David Frum

05.03.13

Don't Call Gabriel Gomez a RINO

Massachusetts Republicans might have found their next Scott Brown.

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While the thought of a Republican winning the seat seemed like nothing more than a GOP pipe dream four months ago, Gabriel Gomez might just have what it takes to beat out Democratic nominee Ed Markey.

The people of Massachusetts are taking notice of this up-and-comer: in an Emerson College Poll that was released yesterday, Markey is up by only 6 points, which is certainly a manageable deficit for Gomez. A Public Policy Polling survey released today puts that margin even smaller, at about 4 points. Even better, Gomez is leading Markey among independents by a margin of around 20 percentage points.

The appeal of Gomez stems from the fact that he is an example of what the Republican Party should look like in left-leaning states (if I had my druthers I would say all states). On his campaign website, he even describes himself as “a new generation of Republican leader.”

Gomez’s policy positions are as follows:

On the social side, he is in favor of gay marriage; a proponent of extended background checks with gun purchases; in favor of comprehensive immigration reform, as he is a child of Colombian immigrants; and is pro-life, although he concedes that “Roe v Wade is settled law."

As a graduate of the Naval Academy and a former Navy SEAL commander, his foreign policy views would appear to be similar to that of the Republican Party. That said, he has motioned that he would not be against cutting wasteful spending from the defense budget.

The area that appears to be his greatest asset is his fiscal policy beliefs. As a graduate of Harvard Business School, he has spent most of his professional life in finance. The top two issues Massachusetts’ voters say are most important are jobs and deficit spending. Traditionally, these are issues that give the GOP an edge, and one which Gomez is touting as his greatest asset.

When it comes to fiscal responsibility, Gomez states,

Washington, DC has a spending problem.

The Federal government has become a bloated organization with no budget, and runs at an annual loss. Today, we are $16 trillion in debt.

Meanwhile, career politicians on both sides of the aisle continue to kick the can down the road and print more money.

We recently raised taxes on the wealthy, and on every worker in America with the payroll tax hike.

It is time now to reach across the aisle and work together to enact meaningful spending reductions in a fair and equitable way, without hurting our military preparedness.

Of course, some Republican purists (mainly from outside Massachusetts) have called Gomez a RINO. Brian Camenker, the head of the conservative blog Mass Resistance, shares this sentiment.

Another pro-gay marriage RINO. In 2008 he donated $500 to Barack Obama's presidential campaign. Earlier this year, told Gov. Deval Patrick that he supported Obama in 2008 and that he supports Obama's positions on immigration and gun control. He is a businessman living in Cohasset. In 2003 he ran unsuccessfully for Cohasset selectman. Currently, he has a big lead among the three Republicans in fundraising. Gomez is telling the media he's a "A New Kind of Republican." In other words, a Democrat.

On the national level, it is understandable that folks like Gabriel Gomez are frowned upon. That said, the GOP needs more people like Gomez in order to grow and expand. As of now, the party is shrinking the most in places like the Northeast and California. Gomez brings to the table smart, fresh and realistic views on the issues.

Most importantly, Gomez offers a non-apocalyptic world view of our nation. His win would bring the GOP support from those non-white, female, and under-60 groups who are scared of the current Republican Party, yet find themselves in a state of malaise with the Democrats' platform.

Gomez's battle is still an uphill one: there is no way the Democratic Party is going to simply let a Republican win a Senate seat from a blue state. With the Democrats worried about the midterm elections next fall, this race is going to be a nasty fight.