Conservative Happy Warrior Challenges Warmist Ed Markey for House Seat
First things first: if that headline has your blood flowing, read no farther and go to Jeffin2012 to chip in whatever you can to Jeff's campaign. Jeff reads American Thinker faithfully, and he jumped at the chance to talk with AT. A pile of $20 donations can make a difference in this race, and it's one that deserves national attention.
Jeff Semon is the real deal. Semon (accent on the second syllable, like "Simone") is an unabashed free-market Ronald Reagan conservative, a 6'3" guy with a Marine haircut who looks you in the eye and quotes Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek with a sunny smile. Zero RINO-squishitis detectable. He's from Lexington, Massachusetts ("the birthplace of American liberty," Jeff likes to say), a business consultant working full-time to support his family -- including his two-week old daughter. He comments that he "did not grow up with a silver spoon in [his] mouth": public high school and UMass Business School, not prep school and Harvard Law. He used to write a blog called Krugmaniswrong, dismantling the columns of Paul Krugman. And miracle of miracles, he's running for the U.S. Congress to represent one of the bluest zip codes in the country -- my precinct in Cambridge. As Jeff says mischievously, he's "looking forward to being Elizabeth Warren's next congressman."
After an hour and a half at my kitchen table, I have no doubts about Jeff's conservative bona fides. The question is whether he can pull off an upset against Congressman Ed Markey, who has represented Massachusetts since 1976, the year Jeff was born. Markey's congressional district is considered by insiders to be a safe seat. Any incumbent who spends 36 years in Congress has shaken a lot of hands and done a lot of favors for his constituents.
In the 2010 special election that put Scott Brown in the Kennedy -- er, the People's -- seat, Markey's district went 53.8% for Martha Coakley, 46.2% for Scott Brown. To make matters worse, Massachusetts lost a congressman in the last census, and Markey managed to make his safe seat a little safer. When Barney Frank announced that he would not be running for re-election, he groused about Markey's role in redesigning his district:
I think Ed had some influence with them, but it was spent mostly on his own district. There was stuff that Eddie got that, if I could have shared some with Eddie, [my district] would have been a better district.
Markey's 7th Congressional District has been renamed the 5th, and it includes five additional towns and half of Cambridge. The "stuff that Eddie got" was significantly more liberal, voting 60.4% Coakley, 39.6% Brown. The towns in the new 5th CD tallied 144,557 votes (55%) for Coakley, 118,495 (45%) for Brown.
This, then, is Jeff's mountain to climb: five percentage points plus one vote. Swinging 13,032 votes from blue to red.
Hopeless? Not necessarily. Jeff admits that "it's going to be an uphill battle," but he remains upbeat: "Being able to flip 5% of the electorate is a very plausible notion. When you talk to people about jobs and the economy, they're pretty conservative."
And this is Jeff's great strength: his laser-beam focus on the issues that people care about in Obama's economy: jobs. Excessive government regulation. Unsustainable entitlement programs. Ballooning government spending and deficits.
In contrast, Markey is a choir boy in the Church of Global Warming who has spent much of his legislative capital fighting climate change. His two committee chairmanships -- fruit of his years in Congress -- are on Natural Resources and Energy and Commerce. Before the Republicans shut it down, he was Chairman of the House Global Warming Committee, and the signature legislation of his career is the Waxman-Markey Climate Change Bill, the green jobs, cap-and-trade bill that never got out of committee.
Even today, when voters are less and less interested in global warming, Markey's website highlights a recent press release, titled "New EPA Global Warming Pollution Database Should be Basis for Action; Deep Cuts in Heat-trapping Emissions Still Needed." Job-killing legislation to combat carbon dioxide "pollution" isn't popular, even in Massachusetts.
Jeff points out that "in 2012 every American is going to have a very clear choice about what direction they want this country to go," and this is certainly true in his own race. A few sample quotes from Jeff:
--Global warming: "When money gets involved in politics, information and data get skewed."
--Elizabeth Warren's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: "It is inherently unconstitutional. Takes power from elected representatives to write laws and regulations and puts it into the hands of unelected bureaucrats, under the guise of 'they're going to do what's best.' But your elected representatives are a lot more accountable to their districts."
--The Simpson-Bowles debt commission: "I don't think it went far enough, but it put together some reasonable starting points to get our debt under control, and [Obama] just throws it in the trash can and instead goes, the rich need to pay more of their fair share. You can eat the rich as much as you want, but it's never going solve the problem. We have to cut spending."
The national debt: "Every year we get more and more into debt, and we have to service that debt, and pretty soon it's going to consume us and we won't have to option of choosing what to cut. We are passing massive, massive amounts of debt onto our kids."
Medicare: "Paul Ryan put forth a very bold proposal to rein in the costs of Medicare, and he was immediately attacked and demonized for trying to do the right thing. The Democratic Party comes out with a video of someone dressed like him pushing Grandma off a cliff in a wheelchair. It was despicable."
This language is familiar to AT readers and talk radio listeners, but it's a rare politician who defends conservatism so boldly. Jeff summed up his candidacy in a recent e-mail:
I am the candidate who can best explain not only why progressive policies have failed but also why conservative principles and solutions will work. I am the candidate who can expose the intentional manipulations upon which the Democrats rely to mask their failed policy initiatives. I am the candidate who can articulate why voting Republican will return our nation to prosperity, stability and liberty for all Americans, not just the special interests and well-connected friends of President Obama. I believe that America is the greatest nation on the planet. Most importantly, I believe in you, because I know you share my values and commitment to "change" that actually makes sense.
I reject Obamacare, class warfare & liberal false premises. But I accept Visa MC Disc & AMEX at Jeffin2012.
Jeff is salivating at the idea of debating Markey. It promises to be a good show.