Earlier this month I had the exciting privilege of conducting a live interview for thirty minutes with Chris Simcox, John McCain's truly-conservative Republican Primary challenger in Arizona. As I joked in our interview, he made way too much sense to be a candidate for U.S. Senate!
In addition to his Senate bid against a national figure like John McCain, Chris Simcox is a national figure himself with a lot of very interesting and surprising things to say in our interview about his founding and leadership of the Minute Men Civil Defense Corps.
You can listen to the interview in its entirety here, or you can read the abbreviated text transcript of the interview below to get a sense of what was said and where Mr. Simcox stands on the issues. If you agree with what he says, please learn more about him at this campaign website and consider pledging $50 to his campaign for his November 5th Money Bomb.
Wes Messamore: To dive right into the interview: the question I asked RJ Harris, when I interviewed him a couple weeks back, I asked him: What would you say to people who think that running against a Republican incumbent hurts party unity? How would you answer that question?
Chris Simcox: I think that part of the problems that we're facing have been created by partisan politics. It's about promoting the values of a certain party even when you don't stand behind those principles- or the platform.
We're in this mess because of a process-oriented government that's based on a two party system that is not outcome based in terms of solving problems. That's why we're challenging the status quo- we're challenging incumbents.
If you wanna play "party," go ahead. I'm interested in representing the people of Arizona and the people of the United States and actually getting something done in Washington by not playing party politics.
Wes Messamore: Your campaign website has a Simcox vs. McCain page, but it's still under construction. McCain is a very national figure of course. He ran against President Obama in 2008. Give us a breakdown since the page is still under construction, how do you measure up to John McCain and what do you have to offer that he doesn't?
Chris Simcox: Well Wes, it's great to speak to you tonight, and everybody who's listening, and I'm glad that this is going to be recorded and replayed. Frankly, when I put up a website when I announced my candidacy, I announced that I think every candidate should start on a level playing field. I purposefully am thinking out of the box. I don't think I should put up a platform or say how I'm going to challenge John McCain without seeing what the people want first.
So that page is part of the old school template for running for office. And frankly, I decided not to even pay attention to it. I'm not actually running against John McCain... because you just can't run against him. I wouldn't do that. I have too much respect for him. What I'm doing is taking this seat and the idea of Government 101 that there's this open seat that's available to the citizens of Arizona.
So I just want to present an alternative to the voters so that their only choice isn't the party incumbent who's basically bought and paid for, and you're going to vote for him no matter what if the party tells you too. And I think people are breaking away from that. I think people are looking at a brash new approach to putting humble, and common citizens (and frankly not so common- I consider a lot of my fellow Americans who are paying attention to be extraordinary in their ability to figure out what's going on and to fix problems)...
So in that sense of going against John McCain. I'm not doing that. This is about representing the people, going to the U.S. Senate, being a 10th Amendment Senator, representing the Bill of Rights, and representing the rights of the people.
Wes Messamore: A lot of Americans don't like the direction this country is going- in terms of the economy, and people are also clamoring for reform of health care. What specific solutions do you have for the problems that are really mattering to Americans right now?
Chris Simcox: It's a shame we're wasting so much time on an irrelevant issue. We've spent eight or nine months now debating health care, something clearly not acceptable to most of the American people, businesses, the free market, or the Constitution. If I were a U.S. Senator right now, I'd be working to expose how it's unconstitutional in its premise and say that we instead we need to fix what we've already convinced the people to accept 30 years ago with Medicare.
We've wasted a lot of time we should have been using to figure out how to audit Medicare and fixing the problems we have with our national health care system that we pay for now. So it's a moot point frankly. Going back to John McCain vs. Chris Simcox: that would be one of my statements there- that John McCain is going around talking about health care instead of talking about how unconsitutional the premise is and leading a movement in the Senate to say let's stop this and reform Medicare.
Wes Messamore: Another thing Senator McCain voted for last fall was the TARP corporate bailout. That's a great litmus test to see if someone is a true constitutional conservative or toeing the party line and rewarding corporate lobbying. How would you have voted on that if you were in the Senate?
Chris Simcox: Absolutely no. I would have been absolutely leading the charge to expose how that would have been bad for America, unconstitutional, and poor legislation. You have everyone out there trying to reshape what the Founding Fathers made pretty cut and dry, pretty simple to understand. There's no way McCain should have voted for that. I would have voted against it. And right now, I would be sure to "dog" every bean-counter to account for where all those funds are going.
Wes Messamore: I see- well those are issues that I think a lot of Americans- especially with this resurgent, grassroots, center-right movement- I think a lot of them who will play a major role in elections in 2010 would agree with what you're saying.
Chris Simcox: If I may interject- there are a lot of people in the Republican party- true constitutional conservatives, who will question why I won't get involved in the process. And I want to show them that the process itself is the problem. Government has no business being involved in "process." Government should be able to identify a problem, assess the resources it has available, then decide on an approach that is practical.
In 1959-1960, the legislation that built our entire Interstate Highway System in America was only about 30 pages. Then look at today's legislation, which is boxes of pages. Central planning and control over our health care is just another brick in the wall that is socialism. Once government is involved in competition, then that is a giant step towards socialism and government control of the markets.
Wes Messamore: You're making too much sense to be running for the U.S. Senate, sir!
Chris Simcox: *laughter* That's what it's about right? Challenging the status quo. To go up there and say "You guys are wearing no clothes!" And the people are also saying "Get back to work!"
Wes Messamore: I think in 2010, we might be able to make some major strides towards a true "Citizen Congress," and it would be very emblematic of that if you could topple Senator McCain who was just a year ago, the Republican Nominee to run for President.
