(I spoke with Clint Didier in a one-on-one telephone interview on December 18. He has set up an exploratory committee for a possible candidacy for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate against Patty Murray. This is part of a series of articles on the five major contenders for the Republican nomination.)
Clint Didier: Individual Liberty is Our Highest Value
campaign website: http://www.clintdidier.org
Twenty years ago this week, on Christmas Eve 1989, Clint Didier played what would turn out to be his final game in the NFL. He had played in the NFL for eight years. As a member of the Washington Redskins for the first six years of his career, Didier had won two Super Bowl rings. He retired in 1990, returning with his family to Eastern Washington, and purchasing a farm north of Pasco. Didier became a successful farmer, businessman, and high school football coach (the Connell Eagles have won two state titles with Didier as offensive coordinator).
During 2009, he became increasingly concerned about the political direction of our nation, and became involved in the grassroots Tea Party movement. After Didier gave an impassioned speech at a protest rally, Tea Party activists soon were encouraging him to get into politics.
Now, he has set up an exploratory committee to consider running for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate against Patty Murray. And he’s just weeks away from a formal announcement of candidacy – his website “events” page publicizes a “Clint Didier for Senate Announcement Celebration” fundraiser at the Davenport Hotel in Spokane on Monday January 11.
Referring to the incumbent, “What I see with Patty Murray are undisciplined actions,” Didier explains. “She is one of the people in congress who are out of control – with our checkbook!”
“We must revive the principles that set individual liberty as our highest value,” Didier told me. He’s sharply critical of President Obama’s policies, and is alarmed at the expansion of the federal government. He says that “we the people” are the “three powerful words” that are the basis of his campaign. “As ‘we the people,’ we’ve lost our grip on the ball,” Didier says. “We’re a nation built on rugged individualism, self-reliance, and personal responsibility.”
Now, with the massive growth of government, Didier is greatly concerned that these “founding concepts” of America are endangered and threatened. “We’re being restricted down – told how we’re going to run our lives,” he told me. The federal government is trying to present itself as the provider, “but government is not a provider - government is a predator.”
Didier is greatly encouraged by the Tea Party movement and other expressions of citizen disapproval with the direction of the nation. “You are seeing people rising up,” Didier says. He agrees with those who say “unchecked power is the foundation of tyranny.” He believes that the effort to defend liberty and check the growing power of government can be successful, but that it won’t be easy. Nor will it be decided in just one election cycle, he told me. Didier believes that the battle will extend over the next several years, and that the next three elections – 2010, 2012, and 2014 – will be crucial in determining America’s future.
Didier said that his optimism is rooted in his faith in America and its people, citing a quote from one of his heroes, Ronald Reagan: "The United States remains the last best hope for a mankind plagued by tyranny and deprivation. America is no stronger than its people - and that means you and me. Well, I believe in you, and I believe that if we work together then one day we will say we fought the good fight, we finished the race, we kept the faith. And to our children and our children's children we can say we did all that could be done in the brief time that was given to us here on earth."
Didier is greatly inspired by Reagan, noting that he lowered taxes, encouraged business, and promoted prosperity. Among contemporary political leaders, those that Didier admires include Sarah Palin and Senator Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma). Today, he notes, the Tea Party movement and townhall protests have led many individual Americans to become inspired, informed, and involved.
“Instead of a Contract with America – which is only as good as the paper it’s written on,” Didier says, “I want this core of individuals to sign a Treaty of Trust.” Key elements of the Treaty of Trust include (1) a freeze on congressional salaries and an end to “gold plated” congressional retirement plans, (2) term limits (Didier puts forward a cogent argument in support of term limits on his campaign website - CLICK HERE
), (3) an immediate end to the practice of appointing “czars” who are not accountable to the people, (4) recovery of all unspent “stimulus” funds, to be returned to the Treasury, (5) a complete audit of the Federal Reserve, the Treasury, and Congress, (6) no more earmarks, and (7) an immediate “bold plan” to “strengthen the dollar.”
Due to massive spending and the Treasury simply printing money, “they are dismantling the dollar,” Didier says. “It’s as if they’re trying to bankrupt the country.”
Didier is a strong opponent of the Obama administration’s healthcare proposal, calling it “nothing but a government takeover and redistribution of wealth.” He calls for tort reform, increased competition among insurance providers by allowing purchase of insurance across state lines, expanded tax credits for medical expenses, and increased access to health savings accounts.
National security is one of the main themes of the Clint Didier campaign platform. He told me that there are many aspects to national security – it’s not just foreign policy and strengthening our military, but also energy independence, border security, defending the right to bear arms, protecting our ports and airports, and emergency management. Given the large amount of produce we import from China and other countries, he also identifies food safety as a national security concern.
