An Interview with Presidential Candidate Thaddeus McCotter
Valley Patriot President Tom Duggan and Tea Party Columnist (and activist) Christine Morabito sat down with Congressman Thaddeus McCotter (R) Michigan, in Concord, NH last month for a one on one interview about his campaign for president.
Tom: What is it like running for president?
McCotter: It’s great. But it’s a little frustrating because the main stream media and the pundits like to tell you who your choices ought to be. But, as you know there’s social media now so we can transcend the boundaries of the district and get our message out without them.
Tom: Well, they let Ron Paul in the debate. If he was in the debate you should have been in the debate.
McCotter: I just would have been happy if they told us what they will and will not accept. We got the 1% we needed in Iowa and then they tell us, “no, it’s national polling criteria” where they poll people. Well, if a candidate has low name recognition nationwide, how are they going to get name recognition if they can’t take part in the debates? Pundits and the main stream media like to tell the voters “These are your credible choices.” Then the bundlers come in and they gang up with the money people and say here’s who can win, here’s who can’t win. I mean, I wouldn’t want to see Ron Paul excluded from the debates. Let everyone participate. The public clearly says they want to hear new voices, so all I can do is grass roots campaigning. New Hampshire is ideal for that, Iowa is ideal for that and they are very attuned to the election, and they listen.
Tom: Why you, instead of other candidates? If someone is considering Perry or Romney why should they choose you over them?
McCotter: Well, I’m talking about restructuring the government in line with the consumer based economy we have now. They [other candidates] aren’t talking about taking the welfare state and restructuring it for the 21st century. They aren’t talking about the failed Wall Street bailouts and how to actually fix the banks, because the credit contraction we are going through is the key problem. The economy is in deflation, which means their balance sheets are messed up. You’ve got huge debt overhang, they are taking their leisurely time recapitalizing, at your expense, due to quantitative easing and the credit doesn’t get down. You have to force them to restructure, recapitalize, break up the insolvent banks, wall off their assets and put in leverage limits so they can’t collapse on you again. If you don’t do those things, eventually we will look like Japan in the 90’s. We’ve already started with stagnation. People like Bernanke (the Fed Chairman) say “I can’t figure out what the problem is”.
The problem is the strategy to fix the banks failed. They are having the same trouble in Europe. And now the sovereign debt increases when they try to pay off the bond holders and the shareholders with your money, they are doing the same thing in the EU and now it leads to higher debt there. But Bernanke’s not helping. The toxic assets are still on the books.
Tom: So what’s the solution?
McCotter: You have to force debt equity swaps. The bondholders should be forced to trade debt for equity into the company to recapitalize then the ones that aren’t solvent, wall off their assets. What I would do is a zero cap gain for anyone who wants to buy those toxic assets over the life of the asset because it’s a risky purchase. Then you are injecting more capital into the system. And you have to set the limits so they can never come in and get too debt heavy and collapse on top of everybody. Right now they have no incentive to loan. The other candidates aren’t talking about this. A lot of them supported the Wall Street bailouts, they don’t know how to fix it. So, they are all running around saying the same things we heard from 1988 on, but they don’t recognize that the problem is different.
That’s the economic part of it. The other thing they aren’t talking about is communist China. We have to deal with them as a whole, the security problem, the economic problem, unfair trade practices, etc. These are the things nobody is talking about. I mean, immigration isn’t really being talked about, either. We need a comprehensive approach. It’s not just border security; we have to relieve the pressure on the borders. The way to do that is to dis-incentivize. The very logical decision for many of them [illegals] is to come to the United States. If you think about it, most of them are being enticed and exploited here. When the government doesn’t enforce border security, business offers jobs and doesn’t care if you’re legal or you’re not. When sanctuary cities allow taxpayers money to be utilized for these individuals, when you talk about amnesty down the road… I never blame the illegal immigrants, when you have government, labor and a business enticing them to come here it’s a very rational calculation for them to come. When you are living under an oppressive government that wants to kill you and your family, like what happened to my father in law, those should be the first people we let into the country. Then assimilation is the key and English should be the official language. That helps the immigrant to the country.
