I remember, from reading DK Elections, that Ed Markey was very slow at getting a website up and running after he declared his candidacy for the open Senate seat in Massachusetts. However, the Markey campaign's website, now that it exists, is relatively content-rich and very colorful.  It has an attractive background of sites in MA and an eye-catching red-and-blue color scheme.  It highlights various ways to get involved (with little images for each action) and offers an issues page that spotlights Markey's achievements during his 37 years in the House of Representatives.

When I first visited Gabriel Gomez's website a couple of weeks ago to figure out who he was and how he presented himself, I was rather surprised to see how relatively plain it was.  It has a plain white background and a rather thin font that doesn't attract one's attention.  It doesn't emphasize citizen engagement with the campaign nearly as much as the Markey site does, and the Issues section is rather short---whether because of Gomez's lack of experience, lack of opinions, or the tendency of candidates from the opposition party to try to say nothing but sound nice doing so.

I thought, then, that it could be fun to go through the Gomez site's issues section to see the mix of tired Republican talking points, bipartisan cliches, and outright misinformation.  I also found it interesting, when looking through their websites, to note the differences in categorization and nomenclature in their "issues" sections because those decisions are often revealing--in rather unsurprising ways.

Fiscal Responsibility

Washington, DC has a spending problem.
This Republican talking point will likely last the whole Obama presidency--as well as into that of any future Democratic officeholder.  Did Washington also have a spending problem under George W. Bush, our good old friend who started two unfunded wars, complemented them with two rounds of tax cuts, and took on new costs with the Medicare drug benefit program that banned the government from negotiating prices?

One might even dare to say that we have a revenue problem with the continuation of high unemployment decreasing potential tax revenue and with historically low corporate tax rates accompanying record-high corporate profits?

The Federal government has become a bloated organization with no budget, and runs at an annual loss. Today, we are $16 trillion in debt.
I know, the Pentagon and DHS are so bloated and mismanaged that neither one can pass an audit.  I work for a nonprofit, and if we didn't have audited financial statements, we wouldn't be getting funding.  But I'm sure that's not what you mean, Gabby.
Meanwhile, career politicians on both sides of the aisle continue to kick the can down the road and print more money.
I would assume that "career politicians" is intended as a jab at committed public servant Ed Markey, who represented MA-07 for 37 years.  

"Kick the can down the road"?  Why, he'd be great for the next video of The Can Kicks Back, the Peterson-funded youth movement run by octogenarians!  He'd be younger than the average backer.  He could even pose with the can himself!  (I'd feel bad for the kid in the can costume if I didn't know that he wanted to gut Social Security and Medicare.)

We recently raised taxes on the wealthy, and on every worker in America with the payroll tax hike.
Ah, yes, the "Obama already had his tax increase" line that Boehner, McConnell, and the rest parrot so well, ignoring that they already had their spending cuts, too.
It is time now to reach across the aisle and work together to enact meaningful spending reductions in a fair and equitable way, without hurting our military preparedness.
"Reach across the aisle"?  I have an idea.  Maybe at the next SOTU, every member in Congress can bring a member of the other party as a guest to foster bipartisan comity! Oh wait, they've already done that multiple times.  

"Fair" and "equitable" are as Orwellian as the beloved "balance."

And why does "military preparedness" get singled out for protection?  No "without hurting our seniors and children"?  No "without harming our investments in the future"?  Just the military gets special treatment from Gabby despite the fact that all of our current wars are wars of aggression.  If I am not mistaken, the last time that the country was attacked by a foreign military was Pearl Harbor in 1941.  If you want to focus on the lower 48, I'd assume you'd have to go all the way back to the war of 1812.  Thankfully, neither Canada nor Mexico is likely to invade, so we have no military threats to the territorial integrity of the homeland.

Markey website counterpart: Jobs and the Economy--Because rather than continuing to slash the falling deficit or continue some good old-fashioned debt-mongering, Markey wants to focus on putting people back to work.

Entitlement Reform

Our nation’s entitlement programs are on the path to insolvency.
FALSE.  Social Security is not going broke, and it has been running surpluses.  Moreover, the CBO has recently lowered predicted Medicare spending over the next decade as a result of various efficiencies stemming from the Affordable Care Act and the trend of health care costs.
To save these programs, we need bipartisan action now.
He should just say that our social insurance programs face imminent bankruptcy and use the administration's definition of imminent (i.e. "not imminent.")
For many of our mothers and fathers, Social Security is an important lifeline. We cannot risk losing this essential program because of inaction or complacency.
So you support the resolution introduced by Bernie Sanders and Tom Harkin to oppose the adoption of chained CPI.  Hahaha, of course you don't.
Political leaders in Washington should have the courage to commit to reforming these programs, without engaging in disingenuous and shameless scare tactics designed to scare our seniors.
I know, can you believe that such leaders use scare tactics like telling people that Medicare and Social Security are at the brink of insolvency?  

