Tag Archives: Larry Hogan

Hogan Campaign Jumped into the GOP Cul-de-Sac

Despite Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Larry Hogan’s effort to turn attention away from social questions such as same-sex marriage and abortion rights, his campaign is turning out to be the perfect illustration of Republican demographic and policy problems.

The Washington Post recently highlighted Hogan’s call for tax cuts targeted at the elderly:

Speaking at a retirement community along with his Democratic opponent, Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, Mr. Hogan said that once he gets spending under control, his administration would “completely eliminate state income taxes for pensions and retirement income.”

As is disappointingly customary for too many Republican candidates, he made no mention of the spending reductions needed to pay for these tax cuts that just happen to be popular with the high-turnout elderly electorate:

We’d like to report that, along with his blockbuster tax cut proposal, Mr. Hogan released detailed projections showing how much revenue it would cost the state and which programs he would target for commensurate spending reductions. But we can’t, because he didn’t.

Hogan’s choices mirror directly the current state of the national Republican coalition, and the surprisingly non-conservative, irresponsible policy cul-de-sac that follows from their imperative to cater to it. David Frum explained it well in a must-read article in Foreign Affairs:

Republicans have come to rely more and more on the votes of the elderly, the most government-dependent segment of the population — a serious complication for a party committed to reducing government. . . .

What boomers mean when they call themselves conservative is that they have begun to demand massive cutbacks to spending programs that do not directly benefit them. Seventy-five percent of Americans nearing retirement age in 2010 had less than $30,000 in their retirement accounts. Not surprisingly, then, boomers say they want no change at all to the Medicare and Social Security benefits they have begun to qualify for.

Boomers’ conservatism is founded on their apprehension that there’s not enough to go around — and on their conviction that what little resources there are should accrue to them. . . . It might seem paradoxical that people on Medicare, or soon to qualify for it, would oppose a further expansion of the government’s role in health care, but it actually makes perfect sense: boomer conservatives fear that government in the age of Obama will serve somebody else’s interests at the expense of their own.

Republicans have responded to boomers’ fears by reinventing themselves as defenders of the fiscal status quo for older Americans — and only older Americans. . . . [T]he GOP has rejected changes to retirement programs that might in any way impinge on current beneficiaries. The various budget plans Republicans produced in the run-up to the 2012 election all exempted Americans over age 55 from any changes to either Social Security or Medicare.

So Republicans like Hogan have become defenders of the elderly at the expense of other generations. Indeed, Hogan’s proposal is essentially a direct transfer from non-retired people who will get fewer services but still pay the same taxes to the elderly who would pay significantly less tax in Hogan’s imagined Maryland. Not a great deal for most Marylanders.

There is unquestionably an opening for a candidate to argue that Marylanders are too highly taxed and that regulation prone Democrats have stifled economic growth that is vital to employment and our State’s long-term success. But Hogan thus far has yet to make an argument in a remotely realistic or coherent way that suggests a conservative vision or way forward.

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So More on Hogan and Marriage Equality

Normally, I don’t like to multi-post on the same story on the same day unless there is breaking news but this story seems worth an exception. Early this morning, I posted a story stating that GOP Gov Candidate Larry Hogan had changed his position on marriage equality after the primary. It turns out that was incorrect: he opposed trying to overturn the will of the people.

However, there is really more to the story than that simple narrative that the Hogan campaign would like to propagate. Hogan has no clear public position on the core issue. In response to the Baltimore Sun, he refused to state whether he personally supports marriage equality legislation, sidestepping the question by neatly saying that the referendum decided the matter. Elsewhere, he has stated that he “was” a supporter of “traditional marriage” and supported civil unions for same-sex couples but also would not state how he voted in the referendum.

Politically sensible as I outlined earlier but not exactly a profile in courage–and there were Republicans willing to take a stand in favor of marriage equality in the legislature.

And it also obfuscates the well-known truth in the halls of Annapolis that many Republican legislators don’t give a whit whether same-sex couples can marry and that many who voted against it actually personally favored the legislation (and knew marriage equality was an inevitability) but feared their primary election constituency.

Though I welcome Hogan’s desire to place his focus elsewhere, the dissimulation by Republicans like Hogan who seek to be viable statewide on their personal beliefs is a bit wearying–and must be even more so for him as he will have to continue to adjust his position with rapidly changing public opinion. It also seems fair to ask how someone who refuses to say how he voted on a key issue is going to lead the State on others in the future.

