Friday morning, Tom Campbell — a Republican candidate vying to compete with Barbara Boxer for her seat in the Senate — spoke over breakfast at the University Club downtown. A fiscal conservative and social moderate, Campbell has been described as an intermediary between Republicans and Democrats. He shared his views briefly on international and domestic policy, emphasizing the need to correct the country’s tremendous $1.6 trillion deficit, as well as create employment.
The heft of his ambitions is to constrain governmental size, growth, and influence — at least where domestic policy is concerned — and says he is interested in freezing only non-defense discretionary spending. He declared that it “doesn’t do to pose for peace in the middle of a war,” criticizing current foreign policy tactics, and says that the U.S. should stand by Israel, so long as Israel moves towards crushing Iran’s nuclear capabilities.
A somewhat amorphous political figure, Campbell appears to walk the line between conservative and progressive policy. For instance, he stands by a woman’s right to choose abortion and is in support of same-sex marriage, positions which alienate many fellow Republicans. However, he stands against the legalization of marijuana, and regains Republican favor in fiscal matters.
On the home-front, he wants to make “across-the-board cuts” in the budget, saying that it is necessary to cut programs and spending. Specifically, he mentioned health care spending and union wages, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, as well as the handling of the prison system. To improve prisons, he suggests that nonviolent offenders be monitored electronically — unless they violate their parole — and that prisoners be outsourced to other states, or even other countries, where it is much cheaper to maintain them. He advocates the development of nuclear power and seems ambiguous toward environmental conservation in general.
Aside from war, he provides an exception to funding cuts in areas in public education. He says that a lack of education is the key factor in creating social problems, and that it is fundamental to the health of the nation to offer quality education to all of its citizens. He is also a strong believer in the community college and vocational training in high schools in order to provide people with marketable skills.