Today in Lodi, lifelong Republican Pete McCloskey announced his campaign for the 11th District of California, which is represented by rampaging anti-environmentalist Richard Pombo, a protege of Tom Delay. (Pombo denies the label, but even the Wall Street Journal highlights his extreme positions on the environment.)
Here’s how McCloskey puts it:
I run, in part, because I believe the key question of the Republican Party today is whether we go back to historic Republican principles of integrity, fiscal responsibility, limited government and environmental balance, or do we go the way of the DeLay Republicans, (1) with no ethics enforcement, (2) an understandable public perception that Republicans give undue preference to big-money contributors, (3) a huge and ever-growing bureaucracy, and (4) a constant erosion of the environmental protections for community health, and park and wilderness lands that have been established over 30 years.
It was a Republican, Teddy Roosevelt, who gave us a strong environmental policy to protect parklands, wildlife preserves and wilderness, as well as anti-trust laws to control business excesses. Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and the first George Bush substantially increased park and wilderness areas and environmental health protections.
I would characterize this campaign as a battle for the soul of the Republican Party.
The integrity of the man shines through his announcement; although political experts doubt McCloskey’s chances, surely the sincerity and commitment of this "farmer friendly" former Marine will make it impossible for Pombo to broad-brush his opponents as radical extremists.
Plus, the very real possibility of an indictment in Pombo’s future on corruption charges will make mudslinging more difficult than usual, which seems to be the way Republicans win elections these days.
To reporters McCloskey has hinted that Pombo has profited not just from his connections to Tom DeLay’s seamy "clients," but also from land deals furthered by Pombo’s powerful grip on his district. Tell us more, Pete…