Yesterday I noted that in Wisconsin there is a fight for the heart and soul of the right between Mark Neumann and Eric Hovde. Either would be preferable to Tommy Thompson. My preference is Mark Neumann who is the embodiment of the conservative warrior.
Many conservatives in Wisconsin, however, are gravitating to Eric Hovde. He is rich and willing to spend what it takes to win. He has a very conservative message. But time and time again we see people with the conservative message go to Congress and be anything but conservative. Before conservatives in Wisconsin embrace Eric Hovde, I hope they fully vet him.
Remember, 70% of congressmen who ran as tea party candidates went to Washington and promptly started voting like the Republican who helped get us to $16 trillion in national debt.
Here are a few concerns about Eric Hovde that need vetting.
Hovde is a hedge fund manager, which is awesome, but his company invested in banks that took government bailout money. Hovde made clear he was against TARP going back to 2009, but he’s also made clear he is not against government bailing out banks. That instinct troubles me.
He also lived voluntarily in Washington, D.C. for 24 years. That’s always a red flag.
Then there is Eric Hovde’s statement in 2009 that he would be okay with higher taxes.
“Look, I have no problem with me getting charged higher taxes. I’ve been blessed in my life. And I’ve been very fortunate.”
Sounds somewhat like the Buffett Rule before there was such a rule. The Buffett rule is named after billionaire Warren Buffett, who famously complained that he pays a lower effective tax rate than his secretary.
Hovde said that was not what he was talking about in 2009.
The first-time political candidate said he thinks he was referring to the tax break on “carried interest” – the portion of a fund’s investment gains taken by fund managers as compensation. He favors eliminating the tax break, which is never mentioned in the 10-minute video clip on CNBC.
I’m all for rich self-funders getting into politics when they are conservative. But I’m not really into rich self-funders claiming to be conservative just to get elected only to “grow” in office. Talking the talk and walking the walk are two different things. And I know for sure that Mark Neumann has walked the walk.
Wisconsin voters most definitely need to vet Eric Hovde before they decide he’s the guy to stop Tommy Thompson. Neumann is a sure thing when it comes to his conservative bona fides.
One more thing — the GOP also has a history of picking self-funders who turn out to be spectacularly bad general election candidates. See e.g. the varied Coors clan, Carly Fiorina, etc.
Caveat emptor, Wisconsin.