Election 2020

What Does Purported Trump Challenger Larry Hogan Actually Believe?

NeverTrump conservatives flock to 62-year-old Maryland governor whose foreign policy views are a blank slate.

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Hoganmentum ||| Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Newscom
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Newscom

Facing a polarizing Republican populist and a statist Democrat lifer, the Libertarian Party in 2016 proposed a comparatively sensible and centrist alternative ticket composed of two former moderate-Republican governors of heavily Democratic states who were a bit light on foreign policy.

Now anti-Trump Republicans are eagerly eyeing that path.

As Fantasy 2020 Presidential Season heats up, early buzz is accumulating around Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, the 62-year-old former real estate businessman who last month won a second and final term by a 12-point margin in this 2-to-1 Democratic state over the progressive Ben Jealous.

Washington Post "Right Turn" columnist and vociferous Donald Trump critic Jennifer Rubin touted Hogan's "vision of governance based on bipartisanship, fiscal sanity, civility and common sense." The ex-libertarian Niskanen Center last week had Hogan kick off a press-generating conference titled "Starting Over: The Center-Right After Trump," with Center President Jerry Taylor telling Maryland Matters, "If you're looking for a path that's not Trumpist…but also politically compelling, it's there." Weekly Standard co-founder Bill Kristol, a panelist from the Niskanen conference who is loudly searching for a GOP primary challenger to Trump, says he'd "be happy to have him in the mix," telling Rubin that "Larry Hogan's an impressive man with a fine record."

So what is that record as it pertains to national politics, and how does it contrast with that of President Trump?

Hogan, who supported Chris Christie for president in 2015, is out there co-writing bipartisan Washington Post pieces extolling the virtues of the Paris climate agreement ("For the sake of our future and the future of our children, it is time to put aside partisan interest and get to work"). He talks of fiscal responsibility and keeping a lid on taxes. He is a critic of Trump's family-separation policy and talks like a comprehensive immigration reformer, though he has also bashed sanctuary policies and balked at Syrian refugees.

Like many governors of blue states, Hogan has signed gun control laws, opposed repealing Obamacare, increased child-care subsidies, and offered corporate welfare to Amazon. He is currently in a spot of political controversy over proposing to pay for infrastructure improvements to lure the Washington Redskins to Prince George's County. He's also an active opponent of partisan gerrymandering.

In his Niskanen speech, Hogan began by praising the late George H.W. Bush; went on to talk about the courage of his congressman father Larry Hogan, Sr., in voting to impeach President Richard Nixon; and made a lot of noise about civility and tone. "Compromise and moderation should not be considered dirty words," he said. "I believe it's only when the partisan shouting stops that we can truly hear each other's voices and concerns."

Given the Hogan enthusiasm—particularly of Kristol, a committed interventionist who has a track record of finding and backing politicians with blank slates on foreign policy—what do we know of the governor's beliefs about the exercise of American power? Well, here's the relevant On the Issues assessment: "No issue stance yet recorded by OnTheIssues.org."

Hogan, to say the least, is not exactly a household name outside of Maryland, so it's hard to imagine Hoganmentum eclipsing even the sorry presidential results of his statehouse predecessor, Martin O'Malley. But he and other GOP trial ballooners may provide an early test case: Will the anti-Trump rump of the Republican Party ever confront its own foreign policy blunders and the backlash they created, or will the new center-right repeat the same interventionist mistakes of the old?

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  1. This guy would be eaten alive by both Trump and the rank-and-file of the Republican party. Remember Romney? Apparently fucking not.

    1. Dude needs to lose some weight.

      And it is safe to say if Bill Kristol likes him… I should not.

    2. Dude needs to lose some weight.

  2. only when the partisan shouting stops that we can truly hear the screams of the molested

    1. I laughed.

  3. Why do you imagine that politicians actually believe things?

  4. Living in Maryland, i have to say that Hogan would be a step backwards, maybe two steps, to perpetuating the overreaching government that Americans are trying to defeat.
    A decade or two ago, he would have been seen as a solid Democrat. There’s very little about his ideas and convictions that would color him a Republican, let alone a Libertarian.
    A sure sign that he’s not what America needs is an endorsement by Bill Kristol, a globalist one-worlder if there ever was one. Hogan’s of the same stripe.


