Oliver McGee, a top African-American advisor to Bill Clinton who was a diehard Democrat and has since switched sides, says Mitt Romney's plan is about creating jobs and fueling economic growth.
“So the Romney plan is really a five-point plan. It’s about jobs and growth and that’s depending on energy independence. It’s about money exchange between China and the U.S. China sends boats over here full of stuff for Walmarts and Targets but we send that boat back to China empty,’’Oliver McGee, the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Transportation under Bill Clinton, told Newsmax TV's John Bachman in an exclusive interview.
Watch the exclusive interview here.
McGee, author of a new book called “Jumping the Aisle: How I Became a Black Republican in the Age of Obama,’’ said “saving’’ Wall Street is essential for the future of America.
“That may be an unpopular subject but Wall Street does need to be saved, especially when we reduce the debt. The $16 trillion debt is 133 percent times our GDP. That’s basically long-run demand exceeding short-run GDP by 133 percent,’’ McGee said.
“The difference that ties long-run demand to short-run supply is a single point in time called price. And when you have that ratio of long-run demand to short-run supply be 133 percent, that’s a high price. Then, finally, take a look at his plan talking about skills development. We don’t build the skills that are necessary in science and technology and engineering and mathematics for young people and giving families a choice for schools, including voucher choice.
“How are we going to be ready when we get into 2076, where I end my chapter in my book on getting to 2076, America’s tercentennial? How are we going to be prepared in innovation enterprise in science and technology for America? It’s worked for us so well since 1776.’’
McGee’s sudden defection from the Democratic Party was a break from family tradition.
“My entire family comes from the Democratic Party and when I was raised, my father was the first black firefighter from the city of Cincinnati,’’ he said.
“He passed a test for stepping into the Cincinnati public service and they just wrote an article on him in the Cincinnati Enquirer making it history. So that was my first taste of watching my dad take our family straight into the middle class. It was $18,000 a year to become a farmer in the city of Cincinnati. We were instantly pushed into the middle class.
“My mom was a teacher in the North Avondale Elementary School for which I was there. So all of a sudden I was working in essentially a charter school and watching a labor man turn fireman and a mother turn into a teacher.
“I began to start understanding the democratic values of education and working for the government and how it can do development to a black family into the middle class.
A key element in his decision to switch was the fact that President Barack Obama did not select Hillary Clinton as his running mate.
“We saw the rise of Clinton and, obviously, I decided to, upon meeting one of mentors, Chuck Vest, the president of MIT. He encouraged me to look at public understanding of science and technology,’’ McGee said.
“So I decided to serve the Clinton administration and follow his advice. He put me into the White House working for Jack Gibbons who was Clinton’s science adviser. So I was exposed to a lot of the ideas of Clintonism. I really enjoyed that. So when we went to the 2008 election and his wife was planning to run, I said, ‘Well, Clinton taught me a fundamental rule to remember those who brung you.’
“So I was out campaigning for the Clinton campaign. That was run by another mentor of mine, Bob Nash, who was the deputy campaign director. So I was really engaged in that but then the emergence of the age of Obama, I wasn’t quite sure where that came from and most folks said Clinton was kind of rocked by that. So the Party was trying to find this way to unite the two tickets and when they didn’t unite, I often say that when the Party went far left, I turned right. So the first chapter of my book is when the Party went left, I turned right.
An Obama/Clinton ticket, he said, was “a great opportunity for the first black president and the first woman vice president or vice versa.
“But that was also testing the value of diversity for which many of us saw that Clinton was trying to do and, obviously, Bush went on and did very, very well attesting the value of diversity in the White House, which is really important. So that’s when I saw there was an opportunity coming off that legacy to push it even further. I got tripped.’’
McGee said there are major distinctions between Bill Clinton and Obama.
“First and foremost, Clinton paid very close attention to job creation. He understood exactly how that took place on Main Street. He was also center-left not so far to the left in his campaign. He was more in the center-left where the country pretty much was at the time for his campaign,’’ McGee said.
“I always say that the country is really center-right and always been and always will be. But, if you’re center-left, moderate can kind of form into that. When you start looking at job creation and growth on Main Street, Clinton understood that very well but he also had a moderation to understand the tenants of Wall Street and making some of the policies in that direction.
“He had a very fine treasury secretary, Robert Rubin, who really played into Clinton’s understanding of economic dimensions of the presidency. So that’s a little bit of a different focus than what you might see from the Obama era which looks more at a broader range of issues and social issues.
“ They want to take bigger bites in regulatory reform and some might say that Obamacare might have been an overreach. I’ve come to the conclusion in the book that how can someone pay for healthcare if they don’t have a job. And if you don’t have a job, that leads to more stress. So you want to have that pretty well settled first before you start going to the reaches of healthcare.’’
As to charges President Obama is being criticized unfairly because of his race, McGee said:
“America has proven that it has made a very strong intent to stretch beyond the limitations or the dimensions of race. But we cannot ignore that when you mix race and politics and religion together, you have a very interesting dinner party.’’
“They say at a dinner party, those are the three topics that you don’t bring up unless you want to still continue your dinner party. So we’re at a dinner party right now and we’re trying to make the decision on this Decision 2012. So it’s a mix and it’s an undercurrent but I’m very happy to see that in this particular campaign it’s not front and center because when do you bring it in front and center, it confuses voters and it paints him as a loser.
“Right now when the economy is the biggest issue, that’s really what you want put front and center. But if you look at the economy, it’s really not necessarily about race more than it is about the gap between the haves and the have nots. And then when you start looking at who has and who has not and vice versa, race has a component into that.’’
McGee agrees that there has been a groundswell of Republican conservatism.
“One of the things black Republicans are beginning to say is that when you run across one of us, we do actually exist. I was talking with a media outlet one time and they said, ‘You know what, Oliver? You don’t exist.’ I go, ‘Really?’’’ he said.
“We’re beginning to see sort of a rise of black conservatism. It’s a big family and that, to me, is the reason I wrote this book because I wanted to say that if you look at black political thought, it’s much more diverse. It’s a much more diverse portfolio than what is publicly perceived. We’re not all crunched to the far left reaches of the Party. There’s a wide dimension of thinking across a social, economic and political aspects.
“And we need to do that if we’re going to try to create more technology development coming out of our community, which is so important for educational enterprise. So it’s really healthy to see the diverse discourse that takes place within the African American community about social, political, economic and technological forces. It’s really important that comes forth in a larger debate across the country.
“I was having a discussion one time with one of my mentors, Dr. Julian M. Earls, who is the former director of Nasa’s Glenn Research Center. We engineers and scientists are putting our heads together on some of these issues because we, as engineers, come up with solutions. And he brought a very good point to me that said, ‘You know, naturally, when you look at the black community, we are conservative.’ We’re conservative about our pocketbooks and our wallets, we’re conservative about how we manage our homes, education, even about the work ethic
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