Duncan Hunter Interview - December 8, 2009: On Huckabee, the EPA, GOP Amnesty Hacks, and Harry Reid!!
This interview is the seventh installment of an on going series of conversations with the former Congressman, 2008 presidential candidate and current conservative activist. Today I found Mr. Hunter driving from Nevada back to San Diego to attend a fundraiser for yet another conservative, ex-military, Republican candidate attempting to wrest a seat from a liberal Democrat in the 2010 Congressional election. He was also in Iowa over the weekend to support another super congressional candidate, Chris Reed. Mr. Hunter fully understands the dire straights that America finds herself in with Obama, Pelosi, and Harry Reid in charge. He is doing everything in his power to promote conservative candidates, conservative values and a conservative re-awakening in America. This series of interviews is part of his agenda to keep that conservative voice front and center as we attempt to save our Constitutional Republic from the ravages of weakness and socialism. We pick up the interview, once again, on the road….
AJM: Hello Congressman. You still in Nevada or have you made it to California yet?
DH: We’re in good old California.
AJM: OK. Just one more time, the gentleman’s name again that you are doing tonight’s event for?
DH: It’s Brian Rooney. He’s the brother of Tom Rooney. He’s a former Marine and he’s running for Congress in Michigan.
AJM: That’s excellent. So far, you’ve got a lot of good ones. Does he have a good shot at capturing this thing?
DH: You know, I don’t really know how this race is shaping up yet. His brother is in the House and is a good friend of Duncan’s. And he asked me to help. And I’ve been out helping all of the Armed Services guys that are running now as Republicans. I told him I’d be happy to help out.
DH: I would think this could work out. He’s a quality guy. He was part of the law center that helped us to save the Mt. Soledad Cross in San Diego. The lawsuit over whether or not we could keep the cross on government property, the major lawsuit we had down here. The Thomas Moore Law group…
AJM: Yeah, the Thomas Moore guys. He’s part of that group?
DH: Yes. He’s a lawyer. He helped us out. It worked out well. And he was a JAG officer in the military.
AJM: That sounds like pretty good credentials to me. You guys needed all the help you could get on the Mt. Soledad suit. It was nip and tuck there for awhile.
DH: Yeah. It was a great victory.
AJM: I certainly think so. And I thank you for leading that charge.
DH: It was important.
AJM: Ok, let’s get some quick questions in before you get into the mountains here.
AJM: Let’s start off with your friend Mr. Huckabee. He’s run into kind of a buzzsaw here. I think it may impact his ability to run again in, if he was planning to. That is the 4 police officers up here in my neck of the woods that were gunned down a week and a half ago. Today they are having a memorial. Turns out the guy that killed these 4 police officers up here in Washington was another one of the guys that Huckabee commuted the sentence for. It made him eligible for parole, and of course he got parole, that was the whole purpose. And lo and behold, he kills 4 police officers. It’s going to be shades of Michael Dukakis all over again for him I think. Would you like to comment on it?
DH: (laughing). I think you’ve just covered all the commenting. I don’t think you even need me here, Jim.
DH: Well, I like Mike Huckabee, but that’s an exposure you are always going to have as Governor. There is always a chance of a person, if you commute sentences, there’s always a chance that one of the people is going to hurt somebody down the line. That’s part of the exposure of being a Governor who commutes sentences. I think most, if not every governor commutes some sentences. I don’t know the exact circumstances, but I think he commuted this guy to 34 years, which should have kept the guy in jail if he did the time that Huckabee gave him. But that didn’t happen. He sure shouldn’t have been around to commit those crimes.
AJM: From my understanding, the whole point of taking his sentence from 90 years down to, I believe it was 47, because that was the magic number that allowed you to be eligible for parole. And within a year, of course, his parole came up, and of course, the rest is history.
DH: I don’t know that for sure. But if he had done 47 years….
I think what’s occurred is bad enough without folks thinking there was some kind of diabolical plot for an early release. If he wanted to release him immediately, he could have simply done so by pardoning him, right?
AJM: Yeah, this was a commutation, not a pardon.
DH: And I think normally you should presume that if a person gives you a certain amount of time, that that is the amount of time they want you to do.
AJM: Well, for Huckabee, it’s going to be a little more problematic than that. In his 10 years, he commuted and/or pardoned 1058 people. Compared to Romney – zero. Palin – zero. Huckabee by himself had more pardons than the six bordering states governors combined…
DH: You know more about it than I do then. I just saw flashes on television.
AJM: The other thing, just for your information, this wasn’t the first time that one of the guys that got out did something. In fact it was brought up during your guys’ primary race that a rapist that he let go, he actually pardoned instead of a commutation…..
DH: Well Jim, what’s the rest of your good news for the day (laughing)
AJM: No, this is bad news (laughs).
