Here at RedState we believe strong conservative candidates deserve our support, especially in deep blue states like California. On June 3rd, in California's 45th Congressional District, retired Marine Colonel Greg Raths will face off in a primary against State Sen. Mimi Walters and Pat Maciariello to replace U.S. Rep. John Campbell, who is retiring. Not only does Col. Raths stand for traditional conservative values, such as small government and fiscal responsibility, but he has also been endorsed by the organization Combat Veterans for Congress.
Col. Raths was at the California Republican Party Convention with conservative icon and former Congressman Barry Goldwater, Jr., who is a Director for Combat Veterans for Congress. Former Congressman Goldwater spoke enthusiastically about Col. Raths and the fact that his combat experience gives him an advantage over the competition. I spoke with Col. Raths about the top issues facing our country and what he plans to bring to the table.
Col Raths, the biggest issues facing the country right now are ones that we all know has plagued California for some time: Budgets and debt. How do you suggest America move towards a balanced budget and reducing her debt?
RATHS: This goes back to leadership. First of all, Americans like you and me are starved for leadership in Washington. People just want someone to lead in the current crisis that’s going on today. There’s one man who’s in charge and that’s President Obama. His job is not just to be leader of the Democrats, he’s supposed to be the leader of the whole country. He needed to get these people together, meaning the Majority Leader of the House and Senate and other leadership a long time ago to stop this from happening. He knew, if he had any sense, what was going to happen on October 17th and October 1st. So how to get the debt reduced? We need conservative candidates to run for Congress and we need conservatives in state government and local government. The only way we can reduce the deficit is to have a majority in both houses and hopefully the presidency; right now we don’t, so we have to work with what we have. I feel that it’s the President’s job and his responsibility as a leader to ensure that we don’t spend more money than we bring in. This year alone, the American taxpayers have sent to Washington more money than they ever have in any specific year. And they are still seven or eight hundred thousand short. So, it has to come from the top, it has to come from the leader, and I tell my constituents where I’m running that in order to get these goals passed, we need the leadership in Washington that will do it; currently I don’t think we have it. So we have to look at 2014 to see what we can do to bring in some good conservative candidates into Congress.
What are your thoughts on raising the debt ceiling?
RATHS: My thoughts are pretty much what is going on now. I think the debt ceiling will obviously have to be raised, but we just can’t give them a blank check or they’ll just keep writing. I think there have to be strings attached, i.e. what they are doing now. We’ll raise the debt ceiling but we need to look at social security that is going broke in 20 years, we have to look at Medicare that is going broke in 15 years, we have to look at the other spending bills that waste a lot of money and we have to look at Obamacare. We have to put certain limitations on some of these programs and once that is done then you can raise the debt ceiling. I want to get to the point where we never have to raise the debt ceiling and I am running for US Congress not to go to Washington to write a bunch of bills, I want to get rid of a bunch of bills.
So healthcare.gov and Covered California have rolled out with some serious glitches. Where do you stand on the issue of Obamacare and what do you think is the best way forward now that it is debuting?
RATHS: Obamacare from the beginning was not well planned and thought out, it was kind of rammed through by a Congress that had the majority with the Democrats and a Democratic president. Not one Republican voted for it and I believe they had to give some incentives to Senator Landrieu of Louisiana, they paid her off with some sweet deals for Louisiana and same in Nebraska with the “cornhusker kickback” to get these people to vote for it. And what we saw in Nebraska is the Senator ended up not getting reelected or I believe he didn’t run again. But I believe it was flawed from the beginning because something of this significance, of this size, a 1.4 trillion dollar bill has to be bipartisan so you can get the whole American people behind it and it wasn’t. So now we are stuck with this bill that was passed and then, I believe, the Supreme Court rewrote the law to make it constitutional - which did not pass muster by me, that’s not their job, they’re to determine whether or not a bill is constitutional, not rewrite it to change a fee to a tax to make it constitutional. So now that it’s law, obviously you are seeing it’s being rolled out with so many problems and glitches. Just the computer program itself was $450 billion to write a computer program with a webpage. My first webpage when I first ran for office was $9.95 a month; granted it was a lot smaller but $450 billion for a webpage, come on, this thing is way out of control, way out of hand. It’s probably not going to be stopped, but it needs to be trimmed down and refined and there’s some good points in it but it’s just not affordable. It’s supposed to be the affordable healthcare act but it’s not affordable because I don’t believe the younger generation is going to buy into this thing. And we have to count on them to buy into the system so that the elderly, who use about 80% of all healthcare benefits, are able to get their benefits. So I think it’s been a train-wreck from the beginning, I’m not surprised that the roll-out has been so difficult especially here in California even though we have our own state exchange, but something has to give where we kind of need to start from scratch. Like I said, there’s some good things in there but I think we need to start from the beginning.
