Political resume: McCotter began his political career in the late 1980s, serving in local offices before being elected to the Michigan State Senate in 1998 and the House of Representatives in 2002. He’s in his fifth Congressional term representing the Detroit suburbs. McCotter entered the Presidential sweepstakes on July 2.
On campaign finance/election reform (three points): He voted for voter ID on the federal level, but also voted for restricting 527s as well. I’ll give him two of three points.
On property rights (five points): Thad has a reasonable record on property rights by the look of things, so I’ll give him three points of five.
On education (eight points): It seems to me that Thad doesn’t mind federal involvement in education, whereas I do. He doesn’t go overly far, but doesn’t reverse the trend either. I think he only gets two points here.
On the Long War/veterans affairs (nine points): A strong advocate of American exceptionalism and not “leading from behind,” McCotter says on his campaign site, “We must and will win an unconditional victory in the war of freedom against terrorism.” All nine points for Thad.
On immigration (eleven points): Couched in somewhat soothing language, the approach McCotter takes seems to be pretty sensible. My biggest objection is his caution not to “stigmatize” illegal immigrants – why not? They are flouting the law. His voting record assuages me somewhat, but I’m afraid he may get squishy when push comes to shove. So I’m only giving him five points.
On energy independence (twelve points): I suppose my biggest question for Thad is how do we “responsibly transition from fossil fuels to alternative energy” when those methods are nowhere near ready for prime time? Well, he wants to use the tried-and-true big government trick of tax credits and deductions, which rubs me the wrong way. Add in a vote for “Cash for Clunkers” and I think he may have been seduced by Washington’s ways on this issue. He gets just five points, a big disappointment.
On entitlements (thirteen points): There’s a lot to like about the approach that McCotter takes, but he has the same basic flaw Newt Gingrich does – he maintains entitlement programs with some tweaking. If the current systems are “unsustainable” I don’t think making a few fixes (which could be wiped away at any time) is the answer. Only weaning people off dependence is. He’ll get five points.
On trade and job creation (fourteen points): McCotter doesn’t seem to be a free trader in one respect as he talks about “ending Communist China’s mercantilist trade policy.” I can live with that as long as he doesn’t begin being too protectionist. He also wants to cut corporate taxes and “preserve and grow” manufacturing jobs, which would help to some extent. I think he’s got some good ideas, although they may not go as far as he thinks they may so I’ll grant him nine points.
On taxation and the role of government (fifteen points): I find McCotter to be an enigma on the whole scope of government subject. Taking one example from his issue page, he knows Social Security as it exists now is “unsustainable” but also says “we must not reduce medical benefits to anyone over the age of 55.” He talks about “stealth practices (which) infringe on our property rights” in the same breath as wanting tax credits for “homeowners who increase their energy efficiency.” All in all in terms of reducing the size of government, I think McCotter would do little more than rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. He’s going to get three points here for his efforts.
Intangibles (up to three points): McCotter doesn’t speak much to the issues which tend to make up my intangibles, with the exception of voting mostly pro-life. That means he gains one point.
Total (maximum, 100 points): Thad has a (literally) halfway decent score of 51 points, which would make sense because he seems to be halfway between a moderate and a conservative.
In the Iowa Straw Poll Thad only got 35 votes, yet he saw that as an achievement since he got into the race so late. His tardiness in getting in may be the biggest factor against him, but it seems to me that McCotter is the extension of the “compassionate conservative” faction of the party, with a message and voting record naturally in tune with that of typical suburban voters. It’s possible he may catch on eventually, but most likely he’ll fold up his tents before winter is over.