Boehner’s Primary Challenger

Many of you know that I live in Speaker of the House John Boehner’s congressional district of OH-8, and that Boehner’s got the seat probably for as long as he wants it — he’s been in it for 22 years, and it’s been held by a Republican since 1939. But it may interest political junkies to know that in 2014 Boehner will have a GOP challenger in the primary: Eric Gurr. Mr. Gurr apparently believes Mr. Boehner is too soft on things like Obamacare and immigration, so he’s tossed his hat into the ring.

Two thoughts: One, it’s lovely to live in a country where anyone can challenge the seat of one of the most powerful politicians in the county, without fear of being literally slaughtered. Two, the dude is going to get (figuratively) slaughtered in the primary, because whether or not Boehner is in especially fine odor as Speaker of the House, he’s a reasonably good reflection of the Republicans in his district. Also, you know. Speaker of the House, fine odor or not. Chances are pretty good he could rally some significant capital (political and financial) to brush back a primary challenge. That said, given the relatively rudimentary nature of Mr. Gurr’s site, I don’t suspect Mr. Boehner is too worried at the moment.

I’ve heard some murmurings that Boehner may be out as Speaker after the 2014 elections, and that he may consider retiring from Congress ahead of that eventuality. But you know what, I’m going to believe both when I see them. In the meantime, I will be deeply surprised if Mr. Gurr’s candidacy gains much traction. It would be interesting if it did, mind you.  For all sorts of reasons. But I don’t suspect it will.

98 thoughts on “Boehner’s Primary Challenger

  1. Soft is a funny word.

    I know that I disagree on Rep. Boehner’s positions on the Affordable Care Act* and immigration, among other things, but I suspect my disagreements and Mr. Gurr’s disagreements are of a different character.

    * First off, that whatever you think of this legislation, trying to repeal it while the guy who pushed for it is still holding the veto pen is a good way to posture while wasting everyone else’s time unless you have some sort of mind-control powers, and I’m not entirely sure what Mr. Gunn thinks he can do to change this. Hold his breath until he turns colors, perhaps.

  2. yes, let us not forget that in the last election the Speaker ran unopposed. I think that he hasn’t had to order lawn signs for years…his supporters just store them in the garage until the next election.

  3. I think Boehner is in no trouble from the primary, but very much in trouble from the conservative caucus in the House. He is closer to losing his position as you said than losing his seat altogether. Yet, if those signs become all too clear on the horizon I think Boehner will take the Bachmann route and retire before he can go down in flames.

  4. Two, the dude is going to get (figuratively) slaughtered in the primary, because whether or not Boehner is in especially fine odor as Speaker of the House, he’s a reasonably good reflection of the Republicans in his district

    I defer to your superior knowledge of your political ‘hood, but I’d have said the same thing about Dick Luger — who secured re-election to the Senate in 2006 with 87% of the vote, and still got whomped in the 2012 primary by Tea Bagger tool Richard Mourdock. You know, one of those “being forced to bear your rapist’s child is a gift from God” guys, who ended up losing to a Democrat in a state Romney carried by eleven points. Ditto for Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, who announced her retirement by finding remarkably tactful ways to say “Screw this crap, I’m sick of dealing with far-right lunatics.”

    You’re probably right about Boehner, but I still wouldn’t underestimate the ability (and money) of the wing of the GOP who don’t see any functional difference between politics and a religious cult where the only thing more loathsome than an infidel is a heretic.

  5. ” because whether or not Boehner is in especially fine odor as Speaker of the House, he’s a reasonably good reflection of the Republicans in his district”

    Are they all orange?

  6. A primary challenger may surprise you. Primaries tend to bring in the more active members of the party to vote, so primaries favor the more “pure” candidates of the party. This is how many established Republican members were tossed and replaced. If your district doesn’t have many far-right voters in it, then Boehner is safe. But, no one should just assume he’s going to win by default, either.

  7. Lugar was a senator, who had to carry the entire state. Boehner is a representative, who only has to carry his district. It makes a difference.

    Fair point, I just wouldn’t under-estimate the folks who think Boehner is ideologically unclean because he can say the President’s name without making hex signs; and prefer to elect federal legislators who, based on the events of recent days, cut Civics the day the teacher explained how laws are made.

