Over at the Weekly Standard,,Maria Santos asks, "Can You Spot the Differences" among the seven Republicans running to replace retiring Rep. Spencer Baucus in Alabama’s sixth congressional district. According to Santos, Debates between the candidates "barely matter" because the candidates "support essentially the same things" and "even recite many of the same tropes."
That may be, but as we pointed out last month there are important differences among the candidates. Alabama's sixth Congressional District is one of the most Republican districts in the country. Therefore, the winner of the primary is likely to be its next member of Congress. And at Roll Call Emily Cahn has called the race, "The Most Moneyed Primary in the South." So there's something about the race that makes it worth taking the time to find and consider the differences between the candidates, right?
Santos may have missed or intentionally glossed over the significant differences between the candidates. For example, Dr. Chad Mathis – who has been endorsed by Erick, among others – has put on the table significant policy ideas on big issues such as tax reform and health care reform. The other major candidates are running more on their political connections and "experience," a mixed bag of a message in a country that is pretty fed up with career politicians.
Take, for example, one of Mathis' opponents Gary Palmer. In his stump speech Palmer boasts "I've been going to Washington for 24 years working on a number of issues." You can watch Palmer's boast in this video.
Palmer would have done well to spend less time in Washington. In the past he's called for increasing Alabama's property taxes saying, "in the final analysis I think we will find that we do need to increase revenues."
In a manner of speaking, Santos is correct to say there are few differences between some of the candidates. Paul DeMarco, like Palmer, sees tax increases as a legislative cure-all. As we reported in March, "DeMarco voted seven times for tax hikes that have cost Yellow Hammer State taxpayers almost $100 million. Repeated votes for higher 'fees' have also sucked up millions more for the state government."
Then there’s Scott Beason; a Conservative, no doubt, but the sort that too often puts his foot in his mouth, causing unnecessary difficulties for other Conservatives. Beason has referred to African-Americans as "aborigines" and said we need to "empty the clip" to solve stop illegal immigration. That is the kind of over-the-top blowhard rhetoric that sucks up news cycles and forces other Republicans to answer for their colleague's clownish behavior. What’s more, there are things to be concerned about in Beason’s voting record. According to the Trussville Tribune, "When the Democrats still controlled the majority in Montgomery, Beason joined a handful of Republicans who broke ranks and joined the Democrat majority in voting themselves a 61 percent pay raise."
Dr. Chad Mathis is a common sense, mainstream conservative who will bring serious reform ideas to Washington. That may not be important to Maria Santos of the Weekly Standard. But it’s what Republicans across the country, including those in Alabama’s sixth congressional district, are looking for.