Idaho Republican On The March!
A while back, I discussed a congressional candidate I'd stumbled across here in Idaho's 1st Congressional district, Democrat Larry Grant; I ended up being fairly impressed with him. In a spirit of bipartisanship, I figured I should look at some of the Republican candidates as well. Links to their web sites can be found on this page (about 2/3 of the way down). Most of them seem to be running on a platform of "lower taxes, limited government, traditional family values, and the Constitutional right to keep and bear arms" or "economic prosperity and lower taxes, individual rights and limited government". The one candidate I found who had specific positions spelled out on several issues had "national defense" listed 19th. I wasn't impressed.
One Republican candidate stands out, and I wanted to find out what makes him tick. Robert Vasquez is a Vietnam veteran who earned two Purple Hearts, which is good. However, he seems to be running pretty much on one issue: illegal immigration. He doesn't like illegal immigration, and he doesn't seem to like free trade too much either. From his web site:
"I believe Idahoans want their 1st District Congressman to fight on their behalf for FAIR trade, not some convoluted “Free Market” trade agreements. I opposed NAFTA, and wrote and expressed that opinion in 1994. I opposed CAFTA, and will oppose the Free Trade of The Americas Act (FTAA). These compacts are not in the best interests of America’s international trade because they weaken our Republic by eliminating America’s national sovereignty. They also contain provisions for foreign workers to enter our labor markets and take your jobs. How does that benefit Idahoans?
"I do not believe that Idahoans can be defended against terrorist attacks as long as our national borders are unprotected. I will join Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo in fighting to have Congress seal the borders, identify all illegal aliens and repatriate them to their countries of origin. I will seek budget cuts in programs like E-MED that pay hospitals to provide medical care to illegal aliens, while many Idahoans live without medical insurance."
Fair enough... I don't agree with him, but it's a marginally defensible position. How has he gone about putting his positions into action thus far? Well, he made national news for trying to have his county declared a "disaster area" because of illegal immigration. He also, as a county commissioner, had his county file racketeering lawsuits against local businesses. Both actions were simply PR stunts that cost his county money with no appreciable results.
He also seems to be running against the concept of a "right" way to write the English language, if his campaign web site is any indication. In this press release, he "fights the power" that says you should use commas to separate a quoted statement from the "soandso said" part of the sentence. On his front page, he boldly challenges the spelling oppressors who think there's only one way to spell a word correctly. In the caption for the picture currently at the top, the website indicates that Vasquez is posing with a "Canyon County resident that had served in Dessert Storm and Dessert Calm, 1991 as a U.S. Army Specialist 4..." [emphasis mine]. Mmmmm, tasty military operations are always my favorites!
Anyway, there's probably not much chance that Vasquez will get the Republican nomination, but I could see him running as a 3rd party candidate in the general election, which could throw the election to the Democrat. Which, to be honest, might not be a bad thing here in Idaho...