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Exclusive: Freeper Interview with Duncan Hunter - Part 2
PA Times | 3/19/09 | Duncan Hunter/Pissant

Posted on 03/21/2009 11:20:12 AM PDT by pissant

Hunter: Hello, Duncan Hunter here

PA: Hello congressman, how are you?.

Hunter: I’m here in my hotel room with a couple of hours to kill before I go on the Sean Hannity show. I thought I’d call and we could finish up.

PA: Great. Did Hannity out of the blue get a hold of you or…

Hunter: His producer called us. They got this panel they put together on the show, kind of a panel, his sounding board, if you will.

PA: Oh, OK.

Hunter: Well how are you doing old fella? How are politics up there?

PA: Actually, the politics aren’t that great here in Washington state…

Hunter: At least Reichert won that thing, albeit by a whisker.

PA: Yeah, and it may have been you who pushed him over the top, because it really was a whisker. And to be frank, I never paid much attention to Reichert until Craig Keller called me and told me you were coming up here to campaign for him. And that got my interest, and of course I threw him a few shekels. He’s not in my district, but I figured what the heck. Reichert’s turning out to be a good guy. When he first ran, I don’t know if you remember, but he ran as one of those mushy moderates. A lot of that may have had to do with his particular district. But he’s turned out to be a pretty solid guy.

Hunter: Yeah, I’ve always thought of him as a solid guy.

PA: Yeah, you worked with him, so you got to know him. And we’ll take him over the alternative, because the alternative, in that case, the gal he beat, was about….well, she’d hug the life out of any tree she could get her hands on. So we are very fortunate that we got that one.

PA: Anyway, we were able to talk a bit about national security last time, and you gave some great answers, and I didn’t want to interrupt you, you had great, long answers and very in depth…

Hunter: yeah, I know it, we didn’t get to the other subjects here.

PA: Yes. I don’t know if you realize this, congressman, but I think your most ardent fans dwell on the Free Republic website…

Hunter: Well Good.

PA: ..and we were thrilled…

Hunter: You mean most of them (laughs)

PA: Well, you know (laughs). But I was able to connect with some very good people across the country through the site. Ends up there was a cross pollination of Freepers and Hunter volunteers. So it was kinda fun.

Hunter: No listen, I really appreciate that too. That’s great of you to do these interviews. And you’re right, we’ve got to finish this thing. So whatever you got, I’m ready to roll.

PA: OK. Free Republic is a conservative website. It is not a republican website, but 90% of the people are GOPers, because the alternatives are slim. But we are all conservative. And our biggest fear over the last few years - probably from the 2nd half of the Bush administration right on through the present day, including the nomination of John McCain, is that the Republicans have lost their will to continue the Reagan Revolution. And by Reagan Revolution I mean smaller government - not more efficient, not "we can do that cheaper than the democrats"- but real smaller government, and a devolution of power to the states. And Reagan was very Pro-life, as you are. But we see the party has moved away from Reagan. And I just want your take on the current status of the Republican Party, in your view.

Hunter: Well, I think a party is largely defined by it's president, and those that run...I mean Barry Goldwater largely defined the Republican Party by winning the nomination against the Rockefeller wing in '64 in the nominating contest. And Ronald Reagan defined it later by almost taking the presidential nod, the nomination, from a sitting Republican President, Gerry Ford. And later, by winning the contest in 1980.

Hunter: I think because the nature of government is to grow, the process of being a conservative, or being a conservative means that you have to constantly be mowing the grass. That is: Actively pushing back against government. Because the tendency is always to grow, because there is always something "to do". And anytime you have an entity such as government with a taxing power, you'll have the tendency to find things to spend that money on and to increase taxes to support it. So conservatives, by definition, have to be activists. Obviously, you've got legitimate governmental functions under the Reagan model which were necessarily very strong, like national security. And Reagan rebuilt national security. But his initial efforts to abolish, for example, he talked about abolishing the Department of Education, and he didn't do it. He did indeed abolish some departments. For example Dan McKinnon who was chairmen of the Civil Aeronautics Board phased out his own agency. And you had other smaller agencies that were sunsetted. But the apparatus, the process of "taking down" government that exists is very difficult. It always tends to draw alot of fire and alot of resistance, from those who have a stake in the maintenance of large government.

