campaign for Senate continues
By Scott Tibbs
The following is an interview with U.S. Senate candidate Peter Rusthoven.
Rusthoven is an Indianapolis attorney who hopes to win the seat currently
held by Dan Coats. This
interview took place January 20, 1998.
Hoosier Review: How is the campaign going?
Peter Rusthoven: It is going very well. We continue to travel extensively
and get a good response. 1997 laid the foundation for this campaign. Now,
I see my responsibility as unifying the party.
HR: Can Evan Bayh be defeated?
PR: I believe we have a chance if we get behind a principled conservative
and concentrate on getting as much press coverage and money as possible.
(editor's note: Likely Democratic candidate Evan Bayh has over $2
million in campaign funds, far higher than all Republican candidates
HR: What are the differences between you and the other two
Republicans vying for the Senate seat, Indianapolis attorney John Price and Ft Wayne Mayor Paul Helmke?
PR: Paul [Helmke] and I have a different background and philosophy. We
differ on things such as the Clinton tax package and stimulus package [the
$16 billion stimulus package from 1993]. Paul is out of step with much of
the Republican voters in this state, but I respect him for stating his
view. In this particular race, he thought the GOP should run a "moderate"
candidate. If he means someone who speaks responsibly, I agree, but if he
means an ideological moderate, I disagree. We need a conservative whose
positions are in the Reagan mode.
I respect John [Price] and like him.
We have made a point to speak well of each other. John's emphasis is a
little different in terms of saying he believes Clinton should be
impeached. I disagree. I would not be surprised if that happens, but we
should not campaign on that since a senator will be a juror if impeachment
occurs. As to which candidate has the best chance, that is us [the
HR: What is your view on abortion? Do you have any
PR:I am pro-life. I do make an exception for the life of the mother but
that is mercifully rare. If however, the only thing that stands in the way
of protecting preborn children is a lack of consensus on rape and incest I
will not stand in the way of protection due to this issue. The child is
innocent regardless of how he was conceived. The percentages of abortions
due to rape and incest is very small, yet it plays a disproportionate role
in the public debate.
What is important now is for people who are
pro-life to persuade people of the significance of human life. For
example, the advertisements of Indiana
Citizens for Life and its focus on women is very good. If we talk
candidly without inciting anger both pro-choice and pro-life Republicans
will respond well.
HR: What is your view on tax reform? Do you support a flat tax
or a consumption tax?
PR: This should be a theme in this campaign: stand for thorough reform of
this tax system and replacing it with a flat tax. There should be some
exemptions, such as the basic personal, child, home mortgage, and
charitable donation exemptions, as well as exemptions that encourage
investment. As to consumption tax, Senator Lugar and I are complimentary
sides of the same position. Senator Lugar believes in the advantages of
the consumption tax, but says a flat tax is still far better than the
current system. I believe a flat tax is superior but either is far better
than the current system. As to why the flat tax is better- there are less
transition problems. Americans spend 5.5 billion hours a year complying
with the tax code.
HR: There has been a great deal of controversy regarding the
blocking of some Clinton judicial appointments by the Republican Senate.
What do you think of this? Is this a good strategy?
PR: As a former aide to Ronald Reagan, I watched the Democrats demagogue
nominees, and that continued into the Bush Administration. One reason
judicial activism occurs is because courts are involved in deciding things
more appropriately decided in the legislature. The Republicans should not
be a mirror image of the Democrats during the Reagan Administration. When
we have demonstrable evidence of people who are liberal activists, then
they should be opposed.
HR: Do you think the Republican Party should deny funds to
candidates who do not support bans on partial birth abortion?
PR: I believe this is a bad instrument to use. There are a lot of pro-life
conservatives who opposed this instrument. The way it is covered and
viewed by those in the middle is that pro-lifers are attempting to
implement their views with a sledgehammer. That becomes the story,
making pro-lifers look more extreme than they are. In terms of a bar on
that or any other issue, it is a double-edged sword.
HR: Do you think 1998 will be a Republican year?
PR: That depends on how we run the 1998 campaign. The Republican Party
must be positive and optimistic, clearly telling voters where we want to
take the country. It is not enough to be anti-Clinton and it is not enough
to be anti-government. The more we are engaged in partisan infighting and
personal attacks we will feed the cynicism of the country. 1998 can be a
good year if we follow a positive strategy. [The Indiana Senate race] is
especially important, as a future leader in the Democratic Party will be
running on the other side. That is why it is so important that our
candidate is in the Reagan mode If the Republican party wins this senate
race, it is the biggest victory in the country.
HR: What is your view on the possibility of Social Security
PR: There are a number of pieces that go into putting Social Security on a
stronger base. We have a commitment as a nation that there will be a
system of retirement. This is an issue that gets demagogued very easily.
One thing that should be done is to look at cost of living (COLA)
adjustments realistically- it overstates inflation currently. This needs a
bipartisan look at retirement age with regard to life and workforce
expectancy. We should look at investment options that will include
investing in securities.
Note: this interview took place before the latest Clinton scandal,
involving an alleged affair with a twenty-one year old White House intern,
broke in every news outlet in America. I spoke with Rusthoven again on
January 22. He noted that if the allegations are true, he agrees with
former Clinton aide George Stephanopolis that Clinton should be impeached
as this regards fitness for office.
Additional articles in this issue:
A CR response to an IDS opinion
column attacking Congressman John Hostettler
Don't miss our Zippergate Special Edition of
Bits & Bytes!
A review of the film "Great Expectations,"
by Kyle J. Hammer
Find out how you too can become part of Hillary Clinton's "vast right-wing conspiracy!"