McCloskey and life as a Democrat

Former congressman and ex-Republican Pete McCloskey says he’s feeling a “lot cleaner” since he registered as a Democrat.

But the iconic man who ran for president and co-authored the national Endangered Species Act is not optimistic that Democrats will keep their sheen.

“(The Democrats) will be corrupted by power eventually,” McCloskey says, reached by phone at his Rumsey farm and ranch. “I just hope it doesn’t happen quick.”

McCloskey recalled the dozens of Democrat elected leaders who were indicted while he served as a member of the minority party in Congress.

“No one would bother bribing a Republican,” he says. “We didn’t have any power.”

In the meantime, McCloskey intends to throw his support behind Democratic presidential candidate and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama.

He will also keep up the work of The Revolt of the Elders, a political group he founded 2 1/2 years ago with Lew Butler, friend and an assistant secretary of Health, Education and Welfare in the Nixon administration, to fight ethical lapses in Congress. The organization will lobby to abolish term limits, establish public financing of campaigns and put an end to the production of nuclear weapons.

But don’t expect him to go easy on his new friends in the Democratic Party.

“I’m going to be just as hard on Democrats as I was the Republicans,” McCloskey says.

How many of us can point to a big agendas such as this? And McCloskey turns 80 years old on Sept. 29.

Lisa Vorderbrueggen