Friday, June 02, 2017

Another Anti-Choice "Progressive" Running For Congress-- This Time In Little Rock


Paul Spencer, anti-Choice Democrat

Arkansas used to be a reliably blue state-- even after the rest of the South had gone over to the GOP-- but that's a long time ago and the state is now reliably red. George Wallace won Arkansas when he ran for president in 1968 as the KKK candidate. Since then, the only Democrats to win Arkansas' electoral votes were southerners Jimmy Carter in 1976 and Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996. Trump won the state 684,872 (60.5%) to just 380,494 (33.65%) for the state's former First Lady. The governor, Asa Hutchinson, is a far right Republican and all the statewide offices are held by Republicans. The state House has 76 Republicans and 24 Democrats and the state Senate has 24 Republicans and 11 Democrats. Both senators and the 4 members of Congress are all right-wing Republicans.

The DCCC pretty much gave up on the state after the Blue Dogs were all defeated or forced to retire in 2010. But now there's a some buzz that the DCCC will take on French Hill in the Little Rock district (AR-02). It was Trump's weakest district in the state. He beat Hillary there 52.4% to 41.7%. The congressional district had been in Democratic hands since the end of Reconstruction in 1875 for a solid century. A couple of Republicans made the district competitive in the 1980s and with the retirement of Democrat Vic Snyder in 2010, it's been considered a red bastion. French Hill was elected in 2014 against Pat Hays-- 52% to 44% and was reelected last year against Dianne Curry 58% to 37%. The DCCC had fought for Hays (who they spent $1,752,204 on) and ignored Curry. entirely.

There are some rumors that the DCCC has recruited a businesswoman/Army vet, Natasia Burch Hulse, this cycle. That's the DCCC mantra this cycle: vets and business people. They suck so bad! Meanwhile, though, a local grassroots activist/teacher/farmer, Paul Spencer filed paperwork yesterday, starting up a congressional exploratory committee. His statement:
The intended purpose of the House of Representatives is to represent the needs of the people. Currently, only the needs of special interests are being represented in the 2nd District. This is evidenced by contemptuous budget priorities, tax policy, and most recently in health care policy that demonstrates reckless disregard for the people of Arkansas. Also, in this current unpredictable political climate, Arkansans deserve representation that will vigorously defend and uphold the core values of our democracy and the rule of law.
After the Citizens United decision in 2010, Spencer founded the local group Regnat Populus (which is the Arkansas state motto: "The People Rule"), and led a statewide campaign for ethics reform to limit special interest influence in the state's very corrupted politics. Spencer is credited with an amendment to ban direct corporate contributions to candidates.

Spencer teaches at Catholic High and grows pecans and raises bees. He sounds like a progressive populist... except for one little thing-- not so little: he's anti-Choice. That's not an issue he wants to engage in though. This is what he wants to base his campaign on:
1. The influence of money in politics. He'll continue to press this. He'll be no fan of Citizens United. He'll have good reason to decry how the political class finds ways around even the most modest of initiatives, such as the state constitutional amendment his group backed to prevent lobbyist wining and dining of legislators. It was promptly and broadly circumvented by legislative workarounds.

2. Health care. There'll be plenty to say if Spencer is the nominee (no other Democrats have emerged, but several are talking) about French Hill's vote for the devastating Obamacare repeal.

Spencer has had little association with partisan politics over the years. Years ago, he once told me, he often voted Republican. But he's left-leaning on most issues (a notable exception is his pro-life position as a practicing Catholic). He also once described himself to me as a "Berniecrat." In the health context, this would translate to Medicare-for-All to achieve universal and portable coverage.

This is an uphill climb. A big part of the 2nd District (outside Pulaski County) is now reflexively Republican. French Hill, if he doesn't win a Trump appointment to something before then, will have all the money he needs. Spencer, given his past, isn't likely to take corporate or PAC money. He has made plenty of friends in good government circles through Regnat Populus, but those aren't enormous circles, even if in his case it includes some national soldiers in the ethics cause. His name recognition is small.
Will the Democratic Party structure, "such as it exists," rejects his candidacy because he's anti-Choice and, probably worse in their view, "a party outsider?" Do you think the Democratic "big tent" should be big enough for anti-Choice candidates? How about anti-gay candidates? Anti-union? Anti-Muslim? Anti-immigrant? How about racists and anti-semites? That would be a way big tent. Is that what you expect from Democratic Party candidates? Besides, bee keepers don't win general elections.

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At 6:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

how about more pregnant virgins?

The answer is no. The party of FDR and LBJ, as it SHOULD be now, should not accept candidates who hate. FUCKING PERIOD!!

At 1:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the qualifier "progressive" is antithetical to all qualifiers indicating hate and violations of the bill of rights (privacy).

There is no such thing as an "anti-choice progressive", just as there is no such thing as a "compassionate conservative (2000 definition)".

The English language used to be operative in conveying ideas. Since the likes of Frum et al have been allowed to obviate the meaning of so much of the vocabulary, today's English is reduced almost to the gibberish of a 6-month-old. So many words mean the opposite of what it used to mean.

But voters are stupid. They fall for the bullshit, horseshit and chickenshit nearly all of the time.

When compound qualifiers that are antithetical are used, it's always the more negative one that is true. "anti-choice progressive" simply means anti-choice asshole.


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