Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Where Are the Winners for Democrats?

One of the wonderful things about New Hampshire is it is small enough so you feel involved; you are not swept aside by crowds.

There are 7 contestants for the Democratic nomination for Carol Shea Porter's United States House of Representatives seat. 

So far, I've listened to  two. 
So far I've seen placidity and passion, but where is that one with the cunning and the smarts to be able to beat the Republican?
Less Than a Year in New Hampshire 

Last night, at the Hampton Dems meeting, Maura Sullivan and Chris Pappas spoke.

I had heard Pappas before but was disappointed when he was challenged with a question about how he would answer the Trump-hole candidate who would say we need a Republican to build the wall and keep dark skinned illegals from flooding in from Mexico and raping our white women. 
Pappas replied he didn't want to get into "food fights" about that. 
When that was followed by a moment of pregnant silence, he explained that he was offering the alternative of civility and it was his judgment that more New Hampshire voters are offended by the nativism and hate than are drawn to it.

Not Up For a Fight

Thinking about the razor thin margin of the 2016 elections in New Hampshire, I remained unconvinced. 
I think we have to win not only the open minded Democratic base, but we have to appeal to the Republican voting sorts who might vote democratic if they thought they had someone who had some spine. 
Chris Pappas is thirty something, owns and runs a family restaurant and is warm and fuzzy. 
I don't think warm and fuzzy can win this time.
But Can She Fight on the Floor of Congress?

Maura Sullivan is another thirty something, but she has something different to sell: She was a Marine Corps captain and I was hoping for a steely eyed killer from the sands of Iraq, but what I heard was an emotional appeal, short on detail.

In one telling exchange, she was asked about the "#Me Too" movement. She was clearly caught off guard and asked the question to be repeated, as if she had never heard of the #Me Too movement or, if she had, she could not see how it would be relevant to a Congressional campaign. 
Well, Elizabeth Warren has endorsed it; lots of Congresswomen have embraced it,  but what do you think about it? 
What followed was a prolonged expostulation about how appalled Cpt. Sullivan is to have to even address the issue of sexual harassment. How very appalling it is that women who have to struggle with the deployments of their husbands might be sexually harassed around the Paris Island base.

The problem with all this is what it revealed about Cpt. Sullivan: 
A/ She was unprepared for an au currant question for which she should have been well prepared.
B/ She showed no capacity to explore both sides of a question.

She is young, blonde, has been a Marine officer and she is trying to sell that as the reason she should represent New Hampshire in Congress, but you are not going to be carrying an M-16 in Washington. 
You have to serve with your mind. 

What I was looking for was the requisite statement about Ms. Sullivan's basic sympathy with the women who have been unjustly violated, either physically or mentally, but then a discussion of the risks of giving up on legal remedies, the risks of simply dismissing the right of the accused to face and cross examine his accuser, the risk of this movement degenerating into vigilante lynch mob mentality.
Anyone who has read the New York Times or any of a variety of sources would have seen the full discussion of this topic with comments supporting and attacking #MeToo.

But she showed no capacity, no preparation for that sort of analysis. 
Sullivan would be chewed up and spit out by a truly cunning and pugnacious Republican, who would say, "Hey, I'm all for protecting women. There's no way we can have a work force which is half women being subjugated by dim witted men hitting on them. 
But, on the other hand, there have been famous instances of false accusations and miscarriages of justice--the Duke Lacrosse team, the Rolling Stone fake rape at UVA are only the two most famous. 
As the feminist author, Margaret Atwood, has said, there can be no women's rights without rights, period. When you get to the point where accusation by itself is tantamount to conviction, then you have accepted mob rule."

If that happened in a candidates' debate, Ms. Sullivan would be toast.

So, we have two down and five to go. So far, the prospects have not been encouraging.

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