ICYMI: U.S. Rep. McCotter for president?


U.S. Rep. McCotter for president?

By J. Patrick Pepper
Press & Guide Newspapers

Republican who represents Dearborn Heights gets support from some

DEARBORN HEIGHTS — It is definitely a long shot, but U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Livonia) is in the conversation as a potential 2012 dark horse presidential candidate.

In an interview posted Monday on Breitbart.tv, McCotter, known for a deadpan wit and his erudite advocacy of conservative causes, stopped short of announcing his candidacy, but left the door open.

“I think a lot of people are waiting to see what Govs. Huckabee and Palin do, and they sense that there’s a voice missing in the current field,” McCotter said.

“And that’s very kind that they would mention me and let’s see how these things proceed to make sure that the Republicans do what is important, which is to put forward someone who bears the standard of a historic party that is committed to freedom and the empowerment of the individual, the limitation of government so that we can make sure the next four years are not like the last four years under President Obama.”

The McCotter-for-president chatter started last month when late-night Fox News talk show host Greg Gutfeld called on McCotter, whose district includes north Dearborn Heights, to consider getting into a wide-open GOP field lacking in standout candidates. Gutfeld, in explaining why the best candidates usually don’t run, said, “More than likely their ego doesn’t need a hefty stroke, which is why it requires Americans to pursue the people they want to lead them, which is why I’m asking Congressman Thaddeus McCotter to consider tossing his hat into the ring.

“In my mind, he’s one of the few pols who seem less interested in impressing celebrities or making cheap points of sentimentality than preserving the freedoms unique to our delightful island nation.”

Following that mention, McCotter was featured in a Rasmussen poll that asked 1,000 likely GOP primary voters to pick among eight potential second-tier 2012 presidential candidates.

With 1 percent of the vote, McCotter tied for last with former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer and retired New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, behind the likes of Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, the poll leader with 27 percent, and secession-talking Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who claimed 7 percent.

Adding to the intrigue was a subsequent column by New York Daily News pundit S.E. Cupps, who wrote, “Amid a sea of slick salesmen vying for the Oval Office, including the man who currently occupies it, McCotter’s disregard for personal glory, his contempt for power grabs and his ability to bring common-sense solutions to some of our most nagging national problems might not make him the darling of the political glitterati. It should, however, make him a candidate for President.”

Indeed, it seems McCotter’s greatest appeal among his presidential cheerleaders is his apparent lack of need to be appealing.

McCotter is a graduate of Detroit Catholic Central High School and the University of Detroit Mercy. where he earned backehlor’s and juris doctorate degrees. Before his election to Congress in 2003, he served as a Wayne County Commissioner for 11 years. And since debuting on Capitol Hill the guitar rocking, self-proclaimed “ugly sweater maven,” has parlayed his droll disposition into a near-cult following.

“It’s not lost on him that lots of folks are saying that they’re underwhelmed by the current field of candidates for president and think he ought to run, but it is very premature to be thinking about what federal office he might be seeking this early (before 2012))” said Jack Daly, McCotter’s chief of staff.

Press speculation aside, though, Michigan political insiders think a McCotter 2012 bid is a longshot.

“I think ‘dark horse’ is probably the appropriate term for presidential politics at this point,” said John Truscott, president of a prominent Lansing lobbying firm and communications director under former Gov. John Engler.

However, Truscott said, that isn’t to say McCotter couldn’t be a legitimate candidate for higher office.

“I think what is more likely, and where I’ve heard his name mentioned, is as a candidate for Senate. But I’m sure he appreciates having his name out there (as a presidential candidate),” Truscott said.

 J. Patrick Pepper covers politics and public safety in Dearborn and Dearborn Heights as well as Dearborn government affairs.