Catholics for McCain

Interview With U.S. Senator Sam Brownback, Part 1

Welcome to part one of our exclusive interview with United States Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS). In this first part, we get the senator's thoughts on how to win "red" states, the financial crisis, the Supreme Court and his thoughts on Republican presidential candidate John McCain. We hope you enjoy reading through this and leave us your comments. Part two will appear tomorrow. familyfoundation.org: Senator Brownback, thank you for taking our questions today. It is a real honor to have you appear on www.familyfoundation.org, as it were. We're not quite a year old, but already are one of the most read Virginia public policy and politics blogs, and we know thousands of voters are looking forward to reading this interview. You are the first federal office holder to do an interview with us and the first non-Virginia politician. Congratulations . . . a couple of career firsts you probably never expected. ; - )

Hope that doesn't add any pressure . . . are you ready for some questions?

Senator Brownback: I am ready for some questions, and I thank you for talking with me today. 

familyfoundation.org: What is at stake for pro-life, pro-family, pro-traditional values voters in this election?

Senator Brownback: Much is at stake for values voters in this election. For example, let's consider the courts. People need to look at each candidate and assess the type of judges he will appoint to the Supreme Court. John McCain will nominate conservative judges who will not legislate from the bench. I think values voters understand how important it is that the next president might nominate as many as 3-4 new justices to the Supreme Court. Who sits in the Oval Office may determine whether Roe v. Wade is finally overturned.    

familyfoundation.org: Are the stakes higher than normal given other significant issues, including the economy and the Wall Street financial crisis? Can you give us an outline as to how you think the final legislation will look when eventually passed? (Note: This was asked before the final votes in the House and Senate.

Senator Brownback: Negotiations over legislation to help ease the credit crunch are still on-going so I won't speculate on what the final package may look like. I will say that the stakes are always high when electing a new president. Each voter must be informed about the issues and truly understand the power of his or her vote. Our nation is facing financial hard times, and John McCain has proven over the years that he has the leadership experience to lead America through such difficult times. 

familyfoundation.org: Why do you think states such as Virginia, which normally are safe "red" states, are up for grabs this campaign?

Senator Brownback: I think we do ourselves a disservice when we think that any states are ‘safe.' Each election cycle, both parties need to actively demonstrate to the voters what they stand for and how they will help the county. I hope Virginians take a good look at the two candidates and recognize that John McCain really would best represent them, both in social policy and fiscal policy.    

familyfoundation.org: You are recognized as a prominent national leader in the pro-life movement. When you ended your own presidential campaign earlier this year, you soon endorsed John McCain. What is it about Senator McCain that makes you think he is the best man to be our 44th president?

Senator Brownback: John McCain has proven time and again that he is a great leader who always puts country first. He is a brave war hero, who even as a young man demonstrated a very strong sense of patriotism. And during his tenure in the United States Senate, John McCain has shown that he is a man willing to reach across the aisle and work with is colleagues on the other side. I've seen first hand John McCain's willingness to lead and stand up for what he thinks is right. All of these are very important qualities for the next president.     

familyfoundation.org: You are national co-chairman of Catholics For McCain. At one time, Senator McCain and some pro-life Christian leaders in Virginia didn't see eye-to-eye. Are pro-life Christians comfortable with Senator McCain now? Why should Catholics and other pro-traditional values voters vote for Senator McCain?

Senator Brownback: Pro-life voters should vote for John McCain because John McCain is pro-life. Unlike some who talk about promoting a culture of life, Senator McCain has the record to prove it. He has voted to confirm strong conservative judicial nominees like Justices Roberts and Alito.    

Update: Interview With Rich Galen Confirmed, Brownback Getting There

What do you know? I'm doing a little prep work before I call Rich Galen to confirm our blog interview. So I go to his mullings.com site and — wow! — he's made the news himself, agreeing to take a job with U.S. Senator Kay Baily Hutchison (R-Texas). He will be her senior counselor. Seems he also had some to-the-point comments in USA Today about Scott McClellan's book about his time at the White House.

In any case, I called, he answered, I talked, he remembered. So we plan to submit to him some questions later this week (probably Wednesday) and will then post them. We'll ask him about questions on national politics, blogging and on a variety of issues and how conservatives can move them forward.

I also talked with with Susan Valentine, the Virginia coordinator for Catholics for McCain. She confirmed to me that she made some contacts toward getting U.S. Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) for us. Senator Brownback, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination earlier this year, is one of the most effective and ardent pro-life public servants in America today. We're optimistic we will have some news soon regarding an interview with him.

Sorry we didn't have any commentary today. We've been busy laying the groundwork for some of these big events and more, and working on some marketing for this site. We're excited about some contacts we made recently and hope to have more announcements in the not too distant future about new developments. Tomorrow we'll be back in full commentary mode.

Breaking News: National Political Pundit, Former Gingrich Press Secretary Rich Galen Agrees To Interview Here! More Surprises In The Works

I'm hanging out at the state GOP Convention this afternoon, yada yada yada, rules fight (Gilmore forces won) yada yada yada, just looking for some people to hang out with, when the session's keynote speaker is introduced. I forgot there was one. Turns out it is Fox News and CNN political pundit, GOP consultant, and former Newt Gingrich and Dan Quayle Press Secretary Rich Galen (bio here), whose mullings.com is perhaps the most important national political blog. After the session is over I'm talking with some friends and I see him just walking through the crowd talking to folks. I thought big shot national speakers get whisked in and out by drivers supplied by the hosting organization. Who knew he's just hang out and talk with the grassroots? But his speech was all about the importance of the grassroots so it should have been no surprise.

Just watching him talk with a group, a light went off in my head. Why not be bold. So I tracked him down through the crowd as he left the hall into the hallway. I introduced myself to him, told him how I've always enjoyed his commentary, that I blog and would you consider doing a blog interview at familyfoundation.org?

Without hesitation Mr. Galen said, "Yes. Just call me. I'll be glad to do it." He gave me his card and we talked about this blog and The Family Foundation and he seemed somewhat impressed. He reiterated his intentions that he'd blog with us and reminded me to call him.

Wow! Just call him? Don't big time pundits have secretaries and layers of people to get through? So cool!

Later I met the state coordinator of Catholics For McCain. She wanted me to sign a card. I don't do anything without a quid pro quo. "What's in it for me?" I thought. Hmmm. Well, why not? So I blurted out, "I'll sign it only if you get Senator McCain to do an interview on our blog." She said she'd try "but in case I can't . . ." (which, by her hesitation, seemed a pretty big ask) she started to murmur what became a counter offer: "How about Senator Sam Brownback? He's the national chairman of Catholics For McCain."

"You can get Senator Brownback? You got a deal!"

I signed her card, she gave me her number, and low and behold the wheels are turning to get Senator Brownback (R-Kansas), a former presidential candidate himself, here on this very blog. We'll let you know when the details get worked out for both Rich Galen and Senator Brownback. That's not all. There could be more surprises ahead. Keep checking back with us.

Gotta go. Hospitality suites await. More contacts to make.