DH: I don’t think you needed me for that conversation, I think you just wanted to tell somebody (laughing).
AJM: No, I just didn’t know how close you were paying attention to this. I guess the bottom line question is do you think it hurts his chances for 2012?
DH: I really don’t know. It could. I think it’s tough to figure. As you said, that point was brought up, by CNN, at the first debate in Simi Valley. Huckabee managed to handle that question and went on to almost win the primary.
AJM: That’s true. The reason its big news today, it’s about a mile away where they are having the memorial today. A mile from my house. So it’s bigger news up here than most other parts of the country, so I apologize for….
DH: I think for all of us it’s a tragedy that those 4 guys were killed.
AJM: It’s a heartbreaker. All young. All young guys
Well OK. Enough about Mr. Huckabee. Did you hear the news today that our friends from the EPA decided to label CO2, carbon dioxide, as a hazardous exhaust, and thereby giving them the ability to regulate it on their own through the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, as opposed to waiting for some kind of Cap and Trade.
DH: I just saw the headlines a few minutes ago in the LA Times.
AJM: Have you ever heard anything as ridiculous as labeling CO2 as a pollutant?
DH: Well, I think it is probably less about the CO2 and a lot more about government power. Just as their health care bill is more about power than it is about medicine. That multi-thousand page bill on healthcare, none of the people that wrote that have ever practiced a day of medicine. And by the same token, very likely the people that put together this new interpretation of CO2 probably have no technical capability. That’s more a political assertion, not a scientific fact!
AJM: You hit that one out of the park. It would be funny if it wasn’t so serious.
AJM: That falls along the lines of what we discussing about global warming the last couple interviews. The whole thing in Copenhagen is going on right now too. But I haven’t had a chance to actually listen to what’s going on over there.
But do you remember Ed Gillespie?
AJM: He was at one time, I think, during the Bush years, the head of the RNC?
AJM: I just read a quote from him earlier today where he came out and is kind of laying the ground work for the new amnesty plan I think. Here’s his quote, and I want you to comment on it: “The GOP needs to do a better job of reaching out to minorities. The party’s harshest voices were the the loudest voices last time immigration reform was debated”. And I’m assuming he’s pointing his finger right at you and right at Mr. Tancredo on this. So would you like to comment to Mr. Gillespie?
DH: Sure. Well, we don’t know for sure he’s pointing at us, but I would say this. While building the border fence, I ran for re-election repeatedly during my 28 years in congress in the border area of California. One of my counties is predominantly Hispanic, 2 to 1 Democrat. And those folks gave me more votes than any other politician, Democrat or Republican, including Bill Clinton. Now that indicates to me – and I was well known as the guy who built the border fence – that actually, unlike the folks, some of the elites clinking champagne glasses in Washington DC, that most Hispanics in America really want to have border control. And they realized also that it has a direct link to their jobs. I’m reminded that one of the…one craftsman, a construction worker, came up to me during the debates and said ‘Don’t let Kennedy/McCain pass’. That’s how he described that legislation. And he explained that it took him many years to get to the point, where he as an American citizen, could make 35 bucks an hour as a master craftsman. And he said “if you open the floodgates, I’ll go down to $17/hour”. And so, many folks in the Hispanic community, as well as the general community, are concerned about their jobs, especially in this time of major unemployment. They despise the idea of opening up what they consider to be the floodgates of illegal immigration.
Another guy, down in Lakeside, a small business owner and also a Hispanic, said at one point “doesn’t President Bush get it? This is about national security! You have to have a secure border”. So I’ve always talked about border control and implemented border control legislation, a great deal which has been passed into law that I drafted, in the context of security and protecting jobs. And I’ve always been very well received in the ‘real’ Hispanic community. But that’s a different community than the one elites rub elbows with in Washington DC.
AJM: Well I think that Mr. Gillespie and maybe some of President Bush’s and McCain’s advisers were spending too much time going to cocktail parties with La Raza and LULAC, some of those organizations whose whole purpose in life seems to be to push amnesty.
DH: Could be. I don’t know where all their comments come from, but I think we as Republicans….I’ve always run as a conservative Republican and I haven’t tried to shape a separate message for the Hispanic community. I always gave them in my campaigns the exact same message as I gave to the general community. And I think they appreciated it. I think they are natural conservatives. They tend to believe in a strong national defense. Many of them are in our Armed Forces and our Border Patrol, I might add.
AJM: Both Ramos and Compean are of Hispanic descent.
DH: Yeah. What the Republican Party needs is fewer of its leaders saying that the Republican Party doesn’t like Hispanics!! At least my experience is that they have been very supportive of our party, and they’ve always been very supportive of me in my re-election bids. While I’m known as the guy who built the border fence, the Hispanics in my district seem to like that.
