Looking for so-called outdated values " honesty, ethics and balanced budgets | SierraSun.com

Looking for so-called outdated values " honesty, ethics and balanced budgets

Barbara Richnak
My Turn

Recently, former California Republican Congressman Pete McCloskey wrote a letter to the blog Truthout.org, posing a revolutionary suggestion, which demands a response.-

Congressman McCloskey ” who has never been accused of being a polarizing figure ” expressed the need for a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives. Has this ever happened before in American history? Has there ever been a time when a committed advocate of one political party, a descendent “of three generations of California Republicans active in Merced and San Bernardino counties as well as the San Francisco Bay Area,” has opted to support the opposite party?-

But these, as they say, are no ordinary times.

“It has been difficult . . . to conclude as I have,” says McCloskey, “that the Republican House leadership has been so unalterably corrupted by power and money that reasonable Republicans should support Democrats against Delay-type Republican incumbents in 2006 . . . These Republican incumbents have brought shame on the House, and have created a widespread view in the public at large that Republicans are more interested in obtaining campaign contributions from corporate lobbyists than they are in legislating in the public interest.”

Though McCloskey served as a House Representative for 16 years and retired in 1983, he was called back to run again this year against Richard Pombo, the incumbent for the 11th Congressional district Republican primary, and lost.

Sour grapes, you may say. But the observation on the race made by Pombo’s consultant was that McCloskey was too mired in the obsolete values of the ’70s ” honesty, good ethics and balanced budgets, all rejected by today’s modern Republicans.

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McCloskey is now looking at supporters of the above values, is endorsing a Democrat, Jerry McNerney, “and every other honorable Democrat now challenging those Republican incumbents who have acted to protect former Majority Leader Tom Delay, who have flatly reneged on their Contract With America promise in 1994 to restore high standards of ethical behavior in the House.”-

In line with McCloskey’s personal revolution, he has enlisted the chairman of California Tomorrow, Lewis Butler, a former government commissioner and advocate of “obsolete values of the ’70’s,” to speak out against the 2005 rule changes by House leadership to protect Tom Delay. Both Pombo and our own 4th Congressional district Representative John Doolittle were prominent members of the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct who voted to change the rules.-

McCloskey attempted to get the two to rescind the rules changes but failed. Instead, efforts to extract maximum corporate campaign contributions, free airline trips, and stalemates on ethics reform continued, undaunted by Delay’s resignation from his House leadership.

So, according to McCloskey, it’s time to return the House to the kind of ethics standards practiced by Republicans in former years ” even if it means Democratic control. He stresses temporary control.-

“I say [this] reluctantly, having no great illusion that Democrats or any other kind of politician will long resist the allure of campaign funds and benefits offered by the richest and most profitable of the Halliburtons, oil companies, tobacco companies, developers and Indian gaming tribes whose contributions so heavily dominate the contributions to Congressmen Pombo and Doolittle.”

Another reason McCloskey wants Republicans to “work for Democratic challengers against Delay-type Republicans like Pombo and Doolittle” is the issue of House oversight. Checks and balances are no obsolete value of the ’70s.

“When does anyone remember” he asks, “House Committee hearings to examine into the patent failures of the Bush Administration to adhere to laws like the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, or to the arrogant refusal of the President to accept the congressionally-enacted limits on torture of prisoners.

“Why,” he asks. “have there been no oversight hearings into the Cunningham bribery affair or Abramoff’s Indian gaming?”

With service both in the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps, McCloskey received the Navy Cross and the Silver Star for outstanding service during the Korean War. But his enduring legacy is as the co-author of the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

Surely there are candidates out there with some of those so-called outdated values of the ’70s ” honesty, good ethics, balanced budgets. And, to add to the list, a candidate not financed by the Abramoff/Delay clique.-

Well, in this 4th district, I can think of two ” Charlie Brown, a retired lieutenant colonel, veteran of Vietnam and Gulf War 1, running for Congress, and Robert Haswell, a Truckee native, running for the California Assembly. Both are Democrats.- —

Barbara Richnak is an Olympic Valley resident.