    1. A sure sign that he’s not what America needs is an endorsement by Bill Kristol, a globalist one-worlder if there ever was one. Hogan’s of the same stripe.

      It seems that more and more Reason seems to be taking the side of Kristol. Probably because if there are no borders you’re talking about one world government since the most permeable borders are those within the same body politic. It’s more than just that, but it’s a good illustration of the logic.

      Reason authors have never managed to make any kind of rational case for open borders, which is pretty ironic given the name of the publication.

      1. Reason authors have never managed to make any kind of rational case for open borders

        You don’t think any rational case can be made for open borders. Nothing would pass muster with you. Calling Reason a sham because they can’t convince you of something is pretty bizarre. Man up! At least admit you don’t think any case can be made, don’t lay the blame on Reason for not doing the impossible.

        1. You can’t blame reason for failing to do the impossible. You can, however, blame reason for being dishonest and pretending that such a case is possible.

          1. And some people, me included, think such a case is possible. You are blaming Reason for not doing what *you* think is impossible and what *you* refuse to recognize as possible.

            This is not 2 + 2 = 4.

            If you can’t even admit that your opponents have plausible beliefs which differ from yours, you are in no position to argue over it.

            1. Yet you’re not making it, you’re still just blowing smoke.

              1. Reason is. Why should I make a separate case? Why should anyone, now that you’ve admitted you won’t pay any attention to anybody’s case because you like having a closed mind?


        2. You don’t think any rational case can be made for open borders.

          So go ahead and make one? The key phrase you might have missed is ‘rational’, as anyone can make irrational arguments for open borders.

          Notably, I have seen zero articles by Reason that go into any potential negative consequences by having open borders. Those negative consequences aren’t at all unknown factors, it’s just that the authors here can’t be bothered to even check if there are any.

          1. You too refuse to admit that there can be a rational case for ideas which you don’t believe. You too are an idiot. Just because you think your opponent’s ideas are irrational does not mean they are irrational. It only means you are narrow minded.

            1. You seem to be confused since you keep saying there’s a rational case to be made, yet I don’t see you making a rational case.

              As one example, if the United States had no borders you could expect American wages to fall precipitously. Anyone who has taken a college level economics course could explain why. Feel free to explain why as an example of your understanding of the subject.

              I’m not against immigration, I’m against open immigration in a closed labor system with high barriers to entry and one-sided labor policy. You’d also need to admit that all those things are wildly popular as they artificially inflate American wages, and that even the people who instituted those policies nearly 100 years ago did so with the explicit aim of harming immigrant labor.

              1. You’re not confused because your mind is closed. Your example is the product of a mind which says there are no rational examples; why should anyone pay any attention to your example?

      2. How you could interpret this post as pro-Kristol is beyond me.

        1. Inference and extrapolation with other positions the magazine takes. Flawed metrics, of course, but there it is. I’d be the first to mention that Reason isn’t a lockstep publication, which I appreciate, but for a publication titled ‘Reason’ the authors here have very little of it.

          1. You could alternately read the plain words contained in the post, and follow the links having to do with Kristol in particular.

            1. You’re a funny guy Welch, you know none of us read the articles!

              Besides, I think your actual blog is way better than the stuff you generally put up here.

              1. My blog has been inactive for a decade, so.

                1. Hmm…maybe I’m thinking of some other Reason author since the one I’m thinking of wrote about the Las Vegas shooting which wasn’t ten years ago. I’ll have to check when I get home, perhaps it was Boehm’s page. Thanks for correcting me though!

    2. Yeah, I like (tolerate) Hogan as MD governor but I wouldn’t support him out of the gate for president. Living in MD too, I have no idea what he really believes other then checking the worst policies of MD dems. Which in MD is the best you can hope for but for president I want someone with a more grand vision of rolling back regulations/laws instead of just making them less crazy.

    3. As a Md resident also we are in a state about 2/3 democrat. Hogan is an improvement but hardly a small government libertarian. Got some of OWE’Malley’s taxes repealed and he may have stopped worse progressive policy from being enacted but he is no conservative.

  5. Hogan, who supported Chris Christie for president in 2015,

    Well that didn’t take too long to lose me.

