by Ryan Meehan
Born in Detroit in 1965, former U.S. Representative Thaddeus McCotter is a self-described “recovering politician, guitar player and househusband”. First elected in 2002 by the sovereign citizens of Michigan’s 11th Congressional District to serve as their Member of Congress, McCotter always remembered and averred that he had been entrusted with public office to work for them. In 2006 and 2008, McCotter was also honored by his GOP colleagues electing him to serve as the Chair of the House Republican Policy Committee, which at the time was the caucus’ fourth highest leadership position. In 2011, McCotter made a brief Presidential bid and history: he was the first sitting member of Congress (and former member of GOP leadership) seeking the Presidency to be barred from the primary debates. Since resigning from office in 2012, McCotter has made numerous media appearances, notably the late-night Fox News program Red Eye and WABC’s The John Batchelor Show; and periodically written for The Daily Caller. He is “not now and never will be a lobbyist”; and will never again seek public office. Nonetheless, we are delighted to have the Hon. Thaddeus McCotter as our guest today in 10 questions.
RM: How did you originally come to be interested in politics? Was there any event you attended during your youth that really sparked a lifelong interest in being involved with government?
TM: No. But at age 10 my life changed when I stealthily caught a late night TV double feature of A Hard Day’s Night and Help! That was it.
RM: Looking at your history of subcommittee assignments, you have always been involved with areas of fiscal concern…What is the most important thing that the American public needs to understand about how their money is spent and managed by both the federal government and private financial institutions? Why did you choose to make issues of fiscal responsibility such a priority during your time of public service?
TM: In this time of war and national peril, there remains no greater charge for a Member of Congress than to uphold their sworn duty to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies foreign and domestic by prudently and devotedly supporting our men and women in uniform, our veterans, and their families in the cause of victory over the tyrants and terrorists who would hurl the world back to an benighted age of barbarism and bondage. This is the cardinal charge, for America must remain the exceptional nation and beacon for the world of what a free people can achieve.
RM: With under eighteen months remaining until the 2016 presidential election, how do you think undecided voters view the Republican Party as a whole at this moment? In that period of time, what steps do you think the GOP needs to take in order to attract voters whose interests represent a majority of their core beliefs?
TM: With eighteen months remaining until the 2016 presidential election, most people are binge watching Net Flix, attending graduation ceremonies, weddings, sporting events and concerts – not politics. The first step for both parties and their partisans to “attract voters” is to realize this and not scurry about trying to distract these voters from their pursuits of happiness, which does not include being harried by unwelcome, attention seeking politicians. In sum, this is the (too lengthy) primary season; ergo, both parties and their potential nominees should spend time talking to the partisans who over a year from now will nominate a standard bearer who, only then, will largely shape the platform to be presented for ratification or rejection by the entirety of the American electorate.
RM: Why is it that you think issues involving energy resources continue to be such a partisan issue; and in your opinion what can be done to move that discussion away from those particular motives?
TM: An issue is partisan because the sovereign American people have differences amongst themselves over how an issue should be resolved; consequently, this is reflected by their servants in public office. If public opinion were monolithic there would be no need of deliberative, representative institutions delegated with the power resolve these issues by the sovereign citizenry.
RM: On May 6th you posted a status on Facebook that read “In the face of extremism, silence is not a defense, it is a defeat”. This reminded me a lot of the famous Edmund Burke quote “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”…Why has our culture has become so cautious when labeling horrible acts of terrorism and torture as extremism; and how did we get to the point where we are more worried about being labeled as Islamophobes than we are with regards to protecting our own country from these acts of senseless violence?
TM: The people are not afraid to identify acts of terrorism and its perpetrators. Unfortunately, the political class, which believes it knows better than the rest of us dirty unwashed, chooses to patronizingly give appeasement a chance by unleashing a rain of euphemisms upon our enemies as if that can end their quest to kill us and, instead, endear us to them. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and his cabinet thought similarly when they instructed Conservative Party members to not disparage Nazi Germany. Contrarily, as was his nature, Winston Churchill called Hitler a “guttersnipe” and his genocidal fascist regime as evil. The Last Lion was right. Truth is liberty’s first line of defense and attack against tyranny and terrorism. It is suicidal to espouse and act otherwise.