  8. Josh Jasper–

    No person who has any clue about the enormous power of the Speaker of the House could presume that Senator is effectively running the place.

    Put it this way: Sen. Ted Cruz is not the reason why Immigration Reform isn’t law. Rep. John Boehner is.

  9. This slow-motion implosion of the Republican Party would be a lot more amusing if it (a) didn’t take so damn long and (b) didn’t cause so much collateral damage to the country. Oh, and (c) didn’t make the Democratic Party look intelligent and reasonable in comparison.

  10. “Safe” seats tend to be seats that the other party can’t win. Therefore candidates biggest vulnerabilities are within their own party. Moderates have a harder time winning a primary when the general election doesn’t matter, so extremists have a better chance of being nominated, followed up by winning.

    Gerrymandering seems to have increased the number of “safe” seats all over the place. And the number of moderates who can get things done with members of the opposition has dropped.

  11. Wasn’t Tom Foley the speaker who lost his seat in the general election? I think I remember that there were a fair number of voters who didn’t learn until after the fact that the guy they replaced him with wouldn’t automatically become speaker.

  12. I knew it wasn’t going to be happening, but for a few terribly brief seconds while I read, I nurtured the thoughts of what John Scalzi’s campaign against Boehner would look like.

    Yes, John would have lost (and I think John would be the first to agree with that) but it would have been the funniest, most educational, most entertaining campaign in a long time, no, in forever.

    Thanks for those brief few seconds.

  13. Tom Foley did lose his seat, over the term limits issue. The guy that replaced him, George Nethercutt, decided that his “three terms for the house” platform plank wasn’t so good, and was elected to five terms by the same clowns that tossed Foley for simply opposing term limits on a philosophical basis.

    So in short, people are dumb, and view politics as a team sport. They don’t really care about the issues they pretend to care about, and vote accordingly.

  14. Hi, I am Eric Gurr. First to Steve (Gurr I presume). If you’re in Oxford area, we’re related.
    I know it’s a long shot, but I honestly believe I have a chance at this. Mr. Boehner is a good man and like many of you I’ve supported him in the past. But 24 years is enough time. Do any of you think immigration reform and the addition of six million or so PRIs will somehow help the labor market? I can’t honestly find any logical support for this when unemployment is above 7%.

    On the fiscal issues, yes I’m very conservative. But this isn’t a fly by night position for me. I believe that soft leadership and compromise in the face of burdensome debt and regulation are not virtuous. Our monetary policy is misguided and in the long run will be a horrible blow to our children and grandchildren.
    But of course Syria was the tipping point. I believe that support for a strike in Syria was misguided and shows a lack of understanding of foreign affairs. Injecting the nation in the middle of a civil war is a terrible idea. Injecting yourself in the middle of a three way civil war is simply a recipe for disaster.

    I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

  15. It seems likely that Rep. Boehner will be able to deep six any primary and certainly any general election challenger; even when he was not Speaker he was a prodigious fundraiser and is thought of (here in DC anyway) as a skilled retail politician– one who can easily glad hand and backslap folks back home.

    One thing that might change the dynamic is if he loses the Speaker’s gavel between now and then, and how that goes down. The next several weeks, in which huge (and byzantine) fights over continued funding of the government as well as an increase in the debt limit pose a serious threat to his contiuned leadership.

    Despite the machinations by Sen. Cruz (et. al.) there is an excellent chance that the House will be presented with a bill that continues to fund the federal government for a period of time but does not defund the Affordable Care Act. Since current funding runs out on Sept. 30, speed is of the essence. Hard to see how such a bill passes without significant support from the Democrats, which gives Mr. Boehner the choice of allowing the shutdown to happen (which satisfies the tea party wing) or passing the bill on a bipartisan basis (which satisifies everyone else.)

    I’m betting on the bipartisan outcome there. That’s going to really piss off the tea party wing, and creates a threat to his leadership post. But all in all, I think he can weather it IF he takes a hard line on the immediately following debt limit crisis.

