This is What You Call “Assuming the Voters Are Idiots”

Every time a Republican claims to be “centrist,” he or she is attempting to pull off a con.

Hey, it’s his money to spend, but he could have spent it on much more worthy causes, like helping out the suffering survivors in Puerto Rico—oh, wait. My bad. I forgot. He’s a Republican, which means he couldn’t care less about Puerto Rico:

US Senate candidate John Kingston said he wants to “get this party started” — but those in his own party aren’t getting an invite.

One of three Republicans vying to face US Senator Elizabeth Warren in November, Kingston said Wednesday he is launching a $500,000 media campaign that will include ads on the radio — and potentially, television — into early July.

But, in those advertisements, Kingston said he does not intend to focus on his current opponents —state Representative Geoff Diehl or longtime GOP official Beth Lindstrom — both of whom are also running in the Sept. 4 primary.

“People will recognize in the general election, when we get there, that Elizabeth Warren is the embodiment of what’s wrong with Washington right now. She’s the most divisive politician that’s on the ticket for an election this cycle,” Kingston told reporters after a campaign event at Carrie Nation in Boston, where he spoke to about two dozen people, including family.

He probably paid those two dozen people, too.

Kingston is actually trying to convince Bay Staters that he’s a “centrist Republican.” These days, “centrist Republicans” exist in two places—in fiction, and in graveyards. So who the hell is this guy trying to fool?

“We need bridges – from our culture-makers, from our business leaders, from our civic leaders, from our media, and, yes, especially from our politicians,” Kingston said. “But building bridges and working together are things my opponent, Elizabeth Warren, refuses to do.”

Kingston specifically cited Warren’s opposition to the 21st Century Cures Act, which the Democrat voted against despite significant funding for public health research and opioid abuse prevention because of what she considered to be giveaways to the pharmaceutical industry.

“If I had a chance to run against Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota just because she’s a Democrat, I wouldn’t do that because she’s not emblematic, she’s not the embodiment of everything that’s wrong with politics right now, but Elizabeth Warren is,” Kingston told reporters after his speech.

Does anyone really think that if, by some fluke, Kingston defeated Warren on November 6, he wouldn’t kneel in subservience to Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell without a moment’s hesitation? Kingston’s hubris is as big as his bank account; less than a decade after Scott Brown sashayed into the Senate promising to be centrist, only to champion the wingnut agenda before he was defeated by Warren in 2012, Kingston assumes Massachusetts voters have long forgotten the last time a Republican Senate candidate ran this racket.

Back in 1936, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt warned us about people like Kingston, people who swear up and down that they’re “centrist”:

Let me warn you and let me warn the Nation against the smooth evasion which says, “Of course we believe all these things; we believe in social security; we believe in work for the unemployed; we believe in saving homes. Cross our hearts and hope to die, we believe in all these things; but we do not like the way the present Administration is doing them. Just turn them over to us. We will do all of them- we will do more of them we will do them better; and, most important of all, the doing of them will not cost anybody anything.”

But, my friends, these evaders are banking too heavily on the shortness of our memories…You cannot promise to repeal taxes before one audience and promise to spend more of the taxpayers’ money before another audience. You cannot promise tax relief for those who can afford to pay, and, at the same time, promise more of the taxpayers’ money for those who are in need. You simply cannot make good on both promises at the same time.

Every time a Republican claims to be “centrist,” he or she is attempting to pull off a con. There’s nothing “centrist” about Donald Trump’s party. There was nothing “centrist” about Kingston’s buddy Mitt Romney. There’s nothing “centrist” about promoting the idea that Warren is some sort of far-left zealot. With this silly strategy, Kingston is likely to be remembered as a joker.

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.