Arizona CD 8
Tomorrow night (April 6th) there is going to be another debate between the four Republicans competing to see who gets to replace Gabrielle Giffords as our representative to Congress this fall. I'd like to share my impressions of the candidates from the last debate, and we can see how they compare with who shows up tomorrow night. I’m not going to go into detailed examples, because I want this post to be read (so I’ve got to keep it short).
I like Jesse Kelly a lot. He is articulate, straightforward, and he understands the constitution and freedom. He runs his own business, which should be a prerequisite for any public office. He knows when to fight, and when to let an ad-hominem attack go by. Mostly, I trust him and his instincts. I trust that when he represents me, he will actually REPRESENT me, and that his own moral compass is aligned well enough with my own that I won't have to wonder which way he'll vote. I already know how he'll vote, because I know who he is.
Andy Goss. Andy Goss is a good man, and I actually like his instincts a little bit more than Jesse Kelly's (but not much). On one debate question in particular - airline security - he was the only candidate that even suggested airport security might not be handled best by the government, but by the airlines themselves. Sacrilege to many, but I love that his instincts tended toward solving a problem with freedom rather than with more government. Unfortunately for Mr. Goss, I think that Jesse Kelly is more polished, and has a better chance of defeating Giffords in a fairly liberal town where style will carry more weight than it should, so my vote still goes to Jesse. (In the best of worlds, Goss would run for the House, and Jesse Kelly would take McCain’s Senate seat! Maybe in 6 more years... But I digress.)
Jonathan Paton is a decent guy. If he wins, I’ll vote for him. Politically speaking, he strikes me as a junior McCain. Everything he says is measured and balanced against what he thinks everybody wants to hear. The answers he gave at the debate compared to what he says in smaller settings are pretty different: more stridently conservative in the personal setting, more generally palatable when the cameras are rolling. For nearly every question at the debate his answer had something to do with legislation he would, would like to, did, tried, or once thought of passing, either in the Arizona legislature, or someday in Congress. He said things along the lines of "Unlike any of my opponents, I've actually written legislation for... blah blah" so many times I wanted to pull my hair out. Basically, he’s conservative, but he is in no way an “undo legislation that does harm to the constitution” type of conservative that I’m looking for. Put another way, he’ll play the game on our side, while Jesse Kelly is in it to break the rules.
Brian Miller. Wow. He’s a dyed in the wool Ron-Paul nut, and that means you get the good with the bad. He knows the constitution inside and out, and he’s passionate about it, which is great. He also says things like “this illegal war” and that there are only 100 Al Qaeda left in Afghanistan (without mentioning the Taliban... which there are a whole lot more of). There are reasonable arguments about where Afghanistan is going, but those aren’t the ones he’s making. But here’s the thing that made me lose any and all respect for the man: This Air Force pilot – a Major – called Jesse Kelly a quitter for honorably serving 4 years in the Marine Corps and then choosing to have a child and join the family business. That’s right, Marines who go to war for their country and serve their terms of enlistment are quitters. He said this in front of hundreds of people at the closing of the last debate. Major Miller does not deserve the salute his rank demands let alone my vote, and if I see him on base, he won’t get either. His personality and his style would be abrasive and counter-productive in Congress. If he wins, Gabby can keep her seat, and maybe she’ll just get bored with commuting to Houston.
"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."