I had the wonderful opportunity to expose myself to Republican ideas at the GOP convention, good and bad. I got to meet quite a variety of republicans with very different values from the stereotypes. There were quite a few scientists and business people among pastors and “average Joe’s” to chat with while I was checking in, which was very different from the stereotypical “right-wing nut-job” that’s heavily involved with Republican activism.
While in line, I had a conversation with a wealthy-by-serial-marriage white woman that talked about Christian feminism, which sounded like the opposite of the feminist movement. The premise seemed to be that she wanted women to be housewives. She had a deluded view on life stating that women should marry someone wealthy enough to allow that kind of lifestyle. If only every male were so wealthy. My qualm with this is that it goes against the purpose of feminism, which is that women should not have a biologically predetermined role in society. On the other hand, it highlights the fact that society has failed at creating mechanisms for average women OR men to become stay-at-home parents, through the crippling debt system we have. My solutions, are universal child care, removing/expanding exclusive legal incentives for the nuclearization of families, and greater opportunity equality for men and women.
Kevin Powers is one Republican candidate at the convention that stood out, in a good way. His primary challenger is Tracy Lovvorn, and his general opponent will be encumbent Jim McGovern. He’s running for the U.S. Congress, and although he’s got several views that are traditional Republican values, such as de-regulation, anti-illegal immigration, pro second amendment. He had one thing on his agenda that really stood out. A 15-year plan for energy independence. I asked him personally what that meant, and while I expected him to tell me that we should frack the land to oblivion, this was not his response. Kevin responded with a dignified position that he believes the facts are obvious about global warming, and that we need to address these issues with a massive public investment in solar. We had a good conversation about the potential for government bonding for collective neighborhood solar projects to reduce the costs, and give companies consistent and localized projects making it cheaper for us, consistent for them, and with no need for expensive marketing campaigns. Overall a great chat on the need to address the environment.
I had another chat with Tracy Lovvorn a female Republican candidate running in the primary against Kevin Powers for U.S. Rep. We discussed universal healthcare. I didn’t like her platform, but she had some reasonable positions about how we cover too much healthcare. She asked about what to do about not having enough doctors for knee replacements in countries with socialized medicine, and my response was the following:
1. Knee replacements are ineffective and that’s why they’re elective surgery and don’t get as much funding; see this article.
2. If you wanted to make sure there were no wait times, you pay more and also you pay for more people to go to school for the field that is failing
3. It would still undoubtedly be cheaper than paying into a profit-maximizing system.
So, while I think that it would be totally reasonable for us to switch to a 2-level healthcare system where the government universally covered all “slam-dunk” therapies (such as vaccines, antibiotics, modern robotic-limb prosthetics, and other treatments that are always and perceptibly effective,) and provided optional coverage for all non “slam-dunk” drugs and treatments, she didn’t seem to have a reasonable idea of what that would be (see knee-replacement information above). She also seemed to think it would be okay for the government to cover all “catastrophic coverage” patients, that is, patients that have outspent a plan’s maximum. This would be okay, except that it would ultimately lead to tons of patients put in that category and having as much of the cost burden being put on the federal government as possible so that insurers would try to take as much money in from the consumer and put as many costs as possible on the public, effectively charging a rent for no value added.
The REAL DIEHL is Geoff Diehl, the Trumpian challenger for Elizabeth Warren’s seat, along with another challenger Jack Kingston. Diehl’s base is a bunch of motivated youngsters in their late teens and early twenties, or at least that is who he hired to staff his booth. There are quite a few other contenders in the R-primary, with Jack Kingston being the ultra neoliberal candidate and probably the only other serious contender. I would say between the two, I’d rather see Diehl come out on top than Kingston. Diehl has experience in small business operations and as a Massachusetts state rep and state senator. Meanwhile, Kingston is a lawyer that runs non-profits, and has a 20-year track record as a U.S. Congressman down in Georgia. Neither of the candidates have a particularly impressive track record, though I will note that Kingston introduced a bill to assign an AG to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and another bill to shift Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac profits to pay for Government Debt, both of which sound like good pieces of legislature. Diehl hasn’t filed any particularly impressive legislation except maybe preventing EBT cards from being used to buy marijuana, but he’s also filled some bad bills like ensuring that new taxes have a 1 year delay, which would make our already extremely slow government go even slower. I think it’s good to see someone calling out Warren for not being anti-Wall St. enough, so maybe Diehl will be a way to push her to the left more, or to encourage someone to run against her in the future that has a bit more bite than bark.
Dr. Scott Lively for Governor – his views are regressive in many areas, and while sometimes that means he’s right about a problem, he doesn’t offer effective solutions. He wants to state-fund planned parent-hood, and probably effectively defund it as he believes abortion is the slaughtering of humans like the holocaust (his words from his site,) though he doesn’t provide any alternative strategy for assistance to childbearing households. He also wants to bring back “true marriage” and school prayer, but he’s also a constitutionalist, so that conflicts with these values and church and state being separated. He wants to bring back the days where a single income household could survive, and thinks government deregulation will bring back the blue-chip companies like we used to have in the early 1900’s before financialization, globalization, and mass automation. Charlie Baker did say Lively “talks about things that should not be in public discourse.” While I can understand that feeling, we have a first amendment right to freedom of speech, and with 27% of Republicans voting for him at the GOP convention against a popular encumbent, there certainly isn’t a belief that his ideas should be completely barred from public discussion. He’s not talking about slaughtering a race. He’s not talking about bombing abortion clinics. He’s just got different views about how the economy and culture works and what the role of the government is in the 21st century.
I also met a transgender Republican, which felt odd. It pretty much made me realize that party lines are meaningless within the two party system because you are forced to choose between two extremely broad party definitions. Sometimes it can actually be difficult to determine which “side” you belong on. That’s why I was supporting ranked choice voting at the convention, because ultimately having more narrowly defined parties would better serve the people’s ability to elect people who’s social and economic goals are in alignment with yours. Expect a folI had the wonderful opportunity to expose myself to Republican ideas at the GOP convention, good and bad. I got to meet quite a variety of republicans with very different values from the stereotypes. There were quite a few scientists and business people among pastors and “average Joe’s” to chat with while I was checking in, which was very different from the stereotypical “right-wing nut-job” that’s heavily involved with Republican activism.