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If you don’t know who Thad McCotter is, don’t worry; you will soon. The next GOP candidate debate is scheduled for August 11, and it’s safe to say that McCotter’s presence in the lineup will get a lot of folks’ attention. Let’s put it this way: he’s not only the tallest guy in the room, but the brainiest. Also, the wittiest — as anyone who’s seen any of his frequent appearances on FOX’s “RedEye” knows.

When I first heard the name Thaddeus McCotter several years ago, I pictured an older Southern gentleman, white-haired, with spectacles and an old-fashioned pocketwatch in his vest, complete with a fob… Colonel Sanders without the bowtie.  Whoa.  I was way off base. Turns out the five-term Michigan Congressman is lean and tall, relatively young, athletic (football and baseball), and the lead guitarist in a Congressional rock-n-roll band, the “Second Amendments.

Formerly the head of the Republican Policy Committee — the #4 GOP leadership position in the House — McCotter represents Michigan’s 11th district, which includes western and northwestern suburbs of Detroit. A Detroit native, McCotter is highly sensitive to the automotive industry which employs (or has employed) many of his constituents. This may explain several pro-union votes cast by McCotter that many GOP primary voters, myself included, may find troubling.

However, since there is no perfect candidate (“perfect” being defined as: “agrees with me 100% on every issue”), I have a one-free-pass policy: I give each candidate a “Get Out of Jail Free” card on one issue. I figure that’s as close to perfect as you’re ever going to get in an imperfect world — and in the particularly imperfect world of politics. And that’s just on the issues. The perfect candidate also needs to be someone who can win.

Let me tell you how close to perfect McCotter is. He has the sheer intellectual firepower of Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann’s passion for the Constitution, the even temperament of Tim Pawlenty, the moral compass of Rick Santorum, and Herman Cain’s can-do American spirit. All that, plus a great sense of humor.

On the issues, McCotter is pro-life, pro-Israel, anti-Obamacare; he advocates lower taxes, reduced spending, small government, a strong defense, energy independence and Paul Ryan’s budget plan. He believes in responsible stewardship of natural resources but doesn’t buy the global warming hoax. The most recent piece of legislation he’s introduced is H.R. 2261, a bill to cut off United States contributions to the United Nations if if the U.N. goes through with recognizing an independent Palestinian “state” as planned this fall.

Actually, most of the GOP candidates share those views. I don’t understand conservative pundits who complain about the lineup of Republican candidates. I happen to think we suffer from “an embarrassment of riches.” Our candidates — those who have announced and the potential ones waiting in the wings — are fabulous, in my opinion, both in their stands on the issues and in their personal skills and experience. If anything, the problem is one of choosing between many excellent and virtuous people.

So what makes McCotter stand out? At least two very major things. First, he has a profound vision of the Big Picture — and, crucially, the ability to articulate it — that is reminiscent of G.K. Chesterton. Second, he has thought through, and deeply cares about, some hugely important issues that I don’t see anyone else in the GOP addressing:

1.  the very real challenges posed by globalization (jobs go to where labor is cheapest, even if that means prison and slave labor);

2.  the fact that Communist China is really and truly Communist, can not be trusted, and indeed is taking hostile action against us politically, economically, technologically and militarily;

3.  the fact that both for economic and for military security, we need a manufacturing base in this country;

4.  the crucial importance of “intermediating institutions” to the social fabric — churches, parent-teacher organizations, Kiwanis clubs, softball leagues, Boy Scouts, small-town chambers of commerce, etc. — without which society is hollowed out, reduced to isolated and vulnerable individuals on one end and an intrusive, overreaching government on the other. It is these intermediating institutions that help keep families and communities strong, strong enough to neither desire nor create an opening for the “nanny state.”

This last point is what Catholic social teaching calls “subsidiarity” — the principle that “human affairs are best handled at the lowest possible level, closest to the affected persons.” In other words, if a need can be met by one’s family, then the school or community should not interfere. If the local community can meet the need, then the state or its agencies should stay the heck out of the picture.

