GOP rallies ‘Mainstream America’

McClintock heads parade of local candidates

THE RIGHT STUFF<br>Congressional candidate Tom McClintock rubs shoulders with Chico City Councilman Larry Wahl and Congressman Wally Herger at the Mainstream America gathering hosted by local Republican women’s clubs.

Congressional candidate Tom McClintock rubs shoulders with Chico City Councilman Larry Wahl and Congressman Wally Herger at the Mainstream America gathering hosted by local Republican women’s clubs.

Photo By Bryce Benson

The local Republican Party’s version of “mainstream America” was on display Saturday evening (Aug. 16) at the Elks Lodge in Chico.

Mainstream America is the name of an annual event sponsored by Butte County’s Republican women’s clubs, who’ve put on the gathering since 1994. There are no Democrats in this version of America, just conservative Republicans.

The evening consisted of eating, socializing and cheering for several Republican candidates who gave speeches.

The headliner was state Sen. Tom McClintock, who’s running against Democrat Charlie Brown to replace Rep. John Doolittle in the 4th Congressional District, which covers the northeastern part of the state as far west as Oroville. McClintock, who currently represents Thousand Oaks in the Legislature, coincidentally was the keynote speaker for the first Mainstream America, in 1994, when he ran for state controller.

Taking the podium last, he was quick to recognize Chico Councilman Larry Wahl, a local hero for his upholding of conservative values during his two terms.

When Wahl, who is up for re-election, had his turn, he called for more fiscally responsible councilmembers.

“The liberal majority wastes money; for example, this Tuesday they’re addressing impeaching George Bush and Dick Cheney,” he said. “Could you imagine a sillier thing than that, when we have roads that need to be repaired and a city budget built on a house of cards?” (For more on the impeachment issue, see our City Council report following this story.)

City Council candidates Cynthia Van Auken and Joe Valente, a Chico State student, echoed Wahl, making the budget their top concern.

“We need to get our city back on track with a balanced budget that is structured properly for growth,” Valente said. “Chico’s growth is inevitable, and to resist it is suicide.”

Wahl spoke on behalf of Jjon Mohr’s run for the Chico school board, saying, “He subscribes to the Rick Keene, Tom McClintock form of economic accountability.”

Keene was present but remained at his picnic table for the evening. McClintock was the man of the hour; KPAY’s Bruce Sessions, who emceed, introduced him.

“Liberalism is ruining this country and state,” Sessions said.

McClintock pointed out the Republicans had only 80 days to “stop the Obama tide.”

“I get a sense a funny thing happened on the way to Obama’s coronation,” he said. “[John] McCain is polling even with Obama, and America is waking up to the Luddite left.”

He attributed McCain’s surge in the polls to the energy debate on Capitol Hill, saying one needed to look no farther than the corner gas station to see why.

“Since the mere prospect of opening American resources five weeks ago, what have you seen happen to the price of gas?” he asked.

Like McCain, McClintock wants to see more drilling for oil in the United States. As he put it, using an old saying, “You go hunting where the ducks are.”

“So we need to drill where the oil is, and we need to drill there now,” he said. “There is no point in drilling 7,800 miles away in the Middle East when we have proven reserves here to last 100 years at present consumption.

“American oil is owned by the American people, and development of American oil supply buys us time to produce alternative fuel sources,” McClintock said. “Charlie Brown and the Luddite left stand in our way.”

In 80 days the Republicans hope to “stop the Obama tide” by electing conservatives in contests ranging from city councils to the White House. McClintock foresees that “the 4th District will send [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi a message.”