Tonight at 7 p.m. IndianaTownHalls.org will live stream a gathering of 14 of the candidates for the Republican nomination for Indiana’s 5th Congressional District. Each of the 14 provided a biography, limited to 200 words. I am one of the 14.
Given the request for a “biography,” the limit of 200 words and no direction to give statements on issues, one can understand why some candidates give little or no indication of their stands on issues. I shall try to summarize candidate positions from sources I cite.
I summarize as a candidate. Candidates’ bios can be viewed at www.IndianaTownHalls.org I also shall cite individual candidates’ websites. Finally, I shall reply to the candidates’ positions. (This, is my blog.) Individually and, at the end of my candidate summaries, as a group.
KENT ABERNATHY does not state issue positions in his biography but emphasizes his career in the military. On his website he states his goals are to defend the Constitution, pay down our debt, honor our veterans, and support our military.
Mr Abernathy participated in a 12/07/19 “forum” for GOP candidates in the 5th: Mr Abernathy was the only candidate who did not call for immediate troop withdrawal from Afghanistan: “‘We need to remain committed to the Middle East.’” WFYI, 12/07/19.
MY REPLY: For centuries Afghanistan’s mountains have impeded conventional military; also Afghanistan is not part of the Middle East.
ANDREW BALES states the left is moving us closer to socialism and eroding our rights. He will protect “the unborn” and “our Constitution” “individual freedoms” and “create jobs. He also will lower debt, the cost of health care, and the cost of health coverage.
On his website he states that his position on issues closely mirrors that of Trump, he has run because the country is so divided, the “Impeachment fiasco” potentially disenfranchised 64 million Americans, and he favors legalization of pot for medical uses.
MY REPLY: 67 million Americans were disenfranchised in 2016. I believe that is worse.
MICAH BECKWITH describes his biblical values, his education, and his work experiences. On his website he says he will defend “true CONSTITUTIONAL conservative values...” and he understands “Biblical history and American history.”
MY REPLY: “Biblical history” and American history are not synonymous. USA is comprised of people of many religions and beliefs. He states in a video: morality only is based in scripture; atheists, agnostics, Hindus, Muslims cannot be moral. One must ask: if we cannot be moral, when would he deny us rights?
CARL BRIZZI,former Marion County prosecutor, vows to fight alongside the President against “mainstream socialism,” warns of violent gun-toting criminals and progressive politicians with liberty effacing agendas and advises a “winner” must be elected because INCD5 is becoming “increasingly ‘purple.’”
MY REPLY: The policies one advances should be the way to beat opposition. The recent GOP has used voter suppression to fight demographic shifts. The 5th District is increasingly purple and reflects people’s disgust with what the GOP has become.
ALSO: Mr Brizzi is not averse to government assistance on a personal scale. As the late Gary Welsh wrote, Mr Brizzi was not required to pay anything for a 50 percent interest in a company that owned an Elkhart, Indiana, office building valued at almost half-a-million.
ALLEN DAVIDSON is an engineer who promises to work on infrastructure. He ran in 2014 - he was a guest on my podcast - and 2016 as a Democrat. He since has switched parties.
DR CHUCK DIETZEN describes his life and education, but gives no policy positions. He has stated “Socialized medicine does not work.” On his website he promises to protect our constitutional freedoms and says he is a “Pro-life” candidate.
MY REPLY: Socialized medicine works for 35 of the 36 countries ahead of us in health care.
BETH HENDERSON describes her work in health care case management, and that she is entrepreneurial and a job creator. On her website she promises to keep taxes low, cut burdensome regulations, and protect the Constitution.
She says she will fight government overreach into our lives, protect the 2nd Amendment and the unborn, reform healthcare, rebuild our military and secure our southern border.
MATT HOOK describes his work in law and accounting. On his website he expresses concern for the environment.
MY REPLY: Bravo! on the environment.
