An Interview With Congressman John Carter
Late last week, I did an interview with Texas Congressman John Carter. What follows is a slightly edited transcript of our interview:
There is some concern that the Ethics Committee in the House is brushing aside serious complaints. Do you think they’re doing the type of work they need to be doing to make sure that Congress is staying ethical?
The wheels have been falling off the Ethics Committee recently. They had that leak that came out…that made the New York Times.
It was supposed to be very confidential until things were all done. That’s the downside when you’re sitting around looking at these allegations that have been hanging around for two and three years and wondering what in the heck they are doing with their time.
That’s been one of the issues I’ve been raising on the floor of the House a lot in the last six to eight months. Hey, guys, we need these issues resolved. These allegations look bad, why don’t you resolve them? I think they’re trying to resolve them. I certainly hope so because there’s no solution to our ethics problems if they never can come to a resolution.
There is a belief a lot of Americans have, rightly or wrongly: ..It’s sort of you put money in one end and then the legislation you want comes out the other. Do you think that’s going on in Congress?
It may be going on in some places. It certainly doesn’t go on in my life or the lives of the people that I associate with. But there are certainly some issues that are before the Ethics Committee involving Mr. Murtha and Mr. Mollohan and some of these folks — and it looks like there is something going on there. But once again, I’m not making accusations, I’m just asking questions.
Let me ask you a little bit about the healthcare bill. If somebody came up to you and: he said, “Congressman, I’ve already got Medicare. I’m okay with it. I think it’s working all right for me, will this be better?” What would you say to him?
No, it won’t be better. In fact you better hold on to your hat because this bill cuts your Medicare benefits by $500 billion and you better keep a close eye on it because it could have a real effect on your existing health care, if nothing else.
The real issue here that freedom-loving people should understand is that this is about control of your life by the government. This is taking liberty away from the individual. You know there is an old saying that says if you control a man’s purse…and you control a man’s health, you control the man.
Well they’ve got control of our purse now through the TARP and the bailouts and all the other stuff that they’ve done. Now they want to have control of our health care, which will be the control of our health. They’ll have control of each and every individual in this country. You will have to go to the government for 2/3 of the things you need in your life.
Americans don’t want to live that way. We didn’t sign on to live that way, I don’t think that’s the world we created nor the world we want to live in. The basic concept of government-controlled, government-forced healthcare is just contrary to the American way of life.
One last question, since I know you’re a busy man. What do you think the lesson of last night’s elections was?
I think that it’s a wakeup call about the policies that have been crammed down our throats by the Obama Administration from its start until now. The lesson is that Americans don’t want the massive debt, they don’t want massive taxation, they don’t want you interfering in their lives. They went to the polls in two states — one of which, New Jersey, has got the big Democrat political machine — and they still went to the polls and said stay out of our lives.
…Now they don’t seem to be getting it, which is good, because the more they don’t get it, the more the people are going to tell them again in November of next year. That’s what I am hoping for so we can get this majority back and then, we need to be in line with what we believe as Republicans and conservatives.
That was supposed to be my last question, but I want to ask you one follow-up question. One thing you hear a lot from the base is that Republicans got in –: they had, you know, a Republican president, a big majority in the House, a good sized majority in the Senate, and they really didn’t push any conservative principles. Do you think Republicans up now have learned from that? Do you think they’re going to say, “Hey, if we get back in power, we’re going to have to do things a little differently?”
I would argue that we did push some conservative principles. We certainly protected the sanctity of life and those issues — but, yeah, on the spending, we got out of control and we went contrary to what we believed and what our concept of government is.
I’ll be just as honest as I can be — the American public spanked us and we deserved it. Sometimes that’s what it takes. If we didn’t learn from it and we do it again –: first off, as far as I’m concerned, they ought to fire all of us. But, I think we should be given the opportunity because I think we’ve learned our lesson.
Outstanding, I appreciate your time.
I read and enjoyed Amy Alkon’s book, I See Rude People: One woman’s battle to beat some manners into impolite
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Interviewing Arthur Brooks On His New Book, “The Road to Freedom: How to Win the Fight for Free Enterprise”
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