    And that’s where things get dicey. While Rep. Boehner’s primary opponent is not likely to play a huge role, Sen. McConnell’s primary opponent (who is independently wealthy and has already attracted the support of some outside groups) will. So McConnell won’t be in a position to cut a deal on raising the debt limit, as he was when this last happened in 2011. And Boehner will be under pressure to not cut a deal either due to a restive caucus.

    Default on the national debt has unknown but likely very serious economic implications. Exotic methods of getting around the default are being suggested, but all seem pretty loony. The business community (and their Establishment allies in both parties) is/ are concerned.

    Which means that McConnell and/or Boehner will be in the position of choosing between an uncertain political future and a potentially cataclysmic debt default by the U.S. Of course, they’re also hoping that the President chooses to blink, giving up his already earned political victories in order to bring the country back from the brink.

    Not a great place for all of us to be. AND a particularly tough policial position for the Speaker.

  16. Mr Gurr,
    Welcome to Whatever. I agree with your stance on Syria, but your positions on immigration and compromise (also known as the foundation of our democracy) make me spit acid.
    Please note that I am Native. So if you are intellectually honest, your immigration stance means “WHITEY GO HOME!” That, I would support. Would you?

  17. I don’t want anyone who is a citizen or here legally to go home. I just don’t see how one can rationalize adding millions of people to the labor pool. Recent college graduates are already burdened with debt. Lowering wages and increasing competition for jobs is going to make that even worse. So intellectually my position is not to send anyone home based on anything other than legal status.

    The problem with compromise is that it is pertinent to the time and situation. If Republicans feel the government is spending too much and wish to cut, and Democrats feel that we need to spend more how does one arrive at a compromise?

  18. Eric Gurr: I grew up in Utah, but Gurr is not a common name so I suspect if we went back far enough there’s probably a connection.

    I do agree with you on Syria, but we’re rather far apart on the rest of your positions.

  19. Eric (we use first names here mostly), what is your position on repealing the ACA? The current House has repealed it over and over, wasting time and taxpayer money for an effort they KNOW to be utterly fruitless. Would you wait until there is a majority for repeal in the Senate and a Republican in the White House, or mindlessly go along with the stupid grandstanding the House Republicans have been doing these past couple of years?

    Also, perhaps more directly relevant to your voters: why should the voters in your district, who are currently represented by the Speaker of the House (however unlikely he is to keep that position) be willing to replace him with someone who, however wonderful you may be, will have little influence on the leadership, and in fact will be resented by many of the senior Representatives for knocking their old friend John out of office?

  20. I live in the same district, so here’s my take. Boehner will handily beat his primary challenger, and once again run unopposed in the general election.

    Fuck it. Maybe I’ll run against him. Maybe I’ll get 300 votes.

  21. If the Tea Party at a national level decided they want that seat, they might put enough money behind Mr. Gurr to make the primary interesting. It seems these days that there are no more local races, and enough money might make a difference. In that case, it might matter who the Democratic Party runs, and whether or not Mr. Gurr can avoid implosion in the general election.

  22. As Mr. Gurr is here and happy to answer questions, I will remind everyone (not that I have to, hint, hint) to treat him politely and as a guest in my virtual home. Please feel free to ask him about issues, etc, but if you start poking at him on a personal level I will break out the Mallet.

    Also: Hello, Mr. Gurr. Welcome.

  23. Wow: There’s a guy running for Congress in your district and the incumbent is gonna slaughter him. Slow day at Scalzi Manor?

  24. Jim:

    Well, it’s more that the Speaker for the House is getting a primary challenge, and that’s of some note. Boehner, for his part, has slaughtered every Democratic opponent he’s come across, and in 2014 (presuming that he indeed survives his primary challenge) is likely to do so again. If the Democrats actually bother to run someone against him, which they didn’t in 2012. It really is, in my estimation, one of the safest seats in the House.

  25. OK this is a cool thread… Perhaps Mr. Boehner will drop in and that would be fun! Of course we’d have to limit the discussion to sci-fi themes like aliens, war and oppressive police states and… oh wait, we’re already discussing all that. Ain’t sci-fi fun! BTW, welcome Eric to Whatever!