Incidentally, when we built the border fence we brought down murders and violence because you had those border gangs who were roaming wild on the border, and they were robbing, raping and murdering on both sides of the border. We averaged 10 murders a year on the San Diego side of the international border. It went down to zero when I built the border fence. We also saw the violence subside on the other side of the border, in the northern Tijuana neighborhoods.
But again, when you are clinking champagne glasses with the boys in the embassy you don’t usually see things like that. There was absolutely no logic behind allowing the murderous border gangs to control the land between San Diego and Tijuana. That was my central theme for years. You know we finally had to pass that with the vote of both houses of Congress to finish the border fence. And incidentally, Congress felt so strongly about it that they waived the environmental laws at the border, because the environmentalists held up the Smugglers Gulch construction for years. Massive cocaine deliveries came through there and destroyed many lives, Hispanics included. The environmentalists were delaying the construction of the fence, but we’ve now completed the fence. And again, the murders on this part of the border have gone down to virtually zero in San Diego city.
AJM: Fantastic. You’re not known just as the guy who wants to build the fence, you’re also known as the only guy who has consistently opposed any type of amnesty. A lot of these guys give lip service to the fence while they are stabbing you in the back. But they turn around and say ‘well, we’ve got to give 12 million, 15 million people a pathway to citizenship’ – is what they call it. And you’ve always opposed that as well! Yet you still got Hispanic support.
DH: Yeah, once again this goes to the jobs issue and the Hispanic American citizen who said ‘don’t let McCain/Kennedy pass because I’ll go down to $17 an hour instead of the 35 I’m getting’. You know, the idea that when you’ve got 10 percent unemployment that you are going to open the floodgates for vast numbers of illegal workers makes no sense whatsoever!
And the effect of calling an amnesty when reviewed in the historic context – that is the 3 million folks who were given amnesty in the 1980s when Congress said ‘now this time we really mean it, read the fine print – nobody else gets to get in’. They obviously let their friends and neighbors and relatives know that they got amnesty and so you had, which was entirely predictable, another wave of people heading north expecting to catch the 2nd amnesty. So as the credibility of the US government for enforcement slides lower and lower, if we get a second amnesty, if anyone thinks there won’t be another vast wave of illegal aliens coming in anticipation of a third amnesty, then I think we can sell those folks the Brooklyn Bridge fairly quickly. They are extremely gullible. Of course there will be a big wave of people.
AJM: I agree.
DH: In fact, maybe we can sell them the border fence (laughs)
AJM: (laughing) At least sell them some property along the border so they’ll get pissed off about all the illegals trampling over it.
DH: Yeah. So anyway….
AJM: I wanted to get your two cents on Harry Reid, a statement by Harry Reid from yesterday, or maybe it was two days ago. Where Mr. Reid had the audacity to compare us, those of us who oppose his ObamaCare bill, he compared us to the segregationists and the folks who opposed emancipation for the slaves. He basically said on the floor of the Senate that those who opposed his healthcare where like those who wanted to push off the freeing of black slaves to a later date. Do you want to comment on that?
DH: Well, I’ll say first that Harry Reid has already won a major contest. He’s come closest to unseating Algore - with his statement that he invented the internet - by Harry’s statement that we had lost in Iraq – shortly before we won! And his now famous statement was the only good news that any Al Qaeda leaders received as their forces were being crushed in Iraq by US Marines and Soldiers in the summer of 2007. That now famous statement that we had lost while we were winning, followed shortly by our victory in Iraq, put Harry in close competition with Algore.
His new statement, that if you don’t believe in socialism you are a racist, since that’s the essence of his statement, I think he’s actually close to beating out his first statement for being outrageous, ridiculous and false! He’s now got two contenders for ‘Wild statement of the Decade’, though I think Algore is still slightly in first place.
AJM: (laughing) Well, with any luck we’ll slam the door on Algore’s wetdream and stream of income. So basically, you put it (Reid’s statement) in the ridiculous category then?
DH: All you can do is laugh at that one.
AJM: Yeah. I don’t know if you know this or not, but he is running several points behind either of his GOP contenders in his home state of Nevada. That would be a nice win for us.
AJM: Another thing I wanted for awhile to ask you about is that Bob Gates, presumably at the behest of his boss, Obama, cut out the F-22 program. Completely.
DH: Say that again, you’re kind of going out on me here….
AJM: If we lose you, we’ll take it up next week. But the F-22, I wanted to get your take on them cutting the F-22 out.
DH: What I think that Barack Obama is doing generally with our weapons programs, is that he is clearing the headroom for increased social spending by dramatically driving down defense spending. And the fact that he can’t scare up an additional 5000 soldiers from the combination of 26 socialized European nations for Afghanistan duty is to the evidence of this dynamic; whereby social programs pushed defense programs out of the budget.