Thad McCotter “gets” all this on a deep, instinctual level — and that’s another reason his thinking reminds me of G.K. Chesterton, who was probably the most able exponent in the English language of the concept of subsidiarity. Many of our conservative candidates are “pro-family” — but precious few (Santorum is the only other one I can think of) explicitly recognize the crucial principle of subsidiarity, without which the bones of a pro-family stance have no flesh.

McCotter asserts that too many of us on the right, losing sight of subsidiarity, have become almost as ideological as our enemies on the left. We have gotten suckered into the ideology of “creative destruction,” which is not true conservatism at all. Here’s how McCotter explains it in his book, Seize Freedom!: “Creative destruction” is

the ideology that led “conservatives” to falsely think materialist panaceas — notably the chimera of “free trade” — would solve all problems between peoples.  Enrapt by this deceit, the heralds of “creative destruction” (for everyone but themselves) placed a greater value on saving five dollars on an imported shirt from a sweatshop than on defending the inherent dignity of individuals; than on ensuring fair competition and jobs for American manufacturers and workers; than on securing the national security of the United States from predatory nations like Communist China; and, yes, than on preserving the moral foundations of American culture, which secures and sustains our free-market prosperity.

I like and trust Thad McCotter because he espouses the basic, common-sense truth that I first heard articulated by Mike Huckabee back in 2008: To be secure and to remain free, our country absolutely must be self-sufficient in three things — food, energy and defense. Did you know that we have been outsourcing various defense-systems components? Not to mention that we import many of the machine tools that we need for manufacturing the components that we do still make here. Unlike any of the other candidates, Thad McCotter prioritizes not just “jobs” in the abstract, but specifically the necessity for America to restore its manufacturing base, which he calls our “Arsenal of Democracy.”

As for the “food” leg of the three-legged food-energy-defense stool, you will notice that McCotter is the only Republican candidate who mentions farmers. (He even put that electric guitar of his to use playing at a Farm Aid concert.) McCotter believes that the information-and-services economy so beloved by the liberal elites is no stable economy at all. A healthy, secure America, he says, is a nation of factories, and (significantly to this heartlander) “a nation of farms.”

As an admirer of E.F. Schumacher, Wendell Berry, and G.K. Chesterton, I love it that McCotter believes these things to his marrow. But the scheming political activist in me that wants to win elections rejoices that McCotter’s combination of conservative social values, strong-national-defense advocacy, and blue-collar (both factory and farm) sympathies will appeal to precisely those same working-class voters who enabled Ronald Reagan to win the White House, introducing the term “Reagan Democrats” to the American political lexicon.

McCotter can win those people in the middle who voted for Obama in 2008 because they’d bought the lie that Obama was a “moderate” and a “uniter.” Those people, now disillusioned, are more than ready to vote for a Republican, provided that they feel that he or she understands their concerns. Most importantly, Thad McCotter will win them not by watering down conservatism, but by explaining it so well that he will persuade people of the logic and rightness of conservatism. Just as Reagan did.

Congressman Pat Tiberi of Ohio says that McCotter represents an important part of the Reagan coalition that the GOP is going to have to win again to be a successful national party. “When my dad voted for Ronald Reagan, it was the first Republican he ever voted for,” Tiberi says. “He was a Catholic, a union worker, an immigrant. We need to reach voters like that who share our values but identify with the Democrats for demographic reasons.” McCotter, he says, “clearly and confidently communicates what he believes” in a way that “speaks to them.”

All right, enough about Thad McCotter. Check him out for yourself. Here he is in Whitmore Lake, MI, announcing his candidacy at a July 4th weekend “Freedom Fest”:

As you can see,  Joshua Sharf got it right when he said, “McCotter takes his politics seriously, but not himself, a rare characteristic in a politician.”

McCotter has a solid worldview, not just a set of talking points; a philosophy, not just a personal promotion strategy.

His book, Seize Freedom!, is available from Amazon; many of his speeches and interviews are online at YouTube (I’ve added one of my favorite McCotter speeches to the “Great Speeches” page here at this blog); and the best profiles I’ve seen of the man are at American Spectator and the New York Daily News.

