For Scontras, The "Element Of Bipartisanship" Is Something Only Democrats Need
The Tea Party isn't a movement of moderates. Indeed, when it comes to the issue of bipartisanship, the various factions of the group take a more "my way or the highway" approach instead of trying to build consensus with those whose ideas differ from their own. That's why it is odd that Maine congressional candidate Dean Scontras — who fancies himself one of the Tea Party movement's "founding fathers here in Maine" — has criticized his opponent, Rep. Chellie Pingree (D) for lacking the "element of bipartisanship" that is central to the "legacy" of legislators from Maine. But would a Representative Scontras really uphold that bipartisan legacy? According to Scontras himself, probably not.
When Scontras first sought the Republican Party's nomination for Congress back in 2008, he wholeheartedly embraced the fact that he was the most conservative candidate running. At Maine's Republican State Convention in May of that year, Scontras promised delegates that if elected, he would represent the "inherently" conservative state, declaring defiantly that he "will not compromise" and "will not moderate."
It appears that Scontras' beliefs are just as extreme as his rhetoric. Here's a sampling of some of the "bipartisan" beliefs Scontras would bring to represent Maine in Congress:
- Scontras Opposes Abortion, Even In Cases Of Rape Or Incest. According to Michael Heath of the Maine Family Policy Council: "While he was resistant to working on federal laws that will curb America's growing appetite for gambling, he made it into the end-zone with his answer on abortion. He is a 'no exceptions' pro life candidate. Dean supports the complete legal prohibition of abortion for any reason. He doesn't even take the rape or incest exception. We didn't talk about the 'life of the mom' exception." [The Record, 11/29/07]
- Scontras Opposes Not Just Gay Marriage, But Civil Unions As Well. According to the Kennebec Journal: "But some differences have emerged between the two GOP contenders that underscore Scontras' conservatism. While both candidates are on record as supporting a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage, for example, Summers does not oppose civil unions. Scontras does." [Kennebec Journal, 5/19/08, via Nexis]
- Scontras Pledged "Eternal Vigilance Against The Agenda Of Homosexual And Transgender Activists." According to Michael Heath of the Maine Family Policy Council: "We [Heath and Scontras] talked about sexual orientation theory. Until recently I think he was unaware of the Employment Non Discrimination Act, popularly known as ENDA. Having read the proposal before our meeting he promised eternal vigilance against the agenda of homosexual and transgender activists. He said he will not support homosexual marriage, homosexual rights or hate crimes legislation." [The Record, 11/29/07]
- Scontras Supports Raising The Retirement Age For Social Security. From an interview on WCSH-TV's In The Arena:
CALLAGHAN: Talk for a minute about social security. Do we need to see cuts in benefits, some other changes in the program?
SCONTRAS: We absolutely have to. If you look at the next 30 years, the biggest strain upon us as a people are the entitlement programs: Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid. And I think that number is roughly $60 trillion. So by the time my daughter - she's 6 now - is in her prime income earning years in her 40s, she could be paying every single dollar just on the interest on that debt. Social Security is the most fixable of them all. By increasing the retirement age for people under 55, and I emphasize under 55, we want to keep the benefits for everybody who's over 55 and in it right now. But people like myself who have been in technology, and energy -- who've changed jobs a little bit more than our parents have could invest their money into something maybe the federal government will support but can have a return on it that's greater than the 0% return you get from the federal government. [WCSH-TV, 8/19/10]
- Scontras Supports Means Testing For Recipients Of Social Security. From an interview on WCSH-TV's In The Arena:
CALLAGHAN: Now in addition to raising the retirement age, should there be some sort of means testing for recipients?
SCONTRAS: I think so, yes. I've actually had meetings -- I've been going around the state now for the last six months and I've had - I've actually used a lot of David Walker's slides about the national debt, about entitlement programs, and I've had seniors stand up and said, you know 'I will give mine up for future generations.' So that means means testing. If you've got the wherewithal to sort of vie for yourself in your retirement years, you should do so. [WCSH-TV, 8/19/10]
- Scontras Believes Waterboarding Is Justified, Not Torture. According to the Portland Press Herald: "Republican congressional candidate Dean Scontras said at a forum in Portland Tuesday night that he does not believe waterboarding, the controversial interrogation tactic, is torture. Scontras made his comments during a forum on the Constitution that was attended by several candidates in Maine's 1st Congressional District. He was responding to a question from the audience about the interrogation technique, in which interrogators pour water over prisoners' faces to make them feel as if they are drowning. The tactic has been widely criticized by human rights groups and Democratic lawmakers. Its use was banned by the Army in the wake of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq. Scontras said the use of waterboarding as a means of coercion is justified in an age of terrorism. 'We're living in a new world, where terrorism is a reality,' he said." [Portland Press Herald, 2/27/08, via Nexis]
- Scontras Opposes Mandatory Funding For The VA Because It Would Be Too Expensive. According to the Portland Press Herald: "On veterans' issues, Summers argued that funding for the Veterans Administration should be made mandatory in the federal budget. Scontras argued that to take the step that his GOP opponent advocates would be too expensive." [Portland Press Herald, 6/6/08, via Nexis]