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Error in Hogan Story

The previous story indicated that Hogan had changed his position on marriage equality after the primary based on recent stories in the press that indicated that Hogan’s position was new. RedMaryland kindly pointed out that I was wrong on this one. While Hogan certainly did not advertise his position, he took his position against fighting the law since it was approved by the people in the referendum before the Republican primary. I hate not getting it right as much as the next guy, so have changed the story to be more accurate.

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Hogan Evolves on Marriage Equality

Republican Gubernatorial Nominee Larry Hogan let it be known first to the Washington Post and then to News Channel 8 that he wants to take marriage equality off the table in this year’s election:

Hogan said on News Talk with Bruce DePuyt on News Channel 8 in response to a question about whether he voted for the state’s same-sex marriage law in a 2012 referendum on it that he was “originally for civil unions.”

“I was a supporter of traditional marriage,” he told DePuyt. “It’s an issue that I fully understand. The voters have made their decision. I support their decision and will uphold the law. I’ve evolved I guess on the issue.”

Hogan said marriage rights for same-sex couples, extending in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants and other social issues “are really decided in Maryland.”

“They have no part in this campaign whatsoever,” he said. “We’ve been completely focused on the issues that all Marylanders are focused on right now, and that’s economic issues.”

A good decision politically–not to mention morally. The social issues like marriage equality are dead losers for Republicans in Maryland. When the focus is on them, they don’t even get a chance to get off the ground. And opinions on marriage have continued to move rapidly in the two years since Marylanders approved it at the ballot box.

(Note: The previous version of this story indicated that Hogan had changed his position after the primary based on recent stories in the press that indicated that Hogan’s position was new. RedMaryland kindly pointed out that I was wrong on this one. While Hogan certainly did not advertise his position, he took his position against fighting the law before the Republican primary. I hate not getting it right as much as the next guy, so have changed the story to be more accurate.)

 

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The GOP’s Peroutka Headache

Anne Arundel County Council Candidate Michael Peroutka was until recently the rare political bird who refused to talk to the media. When he finally did agree to talk to reporters, one cannot help but think that the original refusal was the better bet.

Peroutka has been active in the John Birch Society but it is his current board membership on the League of the South that has attracted scrutiny. Labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the League advocates secession from the U.S. Indeed, the video above shows Peroutka asking people to “stand for the national anthem” of Dixie–not the Star-Spangled Banner.

The Baltimore Sun, which  has done a fine job of covering Peroutka’s checkered past and current unacceptable views and thus been one of the many criticized by Peroutka, reports that he doesn’t think that was a mistake and refuses to leave the League.

As a result, Republicans have started running for the hills. Gubernatorial Candidate Larry Hogan wisely didn’t wait to disassociate himself from Peroutka and his campaign says that Hogan “absolutely disavows” him. Peroutka now whines that Hogan didn’t “dialogue” with him.

Yes, Peroutka and the League are just all about dialogue. I wonder how much dialogue Peroutka had with LGBT leaders before he said that the “gay rights movement will lead to ‘forced homosexuality.'” Or the League had immigrant advocacy groups before attacking “the flood tide of massive Third World immigration and leftist attempts to destroy [the South’s] very cultural and political foundations.”

Closer to home, Anne Arundel Republican County Executive Candidate Steve Schuh said he would not run with Peroutka after he refused to resign from the League: “I simply cannot support someone who is a member of an organization that appears to be racist or that advocates for the dismemberment of the United States.”

Unfortunately the State Republican Party has yet to back up their leading candidates and has made “no decision” on whether to back Peroutka. At this point, the GOP is late and needs to join Hogan and Schuh in this no-brainer decision if it doesn’t want to persuade more Marylanders that they are way out of the mainstream.

The Capital has reported the Peroutka now claims that he is anti-secession even as he won’t give up his seat on the League board:

He said people moving out of Anne Arundel County and the state of Maryland because of high taxes represent individual secession.

Peroutka said his campaign was “anti-secession” because he was “asking people to place trust in me so that I can work within that government to prevent the individual secession that’s occurring now.”

“Whether that individual secession will form into a political movement — I’m not a part of that,” Peroutka said. “I’m actually going in the other direction.”

Peroutka can continue to piss all over America to his heart’s content and his party’s heartburn but he could at least do us the courtesy of not calling it rain to borrow a phrase.

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