CEDAR RAPIDS – After a month of highly partisan bickering between President Obama and congressional leaders that led to a debt ceiling deal that no one liked, Rep. Thaddeus McCotter is willing to defend the idea there is civility in Washington.
McCotter, a Michigan congressman who has been quietly introducing himself around Iowa ahead of the GOP Straw Poll, doesn’t deny that it was ugly, but told a small group of Linn County Republicans that what they’ve been seeing on their TV screens isn’t representative of how members of Congress treat one another.
“What you see on TV is when we yell at each other,” McCotter said during a meet-and-greet in rural Cedar Rapids Aug. 4. “Ninety-nine percent of the time we talk to each other like normal people.” And the issues separating the political parties are huge, McCotter said, so disagreement should be expected.
Linn County GOP Co-Chair Cindy Golding hosted the gathering, but said she wasn’t endorsing McCotter at this time.
“In a free republic with the constitutional rights we have, it’s not always going to be pretty,” McCotter, 45-year-old, married and father of three, said, adding dryly, “We are much better behaved than Parliament during ‘question time,”
And although he called the deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling “imperfect,” McCotter also called it “imperative (because) default was not an option.”
“We did not want a situation where panic set in,” said McCotter, who later spoke to the Jones County GOP Central Committee in Anamosa. He’ll also be one of four 2012 GOP presidential hopefuls participating in a five-county Republican fundraiser at Clear Creek-Amana High School in Tiffin from 5 to 8 p.m. Aug. 5.
If McCotter’s defense of congressional civility and support for the debt limit deal seem unconventional, consider he announced his presidential candidacy during a rock concert and then picked up his guitar and jammed with the band on stage.
His support of the auto industry bailout also was unconventional for a Republican, but McCotter, who admits a bias toward the industry that has such an impact on his home state, saw it as necessary for the long-term stability of the nation.
“Look, we have to have manufacturing in America,” he said. Allowing the nation’s manufacturing base to go to Communist China can only lead to problems.
“To me, we don’t want to be in a country that can’t produce … that has to ask China for a tank,” he said.
McCotter also noted that many fellow conservatives who opposed the auto bail out turned around and supported the Farm Bill that subsidizes agriculture.
He’s a small government conservative who believes that self-government and empowering individuals in everything from seeking out information on a smartphone, to controlling retirement savings and health care decisions is the wave of the future.
“Look, does it make sense that I can go online and buy an ottoman from Australia but I can’t buy health insurance across state lines?” he asked.
As technology and communication have changed the way businesses operate and people make decisions, “the only entity that has had to restructure is government,” McCotter said. “It runs like GM in the 1970s.”
It seems clear to everyone but the federal government that’s a failed business model, he added.
“I don’t want to see what happened to Detroit happen to the nation,” he said.
“We in Michigan acutely understand the challenges of a global economy, and the necessity of shrinking Big Government and growing our economy,” he said Thursday in announcing the opening of his national campaign headquarters.
For more on McCotter, visit http://McCotter2012.com.