About 150 foothill residents gathered Oct. 19 in O’Neal’s as Fourth District Representative Tom McClintock met with constituents at Minarets High School.
McClintock began his opening remarks recalling the words of President Ronald Reagan, who once said, “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to this problem. Government is the problem.” This well-known conservative mantra set the tone for much of what followed for the next 90 minutes.
Representative McClintock briefly discussed several points of particular area interest. In his role serving on the Senate Budget Committee, he spoke of reviving the economy through the continuation of massive regulatory reduction and, as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Federal Lands, he pledged to continue efforts to more rationally manage excess timber. He also spoke of the critical need for more dam construction to capture billions of gallons of fresh water now running out to sea during “wet seasons.”
Opening things up for questions, the Congressman spent the rest of his time responding to a myriad of issues from a mixed crowd balanced slightly more toward the progressive side of the political spectrum and generally well behaved throughout.
One of the biggest cheers of the night greeted the Minarets Student Body President Max Shapiro, when he thanked McClintock for coming to O’Neals. Shapiro then pressed him to support environmental challenges dealing with clean air and water in the face of proven global warming. McClintock emphatically denied further regulations were needed since “they never worked” and, moreover, questioned the man-made impact of climate change vs. evidence that climate variation is a natural phenomenon and has been for ‘billions of years.”
As the topic was later continued by a science instructor who echoed Shapiro’s comments, McClintock sharply retorted, “What about “PETM?”
McClintock explained that “PETM” was the “Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum,” his point being that “PETM” was a time period with an average global temperature more than eight degrees higher than today - before humans walked the earth. Many groaned, but not as loudly as they did when President Trump and his personal control of nuclear launch codes came up.
McClintock categorically stated that no one had anything to fear since there are numerous Constitutional safeguards against a president initiating a first strike nuclear option. He spent several minutes on this. Then, questioned as to whether or not an insane president could technically take action on his own, the Representative allowed, “I believe he could. But he wouldn’t.”
His faith in our Commander-in-Chief was evident throughout the night. The Congressman insisted that since his first day in office, Trump has signed “more bills into law than any president since Truman,” and joins the president in wanting “The Border Wall,” condemns “Sanctuary Cities,” “Illegal Aliens,” “The Affordable Care Act,” and “any violation of Second Amendment Rights.”
McClintock also gained extended applause from supporters when he said that, although everyone has the right to protest, NFL players who take a knee during the National Anthem should “be held in contempt.”
When questioned as to whether he would debate his four Democratic contenders in next year’s election, he said he preferred waiting until one was chosen over the others in the 2018 June primary.
Following the meeting, there were mixed opinions.
“People from both sides of the political spectrum already had their minds made up on what they liked or disliked about Congressman McClintock and what positions or topics they agree or disagree on,” said John Pero of Mountain Area Conservative Forum. “I understand that it’s important for Congressman McClintock to come and talk to his local constituents, but based on the tenor of comments and the argumentative style of those who disagree with him, it would be nice for a person to make a short statement, ask a simple question, wait for his reply and then sit down.”
Susan Madden of the Oakhurst Area for Peace group stated, “Tom McClintock continues to show that he doesn’t represent me and so many of his constituents. He seems to care more about serving the interests of his biggest campaign contributors than about serving the people.”