In a call to action last week, Congressman Paul Gosar (R-Flagstaff) exhorted an overflow Payson Tea Party crowd to save American liberties by crusading against President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies.
“He wants to pick a fight,” said Gosar of the president, “he wants to shut down the government. This gentleman wants to divide.”
The audience matched his passionate call to arms.
One questioner asked if Gosar realized that the agenda of the president and congressional Democrats amounted to “a Marxist insurgency.”
“It’s certainly not the American way,” replied Gosar.
Another questioner said the Democrats attempting to win support in the Latino community represented the “forces of evil.” He urged Gosar to tell Hispanic voters that the guns the Justice Department lost track of in an attempt to track gun sales to drug networks have “killed 300 Mexicans.”
Gosar unseated First District Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick two years ago. He became one of a group of 80 freshman representatives who have driven two years of confrontation between the House and the president centered on the soaring federal budget deficit.
Since then, the voter-established Independent Redistricting Commission has redrawn congressional district lines. That shifted Rim Country out of Gosar’s former district into District 4.
Payson Mayor Kenny Evans endorsed him this week and said that he understands Gosar intends to move to a home he owns in Prescott so he can run in the newly created district that adds northern Gila County to a district that runs from Yuma to the Arizona Strip north of the Grand Canyon. That would take him out of District 1, where Flagstaff Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick is seeking to retain her seat. Southern Gila County remains in District 1.
Gosar decried the boundaries drawn by the Independent Redistricting Commission as an attempt to steal Republican seats in Arizona.
He said conservatives and Tea Party activists must man the barricades against the Democrats.
“Elections have consequences. This is our last free election and we’d better get it right. The Democrats did exactly what they wanted to do — with five (Arizona congressional) seats open.”
He said if conservatives don’t rally, California Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi will regain the speakership along with the Democratic control of the House, which drew boos from the audience.
“This is a miserable time,” he said. He urged the listeners to make sure their children and grandchildren understand what’s at stake.
“They need to understand that our freedoms are about to go away.”
Nonetheless, the Flagstaff dentist who said he has been working 16- to 20-hour days for the past two years faced some tough questions from the audience.
One listener observed that Gosar got the lowest conservative rating from the Heritage Foundation of any of the Republican congressmen from Arizona — at 70 percent. He also criticized Gosar for voting to extend a 2 percent payroll tax cut and raise the debt ceiling limit.
Gosar responded fiercely.
“Who believes in the Constitution?” he demanded, brandishing a pocket sized duplicate. “Do we have to pay our debts? Our Founding Fathers guaranteed our debt.”
He insisted that the federal government must dramatically cut taxes and spending, but can’t do that by failing to repay money already borrowed by Congress as a result of past budget decisions.
He pointed out that failing to raise the debt ceiling would require an immediate 39 percent cut in federal spending. That would eliminate all discretionary spending — including the military — leaving only interest payments, Social Security, Medicare and other mandatory programs.
“No way you cannot raise the debt ceiling,” said Gosar.
Besides, he said, “you can’t shut down the government because that gives the president a second term.”
He decried the tactics of the Democrats. He said the House Republicans have approved 1,100 bills, but the Senate Democrats have agreed to hear only 300 bills. “It’s a graveyard over there,” he said.
“You’re dealing with a body on the other side that would do anything (to win). (Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid will not hear a bill — period. You’re not working with average folks. But I’m not here to give Barack Obama a second term.”
He added that, “The polarization I see is going to cost us this country.”