  26. This guy has ONE position that I agree with. ONE. And everyone I know agrees that NSA spying is bad.

    I mean, his positions page reads like a laundry list of Tea Party silliness.

  27. On the whole Obamacare pile of crap: Anyone who swears to “find new ways” to vote against the ACA is unfit for office, because he puts blind ideology over competent government.

    On immigration: Mr. Gurr, would you not agree that someone who is willing to do a job for less money than someone else is more deserving of that job and wants it more?

    On the conspicuous lack of opinion on social issues: you know what, let’s not even open that can of beans.

  28. @Floored – “This guy has ONE position that I agree with. ONE. And everyone I know agrees that NSA spying is bad.”

    Yeah, that’s a brave position for Mr. Gurr to take, innit?

    “I mean, his positions page reads like a laundry list of Tea Party silliness.”

    Yep.

  29. John: Yes, I agree.

    Mr. Gurr: A few points:

    1) You ask what adding 6 million PRI’s to the labor force would do. But this is a false premise: all of these people are *already here*. Which means they’re already competing for jobs (legally or not). So putting a policy in place to allow for legal status adds nothing to the labor market.

    2) Why on earth are you asking us how you’re supposed to achieve consensus if you were to be sent to Congress? Isn’t it the JOB of a Congressperson to work with ALL the democratically elected representatives of the people to solve problems? How do YOU propose to solve problems if you are elected but have no clue (or intent?) to work/compromise with the opposite party?

    As far as Syria goes, yes I agree in general.

  30. Mr. Gurr, would you vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act? If yes, what would you replace it with? (Answers such as “Free market solutions” are invalid, since the ‘free market’ is what was driving 40 million uninsured before the passage of the act. I am looking for specific policies to improve access to health care, and bending of the cost curve.)

  31. “Okay so the big question we all need to know: does Eric Gurr read SF and if yes, who are his fave authors?”

    I’m guessing Ayn Rand.

    (I think that Mr. Gurr has flown the coop.)

  32. Guys, calm it down a little. Let’s wait to see if this guy tries to be rational before we beat him up. Otherwise, Our Lord Scalzi might get upset, and then the Mallet shall fall upon the unrighteous.

  33. Mr, Gurr,

    Kudos for dropping by a website where you must have known in advance you would be talking to a tough crowd.

    Your position on immigration reform and amnesty caught my eye. According to the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/24/us/immigrant-population-shows-signs-of-growth-estimates-show.html?_r=0) there are currently 11.7 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States. Deporting these people would be logistically next to impossible. At higher than ever rates of deportation, the Obama administration has managed to deport 400,000 people.

    Your proposal to score points with African-American voters by abusing a different minority, allegedly on behalf of low-wage African-American workers (http://www.gurrforcongress.com/immigrationreform.html) strikes me as both impractical and morally repugnant. I no longer vote in Ohio, so you have no real reason to care what I think, but I think it would be really nice if you took a long hard look at your personal biases and gave some thought to less racist, more effective ways to address both the problems of immigration and the GOP’s need to attract more African-American voters. Perhaps you could find it in your heart to try to improve life for both immigrants and black people?

    I would also like to hear more about your feelings on Milton Friedman and monetary policy. And, since I don’t know very many (OK, any) of George Washington’s other second cousins, I am dying to hear your opinions on this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1IYH_MbJqA

    I appreciate the opportunity to hear from you.

  34. @Ellen – “Kudos for dropping by a website where you must have known in advance you would be talking to a tough crowd.”

    Mr. Gurr knows that he gains nothing by talking to well-read, intelligent people. He’s a “CEO” and has done a mental cost-benefit analysis. There’s no benefit to addressing the concerns of a minority of his sought-for constituents. “47%” and all that. I don’t blame him, to be perfectly honest.

  35. I have a question for you Mr Scalzi, that is slightly off topic but still political. Sort of. I wrote about Redshirts for Daily Kos and noticed, in my research, that you attended college with Josh Marshall.

    Today, Josh Marshall wrote, over at TPM, that he attended college with Ted Cruz. So, did you get the opportunity to meet Mr. Cruz at college, and if so, was your opinion in line with that of his other college classmates? That he was a smart but arrogant, a$$hole?

