Monday, February 6, 2006
Ken Arnold and Mark McGuire: All Lines Burningand During the Super-Bowl, Yet!
Last nights Political Shootout program was remarkable in many waysnot the least the fact that Super-Bowl Sunday is the absolute worst time for any program to be broadcast that doesnt reflect sports. But this was the greatest exception in my 15 straight years of broadcasting: all ten lines burning for most of the hour. Of course it had to do with the charisma of the host, Im not denying this: but also with the controversial topics the duo handled.
Ken Arnold, a Republican candidate for 8th district Congress, running against a pack of people, whom I met for the first time, has an unique formulation on the issues. He says hes a libertarian but made it clear he disagrees with the Republican and Democratic candidates on four issues of major significance. First, he made it clear hes a fair trader, not a free trader. He would have voted against CAFTA which makes him the only candidate in either party who takes that position, positioning him as a moderate protectionist against the GOPers and Democrat Melissa Bean were he to survive the primary. Given that organized labor has denied Bean its endorsement in the primary and feels outraged at Bean who evidently led labor unions to think she was with them, Arnoldif he made the primary cutmight just have a shot at union endorsement.
The second issue where Arnold differs from most of the group is his strong, even fierce, opposition to illegal immigration which differs in intensity from his opponents who generally favor curbs on illegals but not the wall (I think Im right about that; if Im not, let me know). He also is a Minuteman, tried to enlist as a volunteer not long ago and contributed money to this cause. Again, he must be the only candidate to support the Minutemen (again, if Im wrong, tell me so).
The third issue: While agreeing with his Republican opponents on pro-life, he does not support in the last analysis a constitutional amendment to ban abortion, relying on a Court overturn of Roe v. Wade and allowing the matter to go to the states. Actually, in a practical sense a Court overturn is the most that can be hoped for anyhow as a practical matter and conservatives will generally settle for that as a great victory. Nevertheless as a general matter, social conservatives give explicit support to a constitutional amendment. Not so Arnold who stresses his libertarian credentials in opposing a tinkering with the constitution.
Now the fourth issue would seem to be a contradictionbecause it calls for a dramatic and drastic change in what the Founders set out for Congress.
Arnold supports an amendment which lengthens the terms of House members to four years rather than two (I think Im right about this) and places term limits on the Senate (maybe he can fill us in more definitely because as I write this late at night Im not entirely clear on whether he would add term limits to the House as well.) For one who spurns a change in the Constitution to protect life but endorses a change at radical divergence from the Founders, its quite a prescription.
All the while Mark McGuire, a Democrat, came out strongly against so-called merit selection of judges and for the right of the Democratic slate-makers to make a choice, notwithstanding that when he ran last time he was not slated. A good night for independent political thought and robustly expressed views which led to the widespread excitable audience response.