MATT HULLINGER gives more on issues than biography. He is pro-life, pro-second amendment, and pro-school choice. He would extend the 2017 tax cuts, legalize medical marijuana, and repeal estate taxes and Obamacare.
MY REPLY: As Pres Theodore Roosevelt said: “When you get rid of the estate tax, you're basically handing over command of the country's resources to people who didn't earn it.” He said estate taxes are necessary "to preserve a measurable equality of opportunity."
Tax cuts? Trickle-down economics has damaged our economy.
DANNY NIEDERBERGER gives bio, nothing on issues. On his website he says he is pro-life, pro-second amendment and would defend the Constitution.
VICTORIA SPATZ grew up in “socialist-controlled Ukraine,” believes limited government always is better, and health care decisions should be made by individuals in the free market, not by bureaucrats and special interests.
She worked on Trump’s campaign and says she was a founder of the Hamilton County Tea Party.
MY REPLY: Large corporations love limited government - once the corporations are chartered. In our health care “free market” the bureaucrats who make our health care decisions for us are IN the private sector.
RUSSELL STWALLEY says we need to bring the country back in line due to straying from the Constitution and what the “founders” intended. He wants to end endless wars, impose term limits for the House and Senate and would “drain the swamp.”
MY REPLY: The Framers considered - and rejected - term limits. If you impose term limits, you stray from the intent of the”founders.”
On several main themes run amongst my opponents:
1) PROTECT THE CONSTITUTION: It seems these candidates believe our courts should interpret The Constitution consistent with “original” intent. Sounds like a good idea except you can’t find that intent.
Delegates to the 1787 Convention left no records of their proceedings and few records exist from state ratification conventions. The process of amendment and intervening events like, say, The Civil War make the Framers’ intent moot.
We need to protect The Constitution, but from people like my opponents and trump.
2) SOCIALISM is bad. No one bothers to define “socialism.” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy notes that in a 1924 “Dictionary of Socialism, there were “canvassed no fewer than forty definitions of socialism...”
“Socialism is best defined in contrast with capitalism ... and as a proposal for overcoming and replacing it.” Capitalism is like the NCAA hoops tournament for businesses, except history shows that businesses do not always play clean.
Also, once the tournament is over, there is no re-set for a new tournament. Too much capital is required and, with all that power, the winner usually sues to protect its gains. That’s what happened in the 1890s.
It is strange that the GOP leaders are fine with trillions to bale out large corporations (Eek! Socialism!) but find it wrong to buy out student debt and provide health care to everyone.
3) MILITARY IS GOOD: Our oversized military in undeclared wars have killed many, angered more and made us less secure.
4) RIGHT TO LIFE: Ironically (or not) the same people who rail about the intent of the Framers of the Constitution do not care that abortion was legal when the Constitution was written, as Justice Blackmun noted in Roe v Wade, 410 U.S. at 129-30.
To reduce abortions, make contraceptives easily available and at no cost, support health care for all, and support sex education in schools. My opponents’ views keep women in their place. AND: female candidates cannot speak because in the days of the “founders” women had no rights.
5) FREE MARKET IS A PANACEA: We have had free market economies in our history. They result in monopolies and oligopolies. There is a balance that must be maintained and going to either extreme does not cut it.
6) tRUMP: This “town hall” is beng held without an audience because of the coronavirus, COVID-19. The current occupant of the Oval Office has demonstrated his ineptitude as a leader in the face of this pandemic.
A legitimate fear is that the elections will not occur in November and the would-be dictator takes full control. That is the constitutional crisis we face. The GOP has to be taken back from the majority that jacked it a few years ago.
I look forward to this town hall. I was surprised to see that Jim Shella will moderate. I thought an effort would be made to find someone conversant with politics - state or national. I hope he at least knows enough to bang the gavel on interruptions.
My name is Mark Small. I am a GOP candidate from the nomination for U.S. House District 5. I am pro-choice, pro-environment, anti-war and anti-dt. I approve of this blog. Hell, I wrote it.