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September 03, 2009

On the Record With Chuck DeVore, Final Thoughts

My impression from talking to Assemblyman DeVore is that he is sincere in his beliefs and not apt to get "squishy" on us while in office. His record in the California Assembly supports that. I wanted to get my own feel for it, which is why I asked him about crossing the aisle on global warming legislation.

He was very enthusiastic when talking about energy policy. He clearly wants to see progress on nuclear power. I was a little cooler toward his support for hydro and solar. I tend to think that both are costly, pie-in-the-sky solutions for problems we don't actually have or wouldn't have if we could get nuclear operating and the EPA off the warpath on carbon dioxide. As far as his comment about charging up vehicles at night...well, I don't think that's going to be widespread ever. When it comes to vehicular travel, electricty just isn't going to get you where you want to go. It's a nice thought, but petroleum products aren't going anywhere for a long, long time.

Some of you asked whether I wrote a piece slamming the Assemblyman prior to the interview. To borrow a phrase, "slamming" is such an ugly word. You be the judge. We set up the interview after I wrote that, which to me was a pretty classy move.

BTW, the question of the DeVore campaign's attack on Carly Fiorina's allegedy pro-choice beliefs continues. DeVore campaign consultant Josh Treviño wrote this explanation for doubting her pro-life bonafides. It's not very convincing. She used the term "reproductive rights" once. And she said that McCain doesn't want to overturn Roe v. Wade, which was true according to the Senator's own words back in 1999. Unfortunately for Fiorina, once the 2008 campaign got into full swing (actually it was in 2007) he restated his "long-standing opposition" for the ruling and hope for its overthrow.

In any case, Treviño's less-than-compelling explanation is now overshadowed by the Assemblyman's claim: "I've heard from McCain campaign advisors that worked with her that unequivocally she was [pro-choice]." I've got to say, the bloodied remnants of the McCain campaign have not covered themselves with glory or credibility in the ten months since the election. I have no doubt that some of the McCain folks are telling DeVore that Fiorina is pro-choice. No doubt at all on that point. What I doubt is that they actually know Fiorina's position on anything.

Moving on from that, you'll notice that I spent a good bit of time on the social issues. He is, not surprisingly at all, a supporter of Prop 8. I was pleased to hear he does not support a Federal Marriage Amendment on the grounds that it does not conform to the principles of federalism. He appears to have a very well-defined view of what powers and prerogatives are reserved to the states including family matters and (he volunteered) tort and civil law. I had to restrain myself from cheering at his sardonic, "Is there not a Tenth Amendment?"

He's a little shaky on constitutional law issues. There is simply no mechanism by which Congress can overrule the Supreme Court when it makes a decision based on the U.S. Constitution (other than initiating the constitutional amendment process). Congress can "clarify" or overturn the Supreme Court when it interprets statutes, but not when it makes a constitutional ruling. In the context of marriage, we're talking about 5th and 14th Amendment rulings. We're talking about Full Faith & Credit Clause. Congress cannot overturn the Supreme Court when it makes a ruling on constitutional grounds. Its only recourse is to amend the Constitution.

In sum, I was very impressed by his willingess and ability to go into detail. He was well-versed in every topic that I raised. He is an excellent speaker (as any of you Southern California people who listen to talk radio know) and I'm sure he's impressive on the stump.

Am I ready to support him over Fiorina? Well, let's be clear. I would vote for a dancing monkey before I voted for Boxer. So if DeVore's the candidate in the general, I'm there. But I don't yet know enough abut Fiorina to say that I would choose him over her. She's a big question mark and I want to at least hear what she has to say before I get behind a campaign. I'd like to make an informed decision and it's not so late in the campaign season (not by a long shot!) that there is any urgency to picking one right now. I will say that nothing DeVore said would make me hesitate to support him if Fiorina turns out to be a dud.

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In case you missed it:
Part I of the interview, which was about campaign strategies, is here.
Part II of the interview, which was about California issues, is here.
Part III of the interview, which was about national issues, is here.


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 12:13 PM

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