Politics

Republican Senate Candidates Are Politically Identical

Still deciding who to favor among the Republican candidates vying for nomination to the U.S. Senate? Might as well play eenie, meenie, miney, mo, or choose based on favorite color or music preference, because politically, they're practically the same.

Tom Leppert, Senate candidate and former Dallas mayor, even noted at last night's Republican Senate candidate forum, "We agree on all those issues. You won't see any distinction." Then he encouraged the audience to pay attention to his track record as a proven leader.

As expected, frontrunner David Dewhurst skipped the Belo Mansion affair, but five of his opponents -- Lela Pittenger, Tom Leppert, Craig James, Ted Cruz and Glenn Addison -- filled out the panel, moderated by Dallas Morning News political reporter Gromer Jeffers.

All five candidates said they would implement harsh controls to stymie illegal immigration. Of the five, only Pittenger supported amnesty, and she said she would require that illegal immigrants either pay a fine or do community service, as well as learn English within five years. Addison was the most extreme: "I would end all benefits to non-citizens."

They echoed each other in their use of national debt and bail-outs as tactical jumping off points to repeat that the federal government must shrink. Addison waved a pocket Constitution, saying several times that if something's not in "the book," it has no place in the federal government. That includes the EPA, the Department of Education, Department of Energy, and the list continues.

None of the five candidates would have supported the auto industry bail out, and all are in favor of requiring voter identification, a measure struck down recently by the Department of Justice. All would also end No Child Left Behind -- no surprise since they would already end the Department of Education. "Everyone of you needs to be involved in education except Washington, D.C.," Leppert said.

As for women's issues, they would all end the Violence Against Women Act in favor of local programs. "I think Republicans have a war on liberals trying to control every aspect of a women's life," Pittinger said. Leppert added that the contraception debate is a matter of "policies trumping liberties."

When it came to oil and gas, Cruz summed up the issue most eloquently, "Unless you're a blithering idiot, that's the right answer," meaning, yes, he strongly supports oil and gas exploration. James agreed, "The Lord gave us natural resources, we have to take advantage of it."

And with that, we essentially have five identical contenders. Too bad Dewhurst couldn't make it, sure would have been interesting to hear from "the only U.S. Senate candidate ready to stop President Obama from destroying the American Dream." Would that make him a sextuplet?

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Leslie Minora