Two Candidates by the Issues

I’ve been approaching with similar skepticism the two new faces to the RIGOP, both running for high-profile national offices based mainly on various news reports. A look at their campaign “issues” pages, however, does point to some distinctions — not necessarily huge distinctions on the stances that they take, but certainly in the extent to which they appear simply to be the anointed representatives of a well-connected political faction.
Congressional candidate Brendan Doherty’s page reads like the typical political wave of the intellectual hand. He’s for everything good and nothing bad.

  • “I intend to be a strong voice…”
  • “It is imperative that RI leaders work together in a bipartisan manner…”
  • “This must be accomplished in a balanced and measured, bipartisan effort by finding common ground with fiscal responsibility.”

And so on. The healthcare riddle will be solved by addressing “fraud, waste and corruption,” so only the pro-fraud, -waste, and -corruption crowds need fear the candidate… and them only mildly, inasmuch as he offers no concrete steps. Energy must be “clean and renewable” (and “embraced”). Education reforms must come with a “focus” on “goals and strategies.”
Even immigration, which would represent a good place for a law-and-order candidate with a police background to nod toward the conservative base that he would court, comes with the usual “moderate” coloring. Doherty wants to “secure our borders,” yes, and remove “criminal aliens and illegal reentries” (emphasis mine), but he advocates a “path to citizenship” for illegal aliens who merely went about chasing the “American dream” in “the wrong way.” “Legal immigrants,” he asserts, “are the cornerstone of this state and country.” What that makes the rest of us, I’m not sure.
On same-sex marriage, he takes the everything-but-the-word approach. On foreign policy, he wants to bring the United States military home. And on abortion, he says simply, “I am pro-life,” which would be wonderful except that it doesn’t appear to be true — or at least accurate. According to the Providence Journal an elaboration of his position includes the belief that abortion is “a legal right” and that Roe v. Wade should remain in effect. In other words, he’s pro-choice.
Based on the above, it is clearly reasonable to be suspicious that Doherty is just another insider going for an easy win of a glamorous job. Senatorial candidate Barry Hinckley is another matter. His bullet points are much more concrete, contain links to his elaborations, and, for the most part, conservative:

  • “I’ll work to get Washington out of the way so small businesses can create jobs and economic prosperity for all Americans.”
  • “I support a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”
  • “I support term limits…”
  • “Repeal Obama Care…”

He goes on, through simplifying the tax code, emphasizing the Tenth Amendment (which asserts states’ rights), and “enforc[ing] a plain English law standard.” For Hinckley, energy independence doesn’t mean embracing popular green alternative fuels, as it appears to do for Doherty, but “exploring America’s own abundant natural resources through offshore drilling.”
Conservatives will note that Hinckley’s foreign policy suggestions mark him as a bit of an isolationist libertarian, but that group remains well within the political right and is at least subject to intellectual debate. Heck, I met him in the audience when John Derbyshire’s spoke to the Providence College Republicans. Indeed, the debate between a mainstream conservative and Hinckley would sound a lot like the core debates that our elected officials would be having if our politics were sane.
Abortion provides an excellent example of what I mean. Here’s Hinckley:

If I were the father of an unborn child, I would urge my partner to NOT terminate the pregnancy. However, I respect and support a woman’s right to make this choice for herself and I support existing Rhode Island law on this issue.

One does wonder what sort of “partner” Hinckley might impregnate, but at least he acknowledges that the existence of an unborn child would make him a father. What he does not state might be more important, inasmuch as it leaves open the possibility of cooperation at the national level: namely, that Rhode Island law isn’t the main problem; it isn’t even all that relevant to the abortion debate. Given his emphasis on federalism, elsewhere, it’s possible that pro-lifers wouldn’t necessarily have to count Hinckley as opposition in an effort to push the matter back to the states.
Of course, the statement that women have the right to kill their unborn child ought to raise the usual concern about libertarianism’s incomplete nature. From whence does Hinckley believe all of the individual rights that he espouses derive? In the absence of the principle that all people are “created equal” and endowed with unalienable rights to “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness,” libertarianism is mainly a philosophy by which the advantaged can claim their Darwinian due.
Human life is unarguably “created” at the point of conception, and if a mother and her doctor may arbitrarily end that life — if one’s life is not an inherent right — then the basis of all subsidiary rights must come into question because they necessarily derive not from the person simply on the basis of being a person, but from the political will of a majority of voters.
But that’s a matter of legitimate debate. The point with which I’ll close is that at least one of the two new Republican candidates in Rhode Island has developed a clear political philosophy that he’s willing to lay out at the word “go,” permitting voters to judge whether to support him or not. The other seems mainly just to want the job.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
joe bernstein
joe bernstein
11 years ago

