I did not mention this in my previous article but Washington's 7th District is by far the most liberal district in Washington.
I was able to conduct an interview via Facebook instant messaging with Steve today and this is the transcript of that interview:
First off, why are you running for Congress?
[Because] the incumbent Democrat, Jim McDermott, is a far left extremist and a very strong supporter of the Obama agenda [and] no Republican [has] filed for ballot status against him. I’m running to make sure Republicans have a voice in the race, and an option in the primary.
If you were to get elected to Congress, what would be your priority? That is what is the #1 issue that concerns you and how do you plan to address it?
Repeal Obamacare. I would sponsor a bill for repeal, and if President Obama vetoed it, I would keep re-introducing it.
Regarding tax reform, do you support the FairTax? Why or why not?
I personally favor a very low flat tax, with a $25,000 per person personal deduction. For a full exposition of my tax reform proposals, see http://www.berenforcongress.com/fiscalconservative.html
So are you opposed to the implementation of the FairTax?
I prefer a 10% flat tax, plus some other measures as indicated on my campaign website. I don’t favor a national sales tax of any kind. Whatever the tax system in place, taxes will be high. A sales tax can be 1% or 15%; a flat tax could be 10% or 60%. The real key is reducing spending by limiting the federal government to its constitutional functions.
As most of my readers know, I am a supporter of the FairTax. While I agree that no matter what, until we get control of the spending of the federal government, taxes will always be high. However, I would rather see a national sales tax than a flat tax. I feel like a flat tax would be harmful to our country's less than wealthy citizens.
I would say, however, that any type of tax reform, even a flat tax, is better than what we have now.
Do you support legislation that would make English the official language of the United States?
Yes. In my 2008 campaign, I signed the U.S. English Candidate Pledge.
How do you feel about term limits and salary caps?
I’m not for term limits, although I respect the sentiment and intent of many citizens who support term limits. We already have term limits. For example, on Presidents. Neither Eisenhower nor Reagan could run for a third term and I believe each was superior to his successor. Obama ran for an open presidency. A brand new candidate can be just as corrupt, arrogant, and progressive as a long time officeholder. Federalist #63 refers to politicians who can (temporarily) fool the voters. This can be a first time candidate. Or it can be a long time office holder.
The real problem is the need to restore the federal government to its proper constitutional role. Obama was not in the U.S. Senate very long but that didn’t stop him from being progressive, corrupt, arrogant, or dismissive of the Constitution.
I think Senators and Congressmen get paid enough as is. No reason to increase their pay in my opinion.
I disagree with Steve's thoughts on term limits here. I do not think any one person should make a career out of politics, no matter how honorable their intentions are. I thought Reagan was a good President, but I was not sad when he left office. I also, however, thought (despite what many think of him) Bill Clinton was a good President. But again, was not sad when he left office. It was their time to go.
Are you familiar with the Contract From America and if so, would you consider signing it?
As an individual Tea Party activist, I was involved in the online process that led to the development of the 10 points. I was at the April 15, 2010 Tea Party rally at the Washington Monument where it was unveiled. I signed it as an individual and literally seconds before you asked me about it, I signed it again as a congressional candidate.
[Editors Note: Steve was one of the first Tea Party activists in the nation. He spoke at the Presidents Day Porkulus Protest in Seattle in February 2009 and his website contains videos of some speeches he gave at other Tea Party protests in February 2009 and April 2009. He was present at the Tea Party March in Washington, D.C. in September 2009 and the in April 2010.]
What is the best way to create jobs in our county?
Jobs are created by businessmen, not by governments. The best way for a government to encourage economic growth is to allow the free market capitalist system to work. I agree, for example, with Rand Paul of Kentucky, who in his primary night victory speech criticized Obama for apologizing for the American system of free enterprise and capitalism.
When the federal government is involved in areas not permitted by the Constitution, it inevitably interferes with, and distorts, the free market. Excessive bureaucracy leads back to excessive taxation and excessive regulation. Getting the federal government back to its proper constitutional functions is the best thing that can be done to promote economic growth and reduce unemployment.
I for one agree with Steve on this issue. I do not think the government can create jobs. I think it is the governments job to let the free market system to work and to let the free market create jobs. Unless government is spending more money to create more government jobs, they can not create jobs.
That kind of brings me to my next question. What are your thoughts of the government takeover of the automobile industry?
