“Why is Curtis Bostic’s campaign telephoning me?” I wondered Monday night when I got the call, which included invitation to participate in a teleconference with the Republican candidate.
Although his intentions may have been to broaden his appeal to moderate voters, who seemed to make up the majority of the participants, Bostic may have only painted himself into a far-right corner, driving us away.
On the evening of March 25, his campaign organized a conference call by robodial invitation. Interested persons were allowed to submit questions; Bostic’s team selected some for the Republican candidate to answer directly while all participants listened.
In his opening address, Bostic asserted that his stances were non-partisan, and that he was interested in “working with Democrats” and “crossing the aisle” as the 1st District’s representative in order to achieve results. That supported my initial assumption that he was trying to build up support from the other side.
For the rest of the 90-minute teleconference, though, Bostic gave some responses that were not only very far-right, but factually incorrect, too – even bizarre.
When asked for his position on gun control, for example, Bostic said “When the Revolutionary War was over, the Founding Fathers said ‘Take your assault rifle home with you.’”
Actual assault weapons – selective-fire rifles that shoot mid-sized cartridges from detachable magazines – were not developed until the 20th Century, however.
Bostic’s incorrect statement on history was compounded by a clear clash with public opinion, too. A 61-percent majority of Americans agree that type of weapon should be restricted, and even though he said he doesn’t support universal background checks, 91 percent of the country does.
When closing this subject, Bostic suggested that assault weapons only be addressed in the home and not in the House, saying “family is a key solution to the problems we have today.”
Another standout statement from Bostic’s teleconference came when he was asked about support for the military. He broke away from his “stop spending” campaign slogan in this instance, calling for an increased defense budget.
His argument for this premise is incorrect, however.
“Most people don’t know this,” Bostic said; “military spending since 1976 is actually down, almost two percent, and despite two wars.”
Total military spending for the current fiscal year exceeds $750 billion, however (totaling $852.2 billion when including veterans’ benefits). That’s roughly two and a half times greater than the 1976 budget, even when consistently applying current dollar values.
Other teleconference comments issued by Bostic included his support for privatizing Social Security and cuts to Medicare, an end to the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Dept. of Energy, and “Congress needs to be bold enough to defund (the Affordable Care Act).”
Aside from the one senior who made it clear she didn’t appreciate any risk to Social Security (it’s her money that she paid for herself, she pointed out), other participants who got to ask questions seemed filtered – plants, even.
That’s quite common, though, says Lachlan McIntosh, campaign consultant and proprietor of McIntosh Consulting.
“It’s not unusual for insecure candidates who fear questions out of their comfort zone to try to tightly control who gets to ask,” McIntosh says.
Bostic needs to gain considerable support for the April 2 runoff election, according to a recent poll which found him to trail Mark Sanford 40 percent to 53 percent. Bostic only scored majority approval from voters who declare themselves to be “very conservative,” and still trailed Sanford even though the former governor had no majority approval from any category.
But Monday night’s teleconference didn’t do Bostic any good. While he may have attempted to pull in moderate support, all he did was push us away.