Campbell and Kagan

Bad luck for Tom Campbell that Elena Kagan just was nominated to be on the U.S. Supreme Court. Campbell’s weakness in the GOP primary is the “social issues”: abortion, gun control, same-sex “marriage,” etc.

Here’s an AP story on Kagan’s appointment: “Any Supreme Court confirmation battle stirs a pot of issues important to conservative and liberal activists. Kagan can expect to be grilled about abortion, privacy, property rights, gun control and treatment of terrorist suspects.”

Campbell, during the recent debate, amazingly came out for allowing the feds to ban gun purchases for anyone on the “no fly” list for airplanes. This is a secret list. So, your Second Amendment gun rights could be taken away — and you wouldn’t even know about it until you tried to buy a gun to protect yourself! Such an action would be arbitrary tyranny of the worst sort.

Both of his opponents, Chuck DeVore and Carly Fiorina, have attacked him on it, scoring points with gun-rights voters.

Campbell has been a law professor, so he has to mean what he’s saying. And a U.S. Senator would not only vote on gun-rights laws, but decide whether someone  — such as Kagan — should be on the Supreme Court.

Another issue is abortion. Pro-lifers still make up a big part of the GOP base. Campbell is pro-abortion, DeVore and Fiorina are opposed (DeVore always, Fiorina only recently).

So far, DeVore and Fiorina are dividing the votes of the social-issues types, giving Campbell the lead. But if he drops in the polls, one of them might rise.

If Campbell wins the primary, in the general election social-issues voters will stay home or vote for a third-party candidate, rather than vote for him. This isn’t a new problem. It existed in his two previous races for U.S. Senate.

This problem for Campbell is only going to intensify as the nation debates Kagan’s nomination over the next several weeks. Every issue that comes up for her will be asked of him. His answers will not satisfy the social-issues voters. And DeVore and Fiorina will capitalize on his every statement.

In his column today, Peter Shragg belittled the GOP social conservatives and suggested that Campbell is just what Republicans need to beat Barbara Boxer. I doubt it.

Shragg even writes, “Last year, as the state struggled with a monster deficit, he endorsed a budget compromise that included a tax increase and – horror of horrors – admits that he opposes gun rights for people on the FBI’s anti-terrorist watch list.”

But what if, next, there’s an “anti-terrorist watch list” for book purchases, so those the FBI identifies as “terrorists” can’t buy, say, undesirable political literature — as defined by the government. Will Campbell and Shragg then say it’s OK to cancel the First Amendment?

Shragg attacks the GOP’s “troglodyte extremes.” But his and Campbell’s assault on the Bill of Rights is what’s extreme.

If Campbell is nominated, I think you’ll see a strong movement for the GOP base toward the American Independent Party and the Libertarian candidates.

— John Seiler

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