  6. Hogan is a decent governor for Maryland. It is hard to overstate how much of a back handed compliment that is. He is basically a big government liberal who is at least competent enough to make the government run okay and is not totally bat shit crazy and evil. In other words, he is not Elizabeth Warren or Kamila Harris. That is literally all that can be said for him.

  7. The “center” is dead. If you want pasta and I want shrimp, we can compromise on shrimp alfredo but if you want chiles rellenos and I want pork lo mein, what’s the compromise there? Maybe we can agree to settle on fried chicken instead? But that’s an alternative choice, not a little-of-one, little-of-the-other choice. “Dem-lite” out of the GOP used to be good enough to drag along the more conservative wing of both parties, grumbling and holding their noses, but the divide between the two is too great now. John Kasich may think there’s still a place for middle-of-the-roaders but Gary Johnson should be able to tell him otherwise.

    And Trumpism is as much a cult of personality as Obama was and he’s going to leave the GOP in as much disarray as Obama left the Dems due to the power vacuum he leaves behind. Come 2024, you’re not going to see a Bush v Clinton-style match-up, you’re going to see a Hitler v Stalin cage match. No matter who wins, we’re all going to suffer horribly.

    1. Trump is not a cult of personality. People voted for Trump because they wanted an end to free trade at all costs and mass immigration. Trump won the Presidency because neither his opponents in the GOP primary nor the Hillary was willing to address the grievences of his supporters or give them any reason not to vote for him. That is not a cult of personality. A cult of personality is where the person would win no matter what position they took. That is not what happened in 2016. In 2016, Tump represented the interests of millions of voters that his opponents refused to represent. Neither those issues nor those voters are going away with Trump. When Trump leaves, someone else will run on those issues just like he did. The GOP will be in no more or less disarray than it is now.

      I honestly can’t understand how people can refuse to see that and convince themsleves Trump is a cult of personality.

      1. Obamacare is stronger than ever because Kushner has given Trump “advice” about how to make it stronger to benefit his brother’s Oscar Health. Trump cultists refuse to believe facts that don’t align with their beliefs about Trump?that is a cult of personality.

        1. You are just claiming that Trump didn’t come through with all of his promises. No politician does. That does not make him a cult of personality. And it doesn’t change the fact that the issues of trade, immigration, and nationalism in foreign policy are why he got elected and are not going to go away. You use of the term “Trump cultist” does however make you look like a complete dumb ass. So there is that.

          1. Trump has been ineffective except with respect to helping Oscar Health get on a path to profitability.

            1. That is nice. But that has nothing to do with what we are talking about.

        2. I notice you offer no supporting evidence of ‘stronger than ever’ when the mandate was cut out. Weird. It’s still a shit sandwich program no matter how they shuffle the cards.

          1. The people that have Obamacare policies are satisfied with it and the Medicaid expansion is helping Democrats win elections in swing states. Oscar Health is finally on a path to profitability and they are a health insurance company that started to specifically take advantage of the ACA premium subsidies. Trump has been great for Obamacare because Kushner talks to Trump every day and advises him how to make it stronger which is something Obama did not have.

      2. Claiming he’s a cult of personality is a way of denying that the positions he ran on have wide appeal. That’s all. They don’t want to admit that any significant number of people, let alone a working plurality, are opposed to their own views.

    2. “Come 2024, you’re not going to see a Bush v Clinton-style match-up, you’re going to see a Hitler v Stalin cage match. No matter who wins, we’re all going to suffer horribly.”

      Probably true. This is how Hitler squeaked to power too, people on the right in Germany were deathly afraid (for good measure) of communist infiltration and subversion. Not sure what it will bode for us but here is hoping for the best.

  8. Maryland still owns Baltimore, right? PASS.

    Also, a governor from the Land of Mary? The presidential tweets practically write themselves!

  9. No matter how many times it goes down in flames, nothing will disabuse the GOP bluebloods from the dream of a bloodless blue state moderate being a winning formula for a national election.

    1. A primary challange to Trump would be a scam to dupe people into providing employment to out of work camapaign advisors. These clowns have no hope of winning. But it would part some fools from their money and give a bunch of loser campaign managers and advisors lucrative jobs.

      1. I hope Trump gets primaried, I just don’t have any faith that will happen.

        1. Really? And be replaced by this guy or some other loser the country club wing of the party drags out? Why do you think that would be a good thing. Understand, the Pauls are not going to be the ones running against him. I really don’t see how you can not see Trump as preferable to the alternatives.

