This is the second part of my conversation with Tim Donner who is running for the United States Senate from the great state of Virginia. If you missed the first part of the interview, click here to read it.
Dennis – I saw 2 very disturbing stories today online. One says that the fed is planning another round of money printing and the other quotes a Wall Street strategist who says that everybody on Wall Street is worried because money managers don’t know where to put people’s money to get any kind of return on investment. This guy goes onto say that we are on the verge of a great, great depression and the fed knows it.
Donner – “Well, a further monetization of the debt just decreases the stability of the currency and obviously raises the risk of inflation, and inflation is the worst kind of problem we can have because it’s a tax on every single person because the value of their dollar goes down. It is very hard to figure out the market which has largely recovered from the meltdown of 2008. But I don’t think anybody feels secure and I think the statement you referred to reflects that insecurity in the market going forward. I think it speaks to the whole issue of the debt ceiling because we’re being told, well the confidence of world markets will be diminished greatly if we don’t raise the debt ceiling. But what kind of confidence will world markets have in a nation that’s run up over 14 trillion dollars in debt and now wants simply to have carte blanche to add two or three trillion dollars more? I don’t think it represents any degree of common sense to believe that that’s going to ensure world markets. I think what we have to do is say no to raising the debt ceiling unless there’s a dramatic deal for entitlement reform and massive spending cuts which you and I know is not going to happen. We have to draw a line in the sand and say no, we’re not going to do it because this will, see Dennis, this by itself will force the congress to take the budget, put our debt obligations at the top of the list and then figure out what they’re going to do with the remaining tax revenues, the remaining revenues that they have and make some hard choices which they refuse to do over the years. If they refuse to do the right thing, then they’ll be forced to do it. As Ronald Reagan used to say, if you can’t make em see the light, make em feel the heat.
Dennis – I was telling people before the elections of November past that I had 2 big fears. One was that we wouldn’t win the House or the Senate and the Democrats would continue to hold the House, of course they continue to hold the Senate but I think we made some inroads in that. And my second fear was that we would win the House and or the Senate but that things wouldn’t change. What happens if things just don’t change with Republicans in charge? Or have we not won enough seats to make a difference yet?
Donner – “Well I think its stage one and I think we see that in the Senate. Stage one was to take the House and to populate it generously with the people who are willing to stand up and tell the truth and stand for what’s right and not be primarily concerned with the protection of their own position on Capitol Hill. Stage two is the Senate and I think we see now that there is beginning to form in the Senate a critical mass of Senators who are committed to serious, bold, dramatic reform. When you add the freshman Rand Paul and Ron Johnson, both of who by the way had never run for office and where elected to the Senate last year. You take those two and you take Mike Lee as well who I referred to earlier, you add them to Tom Coburn and to Jim Demint, and let’s not forget Marco Rubio as well. We’ve got the basis of a critical mass of serious reformers in the Senate. As long as they sit in the minority, they’re not going to carry the day, and they need, the troops need reinforcements and I would be one of those reinforcements who would go there and I would spend my time and my energy in the company of those type of Senators, not the John McCain’s and Lindsey Grahams and Mitch McConnell’s who represent the establishment. So if we take the Senate, and the White House is an entirely different matter. That is obviously vital as well. But if we take the Senate, then we will have completed stage two of this process. It’s not going to happen overnight but I think as long as people, as they seem to be, are, you know, increasingly aware of how perilous the situation we are in with our debt, with our, you know structural and chronic unemployment. I think people are adequately aware of that now. And my belief is that they will continue to vote along the same lines that they did in 2010 until they’re convinced that there are enough serious reformers on Capitol Hill to allow them to sleep well at night and not be worried about this nation falling deeper and deeper and deeper into debt and turning into Greece or Ireland or England or soon to be Spain or any of these social democracies of Western Europe who give us ample warning of exactly what’s going to happen if don’t take this last step to put our foot on the brake before the car runs over the cliff.
Dennis – What is your position on our current foreign policy, especially the three wars we are now involved in?