The United States, as a superpower, has been able to maintain an umbrella of freedom not only for ourselves, but for the rest of the free world because we maintained a decent sized defense budget. And Barack Obama over the next several years can be expected to strive to take down the defense budget to allow headroom for his social spending. It’s a major problem that the West has right now, and that’s the problem with NATO. Socialism has crowded out their defense budgets and they are able to only supply extremely small contingents of soldiers and equipment. Yet another reason why we shouldn’t socialize Amerca. But I think more major defense cuts are to be expected from Barack Obama.
AJM: I know. But the F-22 in particular irritates me, because today, this very day, it is the most effective warplane of its kind in the world. It doesn’t make any sense until we have….I mean it hasn’t been off the assembly line for that long, and they are already cancelling it.
DH: Yeah. No, we need to have planes that have the speed and endurance and the radar evading characteristics that are necessary to handle the next generation of SAM missiles. The F-22 alone has that capability.
AJM: It hurts our national defense posture. And today we read in the paper, I read that China has every intention, every intention of weaponizing space, something Obama also wants no part of….
DH: We saw that several years ago when China shot down a satellite with their own anti-satellite system. China at that point declared a military competition in space. Whether we want one or not, we are in it. We must be able to defend our assets and eliminate the space based military assets of other nations, including China.
AJM: Yet that’s another one on the chopping block from our friend, Mr. Obama.
DH: I know.
AJM: It looks more and more like 2010 and 2012 are going to be crucial for the safety, security, economic viability and livelihood for our nation. Do you agree with that?
DH: Most certainly. We’re doing what we can. 2010 is a very important election. I think we have a great chance of taking back the House. The key is to have good candidates and support those candidates, not just in areas where Republicans should win, but we should take some districts that have fairly large constituencies of conservative democrats who don’t want to see this country socialized and want to maintain a strong national defense and want an enforceable border. And incidentally, Brian Rooney, who is running in Michigan is a former Marine, he’s the guy I going to campaign for here today. Obviously, Gunnery Sergeant Nick Popaditch who is running against Bob Filner in California, is one of those seats that we need to take if we want to win back the majority. Jesse Kelly, another former Marine who went up the road to take Baghdad in 2003 as a corporal in the infantry, is another guy running for Congress in Arizona, the Tucson race. We’ve got Vaughn Ward, who was a rifle platoon leader in Boise running for Congress who has a good chance of winning.
AJM: Yeah, didn’t Vaughn re-join the military after he had a comfortable life? He had already done a couple of tours previously, then was in a comfortable life in the CIA, then re-joined the fight.
DH: Yeah. He was in the agency then came back out and ended up going back to Iraq.
AJM: God Bless him!
DH: Listen, I’ve got to close down here in just a second but it’s been great talking to you.
AJM: Yeah, it’s been great. I got another swath of my questions out; I’ve been wanting to ask you about the F-22 forever.
DH: Well good. I like the F-22. We’ve got to learn to make these planes a little cheaper. On the other hand, stealth is expensive. We’ve got some stealth capability with the F-22.
AJM: Yes. And just as a final thing here before you go, I read in the paper today that the first two months of fiscal year 2010, which I guess started in October --- 292 BILLION in the red. In the first two months of this fiscal year! So do you have a message for Republican and conservatives and activists, and just Americans in general to put pressure on the existing congress, existing Republicans and Democrats, to knock this stuff off and start cutting the spending?
DH: I think the message here is this: Reverse course!! Socialism is expensive. If you give government control of larger and larger sectors of the economy, you are going to increase the deficits, because you deaden the spirit of America’s entrepreneurs who create wealth in this country. And you provide a regulatory straight-jacket that prevents them from being able to start or expand businesses. And at the same time you lever in the traditional inefficiencies government brings to any enterprise.
AJM: Exactly right.
DH: Socialism is expensive.
AJM: Not only that, Congressman, but I think it’s an ice-pick in the back of the Constitution in a lot of these cases. Would you agree with that?
DH: Well, even though that is a very generalized statement, any time you take private property without compensation you are intruding unconstitutionally on the private sector. And secondly, when you undertake regulation that goes beyond the limits of the Commerce Clause and the 10th Amendment, you are also intruding unconstitutionally. So they may well be. But above and beyond that, it’s whether or not Americans want to retain personal responsibility, individual accountability, and the freedom to fail or to succeed. That’s the question for America right now! Whether we want to become Europe. I think the answer is clearly NO.
AJM: That’s why we are fighting this thing.
DH: But I’ve got to sign off. It’s been great talking to you. Hope you’re having a great day up there.
AJM: Well, thank you very much and keep up the great fight. You’re doing a lot on our side to make sure that worry does not come to pass.
DH: OK, my friend.
AJM: Have a great day.
Labels: Duncan Hunter