For the last several days, I’ve been hectoring poor Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden about the fact he had been running for nine months and had yet to take meaningful concrete positions on most of the issues on which he would have to vote and legislate and perhaps compromise if he won the election. (I am among the shrinking pool of politically obsessives who continues to act as if this is an important requirement for a candidate, although it clearly has no future).
I had no sooner posted my latest sarcastic and unfair piece along those lines than my MinnPost editor alerted me that McFadden had recently added an “issues” section to his campaign website. In fact, among the four most serious candidates for the Republican Senate nomination, this puts McFadden second, behind only St. Louis County Commissioner Chris Dahlberg in having an explicit “issues” section, although the others, state Sen. Julianne Ortman and state Rep. Jim Abeler, had previously said much more about issues and all of them had pre-existing voting records (although not on federal issues). All of the others had also previously attended public debates, which McFadden, rather amazingly, has been too busy to do.
Anyway, I apologize for not noticing McFadden’s issues page sooner. However, after reading the material, it would be a huge overstatement to suggest that McFadden has met his obligation to level with Minnesotans about what he is for and against, except that he is for things that would benefit all and against anything that would cause anyone any pain or cost them any money.
On health care, McFadden’s website now commits him to repeal Obamacare and replace it with “a patient-centered market-based solution that will lower costs and increase accessibility for all Americans.” He wants the states to have more flexibility (which, if it means anything, would presumably mean that some of them will not increase access). He wants those with pre-existing conditions to have access to affordable insurance (as many did not not before Obamacare) but he doesn’t say how that will be paid for while he is lowering costs for all. He favors repealing the tax on medical-device sales. He says that Sen. Al Franken opposes repealing the tax, but that is somewhere between an oversimplification and a falsehood, and closer to the latter.
Economy, education, deficit
In his new entry on how to stimulate the economy, McFadden comes out against burdensome regulations and excessive taxation without specifying what he would get rid of in either area.
Since the day he announced, McFadden has emphasized education, without specifcying how he would try to improve it, and has emphasized that he served on the board of Cristo Rey, a Minneapolis Catholic school that has had excellent results educating students from poor families. But he hadn’t yet, and in his new education paper still hasn’t elucidated how the Cristo Rey methods could be applied to the larger public school population.
McFadden thinks the deficit is too high and the federal debt has become “our greatest liability.” He favors reducing debt and deficit by “reining in out-of-control spending” but doesn’t specify any cuts. Not one penny.
The briefest of the papers, titled “Protecting Minnesota Seniors,” calls for fulfilling all Social Security and Medicare promises made to those at or near retirement age, but expresses the need for unspecified changes that will secure the programs for future generations.
As I mentioned in a previous post, McFadden is fond of the term “limited but effective government,” and his five-paragraph overview of what that means is the longest of his new position papers. It includes: “Demand excellence,” which means “programs that are both cost effective and have a positive impact”; “Stop Snooping on Americans,” and Franken comes in for special blame for NSA-type violations of Americans’ privacy because he chairs a Senate subcommittee on privacy issues; “Saying No to Higher Taxes,” which clarifies that all of the deficit and debt reduction will come from spending cuts ;”Protect the Second Amendment,” in which McFadden seeks to fix a problem he created in a previous interview when he seemed to imply that he favored what some call the “gun show loophole”; and “create an immigration system for the 21st century,” in which he calls for a “radical rethink,” comes out against “amnesty,” seems to favor what liberals call a “path to citizenship” only after the would-be citizen meets several tough requirements — which he enumerates and promises not to do anything about opening such a path until the border is secured first.
Come to think about it, that last one, about immigration, comes pretty close to being a policy position. None of the others would meet my own definition. What about yours?