Thaddeus McCotter Addresses The 2011 Republican Leadership Conference.
Various Speakers Including Newt Gingrich, Marco Rubio, James O’Keefe & Herman Cain
Other Speakers: Dick Morris, Mike Pence, Haley Barbour, Pete Sessions, Mitt Romney, John Boehner, Donald Trump, George Allen, Jay Sekulow, Ron Paul, Eric Cantor & Jon Huntsman.
Watch The Entire Faith & Freedom Coalition’s 2nd Annual Conference HERE.
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In an interview Monday with POLITICO, Michigan Rep. Thaddeus McCotter said he’s seriously considering a White House bid and will decide within the next two weeks.
McCotter argued that the current crop of GOP candidates simply isn’t making the case about how to confront what he described as the existential threats facing the country.
“I think the majority of the Republican electorate isn’t happy with the choices they’ve got and want to take a look at new people,” he said.
McCotter said his party must address four major issues: “The challenge of globalization, the war for freedom against terrorists, the rise of Communist China and whether moral relativism erodes a nation built on self-evident truth.”
But what makes a little-known four-term House member who gave up his own leadership position think he can enter the campaign in June and be a viable contender for the nomination?
McCotter said the revolution in communication and media has made it easier for aspiring politicians who don’t have the sort of name identification or personal wealth that traditionally determined who could mount a national campaign.
“It’s easier to get your message out today, and people will take a look at it – and if they like it, maybe they vote for you,” he said.
Pressed further, the Michigander quipped: “I’m from Detroit – we live to prove the doubters wrong.”
If anything, McCotter, 45, is known among political insiders for such wit – along with a love for rock music and his chops on the guitar. He’s a member of a band – The Second Amendments – comprised of a bipartisan group of House members. At a congressional picnic in 2006, President George W. Bush memorably deemed him “that rock and roll dude.”
But he’s also developed something of a cult following on the right as an unapologetic conservative who can quote Russell Kirk as easily as he can Robert Plant. (McCotter weaved Led Zeppelin lyrics into a House floor speech earlier this year.)
Frequent appearances on Fox’s late-night show “Red Eye” and Dennis Miller’s radio program also have built up his fan base in the right-leaning media, particularly among Republicans who, like him, came of age in the 1980s.
“There’s no one I’d like to see more at a debate than McCotter,” gushed conservative Web impresario Andrew Breitbart. “This is a guy that’s blunt, sarcastic, pop-culture-savvy, constitutionally sound and an authentic voice.”
Breitbart predicted: “I think that the American people would be won over by him.”
There have been whispers about the possibility of a McCotter run, but the extent of his plotting is little-known.
He has quietly reached out to potential campaign attorneys and early-state Republicans and counts longtime GOP communications guru Mark Corallo and Eric Ueland, a former chief of staff to Bill Frist, as informal advisers.
If he does run, McCotter, a Twitter enthusiast, will try to harness the Internet, and he’s considering hiring a conservative new media firm to help boost online fundraising potential. One of the new media consultants to his congressional campaign is Andrew Hemingway, who heads the tea-party-leaning Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire.
On Capitol Hill, though, the possibility of a McCotter campaign is being greeted with a mix of puzzlement and speculation about what he’s really after.
The same words tend to come up when congressional Republican aides are asked about McCotter, who favors old-style suit vests: “weird,” “strange,” “odd.”
In an effort to save taxpayer money, he sought last year to eliminate his position in the GOP leadership – head of the Policy Committee – and wound up ceding the job to another member.
With no obvious leadership position or committee gavel available, some Republicans believe that he’s bored in the House and looking for attention – a Michele Bachmann in a three-piece suit. He’s had enough time on his hands to pen a 256-page book, “Seize Freedom: American Truths and Renewal in a Chaotic Age,” that was published earlier this year.
But McCotter notes that he passed on a run next year against Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and wasn’t simply trying to raise his profile in case he’s redistricted out of his current House seat.
“There are easier things to do [than run for president],” he said.
On the charge of eccentricity, McCotter pleaded guilty – but said it’s a matter of perspective.
“Here in Washington, I’m quirky,” he said. “That’s a compliment, because it means I didn’t assimilate with the D.C. Beltway mind-set.”
