Steve Stockman is a loose cannon - be very afraid

Maybe the progressives resent Stockman for having a sense of humor and not taking their earnest efforts to bring about a socialist utopia seriously. Photo: Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas, December 13, 2013 — In the few days since Congressman Steve Stockman (R-TX) declared his intent to challenge Senator John Cornyn for his Texas Senate seat, there has been a frenzy of attack articles from the left in Texas and in the national media. Stockman’s name is apparently like chum before sharks for leftist commentators and this latest move has them totally unhinged.

Stockman’s great offense? He’s a conservative with a sense of humor.

Apparently it is absolutely unforgivable to mock the president and the administration. Stockman’s transgressions in this area make him the target of the righteous ire of progressives in the media and on the internet, because they hit so close to home and point out that their gods have feet of clay.

The utterly humorless Ben Jacobs at The Daily Beast responded quickly to Stockman’s entry into the race with “Five Outrageous Outbursts by Senate Candidate Steve Stockman.” 

These outrages included Stockman’s contention that since Alfred Kinsey was a child predator maybe we shouldn’t use his work as the basis for sex education programs, Stockman’s amusing tweet that Chlamydia was more popular than Obamacare since it had more cases per month than Obamacare had signups, Stockman’s insightful comment on mob rule pointing out that it was majority rule which got Barabbas pardoned and Jesus crucified and a couple of other true but politically incorrect statements.

Not to be outdone in leaping to the defense of the political establishment, Daniel Strauss at Talking Points Memo has almost doubled the whining with “9 Crazy Things About Sen. Cornyn’s GOP Challenger Rep. Steve Stockman.”

Strauss repeats the list from The Daily Beast and adds more outrageous transgressions and offensive remarks.  Typically ones which only offend stuffed shirt politicians and self-righteous Obamaphiles.  How dare Stockman threaten to impeach President Obama if he tries to restrict gun rights by executive order, a concern shared by many Republicans and not likely to hurt Stockman a bit in a Texas election. 

Strauss also objects to Stockman’s mockery in selecting guests like Ted Nugent to appear in Congress. Nugent’s strong advocacy of gun rights will do Stockman no harm in Texas either, even if seeing him on the House floor during the State of the Union address may have been disconcerting to the President.  Once again, Stockman’s humor was not well received. Strauss apparently doesn’t like the idea of a right to self defense and bridles at Stockman’s tweet “If babies had guns they wouldn’t be aborted.”

It’s almost as if they resent Stockman for having a sense of humor and not taking their dreadfully important efforts to bring about a socialist utopia seriously.

It was inevitable that MSNBC would chime in. It has hated Stockman for years, with a history of making false accusations against him, including a claim linking him to militia groups for which Rachel Maddow had to publicly apologize. In the article “Cornyn vs. Stockman” Steve Benen puts forward what seems likely to be the line of argument which the progressive media will be promoting on Stockman, comparing him to candidates like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock who made crazy statements and lost their elections. 

SEE RELATED: Stockman issues serious challenge to Cornyn in Texas senate race

The article also promotes the idea that John Cornyn is already a super-conservative and that running to the right of Cornyn is a high-risk strategy which won’t appeal to voters, even in Texas and that Stockman is so conservative he’s nuts.

It wants us to think Stockman is a dangerous loose cannon who will cost the GOP Texas and maybe the nation, so we’ll run screaming in terror to “proven conservative” John Cornyn.

The problem with this thesis is that Cornyn only looks conservative if you’re an absolutely delusional progressive who thinks an A rating from the NRA makes you a radical militia member.  From the perspective of Texas Republicans, Cornyn’s support for TARP, indefinite detention, internet spying and Medicare Part D, his vote to fund Obamacare, his slavish support of the party establishment and his efforts to undermine conservative candidates through the NRSC are all signs Cornyn is just another big government establishment hack.

Stockman may be a “loudmouth” with a penchant for mocking the sacred cows of the left, but he’s been on the positive side of a lot of issues which have had bipartisan support. 

He has sponsored bills like the End Federal Prohibition on Marijuana Act, the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act, the Email Privacy Act, the LIBERT-E Act and the USA Freedom Act.  That gives him a much more positive record on civil liberties than Cornyn or most Republicans and many Democrats in Congress. He has supported fiscal accountability with the Federal Reserve Transparency Act and Audit the Fed Act.  He voted against intervention in Syria and opposes foreign intervention in general, but has supported various humanitarian aid bills. 

Stockman has also been a major supporter of legislation improving electrical grid and water system infrastructure, as well as supporting NASA and bipartisan conservation legislation.

Looking at his record and ignoring the smears from the left, it is clear that Stockman is much less of a traditional conservative than Cornyn is. He is clearly more reasonable on civil liberties issues, while being more uncompromising on fiscal issues, putting him at odds with the administration and even many in his own party”s leadership. 

Certainly his role in trying to remove John Boehner as speaker didn’t win him any friends at the top of the party.

It is Texas Republican voters who matter in this primary election. Given their conservative to libertarian inclinations, the fact that Stockman is under heavy attack from the progressive media, administration surrogates and his own party’s establishment is significant. If those are Stockman’s enemies then how can he not be the grassroot voter’s friend?

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Dave Nalle

Dave Nalle has been writing political analysis since the 1980s for newspapers, magazines and now online journals. He is currently Execitive Director of the Center for Foreign Policy Priorities, is on the board of the Coalition to Reduce Spending, and served four years as National Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus.

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