Like many former Republicans, Babette “Toujours Babbette” Wagner couldn’t abide the party’s drift away from traditional conservative values toward and into the Trump abyss. Her recent encounter with Republican candidate for Congress Ted Howze prompted the following open letter. ed.
Good day, Dr. Howze,
As one of the people who helped with the event, I want to thank you for stopping by our neighborhood’s National Night Out (NNO) to introduce yourself. It was a pleasure meeting you, but frankly, I was a bit disappointed when I asked if, while running as a Republican for our Congressional District seat, you stood by Donald Trump and his actions.
Your reply that you, “don’t like his behavior,” but you, “agree with his policies,” concerned me. Was that a blanket statement? Do you favor all or most of his policies? I know you spent time asking about my past Republican political involvement, time on the Central Committee, the several non-partisan and Republican campaigns I’ve chaired countywide, but I had many other follow-up questions I was hoping you would address.
I did register as a Republican the first birthday it was possible, likely while you and our mutual friend, Nicholas Bavaro, were still in junior high, well before he was old enough to register as a Democrat and long before he became a Republican who eventually advanced to the State Party Level. However, that tangential discussion led us away from my main concerns: which of Trump’s policies DO you support?
Do you support a woman’s right to choose or are you of a mind to see Roe v Wade overturned? Is a woman’s choice one of the “social” issues you support?
Do you support Trump’s appointing droves of unabashedly unqualified judges to the lower courts?
Did you find the whining, crying, beer-loving Brett Kavanaugh and his laughable excuses vis-a-vis his reprehensible behavior with young women worthy of confirmation to the SCOTUS?
Do you support breaking up immigrant families, separating parents from children and holding these crying, sick (and some dying) children in cages at the border for weeks on end?
Did you support Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord?
Did you, as my husband and I did, take multiple undergraduate science classes in order to get into veterinarian school?* (My husband is a physician, a UCI graduate; I graduated from UCSF.) And if so, do you believe, as do 97% of scientists worldwide, that climate change is real, is happening as I write, and is an existential threat to our very existence? (Our key people in the national security arena feel strongly that it is a “clear and present danger.”)
With respect to America’s environment: Do you support Trump’s efforts to gut the work of Teddy Roosevelt who strove to protect our national treasures as National Parks and other wild public lands? What about another Republican’s prescient efforts: do you support Trump’s dismantling the EPA that Nixon put in place to protect our air, water and lands as well as his opposition to efforts to look to renewable sources over coal and other fossil fuels for our energy needs? Did you support Trump’s periodic and almost spasmodic promises and sloganeering to “bring back coal”?
I ask on our behalf and that of others, as we hear daily of the proposed privatization and rape of Escalante, Bears Ears, the drilling of ANWR lands, and the increasing trend to surrender our National Parks, Monuments and Lands to benefit special interests and enhance private profits?
Did you support Trump’s tariffs, given they’ve harmed so many of our nation’s farmers, costing the US taxpayer billions for, “farm welfare,” a term which both angers and embarrasses many honest farmers who simply want to sell their products overseas?
Did you support dismantling NAFTA? This transition/enactment period has resulted in businesses and restaurants having to pay dearly for merchandise and foods, driving up costs and cutting already slim profit margins.
Under the “new NAFTA” (USMCA), any items we purchase from Mexico and Canada now come with tariffs that are passed onto the American consumer. This unnecessary substitution of a plan also provides for a longer waiting period before new pharmaceutical drugs can, “go generic,” which will severely impact our healthcare system’s affordability. Under the terms of Trump’s new, “trade deal,” do you think that was a good move?
Did you support Trump’s pullout from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the Iran nuclear deal)?
Did you support Trump’s moving our main American Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, the city which has, for centuries, been the beating heart and “bone of contention” of the three Abrahamic religions? Yes, we still have a “branch” in Tel Aviv, but do you support Trump’s move which seemed tailored to appease Bibi Netanyahu, a man indicted in his own country for corruption?
Speaking of corruption: Do you support Trump’s close relationships with tyrants such as Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong- Un, Rodrigo Duterte, Recep Erdogan, as well as the Saudi Leaders, particularly Mohammad bin Salman, aka MSB, who our security people concur is responsible (not unlike others named above) for murdering a journalist, in this case Jamal Kashoggi, which went further than even Putin would in that this Washington Post columnist was not only entrapped into visiting the Saudi Embassy in Turkey, but tortured, murdered and dismembered?
What is your position on NATO? And your position on supporting our non-NATO allies, including Japan and South Korea?
Did you approve of Trump’s cabinet picks, most of whom failed miserably with respect to his promise to choose, “only the best people”? We’re still dealing with the questionable foreign financial dealings of Elaine Chao as well as the incompetent Ben Carson, who should’ve stuck with his day job— just because you’re a brain surgeon, doesn’t mean you ARE a brain with respect to Housing and Urban Development! And I haven’t even mentioned Ryan Zinke and Scott Pruitt.
You and I did have a brief discussion about Betsy DeVos and her goal of privatizing public schools. You didn’t have much to say about that; in fact, you changed the subject. But are you aware that she is not only the sister of Eric Prince, founder of Blackwater, then Xi and now Academi, which was not likely what was involved in his meeting Russians in the Seychelles Islands in an effort to enhance Trump’s chance at winning the Presidency?
Betsy had never put her velvet-toed shoe into a public school until she visited one in an impoverished district, covered in diamond rings, bracelets, earrings and while intellect, and once again evidencing her absolute lack of knowledge of the post to which she was appointed?
The more recent appointment of the duplicitous Attorney General, William Barr, is a bridge too far; it even almost makes Trump’s appointment of his daughter and son-in-law to his staff look reasonable (which it isn’t) but I would like to know your thoughts on that selection also.
I’m curious as to how you feel about about 96+% percent of the American taxpayers footing the bill for tax cuts for the ultra-rich and allowing profiteering corporations to pay no taxes under the current law while onerous measures are levied upon the backs of the working and even retired populace. By 2027, the bulk of the tax breaks will go to the top 1%. Do you think that is fair? Trickle-down economics didn’t work under Reagan, so why do Republicans constantly, “rinse and repeat?”
Speaking of taxes: Are you as curious as many Americans about where Trump gets his financing, what’s on his tax returns, and how much of his so-called wealth is real?
People are also curious about who funded Trump’s Inaugural events, as foreign money should not to be involved in any of our pre- and post-election processes but evidence mounts that it was. Sadly, due to the Citizens United decision, the average citizen will never know how much BigPharma, corporations, the NRA (and its Maria Butina ilk), special interests, wealthy individuals and foreigners have contributed to any specific campaign, but it sure makes one wonder who’s the marionette pulling the puppet’s strings (besides Stephen Milller and Sean Hannity, that is!).
Have you thoroughly read the Mueller Report? And if so, what did you discern from it?
You stressed that you were, “fiscally conservative and socially liberal,” but we didn’t cover anything specific in those areas. I too, am fiscally conservative and my hair is on fire quite a bit as I watch the debt under Trump’s reign grow like Topsy, notwithstanding any input one way or another from the money-fondling, gold brick-rubbing pseudo-savant, Steve Mnuchin.
I wish you well in your campaign but find, given the lack of follow-up to some questions at NNO and your unwillingness to address more than one issue, and that lightly, leaves me still wondering where you stand, because if you, indeed, do stand with Trump, this household cannot, in good conscience, support your candidacy.
Best regards anyway and thanks for dropping by,
Babette Nunes Wagner
Registered Voter: No Party Preference
*Ted Howze is a veterinarian