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Tim Myers: McKeon, though flawed, has earned my vote again

Myers' Musings

Posted: January 29, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: January 29, 2012 1:55 a.m.
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Consider the case of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

A good friend of mine, who’s actually center-left politically speaking, paid several thousand dollars to attend a small meet-and-greet featuring Romney in the Santa Clarita Valley during the 2008 campaign.

This friend wanted to meet the Massachusetts governor since his resume, particularly with Bain Capital and the 2002 Winter Olympics in Utah, showed a person of some heft and executive experience.

He and his wife came back from the event disappointed.

While Romney may love his (immediate) family and possess close relationships with a few people, my friend felt he could not care less about making a personal connection with anyone at the gathering (including his host, Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita), giving him the strong vibe that he forgot his name the minute he heard it, and probably forgot the event in about 48 hours.

His recent foibles in South Carolina show that Romney, the son (and grandson) of a privileged, wealthy and politically connected father and grandfather, just cannot relate to ordinary people because he just never spent any time with them.

Confirming this, one found his reference to more than $370,000 in annual speaking fees with the description “not much money” and acting embarrassed when discussing his personal tax returns that probably carry the legal investors’ federal rate of 15 percent.

Contrast Romney with McKeon, incumbent congressman for the 25th District. Say what you will concerning McKeon, and many, now mostly Republicans, do — unlike Romney, his personal experience most closely mirrors the experience of his constituency.

First of all, he made his living (like many in the SCV) from a family business that eventually collapsed when it could no longer support the hoped-for lifestyles of the extensive clan. Like many, particularly recently, McKeon personally guaranteed certain debts of the family business while it swirled under; debts that he honorably repaid and did not discharge through a personal bankruptcy.

Second, in 1998, after the failure of the business and the necessity and expense of maintaining two residences in the D.C. area and Santa Clarita, McKeon did what any normal SCV resident would do to enhance cash flow. He got a good deal on a mortgage, and put his wife, Patricia, on his campaign’s payroll to channel some of that money from campaign to personal funds.

With respect to his supposedly discounted Countrywide mortgage deal reported recently: Any critic who states that the congressman “should have known” he got a sweet deal must admit that if they do not themselves work in the finance industry or in a financial position, they vet the loan solely by determining the affordability of the monthly payment.

Third, like any in the SCV, my Nebraska bride and myself included, he needed to help his children with their emerging adulthood with additional cash from time to time, hiring them to perform services for the campaign, once again channeling money to personal use and instilling the Republican value of hard, though nepotistic, work.

Fourth, he bought a residence near the peak of the market in Westridge, which probably now stands completely underwater with the mortgage well exceeding the value like 70 to 90 percent of his neighbors.

Fifth, also like many SCV residents, he will utilize personal connections and heft to get another job for a spouse or child, this time plumping for his Patricia McKeon to take the California Assembly seat vacated by Cameron Smyth.

And while many Republicans rail against these actions, I strongly believe that they would avail themselves of these perks personally if they only could.

But, seriously, I have and always will vote for McKeon for nothing else other than his courage in voting for the TARP bill in September 2008, when the global banking system spun toward default and the country (and world) needed fast action to keep the globe from slipping back into a barter economy and travelling back in time to Europe in the Middle Ages.

McKeon did this despite the fact that it went against every bone in his body, but he still cast that necessary vote, even though some fellow Republicans and populist Democrats rolled the dice with their no votes and put the world economy on edge. McKeon did not, and thus he earned my vote forever, and ever and ever.

Tim Myers is a Valencia resident. Myers’ Musings runs on Sundays.

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