Tom: How about building a wall?
McCotter: You have to punish the employers who hire them. If you do the things I talked about and dis-incentivize… and you also diplomatically engage these countries so they have certain developing free market, democratic institutions, we need to put pressure on them to make their countries better. You can never build enough walls, you can’t build enough anything if they still have an incentive to come here. Because of the human calculation nothing is going to change their way of life where they are and people are going to want to continue to come here illegally. We also have to get serious with other countries that are encouraging their people to sneak over the border.
Tom: So you don’t support a wall?
McCotter: Well I supported the wall, I supported the fence, yeah. We need something to slow it down but the wall isn’t the complete answer. Building a wall is part of an overall package.
The National Guard clearly has to be deployed by the states, I don’t want the federal government doing that, we have a clear problem with the drug cartels. The other problem [is that] the federal government is punishing states like Arizona who want to enforce the federal laws, and at the same time they are rewarding sanctuary cities who are violating federal law. That’s crazy!
Christine: We are dealing a lot with “Secure Communities” in our area. Our governor refuses to sign on to it. (Secure communities is a program where local police can share their arrest information with the federal government and immigration). Some of the public hearings we went to were such an eye opener. We actually had a city administrator from Chelsea Massachusetts get up and say that she was proud to make that city a sanctuary city.
McCotter: That’s crazy! It’s crazy because I don’t think they understand what the underlying philosophy is. The ability of a municipality or a state to nullify a federal law is called nullification. It was the brainchild of John C. Calhoun. It’s the theory that lead us to the civil war, and whether or not federal law was supreme, or a state can nullify. The philosophy behind Sanctuary Cities is that they think they can take federal law and nullify it and do whatever they want. Well, that’s anarchy. It’s the height of arrogance of the leftists. It’s ridiculous. And again, it’s the combination of big government and big labor who want to get their hands on these [illegal] immigrants, to depress wages, get more low skilled employees, and it’s not fair to those people who came here legally! The wages should rise with the free market, but if you can depress it by breaking the law and bringing in people illegally and employing them, and having the taxpayers pick up the tab for all their services, that’s just crazy.
Christine: Another thing that that candidates aren’t talking about is China.
McCotter: Communist China!
Christine: You have talked about how China is manipulating the currency and stealing our innovations. [Radio host] John Bachelor was talking about how large sums of money have disappeared from the Chinese treasury, nobody knows where it’s going, and I also heard recently that the Chinese are buying up huge portions of real estate in New York and other cities. What do you think is their ultimate goal and why should Americans be concerned about them?
McCotter: They’re clear about what they want. They want the 21st century to be the century of communist China. They want to be the hegemon, which means superpower behemoth. They believe that the 21st century will be theirs, they have our manufacturing, they have our capacities, they continue to drive us to a consumptive economy where we have to borrow money to pay for the welfare state to make up for all the lost, stagnant wages and everything else. So, we’ve got this vicious cycle. Then what they are doing with a lot of the reserves that they hold of our dollars is that they come here and buy up our real estate, which helped fuel the housing bubble. They have to park that money somewhere, because it’s not a free market over there. The government decides where that money is going to go. So to me, it’s clear. This isn’t my supposition. It’s what they say themselves. I’m not speaking out of school, here. So when you see how they are operating, when you see the tactics they use, it’s a very stealth, very indirect means, but the goal remains the same.
The trouble is that a lot of Americans are awake to what their leadership is doing. There’s a whole lot of money to be made on that regime by sending our jobs over there. I would argue that one of the reasons we have problems with tax reform, regulatory reform or energy policies in the United States is that there are so many of these business people who shift their jobs overseas and they don’t worry about the economic climate in the United States. That’s the reason you don’t see a lot of businesses trying to produce taxation regulations and tort reform as much as you see the left trying to impose it. Because the left can’t go overseas. But business can just pick up and ship everything over there. It’s very frustrating. What’s the first thing the communist Chinese government told us we had to cut because of out debt? It was our military, while they put out their new aircraft carrier at the same time. We cannot lose the strategic technological superiority we have.
Christine: What happened to the patent reform bill, where does that stand?
