Opinion

Why I Rescinded My DeMaio Endorsement – Then Gave It Back

Why I Rescinded My DeMaio Endorsement – Then Gave It Back

Photo by Sam Hodgson

Councilman Carl DeMaio is not pursuing a full hand count after duplicate signatures felled his ballot measure.

Who can we trust to run our government?

Clearly, not our current members of Congress. Like many Americans, I am disgusted by partisan bickering. So last week I wrote this Facebook posting and this tweet:

The response was immediate.

Carl DeMaio called. On my cell phone. Worried.

Then a representative of Scott Peters called. On my office phone. Worried.

Then left-wing trolls attacked me on Twitter (see here and here) with the same kind of partisan derision that motivated me to leave the Democratic Party earlier this year.

So why would a little tweet cause such a ruckus?

The race in my district, the 52nd, represents the battle for the 51 percent of Americans who are moderate. Based on this survey, I’m squarely in the middle of the political spectrum as an “MBA Middle.” I am happy to live and let live. And I don’t want to hear politicians talk about God, guns and gays. Nor do I want to hear excuses about the incompetence of the Obamacare rollout.

The government prompted me to question my endorsement of DeMaio. Why? He’s a Republican. And I fear the tea party. Especially if Republicans increase their majority in Congress. Unlike moderate Republicans (remember them?) the tea party threatens our nation with an extreme fundamentalist, evangelical Christian ideology that fears change, diversity and science.

Case in point: They demanded defunding ObamaCare after 41 failures to repeal the law in Congress and a clear defeat in the Supreme Court. Yet they continue to shove their religion and values down our throats by legislating ideology over national interests. Regrettably, Democrats are no better – confusing majority rule with a single-party state. They deserve each other – but we don’t deserve them.

We need a new breed of leader, one who builds consensus rather imposing demands through majority rule. Leadership requires that you know when, why and how to compromise for the common good. It’s a lot easier if you are likable.

Clearly, both parties fail to compromise and neither is likable. Yet, Republicans and Democrats are not equivalent. Their faults are as different as their ideologies. So it should come as no surprise that 60 percent of Americans want to replace all members of Congress – regardless of party affiliation.

So should we replace Peters, a Democratic insider, with DeMaio, a Republican? Here’s how Carl responded to my questions:

Do you want to repeal Obamacare?

We need health care reform, but I do not believe Obamacare as written will work. There are good parts that we need to keep, but bad parts like intrusive government mandates need to be reformed …

Your opponents call you a tea party extremist. How do you respond?

This is exactly the negativity and dysfunction in the political process that Americans are sick and tired of. Political campaigns have become about assigning emotionally charged labels to the other side and calling people names rather than discussing solutions and where people really stand on the issues. When they are calling the gay, pro-choice candidate a right-wing extremist, you know they are willing to distort things just to win an election.

Will you bend to the will of Republican leadership if you go to D.C.?

No, I’m running because I think we need to take on the status quo voices in the Republican Party. San Diegans know I have been willing to stand up to my own party – whether it was helping uncover the fiscal mess created by Mayor (Dick) Murphy or opposing Mayor (Jerry) Sanders’ big new City Hall project.

♦♦♦

My reaction: DeMaio is reasonable, strong-willed and capable of changing the Republican Party from within. In this age of extreme partisanship, it is our patriotic duty to vote against those who rely on negative campaigns.

DeMaio won’t be welcomed into the tea party. Rather, he is exactly what they fear most:  a rational pragmatist who wants to make government more efficient and effective at serving the needs of individuals.

I wanted to speak with Peters. Unfortunately, the only time I hear from his office is when I complain about his failures to help foster cross-border economic collaboration. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol policies hinder these efforts.

For example, although I have a national defense clearance, the idiosyncratic rules of Customs and Border Patrol disqualify me (and tens of thousands of other small business owners) from getting SENTRI passes. The rules are simply too stringent to be practical.