  36. Susan from 29:

    Your research is incorrect. I did not attend college with Josh. I went to high school with him. I have never met Senator Cruz. I know Josh well enough to suspect his assessment of Senator Cruz is on point.

    This is, incidentally, the sort of question which e-mail was made for, rather than taking comment threads off topic.

  37. Mr. Gurr, I’m one of those sole-proprietor small businessmen the GOP claims to love. Until ACA, I had medical insurance with a high premium ($20k a year), a high deductible, and a low cap. Pre-existing conditions meant I couldn’t go elsewhere. With ACA, it looks like I’m going to be able to choose a plan that’ll improve my coverage and cut my cost 40% (and I’m not getting a government subsidy).

    Are you opposed to ACA? If so, what would your proposed replacement be?

  38. Well it seems our author is a confirmed dem. I have to ask Mr.Scalzi if you support higher taxes to pay for all of the dems pet projects? If so why not go ahead and start giving your “fair share” to the treasury now. Im sure that after all the book royalties your a 1%er now. Looks like you will get no more of my money.

  39. Kent – You forgot to say “stealing my money at the barrel of a gun.” That usually works to start an ideological flame war.

    Lolbertarians.

  40. @ Kent Troll:

    I am quite certain that Our Lord pays his taxes. He has been a successful author for years now, and has several awards to his name. I’m not sure that he qualifies as a 1-percenter, and I am certain that he makes less money and pays more taxes than, say, Donald Trump (because of tax loopholes for weevils like Mr. Trump), but we can all be quite certain that he pays his taxes, given that he has a public blog, travels regularly, publicly posts his travel schedule, and is very easy to locate. If he did not pay his taxes, the IRS would have gotten him years ago.

    @ Bob: Ooh, good stumper. He’ll be a while answering that one (if he doesn’t dodge it like the MittBot tried to).

    @ Mr. Gurr: Please reply to some of the points that people have made here. Transparency is extremely important in business–think of us voters (well, everyone else–I am 17) as investors. If you want us to invest our votes in you, then you need to be transparent and explain your plan for this company (i.e. the USA).

  41. @ Blue Jay: Be nice to libertarians. They just take the obvious solution to our bloated government too far (and they never seem to remember that “defense” is the first piece of spending that needs to go), but they are generally fairly decent people (even if their propaganda is as subtle as a punch from Superman, or one of Michael Moore’s “movies”).

  42. [Deleted because waaaay off topic. But thank you, Floored. That said, again, let's stick to the topic, please -- JS]

  43. Eric and John: 6 million PRIs?

    Public Radio Internationals?
    Paleontological Research Institutions?
    Primary Rate Interfaces?
    Performance Review Institutes?

    I’m unfamiliar with the abbreviation PRI in regard to immigration, and my google-fu has not turned up any immigration-related PRIs. What do you mean by PRIs?

  44. Buddha Buck — I believe, in this context, that PRI means “Permanent Resident Immigrant”. Not a naturalized citizen, but legally able to live and work here.

  45. For a second there, I was sure you were going to announce your entry into politics! And I thought, doesn’t that guy have enough going on already?

    But seriously… A lot of us thought there was no way George Nethercutt would unseat Tom Foley, Speaker of the House, in the 1990s. You just never know!

  46. I thought PRI was the big political party in Mexico. It is, right?

    @Floored has a point. Don’t be ignoring the young’uns. I got completely ignored and dissed by a state governor in middle school, and swore I’d never vote for him. 5 years later, I didn’t, and he lost. Bwa ha ha!

    I agree the ACA is flawed, in that we should have gone single-payer like every place else in the civilized world, instead of still leaving our health in the merciless hands of insurance company CEOs. But living in a family where everyone has a pre-existing condition *, I’m eager to find out if we can afford to see doctors more often! For preventative care and tests and stuff.

    *Even the cat! Can Bo Obama get us some pet ACA?