McCotter: That’s over in the senate. I voted against it.
McCotter: To me it was a bill that was against the little guy. It allowed the big corporations to gain advantage over the little entrepreneurs. They passed it anyways. I hope I’m wrong on that.
Tom: When Ron Paul was asked: If Iran dropped a nuclear bomb on Israel would he defend Israel? He said: “No! Why should I?” Your thoughts?
McCotter: The problem with Ron is that if you seek to be liked rather than respected you will be neither. What Ron misses is that our very existence as a free people makes us a target. You have to realize that the tyrants and the terrorists who are oppressing their own people know that the more successful we are here with liberty and self-government; they will have to do something about it there. Because otherwise their own people will start demanding it. You saw the Soviet Union go into the trash can of history not too long ago. Now, you are seeing the Jasmine revolution in China, the Green revolution in Iran. So, in the age of globalization where you can talk to anyone in the world with a blackberry or a laptop, there’s no fortress America anymore. The people who will kill your allies will eventually kill you! We’ve already seen this.
What Iran will do with a nuclear weapon is continue to export terror by using that nuclear deterrent against anyone trying to stop them. That would make for a hellacious world. This will not only impair American security but cost American lives. It will also impair our prosperity because without security there is no free market, our ability to trade with other partners. We will be under a greater threat from these regimes. You can’t just say you don’t care what happens in other countries. The world is getting smaller whether we like it or not. So, to me, you have to defend your allies or you will have no allies. As the United States, we cannot abandon our allies over there or [we’re] next.
Tom: So how would you defend Israel?
McCotter: Number one is we have to make clear that the United States’ strategic partnership with Israel is solid and strong, and they know that if they are threatened we will have their back. Let’s face it, they are the only real democracy in the Middle East. We have to support with economic and peaceful means, the revolutions in Iran and Syria where they want to get rid of the Assad regime, and the Tehran regime just like Reagan did with the Soviet Union. The way to avoid war and debilitate terrorism is to have free people collapse these rogue regimes that support terror, and govern their own lives with free markets and democracy. Which is an opportunity we blew in Egypt with this administration not being concerned about the Muslim Brotherhood and Imam’s coming in with the precipitous removal of Mubarak.
Lincoln said that by expanding liberties for others we ensure our own democracy. I’m not talking about military action in Iran or Syria, we didn’t use that against the Soviet Union.
Tom: If it came to it, would you be willing to use the military to go into Iran as we did in Iraq to depose the Muslim Mullahs?
McCotter: I don’t like to play hypotheticals because it assumes your policies have failed.
Tom: But, if you win you will be taking over for a president whose policies are failing.
McCotter: Yes, they are failing. But I am talking about the policy I laid out of supporting those freedom movements like in Iran and China and Syria and reversing the direction they are going in because their influence is expanding. If you don’t do that you end up in a very lonely and much more dangerous world. You can’t just turn a blind eye to what is happening in the rest of the world. It won’t work now any more than it did in the 1930’s when people were saying “just let Europe go under, it can’t be saved and why should we care?” Think about all the trade and liberty and advancement of freedom because eventually the United States did that. But there was so much more we could have done earlier, like kick Hitler out of the Rhineland when he was vulnerable. If we had called his bluff, think of all the lives that would have been saved. Now, in the age of globalization you can’t just sit back and say “this won’t affect us,” of course it will. Remember the first country the Nazi’s invaded was their own.
September, 2001 was a wakeup call, it was this generations Pearl Harbor. We were hit at home by people who wanted to kill themselves, willing to kill their children and use any means to kill you and your family. They did it here. It’s not as if they are going to go away if we just bring all our troops home and abandon our allies. You can’t walk away from something that’s going to follow you home. I mean, I like Ron Paul we just have a difference of opinion.
Tom: Is there room for Ron Paul in a McCotter administration?
McCotter: Yeah, I think Federal Reserve oversight would be a great place for Ron. A lot of the things he has said about the Federal Reserve and how it’s unaccountable is right on target. And I’d put him in a position to do something about it.
