Third Congressional District candidates' pledge to run on the issues appears to be falling by the way-side.
Although Tom Draschil and Chris Cannon have engaged in some debates, their campaign staffs spent the past week yapping about each other: They're doing negative polling. He's trying to buy the election. He won't debate me. He's claiming responsibility for things he didn't accomplish. He's lying. Well, so is he.In the past couple of days, the campaigns argued over such trivial matters as who gets the credit for setting up debates. Next thing you know they'll complain, "He's looking at me."
Typical stretch-run, behind-the-scenes politics. The primary election is only 10 days away.
And the longer a campaign drags on, the more chance for such unpleasantries to arise.
Fortunately for state GOP leaders, who don't want to see their boys wear out before jumping into the ring with a Democrat, candidates only have a few weeks to spar rather than all summer to slug it out. Primary elections were moved from September to June two years ago for precisely that reason. The Cannon-Draschil winner June 25 will face three-term Rep. Bill Orton, D-Utah, in November.
As campaign workers open every conversation with, "Did you know that Tom Draschil . . . ?" or "Did you hear that Chris Cannon . . . ?" the candidates themselves will be appearing in your living rooms and speaking in your cars. Each campaign intends to put on a television and radio advertising blitz in the week preceding the election. The candidates will also be arriving in your mailboxes via mass mailings. They might even show up on your doorstep personally asking for your vote.
Getting out the vote will be key to winning the election. Candidates have to convince voters that there's nothing more important to do on a beautiful summer day than head for the nearest polling place.
Despite the possibility of the campaign turning nasty in the next 10 days, both camps maintain that they'll stick to the issues. Cannon vowed Friday to keep Ronald Reagan's "11th Commandment" to speak no ill of fellow Republicans. He said he won't be part of another civil war in the 3rd District. The Cannon campaign delivered 11 heart-shaped balloons to Draschil headquarters Friday as a goodwill gesture.
So far, the clearest differences between Cannon and Draschil lie in their views on free trade, the purpose of the Second Amendment and federal wilderness. Those issues were hotly debated at nearly every joint appearance between the two. The debates also revealed a contrast in Draschil's and Cannon's styles and personalities.
The questions and answers - two of which the candidates submitted to each other - in the adjacent chart were designed to give more insight into Cannon and Draschil. While they differ on some of the issues, they're coming from the same training camp on others.
Draschil believes the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the North American Free Trade Agreement have cost Americans jobs and economic sovereignty. Cannon says the agreements move free trade forward and benefit Utahns.
Their beliefs about gun control vary slightly, but their thoughts about the Second Amendment are quite divergent. Draschil said the right to bear arms protects people from a tyrannical government; Cannon said the reasons for owning guns don't include protection from government. Cannon believes some assault weapons can be prohibited. Draschil doesn't think any guns, save pocket nuclear weapons, should be banned.
On wilderness, Cannon favors Rep. Jim Hansen's bill designating 1.9 million acres of federal wilderness area in southern Utah. Draschil said Utah should be backing the federal government out of the state and that there should be no new federal wilderness acres.
Monday: 2nd Congressional District Democrats.
U.S. Congress - 3rd District - Republican
What is the main issue facing the 3rd Congres-sional District and how would you address it?
Moving governmental functions from the federal government to the states. The seminal activity is welfare reform. The states do a much better job of providing for the truly needy and moving other recipients into the work force. This will result in a tremendous savings to taxpayers and will convince Americans that government can change. If we continue to eliminate government waste and intrusive regulations, and if we balance the budget, interest rates will fall a couple of points and business will grow, creating jobs at an unprecedented rate.
The main issue facing the 3rd Congressional District is electing a congressman who will represent the values of our district. Our Democratic incumbent consistently votes for programs and laws that place a great burden on our families. He votes for higher taxes, bigger government and federal mandates, stripping us of our states' rights. He supports socialized medicine, welfare entitlements, big federal education programs, the weakening of our national defense and a "don't ask, don't tell" policy for homosexuals in the military.
Why should primary voters pick you instead of your party opponent?
I have been a Republican all my life and have helped build the party and elect Republican candidates. I have helped create thousands of jobs in Utah. Mr. Draschil and I disagree on key issues. I support open, free trade. I am committed to less intrusive government and less federal regulation. My opponent is a staunch protectionist. On wilderness, I support the reasonable wilderness bill sponsored by Rep. Jim Hansen and supported by Gov. Leavitt and Sen. Hatch. My opponent wants zero acres of wilderness. I support term limits, my opponent does not.
