company! It was also during this time that Iran was supplying parts to terrorists in Iraq that were used against our troops.
The other item that irked me about Fiorina during the debate is that she touted herself as the only one with any business experience, or who had made a payroll. I think this was meant to demean Devore. I must note that Devore worked in the aerospace industry for 13 years and was vice president of research at a successful firm before leaving work to begin serving as an elected official.
Interestingly, Fiorina’s experience as CEO may not be as golden or successful as her team would lead us to believe. There is this piece for your consideration: Carly Fiorina’s HP Legacy
For all her attempts to rewrite history, there are certain facts that Fiorina cannot escape. The first is that in the only plebiscite on her leadership — the proxy vote over the acquisition of Compaq Computer — HP employees, men and women, repudiated her. Fiorina may claim now that HP’s current strong business is the product of her strategy — a dubious claim in itself — but the fact is that the first requirement of corporate leadership is to get the employees to follow. At that, she failed miserably.
The debate left off with a general discussion of taxes and finance. Suffice it to say that Tom Campbell supported the 16-billion dollar tax-raiser, Proposition 1A, which the Tea Party groups worked hard to defeat last year during May’s special election. And he supported a 32cent/gallon gasoline tax increase, too! It seems Fiorina offered federal government-heavy solutions in an MIT dissertation and does not seem to want to clearly distance herself from those positions. And her position on an Internet sales tax seems to fluctuate, dependent only on the nature of her audience. Also, let’s review this gem: Carly Fiorina channels Dede Scozzafava, wields race/gender card against conservative rival .
Devore gave up his position as Minority Whip in the Assembly, when six republicans caved to approve the 2009 California budget — which had the largest state tax increases in US history. Then, this is his clear position on taxes:
Higher taxes and more regulations destroy jobs and reduce freedom while spending borrowed money on a misguided stimulus will only darken our economic future.
Taxes, however necessary, are a claim upon your time by the government. The higher the tax rate, the more of your time you must spend working for the government. In this, one can also make an argument that progressive taxes are unfair, insofar as they result in some people spending more time to complete their obligation to government than others. This is one reason why Chuck supports flatter tax rates with a simplified tax code.
Devore was able to convey his experience, knowledge, and principles in a clear, assured, and effective manner. He was the clear winner in today’s debate — and can handily go on to defeat Babs this fall.