Check out his campaign website, McCotter 2012.

As for me, I’m counting down the days until the Iowa Straw Poll. McCotter’s going to rock it — in more ways than one.

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This speech was given six months before the November election — but it is more relevant now than ever.

Republicans:  Listen and learn!   We’ve got a republic to save, people.

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/AYHb9mAC%5D

Hat tip: Kitman TV

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Oh happy day

January 5, 2011. A day we have awaited for so long.  A day that will go down in the history books.  A day when all our hard work over the past year — from organizing and attending Tea Party rallies, to attending congressional Town Hall meetings, from walking neighborhoods for our candidates in the primaries, to making get-out-the-vote phone calls nonstop in the days leading up to Election Day — pays off.  A new Congress has been sworn in that includes a House freshman class more vigorous, more ready to fight for We The People, than any in memory.

For those of us who want to see the GOP draft Allen West as its presidential nominee only 19 months from now, it is an especially important day. For a “Draft West” movement to even be possible, he will need to become a household name, and quickly.  But the great thing is, the media simply cannot stay away from Allen West; he is a magnet.  Now that Congressman West has been sworn in, the already heavy media coverage West has been getting since November 2 is about to go to a whole new level.  Just today, he was interviewed by NPR and CBS, and featured as one of “five frosh to watch” by Fox News, in addition to the expected coverage by Florida media outlets.

The media think that they want to interview Allen West because he’s what they think is a rare species, a black Republican. (They’re as wrong about that as they are about everything else, of course; black Republicans are getting less rare every day, and Allen West is always quick to point this out.)  Allen West is a rare species, all right, but not in the way the folks in “mainstream” media tend to think.  Allen West is the rarest political species of all: a person who knows the truth, says it out loud, and doesn’t back down in the face of opposition.  When I read the transcript of the NPR interview, I found myself laughing out loud:  It was hilarious to see the politically-correct interviewer try to make Allen fit into his own pre-formulated narrative. It just did not work.  (Read the whole thing, if you have time; it’ll make your day.)

In fact, the more the interviewer tried to trip Allen up, the more Allen shone. His clarity, insight, honesty and common sense only stood out all the more clearly against the mushy background of the interviewer’s all-too-predictable, conventional thinking.

The 112th Congress is now in session.  I can’t wait to see what happens next.

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Congressman-elect Allen West, newly settled into a basement apartment in central Washington,

plans an austere life in the nation’s capital with no car and little time for socializing.“I’ve had a life of being deployed 10,000 miles away, so this is not a hardship whatsoever….”

The freezing weather hasn’t fazed him.“I have a nice office with a roof. And I have a nice little basement apartment, which is cozy,” he said.

“I’m not up here to have a social life. I’ll be working or on the Metro (subway) late at night to get back to my apartment and get a few hours of sleep. And then right back to work.”

Allen West has always described his running for Congress as an extension of what he did for 22 years in the military: serve his country. Evidently, he is also bringing to his new job in Washington the same kind of rigorous discipline that marks the military!

Someone in the comment thread sees Allen West’s potential the same way we here at West to the West Wing do:

Now, sir, from your apartment, walk south on N Capitol St until reaching Pennsylvania Ave. Turn right and walk 15 blocks. Stop. At your 10 o’clock position you’ll see a large, white, two story, structure. Make note of it. It will be your home in the not too distant future….

We hope so!

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A letter from Allen West

The Go West For Allen West blog has Congressman-elect West’s December update to his South Florida constituents. It gives you a nice feel for all he’s been doing lately — and of course his personal warmth, honesty, love of country, and eagerness to serve shine through:

Greetings Patriots!

Greetings to all of you who shall receive this weekly missive. What a week, as we draw closer to a very Merry Christmas.

We received our Congressional committee assignments this past week, and I was humbly pleased to secure positions on the House Armed Services and Small Business committees. These two committees will afford me the ability to serve America by protecting our military and also the foundational economic engine for our country, small businesses.