His enthusiasts prefer to focus on a different set of attributes.
“He’s Midwestern, Catholic, opposed TARP, is a mainstream Republican on fiscal and social issues and has been working on a fairly innovative Social Security modernization plan,” said a source familiar with McCotter’s thinking. “He’s also one of the few candidates who has been engaged on foreign policy issues.”
McCotter is already eyeing that vote against the bank bailout in 2008 – perhaps the closest thing there is to a tea party litmus test – as an issue he’ll hold up should he get in the race.
Asked what separates him from the candidates already in the race, he quickly retorts: “I led the fight against the Wall Street bailout because I thought it was fundamentally unjust.”
Coming from hard-hit Michigan, McCotter also takes a harder line against China, suggesting that Beijing is in “indirect warfare with us” and prescribing a “constructive containment policy.”
He also said bold solutions were needed to address the country’s fiscal situation – “not simply balancing the budget.”
He declined to give details but said he was going to introduce a comprehensive Social Security reform bill in the coming weeks. He called Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicare proposal “a good base” but said he wanted to do even more to bolster the supply side of health care.
He said he’s no protectionist but also noted that “free trade as a panacea has not proven to be the case.” As for reviving the economy, he proposed across-the-board tax cuts for businesses.
McCotter has a keen interest in foreign affairs but defies easy categorization.
He spoke out earlier this year in defense of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s regime, noting that the former dictator was a loyal American ally.
“America must stand with her ally Egypt to preserve an imperfect government capable of reform,” McCotter said at the time of the unrest.
“How’s that turning out now?” he said of the country’s post-revolution tumult. “The tragedy there is that the kids who led the revolution are going to be undercut.”
He said he would not have intervened in Libya and bemoaned the “mission creep” taking place there.
But he said he wouldn’t draw down American troops in Afghanistan until “circumstances on the ground allow it.”
McCotter sounded enthused about the prospect of running but said he sympathized with those Republicans who’ve recently opted out of running.
“I understand how difficult it is,” he said, noting that he’d be “a decided underdog.”
Yet some of his friends suggest he also would liven up the race.
Corallo offered a preview when asked if he was talking to McCotter about a presidential bid.
“I’m talking to McCotter about a lot of things – the economy, China, the war on terror, Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr (or Starkey, as he was known offstage), spending, taxes, gas prices, crazy Supreme Court justices who release 46,000 convicts, [Friedrich] Hayek, the Kirks (Russell and James Tiberius), TARP, Son of TARP and a host of other things on which we find ourselves in agreement,” Corallo quipped.
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Rep McCotter cuts to the chase, and frankly, THIS message is the one the GOP and the rest of us ought to try to hammer home. Michael Medved was crying on his show about how the GOP will suffer terribly from shutting down the government. Maybe, but maybe sticking to their damned guns FOR ONCE, will resonate and the Dems will take it in the public opinion polls over THEIR sick addiction to spending!
“You are being called upon as sovereign citizens of the United States to rectify, guide and improve your servant government in Washington, and you will. And when you do, twenty years from now the next generation of free Americans will thank you, and they will remember the words of the poet, Rupert Brooke, who said: Now, God be thanked who has matched us with His hour, and caught our youth, and wakened us from sleeping.” – Congressman Thaddeus McCotter
REPRESENTATIVE THADDEUS MCCOTTER
At The Southern Republican Leadership Conference
On Health Care – 1
On Health Care – 2
On The Importance Of Victory In Afghanistan
On Illegal Immigration
On Cap & Tax
On Justice Sotomayor
On AIG Executive Bonuses
On The Economic “Stimulus” Package
On The Concept Of “Too Big To Fail”
On Tax Money For ACORN
On U.S. Energy Independence
On “Change” And The Budget
On Wall Street And Accountability
On The Automotive Industry
On Banning Bibles At The Olympics
On The $700 Billion Bailout
On Restoring The Republican Party
On American Troop Support
On The War In Iraq
Is Thaddeus McCotter. And not just because of the cool name either. He is a funny, engaging, principled Conservative, who speaks from conviction with pasion AND sincerity. Smitty of Other McCain fame, also is a fan of McCotter and has a nice post about him up today. Go read it!
Here is a video of McCotter on Red Eye