Micah Marmaro, president of the Aurora Republican Forum, did an outstanding job gathering top Republican candidates and elected officials at a barbeque June 27 at General’s Park. Here I’ll review what they had to say — which in some cases was surprisingly little. (I, on the other hand, said too much, but I’ll review my talk in a subsequent post.) I’ll intersperse my comments with related photographs.
Coffman, who served in Iraq, offered an overview of the situation there. He said, “I think there’s going to be an uptick in violence as we pull out of the urban areas.” He added, “I’m confident we can stay on schedule” with a “phased withdrawal.” He worried that President Obama is “not committing adequate resources to the war” in Afghanistan, risking unnecessary casualties. He also complained about Democratic pressure to “reduce funding for missile defense.”
Coffman attacked directly the Democratic argument that “cap-and-trade” energy restrictions will help the U.S. become energy independent. “The fact is that we’re dependent on imported oil because they’ve done everything they can to block our ability to do energy development, to do drilling of natural gas and oil,” Coffman said.
What cap-and-trade “will do,” Coffman continued, “is it will drive up the cost of energy. What it will do is drive jobs outside the United States… What manufacturing base we have left in America will push over to China.”
Coffman said the political pace in Washington, DC, “has been incredible” because “this president has an agenda that is very aggressive… It is not a president of the general election, it is a president of the primary. He is a liberal through and through… This is far-left stuff.”
Coffman said that the rapid pace of legislation is cutting short Congressional debate as well as public scrutiny, “so right behind cap-and-trade… we will be debating health care reform, and right on the heels of that we’ll be debating immigration reform” (where I imagine I align closer with Obama’s policies than with Coffman’s, given that I support an employer’s right to hire willing workers). Coffman also said he expects to see another move to push “card check,” empowering unions by wiping out secret ballots for unionization.
However, given the close vote for cap-and-trade, Coffman said “I think it will have a difficult time in the Senate.”
Coffman complained also that the $787 billion “stimulus” bill got minimal Congressional review before passage.
On health care, Coffman called the “public option” a “bait and switch for socialized medicine,” a “single-payer system” that “will continue to drive the deficit.”
Coffman said, “We have a deficit this year of $1.7 trillion. We will have a deficit for as far as I can see, at about a trillion dollars and rising. That’s unsustainable… It got so bad that the Chinese publicly stated that they were worried about the U.S economy” in terms of inflation and interest rates.
Answering a question, Coffman said, “It’s truly a European-style welfare state that this president and Congressional leadership are seeing.” He noted that various Europeans are trying to get of such systems.
Coffman said 2010 will be a referendum “that will define the direction of America. It will define whether or not we are a European-style welfare state. It will define whether America is simply a country of large labor organizations, big business like Chrysler and GM where government has a stake in them or ownership in them — big government, big business, and big labor. Or are we a country based on individual rights and responsibility, and anybody being able to start a small business with that entrepreneurial effort.”
I also respected Coffman’s answer regarding bringing military jobs to Colorado: “I like the fact that defense dollars come to Colorado, as long as we’re competitive for those defense dollars. I will not lift a finger to compromise the ability of our military by forcing them into Colorado. And so what I want to do… is make sure… that they have the right tools to succeed in Colorado.”
Concluding, Coffman said the central choice is “whether we have a free market economy or whether we have an economy that’s managed by the government for its own interests.”
All day (aside from my speech), Coffman’s discussion of individual rights and a free market economy was the clearest expression of a guiding political philosophy.
Shown above from left to right: Mike Morison (volunteer with Bob LeGare), Adam Eidelberg (volunteer for Dan Maes and Bruce Peterson), Andrew Goad (candidate for state house district 32), and Brian Cambell (candidate for the Seventh Congressional). (Thanks also to Micah for filling in some of these names.)
Bruce Peterson is running for Arapahoe county commissioner.
Loraine Buck, Ken Buck (candidate for U.S. Senate), and Micah Marmaro.
Check back — more to come!