  47. Hi, Floored – I’m a Libertarian (and have actually run for Congress a couple of times, back in the misty past), and my usual recommendations about the budget start with “cut the military budget in half, then do it again next year, repeat until it’s small enough”, unless I’m busy recommending cutting some other obnoxious agency first, like 100% cuts to the DEA, TSA, and La Migra.
    I think Obamacare’s a hopeless giveaway to the big insurance companies, but it’s not like we’ve got anything resembling a free market in medicine today. The reason the Republicans want to cut it is pure partisanship, and I’d rather dump the Republicans.

  48. @ Bill: Damn it, I want a 100% cut to the TSA. Airport security is a useless hassle. A competent terrorist would just get himself hired for baggage loading and stick a time bomb in the luggage compartment–no need for the security theater.

    I’m pretty sure I’ve heard of you before–when and where did you run?

  49. I have a question for Mr. Gurr. It requires quite a bit of background.

    In 2010, a pair of researchers named Reinhart and Rogoff presented a study that championed austerity measures as being the path to sustainable GDP growth. The paper was called “Growth in a Time of Debt.” It almost singlehandedly changed the political landscape so that both sides were talking austerity instead of spending.

    Unfortunately, that study was found to have Excel spreadsheet errors and problems with data being cherry-picked. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/09/austerity-reinhart-rogoff-stimulus-debt-ceiling?page=1

    Other studies have also proven that Reinhart and Rogoff study suffered from the problem of reverse causality: low GDP was an predictor for high debt rather than the other way around. http://www.nextnewdeal.net/rortybomb/guest-post-reinhartrogoff-and-growth-time-debt Austerity causes GDP to stagnate, and when GDP stagnates, people pay less in taxes (because they do not make enough to pay higher amounts) and the deficit climbs at a faster rate. In other words, austerity makes the debt problem worse, not better, especially in the long run. The longer that the GDP stays under its potential rate, the worse this effect becomes.

    Researchers at Oxford and Stanford have also proven that austerity measures cause higher rates of mortality among the unemployed and the poor. http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/may/15/recessions-hurt-but-austerity-kills

    Some people, myself included, believe that now is the best time to invest in repairing American infrastructure to fuel future economic growth. Our roads need repairing, we need to get our public buildings back up to code, and we need better local transit; we could also use a modern national backbone for internet access. These are just a few projects that the government could undertake that would fuel future economic growth. For example, if our roads are not repaired, we have to deal with the drain on productivity that this causes as people shipping goods are forced to deal with road hazards and routing problems.

    Because interest rates are so low, the government can borrow more money for less right now. It can then pay back that money much more easily than if the government waits until interest rates go back up again. This would also put more people to work, bringing unemployment down and pushing tax revenues up. These tax revenues could then be used to pay down the debt.

    However, a solution like this will never happen if the myopic and mistaken focus on austerity persists.

    I have three questions for you:

    1. Do you think austerity works? If so, what is your basis for believing that?

    2. If you don’t think austerity works, what are your plans for working towards a more sensible economic policy?

    and:

    3. Whether you believe in austerity or not, what do you think good monetary policy looks like?

  50. I am a moderate and I have wondered for a while if it would be possible to go after republicans and democrats in the primary and challenge them with moderates. Primaries have very low voter turnout. I think they average around 5% of the electorate. It would not take alot of votes to unseat incumbants in the primaries. As far as the states that require you to be a member of one party or another to vote in the primary, you can switch back and forth depending on which party is in office.

  51. To everyone saying “cut the TSA”, do you remember what it was like before airport security? Unless you aren’t saying “cut airport security” and just have a problem with it being a government agency and not some private airport security that does the screening.

    And defense? The world needs a superpower, at least one, maybe two would make it easier, but in case you haven’t noticed, we aren’t living in a Utopian society quite yet. Still waiting on SDF-1 to crash land before that arrives.

  52. @ Kilroy: Yeah, I’m saying cut airport security. The TSA is definitely a particularly notable offender, though.

    Defense? Superpower? Bullshit. You might as well say that we need a couple of powerful states (say, California and New York) that can lord it over everyone else with huge militaries, because Congress is ineffective and infiltrated by evil people (that is, about half of the Republican party, and about one-third of the Democrats; the rest are just incompetent, with the sole exception of Representative Rush Holt, who is intelligent, competent, and remarkably non-evil and non-corrupt).

