Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona
Progressives have their hair on fire regarding Congressman Ron Barber’s (and Kyrsten Sinema’s) recent votes to help Teapublicans in the House of Representatives create a Congressional
witch hunt committee to re-investigate the the terrorist attack in Benghazi in 2012, when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. (Seriously, boys, if Benghazi and Monica Lewinsky’s article in Vanity Fair are all you have on Hillary, you’re in trouble. But I digress.)
On Facebook, Democrats and Progressives are vowing never to work or donate to Barber because of his Republican-lite voting record. Some say they may reluctantly vote for him but nothing more! I have often said that women’s issues (healthcare, choice, access to contraception, and equal pay) may save Barber, and that otherwise, he and challenger Martha McSally are pretty close in their views– particularly on the A-10.
Inspired by BfAZ blogger Donna Gratehouse’s Venn diagram earlier today, I offer the above Venn diagram to illustrate what issues Barber and McSally agree and disagree on. The information has been gleaned from statements, votes, news stories, and the candidates’ campaign websites. [NOTE: The Venn diagram includes an incomplete list of the “silent” issues. They also both void discussing: the environment; marijuana legalization; private prisons; undocumented workers; unemployment, food stamps, and other social safety net programs; and probably others I haven’t thought of.]
To his credit, Barber’s positions are well-outlined under the “issues” tab on his website. This is where I found his statements about protecting middle class tax cuts, voting for taxes on the wealthiest Americans, helping students with debt, supporting solar power, and supporting research and technology at the University of Arizona. His website also doesn’t mince any words about his support for women’s healthcare (calling it an issue of “personal liberty”– nice!) and for equal pay for equal work (which is right on his home page). Barber also has been a supporter of extending the ratification deadline for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), and he has stood with Progressives in their fight against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
McSally’s positions in 2014 are even harder to pin down and far more vague than in 2012. She doesn’t even have an “issues” tab on her website; the closest thing to actually voicing an opinion is her “three pillars of my campaign”. This section is a collection of vague Tea Party platitudes. Strong military. Small guv’mint. Help business.
For someone who bills herself as a “woman warrior”, McSally is no friend to women. She is anti-choice. She was clear on being a devout Christian who believes in protecting the “sanctity of life” in 2012, but there is no mention of this or any other women’s issues on her website. You’d think in her “Government Overreach” section she may mention the government overreach into controlling women’s lives and healthcare decisions… but no.
McSally is anti-healthcare reform (preferring a return to market-driven health insurance that leave millions uninsured and preferring the Ryan budget voucher-Medicare “reform”).
She has refused to take a stand on equal pay for equal work, but she backed Mitt Romney for president, which hints on her stand, since Romney famously said he would not have signed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Her economic views rests solely on helping the military and helping business. (Although the Tucson Weekly recently reported that McSally told them in an email that she supports equal pay, there is no mention of it under economics on her website, at this time.)
Yes, I don’t like many of Barber’s votes, but with him, you know where you stand– at least on some issues. McSally is being purposefully vague and deceptive– particularly when it comes to hiding her anti-abortion views. A real woman warrior would stand by her word, instead of running away from her opinions.
Will women win this race for Barber? It could happen. The last thing American women need is another Tea Party bobble head who does what she’s told and vote against choice, equal pay, and equal rights for women.
At the April Arizona Democratic Party State Committee Meeting, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi gave a rousing speech to the party faithful. She strongly urged Arizona activists to support, work for, and vote for all of Arizona’s Congressional Democrats– including a special shoutout to Ann Kirkpatrick, Kyrsten Sinema, and Ron Barber. Upon leaving the meeting, I overheard one delegate say, “I guess Nancy would rather have Barber’s vote 50% of the time, than McSally’s vote none of the time.”
Here are some of my 2014 and 2012 articles on Martha McSally.
Martha McSally: The Anti-Feminist (Nov 2012)
And don’t forget to check out the AZBlueMeanie’s long series: Questions for Martha McSally on Blog for Arizona. (Use the search function in the far right column.) Also, a shoutout to Thelma Grimes, at the Explorer, who recently called out McSally for not standing up for women. And to Jim Nintzel, of the Tucson Weekly, who is on a quest for answers from McSally.