As most of you know, McCloskey ran against Richard Pombo in the Republican primary in 2006. After McCloskey’s loss, he went on to endorse Democrat Jerry McNerney in the general election, because of Pombo’s failure on issues including environmental conservation and civil rights.
Those two issues in today’s political scene would be considered liberal issues. Pombo pushed for the drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge but ran into his own platform mistakes when it came to the Endangered Species Act. Most Republicans voted for Pombo over the years on those issues as part of economic development to create jobs and to allow developers to build without interference from environmentalists.
Both Pombo and McCloskey were derailed by the very people who voted for each of them. In McCloskey’s case, all those who voted him into office from 1967 until 1983 did so because they supported what are now considered liberal issues. If we analyze the two candidates, we see the same platforms, although 20 years apart.
McCloskey jumped the Republican ship after all those years to join the Democratic Party. In reality, if McCloskey would have stayed a Republican, he would have helped the party to rebuild its once-strong base.
There are those who believe that Pombo followed in McCloskey’s footsteps on those same issues to get votes, but the platforms were too liberal for good Republicans, who finally turned against Pombo.
Now if McNerney continues to move to the right for votes, he could be voted out of office in the next election by a strong Republican.
As McCloskey says, “I find it hard to be a Republican now.”
Was the statement by McCloskey untimely in the current economic slowdown? It’s as though he is saying, “Don’t blame me for the current problems,” which is the same as what Pombo says about his past political platform.
These elected officials must be held accountable for things that are happening now, as a result of what they voted for while in office. One can wonder why McCloskey is saying, “I find it hard to be a Republican now.” Maybe it’s because his work is unfinished.
• Thomas A Benigno, a retired farmer and businessman who lives in Tracy, ran against both Pombo and McCloskey in the 2006 Republican primary.