There was a debate last night, and sad to say, I wasn’t invited. Perhaps because it was a GOP debate in CD6. According to Lou Peck, it was a “lively affair,” and it turns out that blogger Ryan Miner has assumed responsibility for my job with the Democratic debates in CD8, shooting video of the entire debate. For those inclined to watch such things, head on over and watch.
For now, I’m content to give you some of Peck’s observations.
Appearing at a forum Thursday night in Gaithersburg sponsored by the Montgomery County Republican Central Committee, all eight said they supported term limits for members of Congress, and all voiced strong support for the Second Amendment—and opposition to efforts to restrict gun ownership.
“We own guns, and I’m a good shot. Any of you want to take me on, feel free,” Amie Hoeber, a Potomac-based national security consultant and the only woman in the race for the GOP nomination, declared to applause. “I will not stand idly by while this right of ours is being threatened.”
But Hoeber later found herself in a cross fire over the issue of abortion, when one member of the panel posing questions—Brian Griffiths of the conservative “Red Maryland” blog—noted Hoeber’s past involvement in the National Women’s Political Caucus. “Do you support abortion, and, if not, why did you have an association with such a militantly pro-abortion organization?” Griffiths asked.
“I do not think that is a reasonable issue,” replied Hoeber, a onetime deputy undersecretary of the Army. Alluding to the 1973 Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade, she declared, “That is settled law, and I have sworn on many occasions as a government and federal employee…I will uphold the constitution and the laws of this country.”
As Griffiths continued to press the matter, Hoeber, 74, asserted, “I am a mother, I am a stepmother, I’m a grandmother. I think I understand in ways unique in this group of candidates before you about the preciousness of life. But I believe the abortion question has been settled by law.”
Brian has a special talent for being, well, special. He’s come to be despised by a whole host of GOP folks (his reign as head of the Maryland Young Republicans being a particular target), and it sounds like he added Republican women to the list last night. If I’m feeling particularly brave later, I’ll consider watching that part. But not on an empty stomach, that’s for sure.
There were other interesting moments. Amie Hoeber is running to John Delaney’s left, opposing the Trans Pacific Partnership ((TPP) deal. If she can get through the primary, that should make for some interesting contrasts with Delaney.
Meanwhile, Hoeber put some distance between herself and the Republican leadership of Congress on another controversial issue: a 12-nation free trade deal with Asia known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP.
“I have some major objections to it,” she said. “NAFTA [the North American Free Trade Agreement of 1993] cost Maryland a number of jobs. The TPP is very much a reflection of NAFTA in its approach to managing trade. I think we have to look very carefully at how it would affect Maryland.”
An unusual alliance of President Obama and leading congressional Republicans are behind TPP, which is strongly opposed by many leading congressional Democrats. Delaney, however, has been one of a relative handful of Democrats to voice support for the deal.
Robin Ficker was his usually interesting and gadfly self:
Ficker, running for his fifth elective office in the past seven years—including a prior run for the 6th District Republican nomination in 2012—was true to his reputation as a colorful gadfly.
“I have a longstanding relationship with western Maryland,” he said. “Before [Delaney] was elected to Congress, he had no connection to western Maryland whatsoever. He thought Frostburg was in Siberia.”
And, Ficker noted, “I’m already ahead of Congressman Delaney in the votes. I’ve got two votes—mine and my son’s—because I live in the district. He and his wife don’t even live in the district, so they can’t vote for themselves. I’m ahead 2-0.”
Christopher Mason vowed never to wear a suit. “We elect people into Congress who lie to us, and the dress of the liars are suits,” he said. “I will not be an empty suit, and I will never wear a suit if you elect me to Congress.” Someone is confusing correlation with causation, I think. That or he’s too cheap to buy some suits. Of course, he’s also pledged to donate his entire congressional salary to paying down the national debt, so maybe he just doesn’t like the ones he has.
Harold Painter wants to solve DC area traffic problems by moving large segments of the federal government out of Washington. “How about we move the Department of Agriculture to—I don’t know, Kansas City, or somewhere maybe where it belongs.” Small government and better traffic planning, brought together in ways you never thought you’d ever hear. Perhaps there’s a reason for that?