Hunter: So generally speaking, to gather the momentum that is necessary to downsize government, you need a presidential candidate that supports that model, that conservative, constitutional model. And he needs two things. He needs to have the right philosopy, and secondly, he needs to win.

PA: Yes.

Hunter: That's what we need.

PA: Yes indeed. And that is why we supported you. I did my research. And people who are activists like me, like minded people, did their research, and vigorously researched not only on the current rhetoric, but also the records of the candidates. And of course we found everyone's got some good points and bad points - no doubt about that. Even old John McCain's has some good points. But in the overall scheme of things, he did not - even though he said he did - he did NOT represent the Reagan wing of the party. And he spent the last 6, 8, or 10 years proving that, beyond the shadow of a doubt. So this is why we supported you. And I think that you actually got the short end of the stick from the party - any kind of support from the party. Whether it was the party proper - the RNC. Or, the large GOP donors. What do you think the reason was that monied GOP donors went with John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Rudy Giuliani?

Hunter: Well first, listen. The worst thing in show business is whining. I don't believe in it. There are no excuses for a campaign. While there may be reasons for losing, there are no excuses. I don't believe... We've got alot of whiners out there, but I'm a guy that got into politics on a shoestring campaign, and beat a guy who was heavily entrenched and had been in for a long time. I still believe this is the land of opportunity and it extends, it extends even to the "big" races.

Hunter: Actually, there is no monolith republican party. There is not a grand wizard that sits behind a curtain who decides who gets money and who does not get money. Who gets help and who doesn’t get help. The national committee is, as you know, basically a figurehead. Generally speaking, the head of the national Republican Party can get his wife to vote with him on most occasions and that’s about it. And I think that is illustrated by the present circumstances, the present situation.

Hunter: So there is no monolith that makes decisions. And you’ve got to get out and you’ve got to make that sale. And nobody has a right to have support from the millions of people that comprise the Republican party. You’ve got to earn it. For example, Huckabee started with a very small base and very small name recognition, but had enormous organizational capability. And he parlayed those organizational capabilities, along with a good speaking style, and I think good debate capabilities, into making a real race of it with McCain. So I think this is still a big, wide open process. And I came up way short in this process. I ran out of ammunition early, threw the ammo boxes at ‘em, but it’s all fun, and it’s all worthwhile. And I think that we drove some issues.

Hunter: So you could say the same thing about Huckabee. That he started with a small base. He didn’t have the Giuliani/McCain/Romney money supporters. Yet he ended up being the last guy standing between McCain and the nomination. And almost winning it. An argument can be made that if Fred Thompson had not been in the South Carolina primary, if he had gotten out earlier, Huckabee would have won that primary.

PA: Well my personal theory was that Fred was John McCain’s stalking horse.

Hunter: Well I don’t know. I know if he had gotten out – and I’m sure that was not lost on the McCain folks, he split that conservative vote…

PA: Plus, in 2000, he was John McCain’s campaign chairman, if you recall.

Hunter: Yeah, I don’t know what….but everybody has a right to run for president. Nobody has a right to tell Fred Thompson that he can’t run.

PA: No, no.

Hunter: But my point is that Huckabee came close. Coming from a dead start. So I like the process, it’s a wide open process. And he did a much better job than the rest of us who did not have a lot of resources going in. He parlayed a shoestring into a very formidable national campaign.

PA: And I’ll tell you exactly why he did that, because I followed this thing like you you couldn’t believe. My opinion, and it is shared by quite a few of us, is when you did that “Values Voters” debate. Right off the bat, there was a large group of Christians, evangelicals mainly, the conservative Christian right, that did not have a lot of love for Rudy, Mitt, or McCain. And they were looking for somebody. And after that Values Voters debate, Janet Folger, amongst others, came out and said “this is our guy”. Even though many of us more conservative Christians, said, “No! no, this is not our guy”. But some of the National spokesmen, really got behind him. And he ended up getting a groundswell of support, for Mr. Huckabee – and good for him – but being a Hunter guy that was not exactly thrilling to me. (laughs).

Hunter: Listen, that’s kind of you. Huckabee got a big push too by being very well organized in Iowa and coming in 2nd behind a heavily financed Romney. It gave him enormous press.

PA: It did. But I tell you what. When you went down to Texas, a conservative state, relatively speaking, and basically smoked the competition in the straw poll, which was the largest straw poll outside Iowa. The media did not give you the time of day.

