Although I lean more in the progressive direction politically, I am registered as a Republican. The reason is that, where I live, the primaries are closed, which means that only registered Democrats can vote in Democratic primaries, and only registered Republicans can vote in Republican primaries. I wanted to vote for Ron Paul in the 2012 Republican Presidential primary, so I registered as a Republican. Am I a total libertarian, since I like Ron Paul? No. But I like a lot of what Ron Paul has had to say—-against corporatism, against the current state of the prison system, against war. He is not afraid to speak his mind, even when that goes against what is often touted as mainstream thought. I have a libertarian friend who likes both Ron Paul and Elizabeth Warren. People scratch their heads at that, wondering how someone can like two public officials who have such differing worldviews. I don’t scratch my head at that at all, though, for I am much the same way. Ron Paul and Elizabeth Warren may criticize each other, but I admire and respect them both, for they are unafraid to challenge the establishment.
Anyway, I was thinking of voting in a Republican primary yesterday.
Republican Congressman Richard Hannah was being challenged by Tea
Partier Claudia Tenney. My mom and her husband are both left-leaning
independents. They voted for Hannah when he first ran for Congress, for
he was pro-choice and he spoke in favor of the Ground Zero mosque
(though he would later retract that support), whereas his Democratic
opponent had rather conservative positions. The next time Hannah ran,
however, my mom’s husband voted for his Democratic opponent, Dan Lamb,
on account of Hannah’s support for fracking.
I was thinking of voting for Hannah yesterday. I was proud that he
was my Congressman when he was mentioned on Bill Moyers’ program as one
of the Congressmen who sponsored legislation to repeal a government
giveaway to the pharmaceutical company Amgen (see here).
Hannah, a Republican, co-sponsored that legislation with Democrats. He
is also progressive on LGBT issues. On abortion, well, he is
pro-choice, and I am not enthusiastic about the pro-choice position
because I believe that the fetus is a human being. Still, I think that
there are cases in which abortion is the lesser of two evils, and I
support efforts to reduce the abortion rate by means other than
inflexible legislation (i.e., through reducing poverty instead). Hannah
struck me as a reasonable moderate Republican.
I felt sorry for his Tea Party opponent, though. Every night, we
were inundated with pro-Hannah ads that attacked Claudia Tenney as a
liberal who supported higher taxes. Pro-Hannah ads showed Hannah
speaking into the camera saying that he wanted to repeal Obamacare and
supported the Second Amendment. That did not resonate with me, for
Obamacare is dear to my heart (though I have issues with requiring
businesses at and above a certain size to provide insurance, and would
prefer having those employees buy from the exchange instead). Several
times a week, we got pro-Hannah fliers attacking Tenney. Come to think
of it, the very first Tenney ad that I saw was on the very day of the
election, around 6 p.m. She was saying that Hannah’s attacks were
false, and, in the upper left hand, we saw that conservative radio and
Fox-News host Sean Hannity was endorsing her. Rudy Giuliani had
appeared in ads for Hannah, however.
Even though Tenney was clearly outspent, she managed to get 47% of
the vote. I was a bit surprised, but not totally, due to Eric Cantor
being defeated by a Tea Partier not long before. As I read more about
Tenney, I admired her: she had been a single mom, and her son was now a
marine. Still, I did not want another obstructionist Tea Partier in
Congress. Does that jive with my support for anti-establishment
politicians? Well, it depends on where they take their
anti-establishment views. Holding the country hostage with the debt
ceiling is unacceptable, in my opinion.
I did not get to vote. There was a chance of rain, and I do not have
a car. I did not want to get caught in the rain on my way to the
polling place. But the afternoon turned out to be sunny, so I guess I could have
voted. How would I have voted? Probably for Hannah, even though I
usually prefer the underdog. Part of me is glad that Tenney got 47% of