Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Another Republican Nutcase

Steve Benen has been doing a nice job of tracking the most extreme Republican candidates this season. I have another nomination, although I recognize that he is far behind in the competition for most extreme: Tom Mullins, running for Congress from my district, NM3. He's running against the Democratic incumbent, Ben Ray Lujan.

Last night his campaign called me in one of those mass "town meetings." The technology is an innovation that I'm pleased with. It seems to have emerged when the Tea Partiers were disrupting face-to-face meetings last year.

I joined the conversation when Mullins was answering a question on global warming. I didn't miss much, though, because later a man congratulated him on "seeing through all that nonsense." Mullins stated his position: yes, things are getting warmer, but he doesn't see how it could be human-caused, carbon dioxide and methane are only very small components of the atmosphere, and 30,000 scientists agree with him. He didn't mention that well above 90% of the scientists in relevant specialties think that global warming is human-caused, and his remark about carbon dioxide and methane shows that he clearly doesn't understand heat transfer, although he claims to be an engineer.

The conversation was entertaining. NM3, northern New Mexico, leans highly Democratic. Santa Fe and Rio Arriba Counties, a big part of the population, are Democratic, period. Farmington is fairly reliably Republican. Los Alamos can go either way, as do the others.

I'm curious how Mullins developed a list of people to call. I listened in for maybe five questions, of which one was friendly. The others were mostly polite, but the fellow from Rio Arriba County who asked the question I had lined up to ask, was angry. "Are you going to just be another Republican holdout, or are you going to work with Congress to get something done?" Mullins said that, unlike politicians (he seems to be trying to say he's not a politician - one of his poll questions reinforced that), he's not going to make a lot of promises and will decide each issue on its merits. The questioner didn't buy that.

A man from Los Alamos said that the US ranked among the lowest of the wealthy states in income tax rates, so why not raise taxes. He actually had numbers, which you would expect from Los Alamos. Mullins came out foursquare for not touching the "supply side" of government budgets. "Why does everyone emphasize the supply side?" he asked, reversing what I've observed.

He did a few polls - didn't release the results of the ones asking who people planned to vote for in his race and in the governor's race. We can guess what that means.

So perhaps Mullins doesn't rate Benen's attention. He's a global warming denier, but aside from that, he's pretty much a standard no-tax, (probably) obstructionist Republican. Nowhere near as crazy as some of the ones Benen has been featuring.

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