Tuesday, January 02, 2018

There’s a much better alternative for GOP than toxic Hagan

Anthony Gonzalez, when he played for Ohio State. Columnist Brent Larkin believes Gonzalez is young, bright and genuinely cares about issues related to all Americans — not just some.

By Brent Larkin

December 28, 2017

Greater Cleveland Republicans involved in exacerbating their party's moral decay should circle next May 8 on their calendars.

That's when they can nominate a candidate for Congress in a rock-solid Republican district who is easily capable of losing that safe seat to a Democrat next November.

If those same Republicans don't care if they lose control of the U.S. House, Canton area State Rep. Christina Hagan is their candidate. She's a resident of the party's lunatic fringe, firmly aligned with the Steve Bannon wing of President Donald Trump's version of the Republican Party.

That's the same Trump-Bannon alliance that enthusiastically embraced failed Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, a homophobic slavery apologist brought down by credible allegations that he made numerous sexual advances to under-aged girls.

As Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell aptly put it, "I believe the women."

Roy Moore: Banned at the mall. Embraced by the president of the United States and his shadowy handler.

Hagan is a candidate for the open congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Jim Renacci. Ohio's 16th Congressional District meanders its way from Stark and Wayne counties, north through parts of Portage, Summit and Medina counties, into Cuyahoga - all or parts of Strongsville, Middleburg Heights, Parma Heights, Parma, North Olmsted, Olmsted Falls, Fairview Park, Rocky River and Westlake.

The 28-year-old Hagan is a member in good standing of what is widely referred to in Columbus - by Republicans as well as Democrats - as the GOP's "caveman caucus." She twists the truth on guns and state finances, and is an author of the "heartbeat bill," an unconstitutionally restrictive abortion law vetoed by Gov. John Kasich.

Hagan proudly boasts of her unwavering support for Trump, Bannon, and Jesus Christ, not necessarily in that order. Her campaign website solemnly proclaims, "Christina believes when we fix our hearts and attention on Jesus, the founder, the author of our faith, things begin to change."

How all that "attention on Jesus" fits in with a president accused of predatory behavior by a dozen women is unexplained in Hagan's spiritual biography. It's all part of the blind spot those on the religious right have with people like Trump and Roy Moore. And it's at the core of a hypocrisy that seems to constitute the essence of their very being.

So toxic is Hagan's candidacy that normal Republican leaders in the district's southern end, near where she lives, seem to be pretending she doesn't exist. Hagan actually resides in Rep. Bob Gibbs' district.
Corry Bliss was Sen. Rob Portman's 2016 campaign manager and now runs a super-PAC hoping to preserve the GOP's House majority in 2018. The day after Moore's defeat in Alabama, Bliss explained the danger of Republicans fielding unfit candidates for Congress.

"History tells us the House is in jeopardy," he said. "Last night is a reminder that candidates matter, there's no votes in pedophilia, and next year we need to nominate strong candidates who can raise money."
Hagan fits none of those prerequisites. Fortunately, Republicans in the district have a far better option.

He is Anthony Gonzalez, a 33-year-old Greater Cleveland native, and a football star while at St. Ignatius High School and Ohio State University. When Gonzalez's NFL career was cut short by injuries, he was accepted at Stanford Business School, where he earned a master's degree.

Gonzalez is a thoughtful conservative. He's young, bright and genuinely cares about issues related to all Americans - not just some. His Cuban ancestry and star-quality potential represent everything the Republican Party should embrace.

Most, though hardly all, Republicans have figured that out. Despite never running for office, Gonzalez is crushing Hagan in the fundraising race. What's more, the Cuyahoga County Republican Party, whose leaders not long ago tried mightily to wreck the Gonzalez candidacy, is about to endorse him. Cuyahoga County represents the largest segment of the district's electorate.

Hagan's campaign manager pathetically refers to Gonzalez as a "swamp puppet." And as she falls behind in this race, expect Hagan to get nasty. (Though she'll first probably pray for permission.)

The guest of honor at a Dec. 18 event for Hagan in Stark County was Sebastian Gorka, a Bannon acolyte and former White House staffer who now works at Fox News. Gorka told Hagan supporters Trump needs her in Congress "to help make America great again." That's the same Gorka who referred to Roy Moore's primary election win in Alabama as a "revolutionary moment in American politics."

Repulsive yes. Revolutionary hardly.

Sometime next year, Hagan's candidacy will end the same way as Moore's.

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