In keeping with the latter, I also had the chance to visit several places that promote job creation and opportunity in our South Florida community. First, I had an impressive tour at the main campus of Keiser University in Ft. Lauderdale. During the tour, I learned how the Obama administration is attacking “for profit” education institutions. Next, I had a breakfast with members of the Ft. Lauderdale Downtown Development Authority. After that, I went to the groundbreaking for the United Technologies Test Fire and Safety site at the Pratt Whitney, Sikorsky campus. During the tour of Pratt Whitney, I had a chance to walk through the Blackhawk helicopter assembly line…brought back some great memories!

Also very memorable, was my attendance at the annual Holocaust Survivors luncheon, held in Boca Raton at Temple B’nai Torah. I cannot even begin to express the emotion of being with those who suffered through such a horrific ordeal. In my remarks to the crowd, I stressed my firm commitment that “never again” means exactly that. It is a message which America must clearly send to the despots, dictators, autocrats, and theocrats who threaten the modern State of Israel, which we rededicated in 1948…but has existed for 5771 years.

There were a couple of events this week which were simply fun to do. The first was Thursday evening in Jupiter where I spoke to the Palm Beach Sheriffs Office SWAT annual Holiday dinner. I told these brave men and women that they are the everyday guardians of our community and examples of leadership. Being in that room with them reminded me of what it means in America to be exceptional…..and a hat tip to SWAT Captain Robert Allen.

On Friday morning, I visited the high school of my oldest daughter, Aubrey, and talked with several Senior classes on our current economic situation. These young people are far more attuned and savvy than we were back in 1979 when I was a high school senior!

Also this week, I sent a letter to GOP Majority Leader-Elect Eric Cantor referencing the 2011 House calendar pertaining to it only having 123 days for us to be in session on Capitol Hill. Perhaps I have come from a different background, but I truly believe that the desperation and criticality of these times demand greater exertions from those elected to serve America. We shall see if the calendar is adjusted.

On December 14th my wife Angela celebrated another birthday…and I am not so stupid as to say how many. It is always a nice time for Aubrey and Austen to sing to Angela and express their love…..no, I do not sing and my love had better be expressed in a gift!

Lance Corp. Jose Hernandez

December 14th will now also have another significance for me…in memory of someone that I have never met and did not know…but yet I am bonded to forever. It was the day that Marine Lance Corporal Jose A. Hernandez, of Lake Worth, Florida, lost his life in Afghanistan. Hernandez would have turned 20 years old this coming week. On Friday night I was privileged to attend, along with Angela and former Congressman Mark Foley, the beach side candlelight vigil for this young warrior who gave the last full measure of devotion.

The following morning, the sacrifices of this young Marine were immediately apparent. We turned over almost a thousand toys to Marine Reserve Non-Commissioned Officers for the Toys for Tots program. The service of Lance Corporal Hernandez means we live in a Country where we are free to give to those less fortunate. We live in a Country where warriors such as our Marines can serve on distant battlefields and yet show their kind benevolence towards those who are less fortunate here in America.

May my Warrior Brother requiem en pace…………

In keeping with the theme of sacrifice, our family attended the 27th Annual First Baptist Church of Ft. Lauderdale Christmas pageant. The wonderful evening full of spectacular singing and performances reminds us of what Christmas truly means. It is the time to remember that “God so loved us all that he gave us His only begotten Son”. This is the most special gift of sacrifice for those of us who are looking for that which will fill the spiritual void in our lives.

We must understand that there is nowhere in our founding documents where separation of church and state is mentioned. It is a reference to a letter from Thomas Jefferson to a Baptist minister alluding to our country never having a head of state which is also the head of church. Separation of Church and State does not mean the separation of faith from the individual. Many thanks to Pastor Larry Thompson and First Baptist Church of Ft Lauderdale for an incredible pageant event.

Also, thanks to my own Pastor, Scott Eynon of Community Christian Church in Tamarac, for calling me this week just to say he was keeping me in his prayers!

