Volume 2, Number 9

February 1, 1998

Rusthoven's 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 combined.)

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 Rusthoven campaign].

HR: What is your view on abortion? Do you have any exceptions?
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 reform?
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!"

Eric Seymour

Robert Schiener

Bryan Wilhelm

Bryant Lewis
Joel Corbin