This is exactly the kind of bureaucratic problem that we elect representatives to Congress to fix. Yet Peters’ staff only responded after this tweet:

Thankfully, his staff called (again) and agreed to help (again). Let’s see what happens (again).

So my endorsement of DeMaio stands. At least it might upset the tea party, and send a clear message that we will not tolerate Democrats spewing distortions.

Olin Hyde is founder and chief executive of Englue. Hyde’s commentary has been edited for clarity. See anything in there we should fact check? Tell us what to check out here. Want to respond? Submit a commentary.

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Olin Hyde

Olin Hyde

Founder and CEO of Englue, Inc. Citizen scientist, innovator and artificial intelligence evangelist with serial and parallel entrepreneurial capabilities. Founded, co-founded and/or been involved in 8 startups. Wrote my first line of code in 1978 at age of 12. Retired the first time at age 28. Several failures later and I still love being in the game. I'm involved in regional non-profits.

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34 comments
Catherine Earnshaw
Catherine Earnshaw

Olin, I'm a pro-choice, pro-gay-marriage woman in a racially diverse family who is a Tea Partier. Why? Because

Taxed
Enough
Already

Your notion that the Tea Party is a gang of raving, racist socons is completely inaccurate and a fiction of leftist extremists.

It's true that a lot of socons happen to identify with the fiscally conservative, non-interventionist ideals of the Tea Party, but that doesn't mean that being anti-choice or anti-gay is a requirement for Tea Party "membership" if such a thing exists.

I'd call your attention to the jacking of the liberal movement by race-baiters and desperate lawmakers who are now supporting Obamacare with every lie and dodge imaginable. Do they do liberalism credit? No -- a reason why I for one left the left.

Check out the local Tea Party blog, "The Liberator Today" and see what "racism" exists. Phew, that racism charge is the one that massively hacks me off.

James Weber
James Weber

Citizen scientist? You have a problem with undocumented workers?

James Weber
James Weber subscriber

Citizen scientist? You have a problem with undocumented workers?

Matt Finish
Matt Finish

Your characterization of the Tea Party is dishonest at best. You are guilty of precisely the things you are railing against. I've never met any who screamed about god, guns and gays. I do however, see many who are concerned that an out of control government is growing far beyond anything that was ever intended. People like you have successfully hijacked the debate and flipped it on its head. The current narrative is that a $17T debt, cradle to grave welfare (both corporate and social) state and expanding militarized police state are perfectly acceptable. Entitlement programs that are so abused, and so fundamentally unsustainable go on without question. Yet, wanting to do something about it is considered "extreme" and will get you labeled a domestic "terrorist". A sad state of affairs indeed. The fact that you're a programmer, like I am, makes it even worse. You should know better.

Matt Finish
Matt Finish subscriber

Your characterization of the Tea Party is dishonest at best. You are guilty of precisely the things you are railing against. I've never met any who screamed about god, guns and gays. I do however, see many who are concerned that an out of control government is growing far beyond anything that was ever intended. People like you have successfully hijacked the debate and flipped it on its head. The current narrative is that a $17T debt, cradle to grave welfare (both corporate and social) state and expanding militarized police state are perfectly acceptable. Entitlement programs that are so abused, and so fundamentally unsustainable go on without question. Yet, wanting to do something about it is considered "extreme" and will get you labeled a domestic "terrorist". A sad state of affairs indeed. The fact that you're a programmer, like I am, makes it even worse. You should know better.

James Weber
James Weber subscriber

And I thought you just got greased.

Stewart A Halpern
Stewart A Halpern

Your reference to Representative Peters as "a Democratic insider" is curious. Is the implication that he will mindlessly vote as dictated by Leader Pelosi? The facts show that actually he has voted AGAINST his party almost more than anyone else in Congress and has been assertively working - it might even be fair to say leading - to reduce the partisan paralysis in Congress. So if your benchmark for who will best represent the 52nd rests largely on who will work to break the gridlock and act in a bi-partisan way, you might want to re-consider Representative Peters. And is Mr. DeMaio any less of a (Republican) "insider" simply because he lost the mayoral election, and is out of office?

don lindsay
don lindsay

sex deviates and degenerates should be marginalized in society not placed in positions of leadership or trust. They will ALWAYS push their sick agenda. Witness California...

don lindsay
don lindsay subscriber

sex deviates and degenerates should be marginalized in society not placed in positions of leadership or trust. They will ALWAYS push their sick agenda. Witness California...

