Friday, July 28, 2006

Older Generation of Republicans Speaking Out

Remember when Republican politicians had integrity? Pete McCloskey was always one of them. He's part of a growing chorus of Republicans calling for reform of the Republican Party. Several news outlets have picked up the story; here's an article from The Record, located in California's Central Valley:
It's official: Every candidate who ran in the spring primary race has now endorsed Democrat Jerry McNerney against seven-term incumbent Rep. Richard Pombo.

Right after the June 6 primary, the three Democratic candidates held a "unity breakfast." Then this week, word got out Republican Paul N. "Pete" McCloskey, who took 32 percent of the GOP vote against Pombo, would endorse McNerney.

Here's an excerpt (via Echidne of the Snakes) from a letter by Pete McCloskey explaining why he is endorsing a Democrat:
I have found it difficult in the past several weeks to reach a conclusion as to what a citizen should do with respect to this fall's forthcoming congressional elections. I am a Republican, intend to remain a Republican, and am descended from three generations of California Republicans, active in Merced and San Bernardino Counties as well as in the San Francisco Bay Area. I have just engaged in an unsuccessful effort to defeat the Republican Chairman of the House Resources Committee, Richard Pombo, in the 11th Congressional District Republican primary, obtaining just over 32% of the Republican vote against Pombo's 62%.

The observation of Mr. Pombo's political consultant, Wayne Johnson, that I have been mired in the obsolete values of the 1970s, honesty, good ethics and balanced budgets, all rejected by today's modern Republicans, is only too accurate.

It has been difficult, nevertheless, to conclude as I have, that the Republican House leadership has been so unalterably corrupted by power and money that reasonable Republicans should support Democrats against DeLay-type Republican incumbents in 2006. Let me try to explain why.

I have decided to endorse Jerry McNerney and every other honorable Democrat now challenging those Republican incumbents who have acted to protect former Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who have flatly reneged on their Contract With America promise in 1994 to restore high standards of ethical behavior in the House and who have combined to prevent investigation of the Cunningham and Abramoff/Pombo/DeLay scandals. These Republican incumbents have brought shame on the House, and have created a wide-spread view in the public at large that Republicans are more interested in obtaining campaign contributions from corporate lobbyists than they are in legislating in the public interest.

Here's part of a joint letter that was sent to House Speaker Dennis Hastert a year ago; Pete McCloskey was one of the signers:
Dear Speaker Hastert,

We write as former Members of Congress who served under impeccably honest leaders, Gerry Ford, Bob Michel and John Rhodes. We saw Republican Senators Margaret Chase Smith, Barry Goldwater and Bob Dole and many others bring integrity and class to the U.S. Senate.

We were proud of the ethics rules initiated when Republicans took control of the House in 1994 after a period of 42 years of Democratic domination which had been accompanied by ethics scandals from Adam Clayton Powell to Abscam to Speaker Jim Wright of Texas.

We felt grave concern when the Republican leadership changed the ethics rules several weeks ago to require a bipartisan majority vote to even investigate a charge of ethical misconduct. We saw it as an obvious action to protect Majority Leader Tom DeLay who had been admonished three times by the Ethics Committee for well-publicized misuse of money and/or power.

We felt even greater concern when the leadership then fired Chairman Joel Hefley and two other members of the Committee, replacing them with Members who had either given to or received funds from Mr. DeLay.
The Republican Party badly needs reform. The corruption in Washington will continue if Republicans are not held accountable.


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