When I first learned the date of April First being fortuitously chosen for our District 4 Congressman Tom McClintock's first appearance at an Oakhurst "Town Meeting," I herein confess being overcome with exuberant expectation. I savored the joyous prospect of reviewing his visit with some sort of playfully pejorative "April Fool" headline. As can be seen above, this was not to be.
It was pretty much a Tea Party party.
Susan Rowe, chair of the Madera County Democratic Central Committee, provided McClintock with the "most applause of the night," as accurately reported by Carmen George in last week's Star.
When called upon, Ms. Rowe noted that, while the overwhelmingly Republican U.S. House of Representatives recently approved The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 by a two to one margin, our Congressman voted against it. She pointedly asked the Congressman for a "Yes or No" answer as to whether he would cast his ballot in the future for or against similarly progressive legislation.
McClintock replied, "I'm not going to vote for a bill just because it sounds good. You can't tell a bill by its title." This thrust of admittedly clever repartee fully quenched any remaining audience thirst for intelligent analysis of the issue. It simultaneously energized loud and continuous hand clapping which realized the additional purpose of drowning out Ms. Rowe's repeated refusal to accept anything less than crystalline clarification from the Congressman. The timing was superb. If I didn't know Susan, I would have expected McClintock planted her in the audience for just such a thing and herein hope to dispel subsequently whispered rumors reflecting such suspicion.
It's important to understand that Susan wasn't present to win friends and influence people. With media in attendance and the courage of her convictions, she was there to set the record straight. She later stated -- "McClintock is never going to forget that Town Hall Meeting. He became increasingly uncomfortable when he was pressed for an answer. I think I did what I went there to accomplish."
But that little exchange pretty much sums things up.
Tom McClintock is an intelligent, articulate, highly polished professional who can measure an audience well and speak with confident assurance, albeit more than occasionally bringing forth in his often vitriolic ruminations more wistful fantasy than witnessed fact.
Why get flustered by fancy figures such as impudently offered by that annoying Alan Cheah, for example, when there are dependable sources to be conveniently referenced who simply make stuff up? For Fresno Bee readers, Doonesbury recently did a whole week's worth of brilliant panels on this very subject.
Yes, Alan was at the meeting, too, speaking up about how utterly mindless the House approved "Ryan Budget" is, a project McClintock proudly takes credit for helping to create. Everyone knows that Cheah is obviously a Keynesian, if not from Kenya, itself, like his Socialist hero in what used to be The White House.
The newly configured California Fourth Congressional District, which runs in a narrow band roughly from Lake Tahoe to somewhere south of Guatemala, was constructed to be "safely Republican," but not for the likes of Karl Rove. McClintock was most pointed in his candid observation that Rove's recent moves to potentially discredit certain Tea Party type candidates were "very much misplaced" and Rove "has done enormous harm to the Republican Party."
I enjoyed hearing that and take heart in McClintock's promise to monitor and address local concerns in conjunction with new Merced River Plan, his commitment to include petroleum and "all energy companies" in closing federal tax loopholes and his pledge to avoid implementing changes in current Social Security cost of living formulas.
With Tom McClintock -- we have a man with a plan. Foxy. Rural constituency or not, folks, this is no "Country Bumpkin."
Setting aside obvious political differences, I consider Tom McClintock to be a top tier, high grade, first class act -- an experienced player of obvious talents and practiced skills. Indeed -- even as he watches out for us -- Congressman McClintock is surely someone to unfailingly and consistently keep our own eyes on.
Susan Rowe will.