Benjamin Katz
Benjamin Katz

Olin -- you and I are close politically but I had a very different take away from the twitter conversation last week. As I see it, the problem in the House of Representative right now is NOT that Republicans are in control. The problem is that the Republican party has self-imposed rules that essentially give veto power to the extremist in their party, through policies such as the Hastert Rule and more recently HR 368. So called moderate Republicans are de-facto supporting the extreme of the GOP. In the twitter conversation last week, I ask Carl DeMaio about these policies: "Where are you on HR368? Do you support the Hastert rule? If not, how would you work to dismantle?" I got no response. His response to you "No, I’m running because I think we need to take on the status quo voices in the Republican Party" comes across as very empty if he's not willing to stand up where it really matters.Hastert Rulehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hastert_RuleThe Hastert Rule, also known as the "majority of the majority" rule, is an informal governing principle used by Republican Speakers of the House of Representatives since the mid-1990s to maintain their speakerships and limit the power of the minority...

Benjamin Katz
Benjamin Katz subscribermember

Olin -- you and I are close politically but I had a very different take away from the twitter conversation last week. As I see it, the problem in the House of Representative right now is NOT that Republicans are in control. The problem is that the Republican party has self-imposed rules that essentially give veto power to the extremist in their party, through policies such as the Hastert Rule and more recently HR 368. So called moderate Republicans are de-facto supporting the extreme of the GOP. In the twitter conversation last week, I ask Carl DeMaio about these policies: "Where are you on HR368? Do you support the Hastert rule? If not, how would you work to dismantle?" I got no response. His response to you "No, I’m running because I think we need to take on the status quo voices in the Republican Party" comes across as very empty if he's not willing to stand up where it really matters.Hastert Rulehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hastert_RuleThe Hastert Rule, also known as the "majority of the majority" rule, is an informal governing principle used by Republican Speakers of the House of Representatives since the mid-1990s to maintain their speakerships and limit the power of the minority...

Kelly Abbott
Kelly Abbott

But, Olin, what about the issues? On Obamacare he's going to offer what as an alternative - single-payer? Never. Saying Obamacare isn't going to work is like saying The Chargers won't win the superbowl. Shouldn't we be rooting for it to work? Also, he may be able to stand up to Dick Murphy (who was already unpopular) and Jerry Sanders (who was already on his way out) by saying No. But what will he say Yes to? Besides Papa Doug, that is. I think you are flattered he called you back. Take it with a tub of salt.

Kelly Abbott
Kelly Abbott contributormember

But, Olin, what about the issues? On Obamacare he's going to offer what as an alternative - single-payer? Never. Saying Obamacare isn't going to work is like saying The Chargers won't win the superbowl. Shouldn't we be rooting for it to work? Also, he may be able to stand up to Dick Murphy (who was already unpopular) and Jerry Sanders (who was already on his way out) by saying No. But what will he say Yes to? Besides Papa Doug, that is. I think you are flattered he called you back. Take it with a tub of salt.

Olin Hyde
Olin Hyde

Yes! You are so right! The Hastert Rule is a great question for Carl. I will tweet it now. Hope he responds. Many thanks for pointing out this very accurate analysis of "what's wrong with the GOP."

Olin Hyde
Olin Hyde subscribermember

Yes! You are so right! The Hastert Rule is a great question for Carl. I will tweet it now. Hope he responds. Many thanks for pointing out this very accurate analysis of "what's wrong with the GOP."

James Weber
James Weber

Janet: Government is not more efficient than private industry in anything. They have absolutely no incentive to be efficient.

