Opinion: ‘Democrats have been much better at the game of politics and elections than Republicans and that is hurting people like me’

Clark County Today Editor Ken Vance pleads with Republicans to focus more on winning the war with Democrats than the battle with each other.

Clark County Today Editor Ken Vance pleads with Republicans to focus more on winning the war with Democrats than the battle with each other

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – American philosopher George Santayana, as stated in his work, “The Life of Reason: Reason in Common Sense.’’

This isn’t going to please some of my Conservative brethren, but it needs to be said. Democrats have been much better at the game of politics and elections than Republicans and that is hurting people like me. 

Editor Ken Vance
Editor Ken Vance

I’m a conservative because I believe in a smaller, less-intrusive government. I believe individuals should have an abundance of freedom and individual rights. I believe they should be taxed less, not more. I believe they should be allowed, or forced, to stand on their own two feet, or those of their friends and families, rather than be dependent on the government. I believe politicians should represent the people who elect them. I believe they should uphold the U.S. Constitution and the vision, spirit and wisdom provided by our Founding Fathers. These are supposed to be the ideals of the Republican Party. Folks like me are dependent on the Republican Party to uphold these ideals because the Democrats surely don’t represent them.

I’ve been watching the dysfunction in the Republican Party, both locally and nationally, for far too long. I believe the disappointing showing by Conservative candidates in the midterm election and the battle in the U.S. House of Representatives to name Rep. Kevin McCarthy as speaker are recent examples that Republicans are often not very good at working and playing well with others in their own party.

People like me with a voice are not supposed to talk about it publicly. We’re supposed to sweep it under the rug, keep it hidden behind closed doors. It’s as if we don’t speak about it, it doesn’t actually exist. But it does, and it’s impacting my life and I’m tired of it.

A local debacle

Clark County Today Editor Ken Vance pleads with Republicans to focus more on winning the war with Democrats than the battle with each other.

Those of us here in Clark County need only to look at November’s general election for a local example of what I’m talking about. Republican Jaime Herrera Buetler had served as Congresswoman in the Third Congressional District since 2010. But she wasn’t conservative enough for many Republicans in the district and her vote to impeach President Donald Trump was the final straw that broke the camel’s back. The members of the Executive Board of the Clark County Republican Party issued a strongly worded statement against Herrera Beutler’s vote and Republicans across the district immediately went to work to defeat the Congresswoman in the next primary election.

Clark County Today Editor Ken Vance pleads with Republicans to focus more on winning the war with Democrats than the battle with each other.

However, in typical Republican fashion, members of the party couldn’t agree on a candidate to challenge Herrera Beutler. The two highest profile Republican candidates were Joe Kent and Heidi St. John. It seemed everyone in the party agreed it was important to settle on one internal candidate, but neither candidate, nor their supporters, would stand down and support the other candidate. Add to that, former state Rep. Vicki Kraft entered the race at a later date so conservatives in the district had three quality candidates to choose from with the hope that one would defeat Herrera Beutler in the primary. 

After a brutal campaign that spanned about a year and a half, a bloodied and broke Kent narrowly defeated Herrera Buetler in the primary and advanced to the general election where he would face Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez.

As a journalist, I try to remain as objective and neutral during election season as I can. I believe I am more informed than the average citizen, but I will confess that I knew almost nothing about Gluesenkamp Perez before the primary. She wasn’t seriously challenged by any other Democrat and, as that party’s lone legitimate candidate, she hardly even had to campaign, or spend any of her war chest, to advance from the primary.

You all know the net result. Sure, we no longer have a moderate Republican in the Third Congressional District seat. But, what we now have, by all appearances, is an extreme liberal that is so unqualified and incapable that it would be laughable if it wasn’t so frightening. 

Gluesenkamp Perez at work in Washington, D.C.

Our liberal representative for the Third Congressional District was put on blast on Twitter this week for sharing her personal experience of a miscarriage and using it to support her position on abortion. On Sunday (Jan. 22), Gluesenkamp Perez wrote on Twitter

Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez
Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez

Three years ago I miscarried in the second trimester of a pregnancy. It’s a painful memory but something many women have experienced.

“I traveled hours to the nearest clinic, and I encountered anti-choice protesters. Thankfully I got the care I needed that day.’’

And that was followed by a second Twitter post the same day:

I had been told without an immediate abortion, or dilation and evacuation, that my life was at risk. That I could die, or not be able to have children in the future.

“I got the care I needed, and now I’m the mother of my 17 month old son.’’

And, finally, the Congresswoman added this third comment:

“On what would’ve been #RoeVWade’s 50th anniversary, I’m thinking of the millions of Americans with stories like mine who are forced to go without access to safe reproductive care.

“I won’t stop fighting to restore this fundamental right and defend reproductive freedom for all.’’

Obviously, we are all saddened to learn that Gluesenkamp Perez suffered a miscarriage, which is the loss of a valued life. And, we are also very happy that she has since been blessed with a healthy son.

As you might expect, the reaction to the Congresswoman either confusing her own miscarriage to an abortion, or using it to promote her abortion rights agenda, has been loud and strong. Here are a few examples:

“I’m sorry for your loss, which is what it was. You did not have an unwanted baby killed through abortion. You lost a wanted baby through a natural process.

“Please don’t conflate abortion and miscarriage. They are not the same things.’’ – Fuzzy Chimp/Twitter

“Serious question…why would you not just have gone to a hospital or medical center that was closer? They deal w miscarriages on a daily basis and the treatment you received would have been rendered in the same manner.’’ – CarolinaConservative3/Twitter 

“Quit telling lies lady. The town you are from in WA is a mere 23 miles from Portland, OR.  Also, there are no less than 15 women’s clinics/health facilities within a half hour drive of your registered hometown of Washougal,WA.’’ – mardi Gras/Twitter

As a conservative, am I better off being represented by Gluesenkamp Perez than Herrera Beutler, who by the way had a pretty good record of opposing legal abortions and federal funding for abortions? I don’t see how I am better off. Despite that, I know Republicans who have actually taken solace in the fact that they were successful in getting Herrera Beutler out of office. That is unfathomable to me as I watch and listen to our new Congresswoman.

Our ideas are better

When it comes to the ideals and political ideology that I shared earlier in this column as the reasons for my conservative views, I don’t believe they are best only for me. I believe they are what’s best for our community, our state and our nation. I want the Republican Party to be successful for very selfish reasons. I want a better life, for me and my neighbor. For my son, who I hope will be living in this country long after I am gone. I’m sure the Republicans who I am being critical of right now want the same thing. 

On the local front, after years of embarrassing ineptitude and failures by past leadership, the Clark County Republican Party elected new leadership at the end of 2022. Let’s hope the party will unite and have more success getting quality candidates elected to local, state and federal positions. 

For me, priority one is uniting behind one candidate in the next election to defeat Gluesenkamp Perez. We need better leadership from leaders with better ideas. As you know, I don’t endorse political candidates so please don’t interpret this as an endorsement for any individual candidate. 

Joe Kent
Joe Kent

That said, Joe Kent has already announced he will run against Gluesenkamp Perez in the next election and he is trying to raise funds to do just that. He was defeated by Gluesenkamp Perez by just 2,629 votes (less than 1 percent) in November. Republicans need to decide now if Kent is their candidate and if he is they need to put 100 percent of their effort and resources into supporting his candidacy rather than forcing him to go through another grueling primary battle similar to the one that likely kept him from being elected in November.

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