On Saturday I went to a secluded farm hard by the Worcester County line in order to attend a fundraiser for U.S. Senate candidate Jim Rutledge. Looked pretty well packed from here.
I think the Daily Times did a decent piece on the event but underestimated the crowd a little bit. Perhaps one can count the number of people in the picture.
Rutledge gave about thirty minutes’ worth of remarks.
Jim pounded on a number of his campaign points, including:
- Lowering taxes – “at heart, I’m still a Ronald Reagan conservative.” Jim vowed to repeal the tax code in its entirety if elected and replace it with a flat tax with few deductions. To spur investment Jim would also dump the capital gains tax.
- Limited government – “the (federal government) beast is out of its cage.” On the other hand, “the Constitution is a forgotten document” and “the family is the fundamental unit of government.” One thing he could do to limit government would be to defund Obamacare – “we still have the purse strings in Congress” – since the political reality is that Obama is President until at least 2013.
- National security – this includes border security. Jim excoriated Barbara Mikulski for applauding Mexican President Felipe Calderon for trashing our laws before Congress but otherwise being “missing in inaction” on the full scope of national security.
After he gave his remarks, Rutledge invited those attending to ask their own questions. Among them were some which touched on other issues he didn’t bring up during his remarks.
- On how to attract conservative Democrats: he’s launched campaign operations in Democratic strongholds already. Among issues, illegal immigration is a “huge issue” in the black community and school vouchers are also a winning issue. “Bold talk will bring across independents.”
- I asked about the impact of the Deepwater Horizon tragedy. Why not convene the best and brightest to attack the problem, asked Jim back. He attacked the federal government, saying their bungling made them co-responsible. Turning to energy in general, Jim criticized the “unreasonable fear” of nuclear energy but still supports additional oil and natural gas exploration, calling it “a matter of national security…life and death.”
- Regarding immigration, Jim opined the Arizona SB1070 bill is “constitutional” and noted that blanket amnesty would be a reward for breaking the law. One idea he floated seemed acceptable to those attending – “when folks want to come (to America) they need to post bond.” If they overstayed their visas, there could be a process of finding scofflaws for a reward just like those who skip bond in criminal cases.
- Why not the FairTax (a consumption-based tax)? The flat tax needs to come first because it can be adopted faster, said Rutledge. We only need “a revenue source for necessary services” but if the Sixteenth Amendment isn’t repealed as a consumption tax is adopted we’ll be stuck with both.
- Government cuts Jim would make: stopping overseas commitments like what we’re pledging to help out Greece, abolishing Congressional pensions, and “we have to get out of the grant business.”
- Regarding the Middle East and Afghanistan, Jim struck a bit of an isolationist tone. Because the mission isn’t well-defined, “we’re in a world of hurt” in Afghanistan. It is our job to defend our own sovereign state.
- Jim predicted parts of the Obamacare bill will be struck down in court. It’s not among those items authorized for Congress to do in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.
- Someone asked how illegal immigrants have court standing. They have due process, stated Jim, but the immigration courts are “broken” and the message from our government is “a green light” to illegal immigration.
- How do we fight teachers’ unions? Jim believes in “strong” schools but the unions “serve themselves.” He pointed out that he’s been endorsed by the National Right-To-Work organization.
Yet we didn’t just stand around and listen to Rutledge speak. There was good food, too.
We also had the chance to arrange for ourselves a mini-vacation as well as other silent auction items.
Participants also had the chance to take a hayride, ride around the farm on all-terrain vehicles, pitch horseshoes, or just gab among themselves regarding the events of the day. This wasn’t one of those stuffy fundraisers where the candidate zips in and zips out, or you had to buy access by being a VIP – Jim was accessible to all comers and many took the opportunity. Plus they got to meet a number of other local candidates who attended.
Now I like Jim, but perhaps the best thing he’s done in this campaign is make my heretofore apolitical significant other believe in a candidate. If he can inspire more like her Jim has a great chance of making it through the primary and knocking off a Senator who’s been there too long to stay in touch with her state.