Please forgive us for stating the obvious, but it’s time for the District of Columbia Republican Party to pack it in. Desist. Give up. Go home. Don’t waste a single additional dollar or minute attempting to be part of the political process. The party should literally close its office, cancel its bank account, deactivate its web page, and resign its place on the Republican National Committee; activists should focus their resources elsewhere. We say this as a former member of the D.C. Republican Committee, ward officer, campaign worker, and unsuccessful candidate for minor local office. We took our own advice years ago but remained a semi-believer until now.
Patrick Mara had all of the ingredients for the best Republican chance to win a city council seat: a special election with low turnout (it ended up being around 10%); a divided field (four Democrats and six candidates overall) and no elected incumbent opponent (the victorious Anita Bonds was appointed to the vacant seat about five months ago); and appeal as a candidate by D.C. standards (he trumpeted his left-wing social views and received the endorsements of the Washington Post, Sierra Club, police union, and prominent mainstream media and interest groups) with good name recognition (he was previously elected to the [non-partisan] school board and had run twice before for the council). With all of this effort, he lost comfortably, obtaining a projected 23% of the vote to finish third.
It is depressing. In the best opportunity in years for a Republican to get elected, a good candidate mustered about 2.3% of the electorate. As usual, the race was about political party, bacon for the local neighborhood, and race. District of Columbia law requires that at least two of the 13 council members be from a minority party, yet the Republicans still haven’t won an election since 2004, after which David Catania left the party to become an independent and Carol Schwartz (who played the Washington Generals to the Democrats’ Harlem Globetrotters in several mayoral elections) lost her council re-election bid.
Republicans should say to District residents, fine, you have repeatedly and unequivocally stated your preference for the venal, petty, corrupt, inept one-party governance that has made the District a national laughingstock (see summaries here and here). You own it.
CNN.com’s report on the bugging of Sen. McConnell’s (R-Ky.) office characterizes his erstwhile future opponent Ashley Judd as “left-leaning.” Meanwhile, recent news or opinion articles have referred to Rick Santorum, Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly, Margaret Thatcher, and Republican Reps. Paul Brown (Ga.) and Steve King (Ia.), among others, as “right-wing.”
In fact, a search of recent CNN.com articles finds no individual in American politics identified as the parallel “left-wing” or “leftist” (the last seems to be in 2003, “Lieberman lashes left-wing Democrats“). Donald Trump seems to be the only “right-leaning” figure that has warranted a recent mention.
CNN gives more insight into its perspective on the political spectrum in an article about Jay-Z and Beyonce’s visit to Cuba, mentioning multiple times “right-wing” American critics of the regime but only mustering the language “cautious program of reform” to refer to Raul Castro’s regime.
It seems like common sense: mentally ill citizens shouldn’t have access to guns. Republicans and the NRA promote this policy, perhaps as a way to seem conciliatory while opposing more radical restrictions of gun ownership. But conservatives should be loath to concede, let alone expand, our country’s half-century trend of over-diagnosing and over-medicating supposed psychiatric problems. Jacob Sullum reports on government statistics saying that nearly half of all Americans could be diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder at some point in their lives.
Think of all the unintended (or perhaps proponents intend them) consequences: the end of doctor-patient privilege in many cases, government amassing databases of individuals’ mental health, monitoring of citizens’ actions and thoughts, and further exploding of the psychiatrist/social worker/government bureaucrat complex. If one were trying to conceive a seemingly-benign first step toward Stalinist persecution of “mentally ill” dissenters, this would be a winner. Guns are dangerous, so dangerous people shouldn’t have easy access to them. Speech can be dangerous, too.
Think of the new HHS Administration for Mental Health Screening and Monitoring. We can just see the process now: if you list “protection from government tyranny” as your reason to want to acquire a gun, then you’ll be deemed as ipso facto mentally unfit.*
(*This reminds us of a scene from Airplane! II. Paraphrasing a bit, the dialogue goes something like this: Patient in bed in psychiatric ward, looking at his bill, screams: “I can’t stand it! $2,000 a day! For horrible food, lousy doctors, rotten nurses. . .” Patient in next bed, talking with doctor: “Doctor, what’s his problem?” Doctor: “He’s obviously crazy.”)
Update: Courtesy of Alex Jones, New York Police Confiscating Firearms from People Taking Anti-anxiety Medication