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October 9, 2010 / J. Shaw

The Marine Who Has Barney Frank in Trouble

In a district where Scott Brown won, Sean Bielat mounts a serious challenge.

‘I don’t consider myself a tea party candidate,” Sean Bielat tells me over dinner. “I don’t know what it means.” But an hour later Mr. Bielat, Rep. Barney Frank’s Republican challenger, receives a hero’s welcome at the Spindle City Tea Party, a gathering of nearly 200 citizen– activists in this economically depressed mill town. As he approaches the stage, they stand, applauding and chanting “Go, Sean, go!”

What he tells them is consistent with this reporter’s view of the tea party: “I’m starting to think that people want to take this country back—that people no longer believe that the government has the answers for our betterment, that the government can tell them how they should use their money. People believe that they have the power to create their own opportunity, if only they are given the chance. . . . There is so much wrong in Washington, I almost don’t know where to start.”

Mr. Bielat holds some views that this crowd would find uncongenial. For one, he favors raising the “cap” on wages subject to the Social Security payroll tax—a glaring exception to his opposition to tax hikes. Another comes up during the tea party event, when a portly man with a white beard asks him: “Will you introduce legislation creating term limits in the federal government?”

The crowd applauds the question, and Mr. Bielat tries to duck it. He points out that the event isn’t supposed to be a Q&A and offers to speak with the man one-on-one later. “I think people are interested to know,” the man persists, and others shout in assent.

Mr. Bielat relents—and responds with aplomb. “The answer’s no. Here’s why. I think that there’s a real advantage to us bearing the responsibility of ensuring that there’s turnover in the Congress. I think there’s real advantage for us ensuring that we don’t allow congressional staffers, who aren’t elected, to have power because they stay there for generations. So I do understand the arguments for term limits. I personally oppose term limits.” It’s clear that he hasn’t convinced everybody, but about half the crowd applauds. Not bad for a 35-year-old first-time candidate.

MORE…...wsj.com/  By JAMES TARANTO Article; The Marine Who has Barney Frank Worried

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