          1. Trump isn’t a good President by my metrics, he was merely less bad than Clinton. I was a Rand Paul guy during the primary, and that really hasn’t changed. Not that Paul is perfect, far from it, he’s just about as good as we can expect at this point and that is why he will never be elected.

            I merely defend Trump from the more bat shit insane accusations, I don’t actually think he’s a good President.

            1. What has he done that makes him a “bad President” by your metric? Doesn’t not getting us into new wars and appearently getting us out of this one count for anything? What about the first real prison reform since maybe ever? That not count either?

              Are some steel tarriffs, saying mean things about sacred reproters and daring to deport a few Mexicans the only issues that matter?

              1. For starters Trump is flat out wrong most every time he opens his mouth on economic issues or trade. He occasionally gets it right, but if you throw a thousand darts at a board you’re bound to hit once or twice. He’s also pretty law and order, which I can sometimes agree with but my reference point on those issues is pretty far removed from the Republican party at this point.

                I disagreed with a lot of bullshit the Democrats were selling in the 90’s, and thus it’s little surprise I disagree with Trump a lot of the time. Not all of the time, just often enough to hope someone better can beat him in the primaries.

                If we keep using the metric of ‘at least he’s better than Clinton’ things are never going to get better. Trump is certainly no Ronald Reagan, but maybe that’s unrealistic in todays world.

                1. For starters Trump is flat out wrong most every time he opens his mouth on economic issues or trade.

                  Who cares what he says what matters is what he does. And what he does has produced good results so far.

                  And as far as him being law and order, he is the first President to support and actually do something about prison reform. That is an enormous deal. That is a ton more important than anything you are listing. And lets not forget getting out of the Paris Accords. That is a big plus as well. And all of the deregulation. Even Reagan wasn’t much a deregulator despite his reputation. Trump is the first President since Carter to actually reduce federal regulation rather than just slow its growth.

                  Trump is the best President since Reagan and vastly better than Obama or George W. Bush. If you want to say he is a “bad” President, fine. Bad is a matter of opinion. But, there is no denying he is an improvement relative to what we have had.


                  1. Bad is a matter of opinion. But, there is no denying he is an improvement relative to what we have had.

                    Correct. I think he’s bad, and that looking at a President and saying ‘at least they’re not raping the Constitution as much as the last guy’ isn’t a good starting point for evaluating ‘good’.

                    1. Do you really think prison reform, derregulation, and getting us out of foreign wars is just “not raping the Constitution” and not an objective good? Moreover, if you admit that Trump is an improvement over what we had, why do you want him primaried? What makes you think that the political class that gave us all of those previous Presidents would not give us someone just as bad as they were?

                      Your own admissions undercut your objections to Trump.


                    2. Do you really think prison reform, derregulation, and getting us out of foreign wars is just “not raping the Constitution” and not an objective good?

                      I can see you’re just going to continue begging the question by listing some things Trump has done that aren’t terrible and concluding I must be against those things because I find that Trump is overall bad.

                      And let us keep in mind that while Trump deregulates with his left hand, his right hand has no problems issuing more regulations or using EO’s. The big difference is that the regulatory state seems more inclined to reveal how much power they’ve usurped by blocking Trump’s EO’s while implementing Obama’s.

                      Frankly, I’m not so sure that a President has any power to reverse course on the trend.

                    3. The numbers speak for themselves. The total number and quality of regulations is down. Even CATO admits that. Sorry but your claims that he is really regulating in ways you can’t name but insist exist and out weight all the known ways he is deregulating is unpersuasive to say the least.

                      And prison reform, deregulation, and ending foreign wars are good things not just neutral he isn’t making things worse things. You just hate Trump and are too pig headed to admit reality

                    4. From what I have seen Cato claims the rate of creation is down but regulations are up. Also let’s not forget his budget busting spending deal that added what? A couple hundred billion of new annual spending? I don’t hate him. I just think he is unusually fucking stupid even for a piece of produce and his wonderful track record of massive spending increases, ham handed trade wars, trillion dollar deficits and regulations that are growing just not growing at a record pace don’t make my leg tingle. The fact is the government is larger and we are farther from the libertarian ideal than we were the day he took office.

