Give Me Land, Lots of Land and a Sunny Sky Above

Maggie Brooks doesn’t want to be “pinned down” on issues quite yet.

“To me, that’s always been the same: jobs and the economy,” she continued. “You know, the social things don’t get people back to work, the social issues don’t lower taxes, don’t relieve regulation from business. Those are the things I want to focus on initially, and we’ll take our time with the other things.

“We’ll be fully vetted on those, you better believe it.”

Brooks was asked specifically about whether she would vote to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act, known to critics as Obamacare, and her views on the federal mandate for health insurance coverage of contraceptives.

The notion that she’ll be fully vetted mainly on non-social issues, and concentrating on those, is a fond wish that won’t come true. Brooks is running to join a House caucus that spends a good deal of its time on social issues. Repealing Obamacare, to name one example, is vitally important to a lot of Republicans, and her supporters will want to know how she stands on that. On the Democratic side, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is prepping reporters with 10 questions, three of which are about women’s health care, and those questions are all fair ones. That’s just a taste of what’s to come from the media and her opponent.

Finally–and this will be a theme repeated for the rest of this campaign–Maggie’s not the top of the ticket in 2012. That honor probably belongs to Mitt Romney, who instructs women to “vote for the other guy” if women want “free stuff” like contraception. That quote is one of many reasons that Romney’s likely nomination is a double-edged sword for Brooks. He’s theoretically a Northeastern moderate Republican, which is what Brooks will run as in a Democratic district. But he’s also an example of how moderation in today’s Republican party isn’t durable. As recently as 2002, Mitt supported Medicaid-funded abortions. Romneycare funds contraception, now Mitt’s against it.

If the 2012 standard-bearer can change his positions that radically, it’s fair to ask how Representative Maggie will differ from County Executive Maggie, once she’s under pressure to be a loyal vote for her party in Washington. Whatever phrase you choose–“pinned down”, “fenced in”, or “held accountable”–Maggie’s positions on the social issues that are dominating the Presidential race are going to be fully vetted before this election is over.