Recently, Governor Brown signed a bill allowing children to have more than two legal parents. Supporters say this is not an attack on the traditional family? What are your thoughts?
RATHS: I think the traditional family is a father and a mother and their children and from historical significance that appears to work the best. That goes all the way back to beginning of time. I believe the traditional family should be intact and when we stray to two fathers, two mothers, I think we are straying into territory that is going to make it more difficult to raise children. That is my personal belief, I’m a Catholic, I’m a Christian and I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I don’t have anything against gay people, if they want to have a union that’s fine, but I think the word marriage, if you check the dictionary, is a relationship between a man and a woman. That seems to work best in families and you see when marriages break up and it’s a single mother or father it just doesn’t work as well. I grew up in an attached family, we have eight children in our family, my mother was a stay-at-home mom taking care of eight kids and it worked out just fine. So, I personally believe a man, a woman and their children is the best way to bring up the family.
Col Raths, with so much talk about the establishment these days, I’m curious: Is there an “establishment” in California? And is that going to be a hurdle for you?
RATHS: Oh absolutely. There is a hiarchy here in the Republican party, especially in Orange county, that they kind of select and ordain the next candidate for the next office and it’s something I did not expect. This is my first run at Congress, I’m 60 years old, I was in the military where you can’t run but I’ve always been interested in running. And with the lack of leadership I felt I had to do something and this is what I’m doing. I want to bring some common sense to Congress. But when I entered the race the establishment just basically told me to go away, like “who are you? You are amateur. Go take your wife on a cruise, we’ve got this handled, leave it up to us professionals.” And I’m like, “Isn’t you professionals that got us into this mess?” So the constitution says to run for the US House of Representatives you have to be 25 years old, a citizen for the last 7 years and you have to live in the state. I fit that criteria so I throw that right back at them and I say, “Let the voters decide, don’t you dare decide who our next Congressman is going to be. So, to answer your question, I think the establishment is entrenched here, they do not like outsiders coming into their territory but I’m a grassroots candidate. I am at 3-4 events a day, I talk to everyone and I’m just getting overwhelming support. I like to see myself as a Ted Cruz, he was down by 48 points at this time in his race and he ended up winning. So I’m at the grassroots level, getting a lot of support, a lot of help from just the everyday citizen that wants change in Washington.
The California legislature is what they call a super-majority in the Assembly and in the Senate and we have a governor who is Democrat so the Republicans have no power in this state at all. With two-thirds Democrats in each house they can pass anything they want. They just passed a bill where if a school child between K through 12 has a feeling that they are a man in a woman’s body they can use the opposite sex bathroom. Can you imagine a bunch of senior boys who go use the locker room and say, “Oh we feel like we are girls today, let’s go use their shower.” It’s just ludicrous that they passed this law. And they don’t have to have any documentation that they feel their sexuality is any different than what they are. They also just passed a law here that you don’t have to be a doctor now to perform an abortion; all you have to be is a midwife or a physician’s assistant. They say in the rural areas where there are no doctors, there are midwives and they can perform abortions. So, this state is really very liberal and very progressive and we need to get some good people to start changing the dynamic here in California. I’m retired, I was a fighter-pilot in the Marine Corps, I spent 33 years defending my country, serving my country and I’m ready to take it on again. When I joined the military in 1972, the approval rating of the military was about 10% because of the Vietnam War. There was a lot of discontent for the servicemen, they were looked upon as baby-killers, war-mongers and when they came back we were told not to wear our uniforms off base. When I left, after the Reagan revolution and George Bush Senior, we had like an 80% approval rating. So I want to do the same thing, I want to enter a Congress where the approval rating is around 10% and I want to leave it around 80%. That’s going to be tough to do but I want to go shake it up.
The primary will be held on June 3rd, you can find out more about Col. Raths on his website here.