Who is Thaddeus McCotter and why care?
If there are themes to the Republican presidential candidacy of Michigan Rep. Thaddeus McCotter -- other than hardly anybody knows he's running, or if they do know, they're not really sure who he is -- they're the role of the government (or lack thereof) in revitalizing the economy, the revolution in communications technology, dealing with China and the rights of sovereign citizens.
Oh, and he's introduced legislation to fix Social Security. More on that in a bit.
McCotter, who announced over the July 4th weekend, is a cerebral Roman Catholic father of three who plays rock guitar in a bipartisan band called the Second Amendments.
He's been a regular guest on Fox News' latenight pop-culture/politics roundtable show "RedEye W/GregGutfeld" (fans of which probably constitute his largest group of constituents outside of his actual group of constituents).
He opposes bank bailouts and excessive government spending but has a soft spot for organized labor and the auto bailout (McCotter's 11th District does lie hard by the Motor City, and the Livonia, Mich., native attended the University of Detroit).
The Ticket attended his speeches at both the Lincoln Club's breakfast during the....
McCotter's candidacy has attracted so little attention, that his anemic poll numbers have yet to qualify him for a debate. Despite repeated contacts including some personal appeals, McCotter did not have time to grant an interview, although he did stand still long enough for a photo (above).
However, by way of introducing him to Ticket readers, here are excerpts from both addresses, including the Q&A session on Saturday made possible when Rep. Paul was late arriving. Quotes from the breakfast are labled (CAGOP) and quotes from the tea party rally are labeled (BHTP).
On the relationship between government and the economy:
"No matter how many times his (President Obama's) campaign clown car crisscrosses America, we know that the most prosperous and equitable economy in human history was created by you, the American people, not by bureaucrats in Washington. And the way to end this stagnation is to let you do what you do, which is to produce, which is to grow, which is to achieve." (CAGOP)
"The Lyndon Johnson, Great Society model of government is imploding; it is extinct; it cannot be saved no matter how much money they want to spend or how much they want to print or how much they want to borrow. Because, quite simply, the future is liberty and self-government, as it was at the Founding, as it will be in the future, and this is for what you fight." (BHTP)
"When it comes to the failed Wall Street bailout banks and the lack of access to capital, we've known all along there is only one thing too big to fail in the United States. It is you, the American people." (BHTP)
On communications technology:
"As you know, we live amidst a communications revolution, one that in your personal lives, every day, is empowering you to extents undreamt in human history. From your laptop computers, you can seek information from anywhere you wish. You are no longer bound to get it from a handful of newspapers or a handful of networks. You can get your political positions and views out in front of your neighbors, indeed out in front of the entire country, with the touch of a keystroke.
"You can take, in the palm of your hand, the BlackBerry, and you can buy a good or service anywhere in the world. You live in what is called a consumer-driven economy, and you undertand that it's time, in the 21st century to match a consumer-driven economy with a citizen-driven government." (BHTP)
"Ask a young person, 'Would you let the government tell you what to post on Facebook? And they would say no. Ask a young person, 'Would you let the government tell you what to tweet?' And they would say no. 'Would you let the governement tell you what to put on your iPod?' And they would say no. And then ask that young person, 'Would you let the government tell you who's going to be your doctor?' I would hope the answer would be no." (BHTP)
"I may be old-fashioned, but I get very upset when I hear people so cavalierly say that the 21st century will belong to a Communist nuclear dictatorship. I get very upset when, in the past, we've heard people from Republican administrations say that our job is to escort China onto the world stage.
"My response was, 'I'm a Republican, party of Reagan. We do not usher Communist nuclear-armed dictatorships onto the world stage. We usher them into the ashcan of history." (CAGOP)
"They (China) will not simply take prosperity and all of a sudden turn into model little democrats running aorund holding elections. I will end with this, if I am a bit blunt, I apologize. I am 46 years old. I'm Generation X. It was my generation the Beijing butchers shot in the streets of Tiananmen Square for quoting Madison and Jefferson, and I will never forget that until that country is free." (CAGOP)
On sovereign citizens:
"Never subscribe to apocalyptic conservatism, because no matter how bad the Republicans in Washington ... are, we will prevail over time; America will remain exceptional; your liberties will be protected; and you will inspire the world." (CAGOP)
"To use a phrase popular in this town, you have stolen the Left's narrative. Only the left believes it can take to the streets to peaceably assemble to petition government for the redress of grievances. When they do it, they wind up with documentaries about them. They wind up being lauded in the press.
"Yet, what have you done? You saw legislation; you saw an administration, all of which are wedded to the failed politics of the 20th century, wedded to the failed politics of the past, but you came together as sovereign citizens, to express your displeasure and your vociferous opposition to seeing our bright future be dimmed by the heavy hand of government." (BHTP)
"Through your efforts here today, and your efforts tomorrow, and those millions of others around the country, we are going to ensure that the 21st century remains the American Century. We will continue to be a virtuous, prosperous, purposeful republic composed of sovereign people whose greatest love, other than God, is each other and their children." (BHTP)
McCotter also spoke to the tea party rally about a piece of legislation he has sponsored solo in Congress -- H.R. 2889: The Save Social Security Act. It was introduced on Sept. 12 and has been referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means. Click here for the full text and other information.
Here's what McCotter had to say about H.R.2889 to the rally:
"It relies upon free market forces. It allows individuals 50 and under to receive benefits up front. It allows them to accrue over time in personal savings accounts. And it has been estimated by the chief actuary of Social Security that it will constitute the greatest reduction of government spending and debt in history.
"And it is done because the people, in their wisdom, are going to solve the problems, be it Social Security or be it the stagnant economy."
President George W. Bush talked of privatizing Social Security during his second term in 2005, and it went nowhere. Some of the other GOP presidential candidates have also discussed elements of it, and Mitt Romney recently sparred in a CNN/Tea Party debate with Rick Perry over the Texan's characterization of Social Security as a "Ponzi scheme."
Now, if someone would invite McCotter to a Republican debate, we could have a threesome on the subject.
The next debate is Thursday, Sept. 22, in Orlando, Fla., sponsored by Fox News, Google and the Republican Party of Florida. No word yet on whether McCotter will be there.
UPDATE: Monday, from McCotter on Twitter ...
-- Kate O'Hare
Media critic Kate O’Hare is a regular Ticket contributor. She also blogs about TV at Hot Cuppa TV and is a frequent contributor at entertainment news site Zap2it. Also follow O'Hare on Twitter @KateOH.
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Photos: Rep. Thaddeus McCotter at the Beverly Hills Tea Party rally; McCotter addresses the Lincoln Clubs breakfast at the California Republican Party 2011 Fall Convention. Credit (all): Kate O'Hare for The Los Angeles Times.