Monday, February 6, 2006

Ken Arnold and Mark McGuire: All Lines Burning—and During the Super-Bowl, Yet!

Last night’s Political Shootout program was remarkable in many ways—not the least the fact that Super-Bowl Sunday is the absolute worst time for any program to be broadcast that doesn’t 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, I’m 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 he’s 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 he’s 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, Arnold—if he made the primary cut—might 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 I’m right about that; if I’m 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 I’m 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 contradiction—because 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 I’m 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 I’m 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, it’s 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.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, again, for making my evening! It was fun, Tom. We both also know it was unusually satisfying to see the excitement of my candidacy out there. And hearing the one caller admitting he was scared of losing his job, wife, and economic life is, indeed, a sobering reminder to us all of what's truly at stake here.

    I wanted to reply to your blog questions and make one comment. My comment is your stress on the Libertarian issue. Some listeners even thought I was perhaps a Libertarian Party member. I certainly wish to strongly say I'm a Republican -- with a streak of libertarianism. It is why I'm a "Goldwater Republican"...

    On the Term Limits issue, YES...I would also limit the Senate to three, six-year terms like I would limit the House to three, four-year terms on a consecutive basis. In addition to halving the need for campaign money, this initiative would also keep Congressmen focused on the People's business. We both know that, today, they are constantly "in campaign mode". This would address that.

    Please call me at 847-782-1688 should you have any further questions. Also: In light of you having David McSweeney on for 3-4 times, I avail myself to perhaps come on again before the March 21st Primary. I'm sure with greater lead time, and promotion, we'll have an even more robust show than we had the first time (if that is possible).

    Thanks again for having me.