Friday, January 14, 2005

Chuck Suits: Moderate Republican?

Yesterday I briefly mentioned something about Chuck Suits, my Mass Communication Law & Regulation instructor. Technically, he's not even a professor. He's what they call an adjunct, which as Chuck Suits puts it, "places me one ring above pond scum on the academic totum pole".

I could tell from the outset that Chuck Suits was a Republican. First, he was wearing a shirt and tie. What's with Republicans always getting dressed up? Frankly, I prefer a teacher who's clean looking yet casual. When I read the syllabus, I learned he was a public information officer. That sounds very Republican to me.

My suspicions were confirmed when he told us that he had just started a job with County Commissioner Warren Newell. Palm Beach County residents know that Mr. Newell is a Republican who represents the 3rd Commission district. He narrowly won re-election by only a few hundred votes over Maine's Harriet Lerman. While I am not in the district, I would have probably voted for Lerman, the Democrat.

If that wasn't enough, he tells us that he used to work in the Pentagon. He worked under former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinbeger. He failed to mention that Weinberger resigned in disgrace and was run out of town as a result of the Iran-Contra scandal. I guess he didn't think we were smart enough to know that bit of history. After leaving the Pentagon, he went to work for good 'ole Ronnie Raygun as part of the W.H. Communications staff. Suits spoke with gusto and verve about the Cold War and how exciting it was back when the USSR was still in existence.

Also, Mr. Suits was a colonel in the military. He said we could call him Chuck, but he prefers to be called "Colonel". I could tell he was a military man even before he said anything. He makes constant references to military terms, noting the construction in West Palm Beach, "looks like the roads got carpetbombed by a B-52 bomber".

Somehow, the issue of gays came up. We were talking about the Constitution and he mentioned Bush's proposal to ban gay marriage. Surprisingly, Suits said that he was against amending the Constitution to prohibit gay marriage. His words were, "I don't care of a man wants to marry his parakeet, it's none of my business". Just as I was starting to think he was a decent guy, he expressed his contempt for gays in the military. "The homosexual lifestyle is not compatible with combat situations," Suits said.

Finally, he flat out admitted he was a registered Republican. Amazingly, after listening to all his positions, he called himself a moderate Republican. He said he's never voted a straight Republican ticket for President. He validated his moderate credentials by agreeing with President Clinton's assertion that abortion should be "safe, legal, and rare". Suits also agreed with Colin Powell's idea that pro-lifers shouldn't bomb abortion clinics. Hooray for Suits. I've noticed that there are a significant number of Republicans, especially from the Northeast, who favor a woman's right to choose. In addition, Suits went on to say that the Bush Admin is clouding the line between separation of church and state.

He never came out and said whether or not he voted for Bush. He sounds like the type of libertarian Republican who has a hard time with Bush's conservative stance on social issues and reckless disregard for a balanced budget.

Mr. Suits is a rather boring man who leads a boring life. He told us that his only hobby in life, besides reading over college textbooks on media relations and mass communication law, is shooting targets with his M-16 gun. He got rather vociferous in chastising Clinton for signing the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, which forbade a number of weapons from being purchased by the public.

So, lets take a second to sum up Suits' stances and see whether he's a moderate or conservative. I'll add to this as more of his stances are revealed.

-Pro choice: liberal
-Gun rights: ultra conservative
-Gay rights: libertarian (his stance on gay marriage is to the left of Democrats like Dean and Kerry). However, his view on gays in the military is rather conservative.
-Seperation of Church and State: liberal. Not even sure if his stance is necessarily liberal. However, he's different than many of Bush's Southern evangelical Christian voters.

My sense is that Mr. Suits would be more of a Neal Boortz or John McCain type Republican. He's definitely not in tune with the Rick Santorums and Tom Delays of the right. On the other hand, he isn't exactly a liberal Republican like Lincoln Chafee and Susan Collins. I'd put him in the same category with Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Arlen Specter, a moderate.

This guy has the chance to make for some funny moments, even if the joke might end up being on him.


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