Monday, June 23, 2014

Claudia Tenney is the Real Deal

Congressional candidate Claudia Tenney is a true conservative, always has been. We have been friends since high school.  I am delighted that she is running for the Republican nomination in New York's 22nd Congressional district, where we grew up. Good for Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, Michelle Malkin and the many other conservative talk show hosts and writers who have endorsed Claudia.

Claudia is a lawyer and a constitutional conservative.   Her late father was a highly respected conservative judge and a true gentlemen.  He would be proud of the campaign she has waged against incumbent Richard Hanna -- the third most liberal Republican in the House of Representatives. Having grown up in Judge Tenney's household, Claudia learned early on that rule of law requires judges to apply the law rather than legislate from the bench.  She likewise respects the plain text of the constitution, including the second amendment.  Claudia is not one for discovering new "rights" in the constitution's penumbras and emanations, and so it is no surprise that Claudia opposes abortion.

Claudia is a single mother and justly proud of her son, who graduated from Annapolis and is a Marine officer. She raised him while running a small business, practicing law and doing volunteer work with Bosnian refugees.

I think the fierceness and intensity of her campaign stems from Claudia's ability as an athlete. She is a superb equestrian, one of the best on the U.S. Hunter-Jumper circuit back when we were in high school.  In show-jumping and also skiing, she was fearless.  She took up basketball and later golf and I have no doubt she's very, very good.  Claudia likes to compete and she is an extremely hard worker -- all attributes that will serve her well in Congress.

Although Claudia has Tea Party backing, she is no wild-eyed Mourdock or Akin. Claudia's family has been active in the Republican Party in Central New York for generations. She will be able to move comfortably with Establishment Republicans to get things done for the district, but will never go wobbly. Washington won't change Claudia.  To the extent that it is still possible, however, Claudia might change Washington. 

Notwithstanding her tenacity, Claudia is kind.  She is generous.  She is a loyal friend, has a great sense of humor and is one of the most honest people I have ever met.  I wish I still lived in the district so I could vote for her tomorrow.  In the meantime, I am praying for the Republicans in NY-22 give her the nomination.  Her opponent is so liberal that the Democrats did not bother to nominate anybody.  If Claudia wins tomorrow, she will be going to Congress. 

Central New York conservatives, you need to turn out tomorrow.  The nation is watching so get it right.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Matt Bevin Does the Right Thing

At Saturday night's Lincoln Day dinner for the Kentucky Republican Party, the highlight was the surprise appearance of Matt Bevin.

Sen. Republican Leader Mitch McConnell had taken to the podium. He reminisced about how not that many years back, it was hard to recruit Republicans to run for office, given the Democrats' commanding lead in voter registration.  Now, that gap has closed significantly.  As a consequence, McConnell said, candidates value the Republican nomination.  The inevitable result is more Republican primaries. Reflecting upon his recent primary, McConnell said that there was someone he needed to thank for making him a better candidate for the general election:  Matt Bevin.

At that point, McConnell gestured to the left corner of the ballroom and Matt Bevin stood up.  A surprised and delighted audience immediately gave Bevin a standing ovation.

 It was a show of unity that few expected in light of the tone of Bevin's concessions speech.  Concession speeches, however, are given in the raw moments when the reality of the loss is just beginning to sink in.  Two and half weeks later, Bevin demonstrated true graciousness.  But Bevin's presence was more than good sportsmanship.  His campaign argued for conservative policy solutions and by showing up at the state party dinner -- the bastion of  Establishment Republicans - he put the focus on the need to elect the most conservative candidate.  After the primary, that is McConnell. (Indeed, I would argue that McConnell was the most conservative candidate before the primary, but that is now beside the point).

I never believed that many of the Bevin supporters would stay home come the general election.  The Bevin supporters I know are committed conservatives, deeply patriotic Kentuckians who recognize that men and women put their lives on the line to defend our freedom. The most precious exercise of that freedom is when we vote. To stay home out of bitterness about a primary loss is unworthy of the right to vote.

Unlike the Rand Paul - Trey Grayson primary,  there was no "unity rally" after the primary this year. That was a source of disappointment and consternation to many Republicans. Then Matt Bevin showed up and demonstrated unity when we least expected it, and for that he deserves our respect and gratitude.