Donner – “Well, I’m entirely opposed to our involvement in Libya. I don’t see America’s national interest, I don’t see America’s national interest in Libya. We don’t get any oil from them. There a pronounced enemy of ours. The Europeans who buy oil from Libya want to take down Gaddafi, than it’s up to them to do it. I also don’t see that we have a clear picture of who it is we are supporting there. What is this rebel force? Who do they represent? What would a reform government in Libya look like? Would it be, I mean Gaddafi is a, he’s a dictator and certainly a reprehensible one. But we have often in the past taken the second worst option and tried to replace it with the worst option. We saw that in Cuba when we brought down Batista and wound up with Castro. We saw that in Nicaragua when we took down Somoza wound up with Ortega. We saw that in Iran when we took down the Shah and wound up with the Ayatollah. Who is this rebel force? We don’t know anything about them, and it’s perplexing to me how we would get involved in a conflict where we don’t even know who it is we’re supporting. Now on the other hand, the President says this is in large degree a humanitarian mission. Well if that’s true, then shouldn’t we be involved in Syria as well where the Assad regime is slaughtering its own people? Torturing them, imprisoning them, killing them. They’ve killed over a thousand of their own citizens. I think it’s time for us to take a step back and really reconsider what our foreign policy is. Where is America’s national interest? What’s the plan to get in and what’s the exit strategy, and what’s the goal of the mission? I don’t, frankly I don’t, maybe you do Dennis but I don’t have an answer to any of those questions.”
Dennis – (laughter) I was hoping you did.
Donner – “Ah, I was hoping you did. I was hoping you could tell me I was wrong and I just didn’t understand, but we’re already involved in three conflicts in the Middle East and I think this points to one larger issue which is, we wouldn’t be involved in these conflicts if we weren’t so dependent on foreign oil and that’s undeniable. If the same conflicts were taking place in Africa, we wouldn’t be involved, let’s be honest about that. And so this relates to the issue of energy and our independence , energy independence. Jimmy Carter, during his disastrous regime in the late 70’s said that the energy crises we have was the moral equivalent of war and he expended an enormous amount of political capital on the idea of making us more energy independent. Well here we are 35 years later, give or take and we’re almost twice as dependent on foreign oil as we were then. So until we establish more energy independence, we’re going to consistently tempted to enter into these foreign conflicts were we don’t have a pronounced national interest and we’re supporting forces that we don’t even really know anything about or who are unstable or unreliable at best.”
Dennis – Where are you on the current situation in Afghanistan and Iraq? Is it time to be done with those?
Donner – “Well I think Afghanistan, the problem is that is you pulled a hundred people off the street, how many of them could tell you what our mission really is there? I don’t really know what it is. All I’ve heard from this President really is that we’ll be out of there starting in August. Well, I thought the point of getting involved in a foreign war, or conflict or whatever you want to call it was to have a strategy for victory, to define what victory is. At this point, I don’t know what victory is, I don’t know what the strategy is, I don’t know what the end game is, I don’t really know what the exit strategy is. Afghanistan just because of its terrain is an unconquerable country. That’s been proven going back over many, many centuries, so I think the sooner we get out of there, the better. It the goal is to limit the influence of al Qaeda, well I think we’ve learned that al Qaeda exists in a very small measure in Afghanistan and to a much greater degree in Pakistan now. As far as Iraq goes, I think we should continue to be there just as a support presence, not as a military presence, but I can tell you that as incomprehensible as this seems given the amount of talent and treasure that we have dedicated to Iraq, that our presence there is not welcome. And if we’re not welcome, I think we have to let a nation exist on its own sovereignty and gracefully exit. It’s well past time that we allow them to sink or swim based on the admittedly fragile democracy that does exist there in Iraq.”
Dennis – One last question for you. Energy independence. How do we get there? What should we be doing now?
Donner – “The most important thing is we need to open up off shore drilling. We can’t leave any of our own domestic oil sources on the table. We need to drill, we need to drill some more because people have an appetite for energy. This is a productive nation so we consume a lot of energy. It just goes hand in hand. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the fact that we a lot of energy although the left would make it seem as if we’re somehow, you know, that is somehow a bad thing. We must, I mean the Artic Wildlife Preserve is a perfect example of the kind of debate that goes on about this. I mean this is a sliver of land that is no bigger than the size of Dulles Airport in a massive wildlife preserve and yet people who would never even consider visiting there are protecting it to the death because of the existence of caribou in the nature habit. Look I appreciate that, but this is a nation that needs to be independent, energy independent to the greatest degree possible. And that means opening up drilling off the coast of Virginia. It means opening up drilling in the Gulf. You know the BP disaster was exactly that but we cannot say that a single major disaster should dictate our entire energy policy.”
Dennis – Well I appreciate your time sir. If people want to help, what can they do to help your campaign out?
Donner – “ donnerforsenate.com and that’s a pretty dynamic website. We keep it updated with events, speaking engagements, various media articles, radio interviews, TV shots, the whole thing.”
Dennis – Well good luck to you sir, I appreciate your time very much.
Donner – “Well thank you Dennis.”
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