Has Been

Fifteen years ago Tom McClintock — “anti-tax, anti-big government, anti-abortion, anti-gun control, anti- illegal immigration, anti-gay marriage” (said the LA Times) — was a rising star, a hot ticket on the Conservative fund raising circuit, somebody to watch. “Tom is one of us,” said Richard A. Viguerie.

“I see Tom as being a major national conservative leader in the future.”

Well, that sure didn’t happen. The years passed. McClintock graduated to Congress but as a barely noticed back-bencher. One in the crowd. His peak was probably when he ran for governor in 2003 against Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Recall Election. Those days the national Conservative Movement opened their hearts and checkbooks for him, bankrolling McClintock’s campaigns. A hundred thousand here. Two hundred thousand there. Big times.

In his 22 years in Sacramento he was a leader, prominent in the very conservative Cavemen Caucus. Now he’s been in Congress for nine years and his Republican party is as Right Wing as he could ever have dreamed. But it is led by others. He can get a brief mention in the newspapers with a protest vote on the budget, or oddly by asking the Justice Department to leave legal marijuana alone. He gets on the TV news only when he asks for police to protect him from his own voters.

Thing is, you’d think that the Congress person who represents Tahoe and Yosemite would be a natural. How hard can it be to think of ways to quote John Muir? When asked about climate change McClintock likes to talk about dinosaurs, and here is his very own Sierra Nevada which is at least a million years old. With all that how can he be less famous than the Congress guy from Bakersfield of all places?

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*Tom DeVries used to be a reporter. But now he’s busy repairing his road which washed out in storms that Tom McClintock thinks have nothing to do with climate change. Nothing. Write to reporter Tom at sierra4tom@gmail.com.