Didier is a member of the National Rifle Association, and is a firm believer in the Second Amendment. “Gun ownership by law abiding citizens is absolutely an individual right of the people,” Didier says. “That’s our guarantee to protect us against enemies, foreign and domestic.”
On energy policy, Didier says "allowing American companies to claim our own natural wealth creates jobs for Americans … we need to massively reduce this country’s dependence on foreign oil. We do this not by abandoning it as an energy source, but by drilling for our oil in our country and off our shores NOW.”
Didier strongly opposes so-called “cap and trade,” which he says would increase energy costs an average of $1700 per year for each American household. Farmers in particular would be severely impacted, Didier says. He notes that, over the years, irrigation has been revolutionized due to electrification. But under cap and trade, Didier explains, “farmers would suffer a 10% increase in the cost of electrical pumping.” This is just one example, Didier says, of how environmental activists don’t understand the impact of their proposals. In a well-reasoned commentary on his campaign website, Didier outlines “how environmental activism can create a horribly unbalanced outcome for the citizens of our state,” especially with regard to access to water, fish supplies, and agriculture.
Didier is a strong proponent of hydropower, which he sees as crucial to our state’s energy policy. He disagrees with radical environmentalists who refuse to consider hydropower a renewable source of energy. He also says that “we need to re-energize the nuclear industry.” Nuclear power is a source of “clean, safe, reliable energy,” Didier says. He also sees an important by-product from nuclear technology – the production of medical isotopes which are used for both diagnostic procedures and cancer treatment.
On issues related to border security and illegal immigration, Didier says we must first get an accounting of who is here illegally. Didier proposes that illegal immigrants be asked to voluntarily step forward and self-identify. Those who do not do so, if later discovered, should be permanently barred from the United States, Didier says. He believes that those working in such fields as law enforcement, government, and healthcare should be allowed to look into the immigration status of individuals they come in contact with. “Political correctness is hurting our country,” Didier says.
Didier is a proponent of recognizing English as our nation’s language, and calls for an end to the “anchor baby” policy which makes American citizens out of children born to illegal immigrants. He says we need to “finish the fence” on the border, bolstering the fence with a military presence – maneuvers and training exercises – to impede drug smuggling and new illegal immigration.
Didier favors a “guest worker program that is legit.” To make it “legit,” he says, participants in the guest worker program would receive only two-thirds of their pay while employed. A government agency could be set up to hold back the remaining one-third, which would only be given to the guest workers upon their departure from the United States back to their home country.
Didier also favors a reasonable modification of child labor laws, making it easier for young American citizens in rural areas to work in agriculture, and reducing the pressure to rely on illegal imported labor.
Didier is pro-life. “I value life from conception to natural death,” he says. “And no federal funds should ever be used for any abortion.” He is for reversal of Roe v. Wade, and considers abortion, under the Tenth Amendment, to be an issue reserved to the states. If elected to the Senate, Didier says, “I will fight for the right to life and vote my conscience.”
On foreign policy, Didier is very critical of Obama administration policy. He says that President Obama’s recent speech on Afghanistan “contained no clarity for action and did not express any clear-cut intent of achieving victory; thereby, basically, leaving our military's brave young men and women hung out-to-dry. I do not feel President Obama exhibits the qualities of a true commander-in-chief. This is the same basic message he gives as he travels throughout the world -- apologizing for America - always trying to appease both sides of the question and never making a true commitment. As a coach and player, I never approached a game without a clear-cut plan to achieve victory. In football, it's a game -- in war, it's lives lost and lives changed. Daily, I pray for our troops. I want them to know the American people respect their dedication and commitment -- risking it all to keep America safe and free. I want to see a re-establishment of leadership, integrity, responsibility and accountability in our government."
Didier told me he disapproves of the current administration’s treatment of the military – “they sacrifice it all,” he says. “They are true patriots.” Didier says that he has been blessed to live free in America – playing in the Super Bowl, coaching and mentoring young men, farming on rich soil. But now, he feels, it is time for him to give something back – it is time to sacrifice.
Referring to his campaign, he says, “this is a call to service – we have all become passive, complacent.” Running for office is a great responsibility, he recognizes, and it is also a great sacrifice. Therefore, he also salutes the other candidates seeking the Republican nomination, who he knows are making the same sacrifice. All the GOP candidates, he says, should have “a trust agreement not to bad mouth each other.” Didier calls for a “team effort” against Patty Murray, and he pledges to support whoever eventually wins the Republican nomination.
In football, Clint Didier racked up a lot of “W’s,” including two Super Bowl victories, and – more recently – the two state titles won by Connell High. Now, he hopes to add another “W” – victory over Patty Murray in November 2010.