Markey website counterpart: Seniors--a reference to the human beings whom the policies affect


My parents immigrated to the United States from Colombia in 1964, searching for the American Dream. America is the most compassionate and giving country in the world.

Legal immigration is a great benefit to this country. We must welcome those who want to work hard, and want to become law abiding Americans.

Immigration exemplifies the dysfunction in Washington. It is time to stop the partisan bickering, and for Congress and the President to work together to enact a bipartisan solution this year.

Serious immigration reform starts with securing our borders. Illegal immigrants with criminal records should be deported.

We must also seek to increase legal immigration. America must not educate the world in our universities, while forcing them out of the country to produce economic benefits in other countries.

Most undocumented workers are hard workers who contribute to our economy. It is time to bring illegal immigrants or undocumented workers out of the shadows, and offer an opportunity to obtain legal status, even citizenship, if they are willing to pursue it.

Immigration is probably Gomez's best issue.  My gripes--other than with the bipartisan cliches--apply to those in both parties as the President and the "Gang of 8" plan to further militarize the border and offer a weak, obstacle-filled, and unnecessarily long "path to citizenship."

Markey website counterpart: Immigration

Second Amendment

As a former U.S. Navy SEAL, I am a strong Second Amendment supporter.
His requisite "man card" statement.
Our freedoms make America the most unique and prosperous country in the world. The President and the Congress must act now to forge consensus and compromise to close the gun show loophole, and to keep weapons out of the hands of those with mental health issues.
The line "Our freedoms make America the most unique and prosperous country in the world" is quite funny because of how misplaced it is here.

Gomez would vote for the watered-down not-quite-universal background checks amendment authored by conservaDem Joe Manchin and Tea Party reactionary Pat Toomey (with the NRA in the room), but, unsurprisingly, he opposes the stronger provisions of an assault weapons ban and magazine limitation.

We must not, however, take away freedom for law-abiding citizens in the process.
So people with mental health issues aren't "law-abiding citizens"?

Markey website equivalent: suicide rate in the country?  Is he going to talk about the continuation of the death penalty that makes the U.S. one of the top countries in the world for executions?  Are we going to talk about preventing disease?  Haha, of course not, this category only talks about abortion.

Wouldn't it make more sense to have a category titled "Women and Families" or just subsume this into a discussion of health care?

I am a proud Catholic, and pro-life.

But Roe v Wade is settled law. Politicians spend way too much time on divisive issues that are already decided and far too little time on fixing our economy.

No, Gabby, the ones who focus too much time on such "divisive issues" are not just "politicians," they're Republicans.

The issues surrounding reproductive health go far past just the status of Roe v. Wade.  For example, last year, Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) introduced legislation to overturn the contraception mandate of the Affordable Care Act and allow employers to decide whether or not they wanted to include contraception in the health care package offered to employees.  Gabby has refused to take a stance on this.  Nominally pro-choice senators like Susan Collins voted for the Blunt amendment--the only Republican to vote against it was the now-retired Olympia Snowe.  The Blunt Amendment factored quite prominently in a number of the debates between Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown as Warren rightfully attacked Brown's record on women's issues.

Markey website equivalent: Women's Issues -- Again, a reference to the human beings whom the policies affect


I oppose discrimination of any kind. Same sex couples should be free to marry.
"I oppose discrimination" is such a bold statement, isn't it? But how does he reconcile that claim and the second claim here with his belief that state should be free to pass discriminatory laws against same-sex couples?  Likewise, he has remained mum on the Employee Non-Discrimination Act--marriage equality isn't the only LGBT issue.

Markey website equivalent
: LGBT--A reference to the human beings whom the policies affect

Climate Change

Climate change is real. However, while science says climate change is real, addressing the problem must be done rationally.

Unfortunately, many solutions offered by politicians in Washington are not rational, and would put America at a competitive disadvantage.

Rational (adjective): Based on or in accordance with reason or logic

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere recently passed 400 ppm, a concentration not seen in millions of years and a long-feared milestone.  If we acknowledge the threat that this poses, with the risks of extreme weather, flooding, and food insecurity, then we would--using our tools of reason and logic--take immediate, far-reaching action.

