I spent an hour watching video of the Willamette Week endorsement interview
for U.S. House District 1's Republican candidates, and came away not exactly sure that either William Chappell
or Joel Haugen
will get my vote.
I also came away with the distinct impression that David Wu will win the November election in a cakewalk, much like he did in 2006 (a 29-point margin over Derrick Kitts).
Both Chappell and Haugen are opposed to the war in Iraq. That's fine -- I think reasonable people can differ on that issue. But the most troubling aspect of the interview came when Chappell explained that no argument was sufficient for maintaining troops in the country (emphasis mine):
There’s no good reason -- there’s not a good enough reason to say, ‘Well, we went in there, we made a mistake, but now we have to stay.’ It’s time to leave. If it can be done in a way in which we can create, leave the least amount of damage, then we’ll pursue that, but I don’t think it can. I think that we’re just going to have to go. We’re going to turn it over to the Iraqi people and hope for the best. But, you know, the best didn’t happen in Vietnam, it was genocide, but I don’t want to be there now.
So he acknowledges that the United States pullout from Vietnam resulted in the murder and displacement of millions of Vietnamese people. But if that's what happens when we pull out of Iraq, that's the way the cookie crumbles. Chappell wants to pull our troops out of Iraq, and will accept the wholesale slaughter of Iraqi civilians to accomplish this goal.
This should be an unacceptable conclusion, regardless of whether you have a D, an R, or an I on your voter registration card.
On most issues, the 32-year-old Chappell sounds like what he is: a Ron Paul disciple. He's a libertarian running as a Republican.
He's big on eliminating government influence, and wants to cut government (he seeks the elimination of the Department of Education, and votes to return education funding and decisions to the state and local levels).
He's no fan of a proposed border fence ("I don’t want a fence locking me in this country or locking anybody out. It reeks of Communist Germany") and believes we need to encourage people to come here to become Americans, rather than people from other countries who come here to gain the benefits of American citizenship without the commitment or responsibility (though he didn’t say that very well). He prefers a hands-off approach, however: "If we have an economy that is running the way it’s supposed to be running, we’re not going to care that there’s other people here illegally doing jobs that we don’t want to do." (Somehow, I doubt those who carry immigration as their key issue will agree.)
Chappell sounded reluctant as he indicated he will support John McCain for president.
Haugen might as well be a Democrat -- in fact, in the interview, Haugen admits:
I agree with [Wu] on a lot of his policies. I agree with him on education, I agree on technology, and to some extent with health care, although I have some opposition on some of those issues, but I basically agree with him.
To reinforce that stance, he said he will support Barack Obama for president over McCain, but it sounded like he'd take McCain over Hillary Clinton.
Haugen's website lists his positions
on several other issues, and many of them are not exactly consistent with the Republican Party. In addition to abortion on demand in the first six months (less than 1 percent of abortions are done in the last trimester, so his opposition to last-trimester abortions sounds good but accomplishes nothing), he lists some potentially big-government ideas that are so vague as to be worrisome:
- Mandatory public service for everyone in the 18-26 age range, as part of an education overhaul (let's allow the government to dictate the lives of millions of young Americans);
- Expanding the Endangered Species Act (I guess he must think it's currently too balanced in favor of people);
- Leading an international coalition to address population growth (why be OK with abortion on demand, and yet want government to tell us what we should do with our reproductive lives?)
- National health care (Hillary care, here we come?)
- Reductions in fossil fuels (does this mean he'd be part of the Rex Burkholder school against mechanized transportation?)
- A pro-United Nations approach to foreign policy that he calls "globalization," which includes maintaining "an official dialogue with hostile nations" (nothing wrong with that, unless, like the Bush administration with North Korea, you get taken for a ride while the other side continues its oppression and games);
- Stem cell research (wanna bet whether it involves destroying human embryos?)
Overall, Haugen sounded like someone who had a lot of ideas, but couldn't articulate any of them very well -- he was a bit scattered, and didn't do particularly well when Chappell challenged him on some positions. Haugen's only government experience is a planning commission and a parks and recreation board in his native Scappoose.
Chappell sounded like someone who had a better grasp on his principles, but was a bit naïve about the possibility that any of them might be implemented, much less that he could be elected in his first attempt at any public office.
And neither gave me much hope for Republicans in Oregon's First Congressional District.
Labels: David Wu, Joel Haugen, William Chappell