                  2. ” And lets not forget getting out of the Paris Accords. That is a big plus as well. ”

                    Would have been a bigger plus if he’d just come out and said that we weren’t in it to begin with, because Presidents can’t legally obligate the country without the consent of the Senate. Alas, he was persuaded to go along with the Executive branch lie that the Vienna convention is good law in the US.

            2. “I merely defend Trump from the more bat shit insane accusations, I don’t actually think he’s a good President.”

              Neither do I. It is hard to defned the guy when he is constantly acting like an insane person. His only saving grace is he is not a progressive hack.

    2. cc: used car guy

  10. THAT is a centrist? Hell, he’s not even an old style Republican!

  11. He lost me at Paris Accord…Paris is burning because of the Paris Accord. Baltimore is burning because of child support debt.

  12. TDS writ large and continuously.
    Seek help; treatment is available.

  13. dude sounds like a team of idiots.

    1. A million times better than his opponents in both races.

  14. Sorry, but this article makes no sense. You begin by pointing out that the Libertarian Party failed by nominating generic Republicans instead of actual libertarians, and then assert that another generic Republican intends to follow the same path without ever actually providing a shred of evidence that he intends to do so. Most of the article is just about what a generic scumbag politician some random guy is.

    1. I made zero assertion that Larry Hogan will be following the same path as Gary Johnson. I recommend reading slower.

      1. I get the feeling that someone snagged Welch’s name to make snarky replies, or Reason’s hiring practices are so bargain basement that they encourage their writers to pick fights with comment board people to increase page views now.

        Desperate times, amiright?

  15. From what I can gather, Larry Hogan is and has been a good governor, by Maryland standards, which is a pretty low bar. He has no chance against Trump in a primary though, nor do any other blue state republicans as we should have learned from Mitt Romney-they just can’t pull off pretending to be conservative on any issue. On the other hand, democrats will vote for anyone with a D after their name because they know, once elected, they will do whatever the wealthy progtard donors demand

  16. “bipartisanship, fiscal sanity, civility and common sense”

    Pick any two – bipartisanship and civility, *or* fiscal sanity and common sense.

  17. Isn’t a little early for this dreck? God help us.

  18. I’m glad the governor of MD is not currently Anthony Brown or Ben Jealous, but I think of Hogan as just a placeholder for now. Any thoughts of him as president is ludicrous.

  19. He is currently in a spot of political controversy over proposing to pay for infrastructure improvements to lure the Washington Redskins to Prince George’s County.

    Fed Ex field is already in PG County.

  20. I wonder if the Nevertrumpers realize they could probably buy enough Libertarian Party delegates for under $2mm to secure the LP’s ballot status in all 50 states? They could handpick their candidate and, while not winning the presidency, do to Trump what T.R. did to Taft in 1912.

  21. “He is a critic of Trump’s family-separation policy and talks like a comprehensive immigration reformer, though he has also bashed sanctuary policies and balked at Syrian refugees.”

    He sounds like a real human bean who nonetheless believes borders should be secured.

  22. There’s nothing in the description of his positions that seems even remotely libertarian.
    Globalist, yes.
    And that’s a non-starter.

  23. Who cares? Cackservative. (I finally figured out the right way to spell it, rather than cockservative, to mean, as in duty.)

  24. Seems like a typical politician. Handing out money to special interests and spending on social programs while claiming he’s a fiscal conservative. And he’s a supposed reformer on many fronts it seems. That usually means he’s open to “compromise” on important issues “just to get stuff done for the people” no matter how crappy it is or how little the legislation will actually do. Honestly, I think I’d rather have Trump than a centrist Republican…though it doesn’t matter much since I’ll waste my vote on the Libertarian candidate no matter what.

  25. Three’ll get you five God’s Own Prohibitionists ramp up the Televangelism and try to ram through one of their “Race Suicide” life-begins-at-erection Amendment campaigns. IRELAND, of all the bastions of papal pederasty, has finally repealed the antichoice Amendment it swallowed back when the Goo-Oh-Pee was pushing one of its SEVEN tries at overturning the LP’s Roe v. Wade success. I’m hoping the outcome resembles the Hindenburg fire! Oh, the profanity!

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