I am the only candidate who can win this race because I have the ability to mobilize the grass roots of our state, the people. Chris Cannon believes he can buy the election without engaging the public. I have the broad support of conservative Republicans, Perot Republicans, Reagan Democrats, former Republicans for Orton. Phyllis Schlafly and her national Eagle Forum PAC, the organization that opposed gay and lesbian clubs successfully in our Utah schools, endorsed me.
In the next two years, would you ever vote to increase a tax?
I would not raise taxes. The only constitutionally consistent reason to raise taxes would be in a time of national emergency or war. I have signed the Americans for Tax Reform coalition pledge.
What taxes, if any, do you want to cut over the next two years and why?
The federal tax burden is simply too high. Americans have the right to control their family budgets - not Uncle Sam. I will support any reasonable effort to cut taxes broadly that is accompanied by corresponding spending cuts. We must implement a tax system that encourages savings and investment.
I support the freshmen Republican proposals to downsize the federal government by eliminating all but the constitutionally sanctioned functions of government: the departments of state, defense, justice and treasury. All other functions can be carried out at the state level with greater efficiency and cost effectiveness. As federal bureaucracy and agencies are cut, the budget will be balanced and deficits will be reduced and eliminated.
Do you favor or oppose light-rail mass transit in Salt Lake County?
I oppose light rail in Salt Lake County and federal intervention in local decisions in transportation. By eliminating the U.S. Department of Transportation, we will be returning the responsibility to the states where it belongs.
Do you favor balanced-budget, flag-desecration or anti-abortion amendments to the Constitution? Do you favor laws allowing same-sex marriages, the federal death penalty, the Brady gun-control law, and declaring tobacco a drug and thus under FDA regulation?
Balanced-budget amendment - favor. Flag-desecration amendment - favor. Anti-abortion amendment - favor. Laws allowing same-sex marriages - oppose. Federal death penalty - favor. Brady gun-control law - oppose. Declaring tobacco a drug - unsure.
I favor balancing the budget without an amendment. I favor a balanced-budget amendment only as a last resort and only if a tax-limitation provision is included. I favor an amendment opposing the desecration of our flag. I favor a human-life amendment. I favor retaining our domestic family laws with regard to heterosexual marriage. I favor the death penalty and parole reform making plea bargains more difficult to obtain as two of the best deterrents to crime. I favor the repeal of the assault-weapons ban and the Brady gun-control law. I oppose more federal regulation over our lives and would be hesitant to place tobacco as a drug under FDA regulation.
Draschil's question for Cannon: With lame-duck representation and no accountability as a result of term limits, how would you then prevent a nonelected bureaucracy from having even more control over government affairs?
Unlike my opponent, I believe that limiting terms, as we do for the president in the 22nd Amendment, will actually undermine the bureaucracy by rooting out its supporters in the Congress. It doesn't take an entrenched, career politician to fight the bureaucracy. I feel citizen legislators will have the ability to effectively watchdog our government.
Cannon's question for Draschil: You want to eliminate the U.S. Department of Education. What would you do with student loans?
Student loans existed before we had a U.S. Department of Education. Because our tax dollars go to Washington and come back to us at a deflated value, the administration of student loans would be more efficiently run on the state level. Furthermore, the federal loan program has been in jeopardy because of the high default rate of payment. Collections would be more efficient on the state level.
Draschil's question for Cannon: At a public meeting you stated that were you in a position to do so, you would have gone along with the confirmation of pro-abortion, pro-homosexual U.S. Supreme Court justices Bryer and Ginsburg. What is the principle behind this position?
I believe in the Constitution's directive in Article II, Section 2 that the president "shall appoint . . . judges." It was wrong when the liberals stopped President Reagan's choice of Robert Bork. Conservatives should not likewise ignore the Constitution and impose litmus tests. Sen. Hatch and Sen. Bennett supported these nominations because of this key Constitutional principle.
Cannon's question for Draschil: One of the items in the Contract With America that the Republican freshmen proudly sponsored was term limits. If you want to go to Washington to fight "business-as-usual politics and stand up to Establishment leadership," why do you reject this simple measure to reform Congress? Why are you against term limits?
I favor limiting government, not terms. What the popularity of term limits is really about is our universal frustration with business as usual in Washington, our bulging federal bureaucracy and incumbency. The problem with term limits is that a lame-duck Congress will result. Without the prospect of re-election, our representatives feel no accountability to their constituents.