Monday, October 26, 2009

National Republican Candidates

Via TPM, I see that Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, who is running for a congressional seat in New York, doesn't really know much about the issues in the particular district he's trying to represent.

From the Watertown Daily, in regards to their Q&A with Mr. Hoffman:
Mr. Hoffman spoke only generally about the need to improve the country's economy and to create jobs but provided no details, which were also lacking as well in his broadly stated willingness to help our military personnel. Help in what way he could not say.

Regarding the proposed rooftop highway across the top of the district linking Watertown to Plattsburgh, Mr. Hoffman said only that he was open to studying the idea that has been around for years and will require federal financial assistance to complete.

Mr. Hoffman had no opinion about winter navigation and widening the St. Lawrence Seaway with their potential environmental damage. He was not familiar with the repercussions of a proposed federal energy marketing agency for the Great Lakes, which could pay for Seaway expansion contrary to district interests.
Coming to Mr. Hoffman's defense, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, who accompanied the candidate on a campaign swing, dismissed regional concerns as "parochial" issues that would not determine the outcome of the election.
Parochial.  Sure, these are the issues that he'll need to address if he wins the election, but the only concern to Dick Armey and Hoffman's other conservative supporters is how he'll oppose Obama's liberal agenda in Congress.  The rest of this is just stupid stuff of no interest.

Everything's National

But of course, this isn't new.  Republicans rose to power in 1994 by turning every political contest into a national debate.  We saw the same thing with Sarah Palin, when she ran for mayor as a "fiscal conservative" in 1996, by adopting the Republican Party platform; even though such considerations had never before been part of their local politics.

Two years after Representative Newt Gingrich helped draft the Contract With America to advance Republican positions, Ms. Palin and her passion for Republican ideology and religious faith overtook a town known for a wide libertarian streak and for helping start the Iditarod sled dog race.
“Sarah comes in with all this ideological stuff, and I was like, ‘Whoa,’ ” said Mr. Stein, who lost the election. “But that got her elected: abortion, gun rights, term limits and the religious born-again thing. I’m not a churchgoing guy, and that was another issue: ‘We will have our first Christian mayor.’ ” [....] “The point was that she was a born-again Christian.”

And we're seeing that same thing now with Hoffman. as well as most other conservative candidates since the mid-90's.  They're campaigning as national candidates, but in local elections.  Sure, unlike Palin's mayoral campaign, at least Hoffman is campaigning for a national position.  But still, a congressman is still supposed to be at least somewhat familiar with the issues which most directly impact his constituents.  Yet not only is Hoffman apparently unfamiliar with local issues, he doesn't even seem to have any solutions to our national problems either; and is merely relying on empty talking points to carry him to victory.

And for as much as this stuff works, as they're far sexier issues than local issues (I myself know very little of local issues), it's only really good at winning elections.  And then it's time to govern, and these people will fail miserably.  Because it works best if you're just repeating the talking points, which is why a chatbot like Palin found it so successful.  But people who are good at repeating other people's words generally aren't so good at creating their own, and are even worse at creating solutions to actual problems.

And so they can't govern.  Those people who got elected on the 1994 Conservative Talking Points were junkies who couldn't get off the stuff.  And here we are, fifteen years later and they're still repeating the same points; as if they hadn't been exposed as empty rhetoric devoid of any true principles or meaning beyond their ability to rally conservatives to a bankrupt ideology.

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