Frum Forum’s Tim Mak interviewed Dr. Neil Cohen, a 62-year old dentist who’s running for the GOP senate nomination in Maryland. What’s interesting and so refreshing, is that that Cohen, who will go up against sitting Democratic Senator Barbara Mukulski if he wins, is an unabashed moderate Republican. In his interview and also on his campaign website, he is not afraid to use the dreaded “M-word” to describe himself.
Since he’s considered a long shot candidate, he’s not getting a lot of attention. That also means, he more willing to say the truth and in his interview with Mak he was very candid about issues such as what to do about Social Secruity:
I’ve been on the phone with Maryland GOP Senate candidate Dr. Neil Cohen for about twenty minutes when he starts to really get irritated. Not with me, but over the coming defeat of his candidacy.
He talks like an honest candidate, a benefit afforded to him by a flailing campaign. Social security is unsustainable, he says: We may have to raise taxes to pay it off or cut services.
“As a Republican, I shouldn’t be talking like this,” Cohen says. “But we can’t keep having programs that are this generous – we just don’t have the money.”
Something about how he shouldn’t be talking this way changes his tone quite drastically, and Cohen’s real frustrations open up.
“At this point I don’t think I’ll ever get elected. No one wants to hear the truth. I’m so frustrated right now – I think the whole system is going to hell in a hand-basket,” Cohen says. “My voice never gets heard. There are no newspapers to cover what I say, no radio interviews.”
Of course, he is not the media sideshow ala Sharon Angle or Rand Paul which is why he is not of much interest to the media. That says more about the current state of our media than it does Cohen.
His Facebook Page also shows a bit of that truth telling. He states why he is running and makes some of the usual charges against the Democrats, but without painting them as evil and by promoting a positive agenda:
Like many of us in the State of Maryland and throughout the United States I feel that our elected officials have forgotten that we sent them to DC to work together to fix our problems.
With the deficit exploding and our public debt running into TRILLIONS of dollars, with millions of our fellow citizens unemployed, with the prospect of schools, hospitals and many local public services forced to close or go bankrupt I believe our current officials spend too much time defending their position rather than looking for solutions.
However, unlike my primary opponents I am a MODERATE Republican who believes the American people deserve someone who puts them ahead of the party system. We need action to fix our problems and we can not wait.
To get Maryland and the country moving again will take political leadership and cooperation. We will not end the partisan bickering if hard-line conservatives continue to argue that the only way forward is to cut out government from our lives, repeal all healthcare legislation and disagree with Democrats on every issue as a matter of principle.
We need good government not just smaller government. We need transparent and accountable government. We need political leaders who will work together to solve our problems.
I am running as a moderate Republican to work with both parties to find the solutions we desperately need. I may not be popular with some of the political hacks in DC but they will not be the ones who elect me as their voice in the Senate.
My opponent in the General Election has served our country for many years for which she deserves respect. But during her 33 years in Washington DC she has overwhelmingly voted with her party line not for the people of Maryland. Our current debt, our unemployment and our broken government occurred on her watch. As our representative I hold her accountable.
I believe the people of Maryland deserve a new voice in the U.S. Senate. I will listen to you and I will work hard every day to represent you. Together we must build a better and prosperous future worthy of our children and grandchildren.
Here’s a man who is concerned about Social Security but not talking about abolishing it. He’s pro-choice and pro-second amendment. Thirty or forty years ago, he would have been a high-profile candidate in the GOP. But times have changed, and if you aren’t angry enough or anti-government enough, you are deemed a RINO and ignored. I think Mak puts it best when he says:
Why shouldn’t an intelligent, hardworking professional be able to win a Republican primary in Maryland? Do relationships with party donors and Republican higher-ups for ‘experience’ make for better political representation?
He’s the kind of person who would make a great representative. Why aren’t there more Neil Cohens? Or rather, why aren’t there more Neil Cohens that can win?