I used to think of myself as one of the last conservative Democrats, and my heart delights on the rare occasion that I hear of a conservative Democrat running for office (especially against a neocon Republican). I was thrilled to support Democrat Mark Clayton in TN against the neocon Bob Corker. I have now heard of a conservative Democrat Peter Newberry who is running against Republican Thomas Massie for a House seat from Kentucky.
I have looked into Newberry’s platform, and I like what I see so far. He doesn’t seem very organized, however, and doesn’t have a webpage or even a facebook page. He is deeply concerned about wasteful bureaucracy and stifling regulations. He’s also very critical of incumbency and the obscene amount of money in politics (This article discusses him). Newberry would probably be a great addition to the House of Representatives, but I have one huge problem with this – He’s running against Massie!
The Republican Party is still largely plagued with corrupt neocons who need to be picked off. I don’t care if it’s done in Republicans primaries, by Democratic challengers, or even third party candidates (if they can win). But Massie is one of the good ones! Of course Massie isn’t perfect. Who is? But we really need to pick our battles, and this is not a battle worth fighting. Massie has done an excellent job of fighting for civil liberties and opposing wasteful spending. We need him in the House, and in a time when most of Congress is made up of neocon Republicans and Clintonian-to-progressive Democrats, we don’t need to be picking off the few who fall outside that paradigm. Like many Gen. Y/Millenials, I’m sick of having to choose between big government on the left, and big government on the right.
While Newberry’s platform could be a winner in a different context, I don’t expect Newberry to make much of an impact against Massie. If it weren’t for my conservative-Democratic sentiments, I probably wouldn’t have even noticed this. Not only is Newberry going after a strong candidate with a similar base (a base which has no reason to switch), but Newberry has no clear organization. It’s OK to be underfunded if you make up for it with some elbow grease, but I’m not seeing it. Is he knocking on doors? Kissing babies? Using the cost effective internet? I know he can’t help but be outspent on TV and radio by Massie, but if he’s serious about challenging, he has to make up for that in other ways, and he’s not doing it.
Clayton made the same strategic mistakes against Corker here in TN, but at least it was a battle worth fighting. Corker has long been a neocon shill, and will always be that way. But if my endorsement matters, I’m sticking with Massie. I hope Newberry, or some Democrat like him, will challenge the establishment Republicans in times to come. I’d love to see some neocons taken down, and the Democratic Party start remembering it’s conservative roots all at the same time. But that is probably just wishful thinking on my part. (I rarely embrace the “blue dog” label anymore).