Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Marine and the Holy Men

Dan McCready and his family
Dan McCready is an ex-Marine and is running for Congress in the 9th Congressional District. He's running as a Democrat. He's an attractive candidate, young and level-headed. He was a college freshman at Duke on 9/11, and after finishing his degree and, seemingly already on the fast track to enter and do well in business, he joined the Marine corps. He went to Iraq in the surge of 2007, and as a captain, he led 65 other Marines in that show of force. After four years in the service, McCready got his MBA from Harvard in 2011, worked for McKinsey and Co. as a management consultant, then started his own company with a fellow ex-Marine -- Double Time Capital -- which invests in solar farms in North Carolina. They've helped build 36 so far. He also founded an online operation, This Land, a retail website that sells handmade American goods.

He's a sharp tack, an entrepreneur. He knows combat. He's smart as hell. He's young. He didn't think about running for office until Trump happened, but he's quick to separate himself from the partisan herd: “We’re really not focused on Trump,” McCready said about his campaign. “I am a Marine and an American before I’m a Democrat .... The American dream I fought for overseas is under attack."

His political "strategery" is still young and unshaped, though he's admitted to being a pro-business Democrat: "I understand from being a business owner how to make a payroll, how to balance a budget, and I believe we need regulatory relief, especially for small business.” Whatevs. I've got to believe there's generosity toward humanity in this package, and he'll be better than any Republican candidate (see below for details).

But he's got to do some renovation on his talking points to overcome "the vague platitudes common among first-time candidates" (Simone Pathe). And so far I can't tell if he's got the instincts for campaigning. (When asked by a reporter from Roll Call how he planned to attack Pittenger, McCready brought up Pittenger’s vote to fast-track trade promotion authority. Huh? That's your number one issue with Pittenger's record?) But McCready did think to criticize Pittenger's votes against Obamacare, quoting the incumbent's notorious insult that people could just move their butts out of state if they didn’t like the health care available to them.

McCready has been a phenomenal money-raiser. He announced his campaign way back last May, and as of last November he had already raised about $1 million, considerably more than the incumbent. McCready's raised more by now. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (a.k.a., DCCC) added him to the party’s Red to Blue program, which provides organizational and fundraising support, and McCready's ex-Marine partner in solar farm investment has started his own Super PAC to help more military veterans get to Congress.

(NOTE: Yes, I know there'll be a Democratic primary in May between McCready and Christian
Cano, who ran at 41.82% of the vote against Pittenger in 2016, and a third Democratic candidate, a woman named Maria Collins Warren, who has not so far filed for office.)

The Holy Men
Rob Christensen has a lengthy profile in today's News and Observer of the two leading Republicans who'll be battling for supremacy in May -- incumbent Robert Pittenger and Baptist preacher man Mark Harris. Harris has become a perennial candidate. He finished third in the GOP primary for the U.S. Senate in 2014 in a race won by then-state House Speaker Thom Tillis. In 2016, he unsuccessfully challenged Pittenger in the Republican primary, losing by a mere 133 votes. I've always believed Harris would win this primary, because Republican primaries have become extended tent revivals where glib preachers shout down sin, a popular Republican activity, and Pittenger looks tired and limp.

Mark Harris is first and foremost a smooth promoter of the Freedom Caucus Gospel, lambasting
as "the most liberal Republican in Congress" for voting for Trump's tax bill. Pittenger's riposte against Harris: “Mark Harris has opposed President Trump’s agenda and is instead siding with liberal Democrats like Nancy Pelosi. While I voted to support President Trump, (Defense) Secretary Mattis and our troops, Harris said no. He is standing with Pelosi and House Democratic Leadership against the President’s budget.” Once again: Real men don't eat Pelosi.

Over the holidays, Rob Christensen reports, Pittenger ran a TV commercial in which he stood in front of a Christmas tree and said: “I’ve dedicated my life to sharing God’s love through Jesus Christ. Let’s end political correctness and put the true meaning of Christ back in Christmas.” If that pasted-on piety doesn't make your skin crawl, remember how Mark Harris led the fight in 2012 to take away civil liberties from LBGT citizens with Amendment One.

I think it'll be McCready v. Harris in November, and I'll lay you odds that McCready wins it.

To contribute to Dan McCready's campaign:

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