First Principles

In search of the Unified Theory of Conservatism

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Just Who Are The Extremists?

October 25th, 2010 · 3 Comments

It’s so interesting to see the hand wringing these days about “extremism,” mostly from Democrats who have no better argument, and of course from their enablers in the media.  Harry Reid writes a check for Obama to sign that total more than all the money spent in the first 212 years of our nation’s history, and (wrongly) tells our enemies he thinks we’ve lost a war while tens of thousands of troops are still fighting and dying, and Sharron Angle is the extremist?  Sheesh.

Looking more locally, it’s clear there are some hard core extremists by any definition in the Democratic Party, and no one seems to be batting an eye.

Take Robert “Tuna” Townsend, running as a Democrat for Assembly District 25.  (Please!  yuk yuk…)  He’s on a member of the local Democrat Central Committee, and endorsed by every major union in the state and beyond.  (What does the UAW have to do with a local Nevada Assembly race?)  He had no primary opponent.  If you read his profile in the paper (print only over the weekend, or I’d link it), there’s nothing to indicate he’s anything outside of the mainstream of the American center left.  The Reno Gazette Journal endorsed his opponent Pat Hickey, but called Townsend a “good candidate” who lost out mostly due to a lack of experience, as opposed to any specific stance on the issues.

But who is the real Tuna?  Well, he himself tells us, and you don’t need to rely on out-of-context statements.  Townsend has a Facebook page, generally accessible to the public (including RGJ reporters).  A few months ago, he listed himself as “Liberal/Progressive Extremist,” although he’s changed that now to “Moderate Extremist,” whatever that means.

He does still have publicly accessible pictures of himself, and those pictures show that Mr. Townsend really, really doesn’t like capitalism.  Now often that’s hyperbole, but not in this case.  He’s an active, protesting member of the Reno Chapter of the Industrial Workers of the World, a quaint little organization which seeks to unionize everyone, “do away with capitalism,” and “abolish the wage system.”  The IWW itself is long past its heyday when it was conducting violent protests in support of the Communist who were about to turn Russia into the Soviet Union, but they still march around celebrating the same day that North Korea and Cuba use to extol Communism, and for pretty much the same stated reasons.  The IWW of Reno posted a little missive a few months ago, a copy of which “Tuna” maintains on his FB page, which proudly declares themselves to be against the “disasters that capitalism has inflicted upon humanity” and those dastardly online courses at the University of Phoenix.

His official issues page isn’t any better.  His solution to unemployment is to open the borders and flood Nevada with cheap, foreign workers.  He wants to simply wave the legislative wand and turn all of our power plants to solar, thinking this would save money.  (Note to Townsend – if it’s easy and cheap, do it yourself and make some money while saving the planet.  You wouldn’t need the government to do it if it was profitable.  Don’t take my word for it, ask the Spaniards, who have already tried this and spectacularly failed.)

He thinks that ObamaCare doesn’t go far enough, and only represents “the beginning”.  (Of what, who knows, but I’m not looking forward to seeing that price tag.)  In this telling picture, he shows himself to be opposed to any private enterprise in medical care, which would guarantee a stagnation of research and development.  And he thinks that the government should control political campaigns, as opposed to letting that First Amendment thing work how it was intended, with free people deciding for themselves which candidates they wish to fund.

And what’s missing is as telling as what’s there.  He is silent as to the most pressing item on the coming Legislative session’s agenda – the 10 figure budget gap.  How his policies will help small businesses, or any businesses, he does not say.  (This, of course, makes sense once you realize he wants to “do away with capitalism.”)  In his newspaper profile, he coyly says it might be time to start discussing “the ‘T’ word.”

Fortunately, Townsend has no real shot going to Carson City – this is a heavily GOP district, and this is a GOP year.  And on top of that, Townsend makes the fatal mistake of being honest about what liberalism is really all about – State control over individuals and an end to free enterprise.  But the fact that a guy can be on the ballot of a mainstream American party who so deeply either misunderstands or simply despises the foundational principles of the US says troublesome things about what that party is willing to tolerate under its banner.  The fact that he can be called a “good candidate” by the area’s largest and most significant newspaper is even worse.  And you have to wonder how many people will happily vote for him, while simultaneously shaking their heads at how “dangerous” and “extreme” they consider Sharron Angle to be.

There are “extremists” in every movement and every party.  Who they are tends to depend on who you talk to, of course – extremism is a relative term.  But if your baseline is American history and principles, you don’t get much more extreme than Robert “Tuna” Townsend.

Tags: Assembly 25 Campaign · Democrats · Liberals · Nevada Politics · Unions