Something to watch out for! My appearance on Israel TV January 18th on the number one English language show in Israel, “Tuesday Night Live in Israel.” The show is broadcast throughout all of South Florida on Comcast, Atlantic Broadband and on JLTV on DIRECTV, and into 26 million homes nationwide. I had the chance to be interviewed with the show’s host, Rabbi Jeremy Gimpel on Sunday while he was in town briefly. The taping will be aired on the January 18th show-which by the way will be taped live in America- in Ft. Lauderdale.

In closing, I would like to offer my congratulations to President Barack Hussein Obama for coming to grips with the reality check of November 2, 2010. His efforts to ensure that the American people will not have a huge tax increase on 1 January is to be commended. However, we in the 112th Congress shall work hard to end the necessity of unemployment checks before the 13 month extension point. Furthermore, we look forward to working with the President on creating effective, efficient, and limited federal government as we curtail spending and reduce the size and scope of a bloated, redundant, and duplicitous Washington DC.

Lastly, just a final thought…the past two years have seen the highest amount of casualties in Afghanistan, we have ten of our Warriors sitting in prison at Ft Leavenworth, North Korea has sunk a South Korean naval vessel and fired 200 artillery rounds into South Korea, Iran marches on towards reaching nuclear capability, our borders are unsecure and a border patrol agent was just killed as Mexico begins to resemble Iraq or Afghanistan………..and the most important Strategic defense issue for the lame duck Congress was to repeal the policy called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.

My priorities will be to ensure the enemy which killed LCPL Jose A Hernandez gets killed, wherever he exists……my concern is not making our military conform to individual behavior. However, the liberal left of this lame duck Congress, and some misguided Republicans, are truly more concerned with whom members of our fighting force sleep and appeasing, at a last gasp, impertinent special interest groups.

Utterly disturbing, totally pathetic.

Steadfast and Loyal,

Allen

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Our man got his committee assignments for the 112th Congress on Friday.

He’ll be on the Armed Services Committee and the Small Business Committee. Yesss!!

Obviously, West’s 22-year career experience in the military will be a huge asset to the Armed Services Committee — and thus, to our national security. We the People appreciate that!

Other than national security, West’s biggest issue has been restoring the American economy. He is passionately committed to easing the tax and regulatory burdens that make it so hard for businesses to survive, let alone grow and create new jobs.  His assignment to the Small Business Committee will give him tremendous opportunity to help us in that area. We the People appreciate that!

West has not had personal experience with small business as he obviously has had with the armed services, but his wife, Angela, has an MBA and is a financial planner, so (as those of you who are married know) he cannot help but have picked up a lot about business over the years! In addition, during both his 2008 campaign and this year’s campaign, West put a lot of effort into outreach to small businesses, and did a lot of listening to business owners.  We know that he is one sharp fellow — one of those bright minds who processes new things very quickly and then retains it all.  He will do just as excellent a job on the Small Business Committee as he does at everything else he applies himself to!

By the way, have you noticed that everyone from Fox to CNN to the Huffington Post has been covering Allen West since November 2? I think it’s safe to say he’s had the most media exposure of any freshman Congressman.  And he’s not even sworn in yet!  Come January 3… oh, this is going to be good!

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What do you do with a campaign headquarters after you’ve been elected?

Well, if you’re Allen West, you use it to help the U.S. Marines collect toys for needy children.

Congressman-elect Allen West’s campaign headquarters in Deerfield Beach, FL served as the backdrop for a toy drive that yielded over 800 toys and gifts to benefit the U.S. Marine Corps ”Toys for Tots’ program. Dozens of volunteers and well-wishers attended the event to hear West thank those who attended and donated for their extraordinary outpouring of support for this worthy cause. West also took questions from the media, and he addressed questions regarding the Military’s controversial “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, the Dream ACT and the extension of the Bush Tax Cuts. In addition, West was asked about the recent letter he sent to incoming Majority Whip Eric Cantor regarding the 2011 work calendar for the U.S. House of Representatives, and West indicated “that it was only right to bring up the concerns of the people.”

I’m really glad he mentioned the importance of getting started right away on oversight hearings.  And I love his plan to work hard all month in Congress, then report back to the district for monthly town hall meetings.  Sounds like a plan every Congressperson should adopt!

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