The takeover of the auto industry is unconstitutional and is a perfect example of government interference distorting and interfering with the free market. This is also my view of the September 2008 TARP bailout and the February 2009 “stimulus.” See, for example, www.berenforcongress.com/bailout.html.
Do you think we should get our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan? Why or why not?
I oppose the Obama foreign policy of apology, weakness, retreat, appeasement, decline, and defeat. By the way, that is a policy wholly supported by [his opponent] Jim McDermott, U.S. Senators from Washington State] Patty Murray, and Maria Cantwell.
The Democratic/liberal/leftist “antiwar” movement just doesn’t understand what victory means. And they just don’t understand what defeat means. Unfortunately, we now have a President who lacks enthusiasm for national security. Who has no stomach for a strong military and has no interest in victory over Islamic fascism…a stance supported by McDermott, Murray, and Cantwell.
My support for a victory strategy is explained at www.berenforcongress.com/democrats.html.
Also, see a speech I gave at a conservative conference in October 2009 at http://bit.ly/7mL6Pw.
McDermott called our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq “mercenaries” in a “war on civilians.” Outrageous! I support the troops and I support victory over Islamic fascism.
I have nothing but disrespect for Congressman McDermott calling our troops mercenaries. I do support our troops. I just don't support their mission as prescribed by the federal government.
I also think Obama's policy of apology and agree with Steve that his foreign policy is kind of weak. However, I do not think we belong in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Along the same lines as that last question, do you feel like our country spends too much or too little on military spending?
National security and maintenance of a strong military are legitimate functions of the federal government. In fact, they are among the most important proper functions of the government.
If we eliminated the federal government programs and activities not authorized by the Constitution, overall federal spending would be less than half of what it is now. We would be able to reduce taxes substantially. The power of American creativity, invention, innovation, and entrepreneurial spirit would be unleashed, resulting in a strong prosperity. We would have more than enough for core functions of government, such as military defense of our nation.
The liberals, progressives, and Democrats generally look at military spending as the first place to cut. But it is actually the first line of defense of freedom and liberty. We’ve had Presidents and Congresses that underfunded the military and now we have a President who has a foreign policy of weakness.
It's true. One of the primary functions of a federal government is national defense. The problem is I don't think we should be spending obscene amounts of money for war after war after war, or spending billions for our country to maintain military bases in countries where we do not belong.
Do you feel like the 2 party system has lost touch with common Americans and do you think a 3rd party would ever have a chance at being elected to a major position?
We don’t have a two party system. We have a multiparty system. The voters show every election day which parties have their relative confidence and which parties are out of touch, irrelevant, or out of touch.
Some people say we “need” a third party because the two parties are “the same.” Others say we need a third party because the two parties are too far apart, too extreme, too partisan, too embattled with each other. Both rationales are wrong.
Besides, we already have the Libertarian, Green, Constitution, and various other parties (including several socialist parties).
I am a Republican and I am a conservative. I believe the Republican Party is strongest and most effective when conservatives are in the dominant position within the party. And I believe America is best served by the Republican Party. Currently, liberals, progressives, socialists, union bureaucrats, environmental alarmists, and feminist extremists dominate the Democratic Party.
So do you think that the reason why the Republican and Democratic parties have dominated the system for so long is because the people want them there?
The Republican Party, at its best, has been closely associated with the abolition of slavery, the success of the free market system, individual responsibility, a strong national defense, family values, patriotism, and limited government. Support for our party has gone up and it has gone down. But when we stick to what I call “five star conservatism” we are most effective and gain the most support from the American people.
Over its entire history, the Republican Party has been true enough to its principles so that it has endured as a powerful force and a major party. Other parties, like the Federalists or the Whigs, eventually failed and faded away.
In a free society, there will be a flourishing of different views. Only in a communist or other dictatorship will there be a one party system. The Democratic Party represents a clearly different political philosophy and program, a totally different approach to the Constitution and the role of the government. So while I disagree with them, I understand why they exist as the natural counterpoint to the Republican.
He does make a valid point here. The people keep voting in the Republicans and Democrats so maybe that is what the people really want.
Any final thoughts you would like to leave with my readers?
The main message of my campaign: repeal Obamacare, no more bailouts, no more stimulus, cut taxes, cut spending, promote economic growth, limited government (not big government), big liberty (not limited liberty).
I am a pro-liberty, five star conservative, grassroots Tea Party activist, 9/11 Republican.
Great thanks for taking the time to do this interview Steve.