    The UN may not be the most efficient solution, but it’s the best compromise. With one country as the superpower, the world government starts to look like a dictatorship.

  53. @Floored: prior to airport security being implemented in the late 70s, hijackings were basically a monthly occurrence, mostly down to Cuba. They were so common they barely made the news except for the really daring attempts. The simple searches stopped almost all of the hijackings over night. I can’t argue that the TSA isn’t an incompetent organization staffed by buffoons, because it is and needs to change. But going back to nothing really isn’t a good solution.

    U.N. is pretty much a useless entity. I don’t think the argument on whether the world needs a superpower is on-topic enough for this thread though.

  54. @ Kilroy: Hijacking an airplane is stupid. Most, if not all airplanes have at least one security officer on them, and airplane passengers are much more aware these days than they used to be–just check out all of the news stories about obnoxious, violent idiots being strapped to their seats by their fellow passengers. One guy even got duct-taped down about a year ago.

    On the UN: Yes, it is currently useless on high-profile issues, but it is marginally better than Congress; at least the little things usually get done. Also, I think that this line of debate is on topic because it is directly related to politics and how this country should be run; Our Lord Host may correct me on this, of course.

    Scalzi ftagn.

  55. I was a Neighborhood Team Leader with the Obama campaign in Darke County in 2008, so I was among those brave souls making phone calls and knocking on doors trying to sell Barack Obama in the beet red hinterlands of Ohio. Based on that experience, I guarantee you that Boehner is going nowhere anytime soon unless he’s fragged by his Secret Service men.

  56. @Killroy

    Hijackers ceasing to fly airplanes to Cuba and instead flying them into buildings is what caused the end of hijacking. Whereas in the past, we were told to sit quietly and cooperate, and we would get a nice trip to Cuba, we now know that cooperation likely ends in death.

    Security hasn’t changed, and I would argue is worse. What has changed, radically, is the attitude of air passengers. Someone trying to take over a jet liner today is going to get killed by an angry mob of passengers.

  57. So, Mr Gurr did a reddit AMA last night. This morning, the top question is
    “Are you aware that collecting money for a political campaign without registering with the Federal Elections Commission is a felony?

    Your website links to a paypal account which is obviously going to you personally, not a campaign for congress account. You are not registered with the FEC and you do not have the legal disclaimers on your website required by law. If you are really running, you should have a “statement of candidacy” filed.

    Are you actually running for congress and you are unaware of the process, or are you lying to everyone to get money?”

    Mr Gurr did not answer that question there, but if he’s posting here maybe he’ll answer it here? Because I kinda want to know the answer to that one.

    (I personally suspect “unaware of the process”, but that still doesn’t bode well.)

  58. @ John: Wow. I was giving this guy chutzpah points for volunteering to answer questions here, but this…this is just ridiculous (at best).

    Yeah, I want to know the answer to this one, too. Then someone should probably call the FEC.

  59. Meh. After Citizens United I find it a little quaint to get hung up on FEC rules. Though it does show a certain amateurishness to fail to file with them.

    Fwiw, I do agree with Mr Gurr on Syria and the NSA. The rest however is….

  60. I’m also not sure what PRI is from a quick google search, other than lots of things that don’t relate to immigration.

    I’m not sure Permanent Resident Immigrant is really right, since there’s already the official Permanent Resident Alien classification. (Unless this is a right wing dog whistle for illegal.)

    Which leads to the question: Do you think the country has a problem with aggregate demand?

  61. Mr. Gurr knows that he gains nothing by talking to well-read, intelligent people. He’s a “CEO” and has done a mental cost-benefit analysis. There’s no benefit to addressing the concerns of a minority of his sought-for constituents. “47%” and all that. I don’t blame him, to be perfectly honest.

    I’d say that the cost-benefit of responding to blog comments on a blog which is mostly read by people who don’t vote in his district isn’t very good.

  62. I think he realized he made a mistake by saying he’d be happy to answer any questions we might have. Or maybe he just meant any questions Scalzi might have, since Scalzi lives in his district. Perhaps he didn’t realize that Scalzi has fans in every time zone with land under it.*

    He may also have realized that putting things in writing is a bad idea, especially since he’s way out of his weight class vs. at least 10 of the people on this thread.