RM: Turning the conversation to much lighter subject matter…You were a part of a rock and country band called The Second Amendments which performed for U.S. troops overseas during the previous decade, and you guys even did a set for President Bush at his 2006 Picnic on the White House lawn. How did you manage to get a band comprised of congressmen from all across the political spectrum to agree on that name; and what are some of the advantages and drawbacks of being in a musical outfit made up of only politicians?
TM: There was a bipartisan band, the First Amendments, which broke up a few years before I was elected to serve in Congress. Hence, when the new band formed, it was simply called the Second Amendments. My preference was to name the band the Curious Chimps, because whenever we played people would briefly look at the novelty of five musical Congressmen as if chimps with amps; then, inevitably, the DC denizens would resume their hectic personal agendas of networking, social climbing and backstabbing. Even though we didn’t rock as I was accustomed to back in the day with the Flying Squirrels, we were graced with the honor of playing for our troops, who were kind enough not to boo us. That made it all worthwhile.
RM: If you could only play one guitar and one tube combo amp for the rest of your life, what would your setup look like; and are you a big user of outboard effects, floor or rackmount?
TM: If I “could only play one guitar and one tube combo amp for the rest of (my) life”, this wouldn’t be America anymore; and I’d probably being strumming a shillelagh as we disgruntled Rock-n-Roll rebels marched into battle against our tyrannical, atonal overlords.
RM: In all your years of reviewing legislation, what is the silliest bill that you ever laid eyes on? Why is it that so much time ends up being wasted drafting such useless legislation that has no chance of making it out of the halls of Congress to begin with?
TM: One must remember that whoever introduced the bill (or co-sponsored it or otherwise supported it) and the constituencies who support it sincerely believe the legislation will help end or ameliorate an issue. Relatedly, many bills are put in the hopper as markers for the future: while some ideas rot over time, some ripen and eventually do get reintroduced and passed by a subsequent Congress. Thus, when introducing, considering or voting for legislation, it is most salubrious for the institution’s efficacy to remember the old adage: “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.” This will reinforce civility amongst the Members of Congress; and retain the requisite focus on the benefits and detriments of the proposed idea not the proposing individual(s).
RM: I became a fan of yours from watching the late-night Fox News program “Red Eye” where panelists such as yourself have comedic takes on serious issues of national and global concern…Do you think that we are a little bit too hard on those who hold public office showing an understanding of humor and/or recreation because we expect them to be working all day, every day? In other words, when the media criticizes Obama for making a joke or going golfing, do you think that is warranted or does the general public need to have a better understanding that these people are still human beings who deal with stress just like everyone else?
TM: I’m always bemused by the fact that people who criticize President Obama for “destroying America” are irate that he takes too many vacations. Would they prefer he more diligently destroyed America? I recall the same critiques of President Reagan for “napping in the oval office”, riding horses at his ranch, etc…. The only thing that matters is whether a President’s policies and his or her administration work for the benefit of the American People. If they work well while the President naps, cool. If they don’t work well while the President’s toils, uncool. As for politicians dealing with stress just like everyone else, if they did TMZ would be out of business.
RM: Do you think that in twenty years American voters will have more of a positive or negative attitude towards politicians than they do today? Why, and how much are your thoughts on this matter based on the advancements we’ve seen with social media and technology in general?
TM: The communications revolution enables every citizen at any moment to publicly call their elected officials bums. I expect this exponential amplification of public disapprobation toward politicians to continue and intensify – thank God. This new power to inform, critique and direct your public servants how to redress your e-petitioned grievances is a beneficent development in a constitutional republic wherein the government is subordinate to the public (and wherein I have been promoted back to the status of a sovereign citizen on the sending end of such missives).
RM: What’s up next for you in the remainder of 2015 and beyond? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
TM: Life – God willing. I’m still writing tunes; and have been fortunate to collaborate with Accelerate-Entertainment on a screenplay; and Seventh State Productions on a TV treatment. Shortly, I’ll be flipping a coin as to whether or not I should write a book exposing how Rock-n-Roll was a C.I.A. plot to control the Baby Boomers. (In fairness to the Agency, can you imagine how much damage the “Destructive Generation” would have done if they’d been sober?) Of course, this book would be fiction….
Thaddeus on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ThadMcCotter
Thaddeus on Twitter: https://twitter.com/thadmccotter
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