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Slimantics: Katherine the Tate is the most interesting choice for Congress

 

Slim Smith

 

 

Monday in Starkville, the Oktibbeha County Republicans hosted a forum for the six GOP candidates who have thrown their hats -- tin-foil or otherwise -- into the race to replace Gregg Harper in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

 

By occupation, if little else, it was a diverse group -- a state legislator (Sally Doty), two health-care professionals (Whit Hughes and Morgan Dunn), a farmer/stock trader (Perry Parker), a district attorney (Michael Guest) and the incomparable Katherine Tate, who is referred to as an educational consultant but really defies description. 

 

Aside from that, the candidates generally fall into the sort of GOP orthodoxy you would expect. For much of the evening, listening to the candidates was like reading the magazines you find in a doctor's office -- dated, irrelevant, predictable. 

 

They all love the idea of a border wall and tax cuts and hate, hate, hate government regulations on just about anything other than abortions or guns. Every one of them seemed to want to be or bear Donald Trump's love child. 

 

On Monday, each waited their turn to stand up and sing new verses of the same song, but during the course of the hour-and-a-half long forum, there were just enough breaks from Trump orthodoxy to keep things interesting. 

 

In any other group of Republicans, Parker would be considered the outlier. A self-described moderate (when was the last time that term was claimed by a Republican?), Parker said he favored a guest-worker program when asked about immigration policy. He also criticized Trump for the tariffs that might ignite a trade-war with China after the Chinese responded by saying it would retaliate by applying a tariff on soybeans. As the world's largest importer of U.S. Soybeans, that tariff could seriously harm Mississippi farmers. Soybeans are the No. 1 row crop and third leading export crop in the state. 

 

Don't imagine Parker is making a complete break with GOP policy, though. He said he favors a border wall, generally approves of the GOP tax cut that will add $1.5 billion to the nation's debt and is a hard-liner on things like gun rights and abortion. He also proudly identified himself as a "swamp-drainer" in a cozy interview with Breitbart. 

 

Moderate is a relative term, I guess. 

 

By far the most interesting of the candidates is Tate, aka, Katherine the Tate, whose comments and positions are often breath-taking. 

 

The first thing Tate wants voters to know, based on the bio she provided for Monday's forum, is that she has strong Christian values, as evidenced by her many positions. 

 

The other candidates seemed to have at least some support of DACA, which provides deferred action on U.S. Residency for foreign-born non-citizens living in the U.S. since they were children. Most suggested there could be a way these people, most of whom have lived almost all of their lives in the U.S. could remain. Not Katherine the Tate. "Deport the Dreamers," she said, flatly. Is that the most Jesus-y position ever or what? 

 

On Monday, she said trade wars can be good when asked about the Chinese tariff on soybeans and in her campaign literature. She said women who have had abortions should be stripped of their voting rights and that any parent who relies on federal programs to help "birth, feed, raise or clothe" their children should also lose the right to vote. 

 

Surprisingly, she is in favor of legalized marijuana, but only for "old people." Don't Bogart that joint, granny. 

 

The Democrats don't appear prepared to mount much of a challenge. One of its candidates is a prison guard (Michael Aycox) while the other, Michael Evans, is a Democrat who favors a border wall, is pro-gun and anti-abortion. We haven't seen a Democrat like that since the 60s. 

 

Sadly, the Democrats were not able to find a truck-driver to carry the Party banner in this race, so it's pretty clear the next Congressman for our area will be one of the six Republicans. 

 

My personal preference is Katherine the Tate on the theory that whoever winds up in D.C. Representing the Third Congressional District isn't going have much of an impact anyway. 

 

Katherine the Tate, at least, would be interesting. 

 

Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is [email protected]

 

Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is [email protected]

 

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