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 the vote!