Pat Toomey

Pat Toomey, the Pennsylvania Republican who scared Specter out of the primary and who will likely take his seat in the next election came by Lancaster this morning. I joined the crowd to hear what he had to say and find out how I could be of assistance. Here are my notes, jotted down from memory a good 6 hours after the event.

Toomey gave his background and a quick rundown of a few of the problems with the recently rammed-through Obamacare. He emphasized in particular the fact that we don’t have the money for it, pointing out that Obama’s deficits are far, far worse than even Bush’s worst. He pledged to do everything in his power to repeal the bill, stealing the thunder from me, since that was going to be my first question. It was a pretty good spiel, giving a decent amount of information in a brief amount of time, then opening the floor to questions.

At one amusing point, somebody expressed concerns that Toomey had described himself as a moderate, and worried the he would turn out to be just another RINO. Toomey seemed a little offended, and invited everybody to look at his record in the House, as well a pointing to his history with the Club For Growth.

I asked how he would respond to those who say that the Republicans will never be able to repeal an entitlement. He said that it would be tough, but this is also a special case. Because the Democrats structured the bill so the taxes kick in early and the entitlements don’t kick in until much later in order to lie about the cost, the entitlements won’t actually be there yet if the Republicans can capture the Presidency next election.

He also discussed ways Republican can fight back earlier if (as he and I think likely) they win back at least one house of Congress. The vast sprawling bureaucracy that will be required to put this into action will require funding, and Congress can simply refuse that funding. It is a promising path that I’ve heard talk of elsewhere.

One guy asked him who was on his shortlist for president, to which Toomey laughingly said that he probably shouldn’t answer that. Nevertheless, he did say that there were several guys he thought would be good. In particular, he said nice things about Indiana governor Mitch Daniels.

A guy with a thick accent asked for Toomey’s views on immigration reform. Toomey said it was complicated. He opposes amnesty because it it wrong to reward people for breaking the law and encourages further lawbreaking. On the other hand, he does feel we need to improve the immigration process so that people who want to come here and work hard are not hindered from doing so. It is not an issue that I care about deeply, but it was interesting to hear brought up, especially since Democrats are likely to try to use it as a wedge issue for the upcoming elections.

“Common sense” conservatism was the major theme. Cap and Trade was mentioned, which will hit industrial Pennsylvania especially hard. Other more local concerns were also touched upon (there was a brief digression about some new regulations on tractor drivers, for example). Overall, good show. I’ll need to do a little more research, but barring any big surprises, he has my vote.