Opinion: With Thompson out, Tom McClintock leans to Ron Paul


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With Fred Thompson out of the presidential race, who’s a self-respecting conservative to go for? Could it be, maybe, perhaps, a certain Republican-libertarian from Texas?

That’s one question perplexing California state Sen. Tom McClintock, possibly the second-most-famous California Republican currently in office after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

McClintock created a stir two months when he endorsed Thompson’s presidential candidacy. Having run for governor, lieutenant governor and state controller, McClintock has shown that while he has not won a statewide contest, he can win GOP primaries, which conservatives tend to dominate. So heading into the Feb. 5 primary, McClintock’s endorsement is seen as important in California.


Now McClintock is mulling his choices. And it comes down to the basics: ‘Who will respect our Constitution, defend our borders, and reduce the burdens of government on our people?’ McClintock said Thursday in Sacramento as the Senate wrapped up its week. ‘If I were to vote today, I probably would be casting a vote for Ron Paul. I’m not voting today.’

Why Paul?

‘I do believe he will respect our Constitu-’ McClintock said, then stopped midthought. ‘I don’t want to go too far. I am still looking.’

Why not former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney? ‘I want somebody with a consistent record,’ McClintock said. ‘I want someone who didn’t have to go through a political epiphany the day before he announced his candidacy.’

-- Dan Morain