"Rational" does not mean "in line with the self-interest of corporations."  Corporations--like Exxon and Shell, for instance--don't care very much about climate change action because they don't want to leave the oil in the ground as would be necessary.  As Upton Sinclair used to say, "it is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it."

We need a serious energy agenda that promotes private sector innovation in both the United States and in other countries around the world.
Techno-optimism can only get us so far, and it cannot address such a comprehensive problem as effectively as a solid regulatory framework, nor can such innovation occur without the help of public sector investment.  

Markey website counterpart: Climate

Energy Independence

I will work with President Obama when he is right, and will oppose him when he is wrong.
That is so trite that it hurts.
The Obama administration is wrong in stopping the Keystone pipeline, a project that will create jobs, drive down our energy costs, and help us to become energy independent.
I've already written a diary debunking the Keystone myths regarding job creation, costs, and 'energy independence,' but I'll note a few quick points. If the company owning the pipeline is Canadian, and the pipeline goes to the export markets of Texas, we will not become "energy independent."  You can only improve "energy independence" by focusing on energy sources that cannot be exported, e.g. solar and wind.  Moreover, oil companies aren't stupid; they won't drill so much that their price collapses.  If you want cheap oil, you would have to nationalize the industry, fix the prices, and subsidize the industry heavily, and we all know how much the U.S. loves it when other countries try to nationalize oil.

Is the Keystone pipeline really the only energy-related issue that Gomez deems worthy of mention?

Markey website counterpart: Environment and Energy---Markey's section actually addresses environmental issues because, you know, they exist.


Access to quality, affordable health care is a goal on which both sides of the political aisle can agree.
No, it isn't.  Republicans, as even self-described Republicans like Josh Barro are willing to admit, have no actual health care policy ideas. If Republicans cared about quality, affordable health care, they would not be advocating for cutting Medicaid and turning it into block grants.  They also wanted support the voucherization of Medicare, leading seniors to pay more out of pocket expenses.
So-called solutions like Obamacare only address part of the problem, while ignoring or compounding the underlying costs of health care.
I agree with you on that, Gabby.  Do you agree with fellow Republican David May, of the Board of Governors of the American College of Cardiology, that we need a single payer system?  Hahaha, who am I kidding?
States should be free to design their own programs, just as we did here in Massachusetts.
If you like the Massachusetts model and believe it accomplishes the goals implicit in health care reform, why do you oppose its extension across the country?  Parts of the ACA, such as the exchanges (a conservative idea, I might add), are done at the state level, and the functioning of the MA health care system is dependent on federal money from Medicaid, Medicare, etc.

Markey website counterpart: Healthcare

Foreign Policy

As a former Navy SEAL, I know how essential it is for freedom here and around the world that America maintains a strong national defense. We need to preserve our ability to stand up for our allies and protect ourselves.
I already noted that we haven't seen an attack from a foreign military on the US homeland since 1941.  The Cold War had its string of wars of aggression.  So does the GWOT.  The assertion that a large military can coexist with "freedom" ignores an inherent contradiction between the two.
America has no closer ally than Israel, and we must work together not only to ensure Israel’s security but also to promote freedom and encourage peace throughout the Middle East. I support a two-state solution that is negotiated by the parties and includes defensible borders for Israel.

I recognize Israel’s right to defend itself from the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran and I believe the United States should take whatever steps are necessary to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

So, his foreign policy section only mentioned one country: Israel.  It reminds me of the map I've previously described as "the world according to the Senate."

I've also always thought, that when it comes to nuclear weapons, the U.S. sounds like a guy who stockpiles semi-automatic weapons but then advocates background checks so that the "crazies" don't get weapons.

We must confront the real threats to freedom and we must sustain the readiness we need to protect our security and sustain the cause of liberty.
"The real threats to freedom"?  (As opposed to "fake" ones?) The "cause of liberty"?  This sounds like such a Cold War throwback that it makes me laugh. We really do a great job for the cause of liberty, don't we?  Indefinite detention, the use of torture and rendition just embodied the "cause of liberty," right?

Markey website equivalent: National Security and Safety at Home

Markey's website also has sections on education, labor, technology, and veterans--none of which see a counterpart on the Gomez site.

Originally posted to Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees on Tue May 21, 2013 at 06:27 AM PDT.

Also republished by Massachusetts Kosmopolitans.

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