    I doubt he’ll be back. Engaging here at all was commendable, but he probably shouldn’t have offered to answer “any” questions. If he does come back, he probably won’t answer all of them (and it probably won’t be him, but some campaign staffer cleaning up his mess).

    *Yes, I do think of time zones as things that hang in the upper atmosphere, where they are fortunately immune to the solar wind, cosmic rays etc. Thank you for asking.

  63. I think Kat asked some excellent questions (my system doesn’t number the messages, but it was posted at 9:19AM , 9/24) which I’d love to see LOTS of candidates asked to address–including follow-up questions to insist they actually answer instead of just spewing unsubstantiated attention-seeking soundbytes in response to good questions.

  64. “The problem with compromise is that it is pertinent to the time and situation. If Republicans feel the government is spending too much and wish to cut, and Democrats feel that we need to spend more how does one arrive at a compromise?”

    Keeping spending at the same levels, or adding the 2 together and dividing by 2 are the first two ways that come to mind. I’m sure creative thinkers could arrive at even more.

  65. For Mr. Gurr:
    1) What do you propose to help people who do not have enough food to eat?
    2) What do you do propose to help people with too little healthcare?
    3) What is your stance on evolution?
    4) What is your stance on climate change?
    5) If a religious organization gets involved in politics, should they be taxed as a political organization?
    6) What is your stance on same-sex marriage?
    7) What is your position on immigration?
    8) Do you think repairing and rebuilding the USA’s infrastructure is good or bad idea?
    9) How would you support our troops who are suffering from PTSD?
    10) How do you think bullying should be dealt with in schools?
    11) Should the “too big to fail” banks be split up?
    12) What do you think should be done about offshoring jobs?
    13) Should oil subsidies continue?
    14) Should farm subsidies continue for megafarm corporations?
    15) Is access to drinkable water a human right?
    16) What do you think of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act?
    17) What do you think of the SCOTUS’ decision WRT the VRA?

  66. Mr. Gurr,

    Your website says that the immigration system “is fine” other than the rules not being enforced. Does this mean you support birthright citizenship and the existence of the U Visa?

  67. So we can probably all agree that Mr. Gurr does not represent us very well (us being the readers of Our Lord Host’s mighty words). However, he does have two big things going for him: he’s got some real balls (even if his common sense caught up with him and he chickened out), and he’s miles above Senator Ted “Dipshit” Cruz.

    …then again, there are things growing on rotten logs that are substantially better and more useful than Ted Cruz, so that last part was kind of damning with faint praise.

  68. Just following up, since people asked: He’s responded on Reddit, saying that the FEC only requires that you file after hitting $5K in spending or donations, and he’s only recently hit that limit, and there is a two-week grace period because there is up to a two-week delay to get the application processed and receive his number.

    His website is still noncompliant with election law, but that’s a minor problem and the standard FEC response to that is apparently “here is what is wrong, here is how you fix it, just fix it” rather than fines or prosecution.

    Back to lurking for me!

  69. John perhaps it’s time to leave fly over country. Come to the coast and join people with open minds, it’s good for the imagination, and good for your art!

  70. Ahh, yes, the “open minds” of people who dismiss the vast majority of this country with the dismissive term “fly over country”. How enlightened.

  71. Blackadder, Yeah, there’s a solution. Run away and let the idiots run the place rather than try and fix it. That won’t cause any problems for the rest of the country.

  72. Yes, Blackadder, perhaps you don’t realize how offensive the term “fly over country” is to people who live in the midwest. They’re the minority of the US population, but that’s no reason to treat them with such disdain.

  73. Given the damage that Boehner and his cohorts are doing to the country today, I think the fly over country is quite gentle.

  74. Dear Blackadder: I live in the Midwest, and I have found people here to be no less open minded than on the West Coast, where I grew up. Also, my congressman, both my US senators, and my governor are all Democrats. By the way, in case you forgot, our president is a Midwesterner as well. I encourage you to re-examine your attitude.

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