Hunter: Right, they didn’t give us the time of day. I think the reason they did that though some of the other guys finessed that fairly effectively. Because it wasn’t well attended. Huckabee was going to go to the Texas straw poll, then he cancelled fairly late. I think Mccain and Thompson cancelled early, although Thompson had a fairly big presence there with his people.

PA: Yeah, and you were down there with Roy, I think, and a couple others…

Hunter: yeah, it was all fun, but listen. The point is, it’s still and open process. And with a lot of effort…uh this was a system in which McCain was considered largely to be the anointed Republican nominee.

PA: He was the front runner right out of the gate.

Hunter: But Huckabee, coming almost out of nowhere, almost won. So I think the process is still an open process, an admirable process. It’s still one that a guy can come in fairly – if he can hit that spark – with fairly meager resources and have a good chance to do well. And obviously, on the democrat side, I think Obama is an example of that too. I think Hillary Clinton, even more than McCain, was the anointed candidate.

PA: yes, but on the Obama side, or the democrat side, there’s not a stone’s throws difference between the two.

Hunter: That’s true, except she was “the” candidate. In terms of building a campaign from basically nothing, Obama did an excellent job of that.

PA: Yes, but still, there was a lot of conservatives that sat on their hands when it got down to Huckabee and McCain. That were not thrilled with either. It really takes a what I believe to be a Reaganite, to reunite the party. That’s where we are hoping that you haven’t completely retired from politics. Are you considering, or is it possible, you may get back into politics?

Hunter: Politics, or running for office, it is a process of identifying an opportunity and responding to it. And as you know, politics is largely timing. And if the right opportunity presented itself, I’m not foreclosed at all to running again.

PA: This is one of the reasons that I’ve coaxed myself into trying to interview you. If indeed, you don’t want to slam the door shut and say “ah, I’m done with it, I’ll retire and just throw my 2 cents in from the sidelines occasionally”, if you indeed you think it is possible to run in the future, whether for the Senate, or the presidency again, or even governor, whatever the case may be. The thing that Ronald Reagan did after his loss in 1976, though he did this even before challenging Ford, but especially in those years after that primary, is that he gave speeches, he wrote papers, he kept himself in the public eye, and so by the time…

Hunter: He had a radio show.

PA: Well yeah, yes, so that helped.

Hunter: That did more than the papers or speeches. You know, they asked him if he wanted to do a TV show, and he said “no, I’d rather do radio”. He said “people will get tired of me if they see me on TV, I wanna do radio”. (laughs)

PA: That was a good answer. (laughs)

Hunter: yeah (lauging)

PA: So anyway, that’s why I was very interested when you said you were writing a book, or that you were busy writing some policy papers on China and foreign policy. Because I think we are in for a real bad stretch here, coming down the pike. The Obama administration has started off very poorly, and I don’t see it – well I’m hoping that it gets better- but I don’t see it so. I mean Hugo Chavez is making noise, the Iranians are making lots more noise. I’m sure you see the same things I do. Obama’s team does not instill a lot of confidence in me…

Hunter: I don’t think Obama’s team instills a lot of confidence in Obama’s team. (laughs)

Hunter: But listen, I’ve got to get ready for this thing (Hannity show), so you hang in there. And no, I have not foreclosed anything. And I’m going to continue to keep a little bit in the public eye.

PA: Well, and that is where we could help you. We can keep you….everything you write and even this interview is going to go out and be distributed. We want to help you. There is a large group of us that are net savvy, that have well read blogs, better than some of the guys that were helping you before, with divided loyalties. We are behind you 100%. And we’ll help keep you in that public eye as much as possible.

Hunter: Well listen, I think that talking about these issues and discussing them is a little bit of a public value, so I’m going to do that anyway.

PA: Absolutely.

Hunter: Whether I run or not, I think it’s of value to the old national discussion.

PA: Well you keep us in mind. I tell you what, congressman Hunter, I sure appreciate your time. I know you have things to do. But is at possible at some point in the near future, that several of us diehards, so to speak, can come down, fly down to San Diego and take you out to dinner sometime?

Hunter: Listen, you come to San Diego, I’ll take you out to dinner.

PA: no we’ll take you out. You are poor now, you can’t afford this kind of thing (laughs).