As the Founder of the Minute Man Civil Defense Corps- that's a huge issue: could you please briefly talk about that and how that would inform your view of foreign policy and border policy?
Chris Simcox: That is an important credential that would qualify me to serve in Congress. I never would have imagined eight years ago when I left my job as a teacher, started a small business... and then 9-11 happened. And it deeply affected me. Then on a chance trip to the border, I saw that we had a way to fight City Hall.
This wasn't about the people who are crossing the border, it's about a failure of our government. The people crossing is just a symptom of failed government here. And this was about protecting private property rights- for those hardcore libertarians listening. This is affecting private property owners in American in ways the people listening cannot imagine.
We wanted to freely associate, gather, seek redress of grievances from our government, and expose a major problem to national defense, public safety, and human rights on our borders- on both borders. That's what the minutemen were all about. That is my credential- that I've been battling government, battling the status quo, battling the Bush administration, and fighting for years.
And the Senior Senator from my state has done everything to try and put me out of business, but they haven't succeeded and I'm here to take it to the next level.
Wes Messamore: So you would ironically describe yourself as more of a maverick than Senator McCain?
Chris Simcox: I don't describe myself as anything other than a God-fearing, God-loving American citizen who loves my family, loves my country, loves my Constitution and is desperately fighting for the future of my children and everyone else's children- the posterity of this great country.
Wes Messamore: And to clarify about the Minutemen- it is my understanding of the Minutemen, that they do not actually confront people crossing the border. They simply gather information and report it to local law enforcement. Is that correct?
Chris Simcox: Yes that is correct. We simply gather information and report it to the proper authorities. We also provide humanitarian, life-saving aid to people who would have died in the desert. We've saved hundreds of lives and helped save women who would have been sold into the sex slave industry.
So when I talk about the human rights issue- that is something that many "too hardcore" libertarians don't think about when it comes to the free market. When people are being exploited or killed- there's nothing free about that...
Wes Messamore: Right- I would agree with that. That if people are being enslaved or killed, that it's not a free market because those people are being coerced, they're not free.
Chris Simcox: Thank you for saying that.
Wes Messamore: As libertarians who believe in human liberty- human trafficking and slavery should be one of our number one priorities to oppose, and I didn't know that about the Minutemen that they did that- that's very impressive.
Chris Simcox: That's just something that comes with the territory. Part of the demonization and vilification of what we're trying to do- and which has been turned into a race issue. But it has nothing to do with that. While we've been playing politics, people have been dying by the thousands, by the tens of thousands.
Wes Messamore: I could have you on again, and we could discuss just this one issue the whole time. There is a lot of nuance to it a lot of ground to cover.
Chris Simcox: And Wes- I challenge every listener and anyone who thinks this has been a publicity stunt or that it's political motivated: I challenge you to go out there and experience what I've experienced- to recover bodies in the desert.
To see people walking hundreds of miles to escape an oppressive government to end up in a country with a government that wants to exploit them, and that died along their path- and I mean men, women, and children, and the fact that we've saved so many.
You want to talk about liberty and freedom? Yeah- it is a very nuanced issue. I am trying to expose the great big picture for everyone. I threw the first tea party down there in 2002, and tried to awaken the sleeping giant, and am frankly glad that it has been awakened.
Wes Messamore: You have a money bomb site at KOMcCain.com. I think most people listening know what a money bomb is, but would you briefly explain that? What a money bomb is all about?
Chris Simcox: I wish I knew. *laughter* You could call it the new age direct mail campaign to educate people, reach people, get them to open their minds, pay attention, and open their wallets to help sponsor the revolution that is taking place.
Last night I did two campaign events in Tuscon, Arizona, and it was great to say to people all I need from you is your vote, and fifty dollars. Have you ever heard a politician say "All I need is fifty dollars?" Because that is what it comes down to, is money.
I'm a blue collar American, I've raised five children on a teacher's salary and an activist's salary, and I've never made more than $100,000, so I know what it's like to have to budget. I won't ask people to write a check for $2,400 for a federal race.
But if I get a million or half a million people out there to say "I hear what you're saying and I believe you'll represent me, so I'm willing to put up fifty dollars" because that's all we're asking for by November 5th.
Go to KOMcCain and make that pledge to support my campaign to battle the status quo and to put you and I back into office.
Wes Messamore: I read recently that Senator McCain having run for President, has the largest donor list in the country, and I'm sure he has very deep pockets because of his corporate lobbying friends and Washington Establishment buddies, who want to keep him in power.
So I guess that underscores the needs for grassroots people to back up your campaign. Do you have any corporate lobbyists funding you?
Chris Simcox: None! And I wouldn't accept them if they did. I cannot do this alone. So please check me out and consider supporting me, and look at the other candidates.
Because if we can send five freshman Senators to Washington with this kind of attitude, that's quite a coalition to be the spark that ignites and is the catalyst for this revolution that we need to bring government back to its roots and its common sense.
Wes Messamore: Well you heard it patriots, the Simcox for Senate Campaign is not taking any corporate lobbying money so they need your help.
Visit KOMcCain.com to see what the money bomb is all about and SimcoxForSenate to see if that's the kind of candidate you want representing you.
You don't even have to be from Arizona to contribute to the campaign and remember that Senators make policy for everybody and vote on how to spend your money whether you're from their state or not.
It would be great to have a Constitutional Conservative in the Senate from the great state of Arizona, the state of Barry Goldwater. It was great talking to you, sir!
Chris Simcox: It was good talking to you. We have a lot of issues to discuss and work on. Have a good evening.