Thursday, April 1, 2010

Interview With Walter Woodland, Republican Senatorial Candidate from Oregon

Jumping in Pools is proud to present the 70th interview in our on-going series. Today, we are honored to have Republican Walter Woodland answer for us. Mr. Woodland is running for U.S. Senate in Oregon; reading his answers, you will noticed a clear Enlightenment philosophy, the same philosophy that our Founding Fathers ascribed to. Feel free to check out his campaign site. Now, without further ado, is the interview:

Why are you the best choice for Oregon?

Interestingly enough, I don’t know that I am the best choice to represent Oregon in the US Senate. At the time I entered the race, I was the only choice. Since then six other candidates have entered the Republican Primary. At last check, only the party’s favored pick and I have posted positions online and the Republican establishment in Oregon has made no effort to bring any views other than their own into the debate. I am mostly unaware of the views and positions of most of my opponents.

There are a couple of views that I hold that recommend me for the position. Most importantly, I don’t claim to possess any special knowledge or wisdom that would allow me to go to Washington D.C. and create jobs in Oregon that would be lasting and productive. Politicians can always give handouts to favored groups to create jobs in specific industries, but those jobs are usually, if not always, dependant on continued government support and typically would fit John Locke’s definition of non-productive work. They will consume more resources or capital than they create.

Also, I would aspire to fit the definition of Statesman. I understand that Governments are instituted amongst men to protect and defend their natural rights. Beyond that, societies create civil rights. It is important to note that by definition, one cannot possess a civil right that infringes the civil right of another citizen. I.E. Medical Care cannot be a right because to access it requires that the doctor or nurse be compelled to provide the service to you. This would infringe their rights, or, if they are paid in full, someone else must have their property seized in order to pay the provider for this supposed right. This distinction is lost on politicians who seek to be elected by promising favored groups of voters, that the politician will get them some tangible benefit, at the expense of a non-favored group.

Do you believe that the Republican Party needs to return to its conservative foundation?

YES. The idea that moderate progressive policies from Republican candidates will lead to electoral victory or good governance is a fallacy that continues to be proven true (See the 2008 McCain Presidential Campaign).

I have used the analogy; A Democrat politician offers you $10 from your neighbor’s pocket. A Republican politician offers to let your neighbor keep $5 and he will only take for you the other $5. Either way, as a voter you’re still an accessory to theft; the question is only a matter of degrees. I believe that enough voters will choose the $10 option to decide the election, and console themselves that their neighbor probably will probably still have $10 or so left and didn’t need all of their $20 anyway.

My belief is that the government should limit its purview to the absolute minimum necessary to encourage public safety and the rule of law. Also, the law should mark the outer boundaries of civil society, not attempt to regulate every aspect of citizen’s lives.

What is your opinion of the Tea Parties that have been held throughout the United States in the last year?

It is heartening to see so many people becoming aware and engaged in public policy and government, it is just too bad it took the election of a Marxist to rally the populace. There was a popular uprising over McCain/Kennedy back in 2007, but it seems we collectively went back to sleep after it was put down (and endorsed John McCain in 2008). I hope to see a more sustained response this time and to see more people stay engaged long enough to develop deeper understandings of the nature of self-government and the natural tendency of bureaucrats to try to expand their power by offering to solve problems they are totally unqualified to address.

What is your opinion of the Health Care Bill that the President and Democrats just passed? If elected, would you vote to repeal it?

The healthcare bill as it is called has less to do with healthcare than it has to do with bailing out unions and state public employee pensions plans, along with a mechanism by which the government, as a result of paying for our medical care, has a justification for inserting itself into virtually every aspect of our lives and decisions. The moment it passed, business, insurance companies, and benefit providers began to reorient their fiscal decisions based on the fact that private insurance will not last more than a couple of years under this plan and a single payer system will be implemented as insurance premiums continue to rise (due to mandates and guaranteed issue). So much of our financial system is going to be (or is already being) reoriented, that it will be extremely difficult to unwind.

I would absolutely vote to repeal it right now. I don’t know if that will be an option in November. I will, if elected, do everything in my power to defund the enforcement mechanisms and undo as much of this debacle as possible. I fear that the damage to private insurance and provider networks might make outright repeal unavailable. Regardless, repeal would require a veto-proof majority in the Congress, or a Change of Heart in the Executive. Both options are unlikely to be realized.

See my Facebook page, note from the March 18th for an explanation of what I think will happen to state pensions systems and their healthcare obligations.

You have worked in the construction industry for the last decade and a half. How would this experience help you govern in the
United States Senate?

To be perfectly blunt, I am a bit of a tyrant when it comes to my construction practices. I have never had employees because of the costs involved and have hired temporary laborers when I needed help. I was able to delegate responsibilities to sub-contractors because they tended to be more professional and could work without direct oversight. I have primarily done my own framing, siding, tile, and finish work because I found it easier to do it my-self than to try to have someone else perform these tasks, then have to do it over because it wasn’t what I had envisioned. The same is true of this campaign. I have developed all of the content and answered all of the questionnaires and surveys, with my wife checking my work for context and grammar. I don’t know if I would need to learn to be more comfortable with delegation as a Senator, or if my need to be hands on would be an asset. We may see.

When it comes to budgets, I have been able to complete jobs for less than other bidders by keeping my work in-house. If I were elected to the Congress, I think I would be more inclined to be involved in the drafting of legislation, or at the least, be aware of the content of legislation I were to introduce or vote to impose on the American Citizenry. Beyond that, it seems that dealing with government bureaucracies while conducting private business will make it more likely that I will seek to limit their scope and level of control.

Do you believe that the United States government should be smaller and more accountable for their actions?

My campaign slogan “Limited and Accountable Government” came naturally and there was never a reason to second-guess whether this would be the proper focus of my campaign. I have maintained that the government is a convoluted mess by intentional design. Since Teddy Roosevelt, we have had a string of Technocratic Administrators running our government. They understand that if the system appears too dense and impenetrable, most people will throw their hands up in despair and submit to the will of the ruling class. Our current state of affairs is exactly as intended. Many Americans have disengaged from the political process. I firmly believe that the Federal Government should be reduced in size and that the Legislature should vote on each item that comes before it. That if a spending item is important enough to come before the Federal Legislature, it should not be buried in the middle of an unrelated bill or added quietly, pork barrel style. The bills will require much less individual debate if they don’t contain so much unrelated pork and most pork spending would not pass from the Congress if it had to pass on its own merit.

Accountability comes from having a definable link from a person, to their actions, to the result of those actions. If more in Congress thought that they would be held personally for the outcomes of their votes, not for the intentions they state before they vote, they would engage in less tyranny and the government would shrink.

Anything more you would like to add?

The idea of spending the majority of the next 6 years in Washington D.C. is less than appealing. My youngest daughter enters middle school next fall. If I were to win this contest, she would be a senior in high school when this term ends. I firmly believe that being a parent helps to formulate my view of what is important. I have included this quote in another questionnaire:

“I believe that being a father makes me a better citizen. When my daughters are present or front of mind, when I am actively involved in their rearing, there is less a tendency to be self-absorbed. I believe this can aid in looking to the long view. To ask not what would feel good now, but what will “do good,” now and in the future. In other words, what are the long-term implications of policy or decisions?”

Maintaining regular interactions with my family and children would be imperative to maintaining my focus on what is important.

The idea of the Federal Congress doing more of its work from their home state using electronic communications would, I think, make them more responsive to their constituents and less susceptible to corruption. Annual sessions would be necessary, but being almost continuously in session just invites intrusions where they don’t belong.

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