The Spectacle Blog

Breakfast With Tom McClintock

By on 6.24.08 | 11:33AM

This morning, The American Spectator hosted a Newsmaker Breakfast featuring Tom McClintock, the Republican state senator from California/> who ran to Arnold Schwarzenegger's right during the recall battle, and is now running for Congress in California/>'s 4th Congressional District, which is northeast of Sacramento/>/>.

McClintock began his talk by saying, "The reason why I'm here is that Republicans decided they want Republicans who actually act like Republicans."

He said that there are always two parties in any society -- authoritarians and libertarians, and they both are an outgrowth of human nature. Some people want to be left alone, while others believe that they know what's best for people and want to control behavior.

The central theme for Republicans has always been freedom, he said, and Republicans have done better when they have adhered to that principle.

Despite the difficult terrain for conservative Republicans in California/>, he said that if "you scratch the surface, even the left coast of America/>/> is Reagan Country." Even there, he said, we're seeing the "beginning of the collapse of the green movement" as a result of energy costs, and there is a lot of support for offshore drilling.

McClintock displayed a clear libertarian streak on a number of issues. He said he wasn't sure about whether he'd vote for the FISA law. While doesn't think the Bill of Rights applies to overseas, he has civil liberties questions.

He had warm words for Ron Paul, saying that he agrees with much of his message, including his support for a return to the gold standard. He even was in agreement with Paul on some foreign policy issues, including that President Bush should have sought a declaration of war after 9/11 in accordance to the Constitution. He gave off the impression that he didn't support the initial invasion of Iraq/>/>, but said that he supported the surge because now that American troops are in harm's way, it's important that we give them all the resources they need to win.

On illegal immigration, he said he supports securing the border and enforcing employer sanctions, which over time result in a kind of "self-deportation." But he also said he was a strong proponent of legal immigration and an assimilation process that emphasized a common language and culture.

Asked about John McCain, McClintock noted he was a Fred Thompson man, and didn't consider McCain his second, third, fourth, or fifth choice. He said he'd wish McCain would stop talking about "man-made global warming." He did, however, give credit to McCain for taking a strong stand against earmarks, and said he would vote to sustain any McCain veto of a pork-laden spending bill.

Dave Weigel has more.

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