Tom McClintock talks health care, education, jobs at Saturday stump at Tahoe |

Tom McClintock talks health care, education, jobs at Saturday stump at Tahoe

Matt Welch
Sierra Sun

Sun File PhotoCalif. Rep. Tom McClintock.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. and#8212; Quoting extensively from presidents Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan, Rep. Tom McClintock threw barbs Saturday toward two more recent presidents and#8212; George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

McClintock, a Republican from Californiaand#8217;s 4th district, spoke to a crowd of about 120 Saturday morning at South Tahoe High School. He gave a brief presentation without notes before taking 13 questions from the audience, which was mostly supportive of his positions.

McClintock said Bushand#8217;s administration was and#8220;the most fiscally irresponsible administration in the history of this nation,” and that Obamaand#8217;s policies have and#8220;doubled downand#8221; on Bushand#8217;s policies of deficit spending, creating a situation of large debt he called frightening.

and#8220;This is money that you owe and are obligated to repay,and#8221; McClintock said. and#8220;That simply cannot be sustained.and#8221;

Criticizing excessive government oversight, McClintock said the Tahoe areaand#8217;s unemployment rate is 16.8 percent, much higher than the national average of 9.7 percent. A questioner asked about the intrusion of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, which McClintock said was one example of government hurting growth.

and#8220;The folks here are victims of TRPA, theyand#8217;re not defenders of TRPA,and#8221; McClintock said.

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McClintock also criticized the stimulus bill, saying its spending was based on political concerns and not economic ones. Of the 75,000 jobs the Obama administration says have been saved or created in California, McClintock said 55,000 are in one zip code and#8212; 95814 and#8212; in downtown Sacramento, where the state government is headquartered.

and#8220;These funds are not going to stimulate the economy,and#8221; he said. and#8220;Theyand#8217;re stimulating the government.and#8221;

Questioners asked about the correct role of government and fiscal and monetary policy that led to the financial meltdown in late 2008, and McClintock said regulations offered by federal loan giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac caused banks to offer risky loans. He said the bank bailout was the wrong choice for the government.

and#8220;It should not be bailing out people who make bad decisions,and#8221; McClintock said, to applause.

Larry Green of South Lake Tahoe asked about the No Child Left Behind law and how it could potentially be adjusted for schools with larger immigrant populations. McClintock said he hoped to get the federal government out of education to allow teachers and principals the freedom to teach their way. Green said he liked McClintockand#8217;s answer but didnand#8217;t expect the federal government to just repeal the law.

and#8220;I think whatand#8217;s really going to happen in Congress is a compromise,and#8221; Green said.

Though some questioners spoke with anger about the direction of the government, McClintock urged those unhappy with the current administration to calmly talk to neighbors and friends and convince them to vote for a new direction in future elections.

and#8220;There are a lot of us in this room that remember even tougher times. The American people stood up and just a few years later it truly was morning in America,and#8221; he said, alluding to Reaganand#8217;s 1984 campaign slogan.

Chuck Vanderpool of Pollock Pines said he enjoyed seeing the activism in the forum, something he said was happening at local levels as well as national levels. He saw McClintock as one of the people with potential to help the country.

and#8220;With leadership like him and people like him, thereand#8217;s a chance,and#8221; Vanderpool said.

Kevin Kankel, 18, a student at University of California-Davis who graduated from South Tahoe High School, asked a question about how the government might go about repealing provisions, like Social Security, Medicare and health care reform, that he sees as intruding on the free market. Kankel wasnand#8217;t pleased with McClintockand#8217;s answer that it was the responsibility of the next generation.

and#8220;That isnand#8217;t exactly the kind of hope everyone is counting on,and#8221; Kankel said.

Numerous questioners asked about the constitutionality of the health care billand#8217;s mandate that, by 2014, all Americans must purchase health insurance or face a fine. McClintock said the fight would be sorted out in the courts, but some still had concerns.

and#8220;For the first time Iand#8217;m really frightened,and#8221; Cynthia McCormick of South Lake Tahoe said. and#8220;For the first time in 230 years of history in the United States, for the first time our government will be telling us what to do.and#8221;

Throughout the 100-minute forum, McClintock cited numerous Lincoln and Reagan speeches off the top of his head. After one question, he paused and smiled, knowing he had used the words of those Republicans multiple times.

and#8220;Iand#8217;m sorry, this is my Lincoln day,and#8221; he said.

California’s 4th District comprises El Dorado, Placer, Nevada, Sierra, Plumas, Lassen and Modoc counties.

Clint Curtis, a Democrat, Michael Babich, a Republican, and Benjamin Emery, of the Green Party, will challenge McClintock in the June 8 primary election.