Hunter: Oh yes I can (laughs). As long as there aren’t too many of ya.

PA: No, we are talking small group, a small group.

Hunter: Good, I don’t want to have to feed an army of people here…

PA: Now I don’t want to be constantly bugging you by calling you. Can I get a hold of you by email?

Hunter: Get a hold of me through Roy. I don’t have an email, but Roy’s got one and he loves this stuff.

PA: Well tell him, he’s invited too.

Hunter: OK, I’ll do it.

PA: OK, you have a great time. Are you still in NY then?

Hunter: yeah, still in New York. Got to do the show tonight. Should be the Hannity thing tonight.

PA: OK, well I’m going to hopefully get that on Youtube, post it and spread the Hutner virus. Anyway. Have a safe trip home and we’ll be in touch with you.

Hunter: I’ll do it, my friend. And listen, thanks so much for supporting me. Thanks for calling, and thanks for helping old Dave Reichert too. That was a valuable hit.

PA: Absolutely.

Hunter: That dude was down to what was it, a couple hundred votes in the end?

PA: Well I think they had to do a recount, so it must have been…

Hunter: Remember the old days, when we came into power in ’94, we swept in like six new seats in Washington State.

PA: Yeah, yeah, you know why? Because the party was running on a conservative agenda.

Hunter: yeah.

PA: Right now it’s every man for himself, we need that uniter to come back and pull the conservative reigns back in.

Hunter: I agree with you.

PA: There was a reason Ron Paul was very popular, and it wasn’t because of his foreign policy. It was because of his small government….

Hunter: That’s true. That’s true.

PA: So if you could take the Hunter foreign policy and the…

Hunter: Yeah well, now don’t launch me up with the Paulistas (laughs)

PA: (laughs) No, No, I’m just saying..

Hunter: You know, in fact my dad and I were listening was the first libertarian we listened to. This when I was first running back in 1980. And this guy got up and he talked about smaller government - so kinda nodding, he talked about low taxes - and we continued to nod, he talked about deregulation – we nodded, and then he said “and as for defense, we don’t need any defense.” He said, “what we’re going to do is the libertarian way”. He said “we’re going to buy ‘War Insurance’, and if we get conquered, we’ll collect the money”…

PA: Ha! Who was this??

Hunter: It was a libertarian candidate. Libertarian candidates have a way of sounding normal for about a half an hour. Then the last 10 minutes when they tell us they want to legalize drugs, we fall out of our chairs. It was a great first exposure to a libertarian candidate. (laughs). 30 minute speech, normal for 28 minutes.

PA: Yep. That’s just like Ron Paul.

Hunter: There it is.

PA: Yeah, he sounds sensible for 75, 80% of the time. Then he goes with Dennis Kucinich and tries to get the Congress to back out of Afghanistan and Pakistan and to quit killing the Taliban. Anyway, I won’t confuse you with a libertarian, I never would. I consider you a Reaganite, and one of the few. You know who else is pretty good, is Mike Pence…

Hunter: Mike’s a good guy. A solid guy.

PA: So I think a Hunter/Pence ticket is the winning ticket in 2012.

Hunter: There you go, now we’re talking.

Hunter: Well listen, thanks for calling, thanks for all your time and efforts.

PA: I’ll be getting a hold of you for coming down to San Diego one of these days.

Hunter: OK, Let’s do it.

PA: Ok. Thanks. Bye.

TOPICS: Chit/Chat
KEYWORDS: conservatism; duncanhunter; elections; hunter; killthemessenger
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To: hellbender

Mccain was leading the polls before Rudy overtook him and his campaign began to implode.

21 posted on 03/21/2009 12:17:25 PM PDT by pissant (THE Conservative party:
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To: hellbender

I remember MSM giving McCain nonstop coverage when his campaign flatlined.

He had a lot of free help.

22 posted on 03/21/2009 12:17:35 PM PDT by Califreak (111th Congress: Destroying America With Reckless Abandon)
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To: SoConPubbie; pissant

Obama and company are out to destroy our country. The way I see it, we better come together as patriots and defeat the real leftists. We better use all the tools at our disposal, including those who aren’t nearly conservative enough. The main focus should be on who we elect, not on who elects them or works for their election. Duncan Hunter would remain firm to his principles no matter who is in his camp.