And Hinckley has about as much name recognition as Willy Rumpelmyer(who????)meaning that the obnoxious turd we now have as junior senator will slime in again(or should I say “agayne”)to try to bring ruin to our society.

Max Diesel
Max Diesel
11 years ago

That they both aren’t career politicians is somewhat refreshing. Whether it helps them get elected is another story.

Doug Meisner
Doug Meisner
11 years ago

If a rabid Rotweiler ran against Shelley Whitehouse I would vote for the Rotweiler without hesitation. So while the challengers may not be perfect, they deserve the support of everyone who does not want to see Shelly WH continue to try to destroy all hope for the USA.
If Shelley gets reelected they should replace him with a machine that just votes the union side of every issue–that would at least save money. Shelley has never once strayed from the left wing party line so he is clearly unable to think for himself. I repeat–with the possible exception of Barabara Boxer he is the worst politician in North America.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
11 years ago

+1 on Boxer-that little scumbag went to my high school,although we didn’t attend at the same time.
Chuck Schumer may be more dangerous than Shelley because the SOB is smart.
Schumer has never held any job outside of politics.He was my State Assemblyman when I moved out of NY.
His cousins lived down the street from me and were total A-holes-snitches on top of everything else.
Boxer and Wendy Wasserman Schultz have a lot in common-little rude loudmouth no-class women who come from the same milieu-the kind of kids who always interrupted at the dinner table,were self-centered little princesses doted on by their parents because they were so “bright”.
Good for Alan West for telling that miserable b***h off!!

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
11 years ago

BTW didn’t Wasserman’s parents ever hear of an orthodontist?She has the worst speech defect in Congress with the exception of Bawney Fwank.
Anyone ever hear of the Wasserman Test?It’s a blood test for syphilis-how appropriate beause she sure is a germ.

11 years ago

Mr. Bernstein, could you say senator instead of ma’am … er, princess? I worked so hard to get that title (… senator, not princess).
— Senator Barbara B.

11 years ago

It is very clear that Mr. Doherty is just looking for a job in which he is ill prepared. He couldn’t even name 5 countries that get American aid when questioned by a reporter after a fundraising event. I find it sad that people are throwing money at him, when they clearly have never heard him speak in public. Rhode Island already has a clear choice for Congress in District 1- John Loughlin.

11 years ago

“Mr. Doherty is just looking for a job in which he is ill prepared.”
And away we go. Republicans violating Reagan’s 11th Commandment already.
What’s so hard about simply letting both of them bring out their view points, talk about their strengths and their plans and then voting for the better one? Why rip away at one? Why continue to crap all over our party in this state? Instead, try to build it up from within.
I admit, I’m a bit frustrated that Doherty isn’t running for Senate, as then we’d have two recognizable names going for those two very important seats. I’m sure Mr. Hinckley is a great guy and may be very well qualified for the position. But that’s not what is more important. As one State Representative once told me, “We might not be the smartest, we’re just the most electable.” I don’t think I could sum up the race between Sheldon and Barry any better. Sheldon’s not the smartest, but he sure is the more electable between the two. And that’s a shame.

Max Diesel
Max Diesel
11 years ago

And those so well prepared (career politicians) candidates have done so well for us. Call it a fairy tale but I’d like to see a fresh perspective for a change. We keep sending people to Washington that have been part and parcel to the status woe here in Rhode Island. Stop the voter apathy.

Show your support for Anchor Rising with a 25-cent-per-day subscription.