Olin Hyde
Olin Hyde

I really don't know enough about Papa Doug to say anything. Let's not judge a man based on the biased editorials of those that have a vested interest in favor of or in opposition to the man and his businesses. The closest I've ever come to Papa Doug is picking up a friend who stayed in his hotel -- which has a nice lobby.

Kelly Abbott
Kelly Abbott

You're not going to take the Papa Doug bait?

Olin Hyde
Olin Hyde

Kelly I agree that we need healthcare reform. Unfortunately, the ACA is nothing more than insurance payment reform run by bureaucrats who are so incompetent that they couldn't even launch a website. Scott Peters represents the kind of lawyer-centric government that breeds incompetence and intransience. Single-payer? Sure... this is why I voted for Obama. But the Democrats abandoned their dreams as soon as they took office. Yes, I am flattered by Carl taking the time to call me. I was shocked he had my telephone number. Yes, I am disappointed that the only response from Peters is when I go negative on social media. There is a better way... but it would require Peters to act like DeMaio. So I'll stick with the real-thing at the risk he will stand his ground against GOP lunatics like Cruz.

Kelly Abbott
Kelly Abbott

Before anyone else takes offense, Olin is a friend. I kid him, partly, in jest. I don't think he will take my jibes the wrong way.

James Weber
James Weber subscriber

Janet: Government is not more efficient than private industry in anything. They have absolutely no incentive to be efficient.

Olin Hyde
Olin Hyde subscribermember

I really don't know enough about Papa Doug to say anything. Let's not judge a man based on the biased editorials of those that have a vested interest in favor of or in opposition to the man and his businesses. The closest I've ever come to Papa Doug is picking up a friend who stayed in his hotel -- which has a nice lobby.

Kelly Abbott
Kelly Abbott contributormember

You're not going to take the Papa Doug bait?

Olin Hyde
Olin Hyde subscribermember

Kelly I agree that we need healthcare reform. Unfortunately, the ACA is nothing more than insurance payment reform run by bureaucrats who are so incompetent that they couldn't even launch a website. Scott Peters represents the kind of lawyer-centric government that breeds incompetence and intransience. Single-payer? Sure... this is why I voted for Obama. But the Democrats abandoned their dreams as soon as they took office. Yes, I am flattered by Carl taking the time to call me. I was shocked he had my telephone number. Yes, I am disappointed that the only response from Peters is when I go negative on social media. There is a better way... but it would require Peters to act like DeMaio. So I'll stick with the real-thing at the risk he will stand his ground against GOP lunatics like Cruz.

Kelly Abbott
Kelly Abbott contributormember

Before anyone else takes offense, Olin is a friend. I kid him, partly, in jest. I don't think he will take my jibes the wrong way.

Matt Finish
Matt Finish

How is Ted Cruz a lunatic? He's drawing attention to the fiscal disaster we are in. That's not lunacy, that's sensible governing. Continuing the status quo is what's lunacy.

Janet Shelton
Janet Shelton

Based on administrative costs, the government is a lot more efficient at running healthcare programs than private industry. And the complexity introduced by trying to make private industry happy is a lot of the reason for the website problems. Yes, they must fix it, but why are you blaming Peters for it? And it does come across like you based your endorsement on who called you back. And that comes across as self-importance. And what is your evidence that DeMaio will be a consensus builder in Congress?

Matt Finish
Matt Finish subscriber

How is Ted Cruz a lunatic? He's drawing attention to the fiscal disaster we are in. That's not lunacy, that's sensible governing. Continuing the status quo is what's lunacy.

Janet Shelton
Janet Shelton subscriber

Based on administrative costs, the government is a lot more efficient at running healthcare programs than private industry. And the complexity introduced by trying to make private industry happy is a lot of the reason for the website problems. Yes, they must fix it, but why are you blaming Peters for it? And it does come across like you based your endorsement on who called you back. And that comes across as self-importance. And what is your evidence that DeMaio will be a consensus builder in Congress?