McCarthy calls voters to action

Republican Congressman calls Nov. 7 a ’generational election’

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

McCarthy calls voters to action“Every time you have an election there are people who stand up and say, ‘This is the most important election,’” said Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who addressed the Ridgecrest Republican Women Federated during his Monday visit to Ridgecrest.

“But I believe there are generational elections — and by that I mean turning points where we can potentially see a fundamental shift in the direction we’re taking our country. This is one of those elections.”

He stressed the importance of maintaining a robust military, having a decisive foreign policy, repealing regulation that hampers growth and reform of mandated programs that have grown impossible to sustain.

He also reflected on how the landscape in 2012 differs from recent elections and how it corresponded to the political scene of 1980.

McCarthy characterized the last three elections as examples of “what happens when we express to our leaders that we want them to go in a different direction without really telling them what we want them to change. This election is going to be different.”

In 2006 when McCarthy was elected to his first term in Congress, “We had not yet seen our economic meltdown. But we changed leadership in the House [to a Democratic majority] because people were unhappy about the Iraq War.”

By 2008 the economic crisis left people not knowing whom to trust. “There was a young guy who stood up and promised hope and change,” who enabled the shift from a Republican to a Democratic administration.

But by 2010, McCarthy said, the change effected by Obama was an expanded government and a struggling private sector that had only worsened that economic crisis. “So the House changed hands again,” this time back to a Republican majority.

In light of the bitter partisanship that has locked up progress in the highest levels of government, he called on his listeners to “take your party out of the discussion, and think of yourselves foremost as Americans.”

McCarthy listed as some of the parallels between 1980 and 2012 — the American fear that another country would surpass us economically (Japan 32 years ago, and China today), Iran’s nuclear threats that held the world hostage (though that threat now includes cyber attacks on American financial institutions) and a lack of confidence in the strength of America.

He said that 1980 was the first time that more than 50 percent of people polled felt that America’s best days were behind it. “When you ask that question today, 74 percent of Americans now believe that..

“And perhaps the saddest parallel is that the last time one of our ambassadors was killed was in 1979.

The current energy crisis also mirrors a similar crisis in 1980.

Despite the national, and statewide, economic challenges, McCarthy said Kern County has the resources to persevere. He pointed to North Dakota as an example of a state that weathered the crisis faced by the rest of the country.

“North Dakota has 3 percent unemployment. Fast food workers are paid $13 an hour and they can’t find enough people to work. I paid $300 a night for a Best Western when I stayed there, and I was lucky to get a room.”

He attributed that to the state taking advantage of new technology to drill oil — surpassing Alaska and California in production.

“The interesting thing is they have strict regulations for drilling. But they don’t change them in the middle of a project. That creates a problem for people trying to invest if you don’t have that predictibility.”

He said this growth has not been adequately supported by the president, however, because he has refused to authorize any new pipelines or refineries. “So now we have greater reserves than the Middle East,” but Americans are not getting the full value out of it.

McCarthy also criticized Obama’s foreign policy, which he said has failed to secure relationships with our allies and given our enemies the boldness to attack.

“When America doesn’t lead the world becomes chaotic,” he said. “What would the world have looked like if Reagan had not said, ‘Tear down that wall’? Our nation inspired the people in the Eastern Bloc to dream of liberty,” he said.

“Now we have a president who leans into the microphone when he thinks it is turned off and says, ‘Tell Putin I’ll be more flexible after the election.’ What message does that send to Russia? To Iran?”

He said that Obama has still not apologized for, or even acknowledged, his mistake in the response to the Benghazi attacks. “When you are at war, you respond accordingly. You don’t tell Americans that it is about a film nobody saw. When your enemies hear that, they think you are afraid, and it gives them the courage to try the same thing again.

“We cannot afford another four years of this.”

To maintain America’s position as a world leader we also need to address our debt, he said.

“We had debt in the 1980s, but nothing like today. We bring in $2.44 trillion, but we are spending $3.55 trillion.”

To put those numbers into context, he said that mandatory programs — Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and other obligated funds — are barely covered by the money brought in. That means that the U.S. is borrowing money from five countries in order to keep operating the military and all other government services.

“We cannot sustain that,” he said. “What we are doing is borrowing 8 percent of our gross domestic product to get 1 percent growth. You just can’t sustain it.”

Conservatives have taken criticism for wanting to reform programs like Social Security and Medicare, “But the truth is if you don’t find a way to make these sustainable, you lose them. People who are standing up and trying to save them ought to be applauded,” said McCarthy.

“The only way out of this crisis is to grow the economy. Romney has already proved he can grow the private sector. As a Republican governor in a state with an 80-percent Democratic legislature, he has also demonstrated an ability to work with both parties.”

He said that he also sees the 1st District Supervisor race as a small-scale reflection of what is on the national scene. (See also related article, this page.)

“Just like we have to set a course for this country, I think this county is poised for real greatness — despite being in California,” said McCarthy.

McCarthy said that the five boardmembers who will steer the ship have the opportunity to set that course.

“Think of what we have here — wind, solar, oil, gas, geothermal — we should be leading the nation in job growth and creation.” Instead, scores of residents are joining McCarthy on a plane out of Bakersfield to work in North Dakota.

McCarthy said that the House has passed a bill — which has gone nowhere in the Senate — that makes alternate cuts to prevent sequestration. He said that he hopes to move that forward regardless of who wins the presidential race in November — but it will be easier if Romney gets in.

He said that while California is not considered a swing state, it was still important for Kern County voters to engage in every level of elections.

“The battles we are fighting nationally have to be fought here as well. We need every single vote out of Ridgecrest.”

Story First Published: 2012-10-24