Christine: You’ve been friendly with the Tea Party. How do you feel about our Senator John Kerry saying the media should censor the Tea Party, as well as others on the left saying we were acting like terrorists?
McCotter: Well, I am a Generation X guy, I’m not a baby boomer. (Laughing) The irony is that Senator Kerry, who was very active in the Vietnam protests, now that we have another popular movement at the grass roots level today, protesting and calling for accountability in their government, he thinks they should be muzzled. It’s absolutely absurd. He has no sense of the irony of this. I mean, his entire generation prides themselves on the left that they took to the streets during the Vietnam War, they were peaceful, they did all kinds of protests and demonstrations and sit –ins, so how is it wrong when it’s the Tea Party now? You know, despite what the media portrays the Tea Party to be, they are just looking for more responsible government. So, for him to not see the parallels shows you that the left is just upset because their narrative is; only they go out and engage in peaceful and popular protests. And now that people on the right are doing that they don’t know how to respond, so all they can do is spread hate. Which is sad because I thought his generation was all about love?
The problem the Tea Party has to face, and I said this during the debt ceiling debate, is that the Tea Party was getting set up! There was a real effort to use this debate to split the Tea Party by having some in the party pushing to keep the debate going and default. And what would have happened is that the liberals would have blamed the Tea Party for our default and you would have a fractioned movement. That’s the quickest way to kill any movement. So, the Tea Party, being a real organic, community based operation at the grassroots level, it’s not one monolithic club, but you want to make sure that because of that you don’t end up with splintered off groups that weakens the message and the goals of a more responsive and responsible government. You see, the passion of the people who are in the Tea Party is what gives it strength but it also makes it very vulnerable to people who want to tar and feather it and run it out of town like Senator Kerry. The Tea Party has to move forward together because otherwise we get dragged down and the movement ceases.
Tom: In the debt ceiling discussion that took place recently, there was not one word discussed about all the money we are spending on illegal aliens and to me it seems like you can’t even have that debate without discussing how much money we are spending on citizens of other countries who aren’t supposed to be here. Sam Meas, a guy who ran for congress last year, said that he thinks we should bill the countries these people are coming from. And if they don’t want to pay the bill, take it out of the billions in aid that we send to those countries. What do you think about that?
McCotter: Well the first thing that needs to be done, except for emergency medical services, is to stop using taxpayers’ money to pay for their services. I would also sic the Justice Department on sanctuary cities. That would be administrative and within the power of the president without needing congress’ approval. Then I would restrict the funding at the federal level to make sure it’s not going to illegals. I would argue that if there are American businesses enticing them to come here I would not punish the home country but those countries who are abetting them in coming here, then yes, we should punish those countries. But the key to illegal immigration is stopping them from coming in the first place.
Christine: I’m reading your book (Seize Freedom!: American Truths and Renewal in a Chaotic Age (Culture of Enterprise) and it’s fascinating. I absolutely love it. You have such a way with words. To what do you attribute your mastery of the English Language?
McCotter: Well I think it’s a low bar these days. My parents were teachers and I was ugly growing up, I still am so I spent a lot of time reading.
Christine: Did you take a lot of writing courses? This is so well written.
McCotter: No, when I took English in Detroit as an undergrad, English 150, I had an old professor named Cyrus Gross, who taught us how to write an entire paper with only one period, just colons and semi-colons and all that.
Tom: In layman’s terms, for the average voter, how is a President McCotter going to change the daily lives of Americans, how are you going to improve their lives?
McCotter: Because I trust you to self-govern, to utilize your liberties to pursue your own happiness. You are the ones who are going to fix it. Unlike President Obama, I don’t think government is the solution, I think you are. He trusts government, I trust you.
To find out more about Congressman Thaddeus McCotter you can visit his website: mccotter2012.com
Christine Morabito is a resident of Haverhill a member of the Merrimack Valley Tea Party and a columnist for The Valley Patriot. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tom Duggan is president of Valley Patriot, Inc., a former Lawrence School Committeeman, former political director for Mass Citizens for Marriage, a Police Survivor and hosted the Paying Attention! Radio Program from 2001-2011. You can email your comments to email@example.com.