Communist China could be this generation’s Soviet Union, according to Michigan Congressman and presidential candidate Thaddeus McCotter. McCotter believes his fellow candidates are not addressing the severity of this issue and it is one of many reasons why he entered the race.
McCotter, who sat down with Hippo reporters recently at Madeleines Bakery in Concord during a multi-day campaign swing through New Hampshire, said he watched the field emerge and as Republican after Republican (Mike Huckabee, Haley Barbour, Mitch Daniels) failed to enter he decided he might as well ask his fellow citizens to consider his ideas.
His ideas begin with restructuring government for the 21st century, by which he means making it more citizen-driven and entrepreneurial. McCotter said trying to make citizens reliant on the government is a failure.
As president, McCotter said, his first tasks would be repealing Obamacare but he would also work to get the banks in order, which he said is crucial for fixing the economy. McCotter said everyone is aware of the 14 million Americans who can’t find a job. But he was also worried about the 30 million who can’t change jobs, which is clogging natural growth and progression.
McCotter said getting America’s fiscal house in order is important not only for the country’s economic future but for its political future as well. Since so much of America’s debt is owned by the Chinese, McCotter said, you can already see America’s silence on many of China’s human rights violations. McCotter cited America’s refusal to sell jets to Taiwan and President Obama’s making the Dalai Lama wait during his White House visit, so as to not offend the Chinese. McCotter also said the Chinese insist that America make cuts in its military as a way to get their spending problem under control, which McCotter said would be convenient for the Chinese.
McCotter said the other candidates speak in bumper sticker slogans but the nation’s problems need more thoughtful solutions.
“In my opinion, the public wants to hear new voices,” McCotter said.
He said he was shocked that former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty had already bowed out, so early in the campaign. McCotter said he would ultimately know whether his message was resonating with voters but the beauty of his grassroots campaign was that it wasn’t cash-intensive. Such a campaign works particularly well in early primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire. He said Granite Staters appreciate the responsibility of being first in the nation and are attuned to the political scene. McCotter said he doesn’t worry about what the pundits say, as many of them profit from agencies McCotter fights against.
When asked if he felt he was getting a fair shake from the national media, which has been a complaint of Ron Paul’s campaign, McCotter said all he cares about is the voters. He said he supports freedom of the press and to complain would be counterproductive.
He said gaining traction wouldn’t happen overnight but that when he talks with voters about issues other candidates are avoiding, he sees their interest perk up. Whether that translates to votes is another issue.
Perhaps it is working. McCotter came in third place at the New Hampshire Young Republicans Lobster Bake and Straw Poll on Saturday, Aug. 20, tying with Texas Gov. Rick Perry and trailing winner Ron Paul and second-place Mitt Romney. McCotter attended the event and brought his guitar, which he is known to play.
McCotter also said this was the first social networking Republican presidential election, which gives grassroots campaigns like his an opportunity to utilize a message. He said the Democrats dominated social networking in 2008 but since then, Republicans have surpassed them in their use of the tool.
He said being one of only three candidates who is an active member of Congress (Paul and Michele Bachmann are the other two) makes him uniquely qualified to run. He said as a congressman he must run for re-election every two years — because of that, he said, Representatives are most accountable and are closest to the people.
McCotter joked that he entered politics following a misspent youth. In actuality he got involved while in law school. He said being born in 1965, he grew up under President Jimmy Carter and saw that his policies didn’t work. He sees similarities between those policies and those of President Obama.
“The place reserved for them [youth] in the Obama economy is their parents’ basement,” McCotter said.
Being from Michigan, McCotter takes the issue of manufacturing quite seriously. He said there are manufacturing jobs in America but the problem is they are highly skilled (which bucks the misconception that manufacturing jobs are unskilled) and the workforce is not trained enough for them. He said he would work toward improving skill training so America could invent and bring to creation the great products of the 21st century.