23 posted on 03/21/2009 12:22:28 PM PDT by upsdriver
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To: hellbender

I don’t think Hunter fell for anyone’s shtick. I do believe had Huckabee gotten the nomination and won, Hunter would have had an important job in that administration. That certainly would be preferable to what we are dealing with right now.

24 posted on 03/21/2009 12:26:35 PM PDT by upsdriver
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To: upsdriver

Where is little doubt that a Huck, or even a Mccain, would not be as awful as the marxist fool pretending to be president now, there is also little doubt that both would have steered the Republican party off the global warming, nanny state cliff. That is unacceptable.

25 posted on 03/21/2009 12:27:49 PM PDT by pissant (THE Conservative party:
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To: pissant

Oh goodie! I am getting into this later, and giving it my full attention.

26 posted on 03/21/2009 12:29:30 PM PDT by Lauren BaRecall ("I will not compromise on life" - what Steele should have said.)
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To: Lauren BaRecall
We can't lose with this on our side...

27 posted on 03/21/2009 12:32:08 PM PDT by pissant (THE Conservative party:
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To: upsdriver

I don’t think anyone really has an important job in an admin. except the POTUS himself. I don’t want Hunter (or someone like him) buried in a cabinet position. He needs to be on top. Huckabee would have meant more Bush-style Christian Socialism. And even McCain would have been far preferable to our present Third-World-Marxist President.

28 posted on 03/21/2009 12:39:49 PM PDT by hellbender
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To: pissant

Hmmmmmm so you are down with the man who was only outpaid by the PMA lobby firm by Visclkosky, Murtha and Young of AK... actually paid to the tune of $15 million lobby dollars by this now under investigation by the FBOI firm and you want HIM for president????????????

29 posted on 03/21/2009 12:46:15 PM PDT by Arizona Carolyn
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To: pissant

Regan didn’t take money from crooks!

30 posted on 03/21/2009 12:46:59 PM PDT by Arizona Carolyn
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To: Arizona Carolyn

What are you babbling about?

31 posted on 03/21/2009 12:48:00 PM PDT by pissant (THE Conservative party:
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To: pissant

LOL! You know how to whistle, don’t you? ;-)

32 posted on 03/21/2009 12:49:00 PM PDT by Lauren BaRecall ("I will not compromise on life" - what Steele should have said.)
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To: Arizona Carolyn

Get lost, toots.

33 posted on 03/21/2009 12:49:03 PM PDT by pissant (THE Conservative party:
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To: Lauren BaRecall

34 posted on 03/21/2009 12:50:33 PM PDT by pissant (THE Conservative party:
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To: pissant

Wonderful, thanks pissant!!

35 posted on 03/21/2009 12:52:42 PM PDT by gidget7 (Duncan Hunter-Valley Forge Republican!)
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To: upsdriver

I partially agree with you. However, we don’t need identity politics this next go around.

The Huckster and Mitt, and a lot of their supporters, were just that.

Furthermore, for POTUS, we need a candidate, like Reagan, who brings all factions of the GOP together. Both Mitt and the Huckster are flawed because they are not limited-government Republicans.

They can play a supporting role, but they lack the leadership capabilities and the COMPLETE foundational conservative beliefs necessary to lead.

36 posted on 03/21/2009 12:53:40 PM PDT by SoConPubbie (GOP: If you reward bad behavior all you get is more bad behavior.)
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To: gidget7

We are going to have to get him maximum exposure if he decides to run. He left the door open, and I want to push him through it. LOL

37 posted on 03/21/2009 12:53:41 PM PDT by pissant (THE Conservative party:
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To: pissant

Not on your life.... and you didn’t answer the question. You are promoting a man who took money from crooks as our next presidential candidate while you bent over backwards to keep the last GOP candidate from winning.

38 posted on 03/21/2009 12:53:53 PM PDT by Arizona Carolyn
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To: pissant
You really should read threads other than your vanities here on FR:

39 posted on 03/21/2009 12:55:24 PM PDT by Arizona Carolyn
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To: pissant
I bet it was fun, and how honored you must feel. Hunter really is, in addition to being extremely knowledgeable and Conservative, a down to earth guy.
40 posted on 03/21/2009 12:55:28 PM PDT by gidget7 (Duncan Hunter-Valley Forge Republican!)
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