In less than a month, voters in Broward and Palm Beach counties will elect a new representative to Congress for District 22. Neither Republican Adam Hasner nor Democrat Lois Frankel is an incumbent. Given the built-in advantage incumbents have, this decision can affect both the constituents and the nation for years to come.
The only crystal ball we have to gaze into the future is the past, and this is especially true when evaluating political candidates. “A tiger doesn’t change its stripes,” as the saying goes.
There are three key areas where these two candidates differ, in telling fashion:
Organization: Organization is a sign of a clear mind and effective leadership. The Hasner team maintains attention to detail while keeping its eye on the big kahuna — a congressional seat. It plays by the rules, works the grassroots and gets its message out to the public clearly, without gimmicks or hyperbole.
The Frankel campaign, by contrast, is unraveling. As of Aug. 1, Frankel has been through three campaign managers, her positions lack clarity, and her monthly finance reports to the Federal Elections Commission have come under scrutiny.
Message: Hasner understands that the downgrade of our national credit by two separate bond-rating agencies isn’t just a warning sign – it’s a deafening alarm bell that can only be ignored at our peril. Hasner is painfully aware that fiscal responsibility has now become a national security issue. We are at a financial tipping point, and if we don’t do something now to correct the situation, our republic will fail.
Frankel chooses instead to ignore the warnings. She scares seniors into believing that a vote for her opponent is a vote to dismantle Social Security and Medicare, when actually the opposite is true. She prefers to leave these programs alone to eventually die. When called out on this issue, she reverts to her tired, baseless “war on women” complaint. Our house is figuratively in flames and she’s buying new drapes.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us “there is a time for everything under the heavens.” We’ve already spent ourselves close to oblivion. It’s now a time to recover.
Service to others vs. service to self: This, I believe, is the most illuminating consideration, because it ultimately answers the question, “Why are you running?” Both Hasner and Frankel answered this question loud and clear at their Forum Club of the Palm Beaches appearance last month. The question directed at them involved term limits.
Hasner didn’t hesitate. The imposition of term limits is a centerpiece of his campaign. His promise to the people has been to impose term limits on himself with the realization that new blood and new ideas are necessary to keep the republic not just alive, but thriving.
Frankel, however, struggled with the issue. Her first response was, “You have to be in Congress for 20 years to get retirement anyway.” Translation: It’s not about serving her constituents but rather what’s in it for her.
Just as service is Hasner’s hallmark, avarice seems to be Frankel’s. Her battle against term limits as mayor and her insistence upon a new $50 million City Hall complete with a marble bathroom in the mayoral office are other examples.
Recent poll results suggest that the constituents of Congressional District 22 are beginning to “get it.” Although registered Democrats enjoy a huge 11-point advantage, the candidates currently poll “even-steven.” The district may indeed be “blue,” but the voters have now placed their toes into the warm, “red” waters of the Republican Party. The water is fine, and it’s time to jump in.
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