OUR VIEWEndorsement: Conservatives in the foothills have choice for Congress

It’s no secret that the mountain areas of California are more conservative than the Valley and far more conservative than the coast. That’s why, in running against opponents from the Democratic Party, Rep. Tom McClintock has thrived in the mountainous 4th Congressional District.

This year, though, there is no Democrat in the race. And that means McClintock might actually face a challenge. At least we hope so.

McClintock is one of the most conservative members of the U.S. Congress. He’s so right-wing you can’t even blame him for the Capitol’s dysfunction; no one expects him to compromise. On anything.

McClintock has become so rigidly conservative that he was one of only four members who voted in lock-step with the tea party group Freedom Works for three years running. That might make McClintock feel righteous, but it also marginalizes him. It’s no way to govern.

Most people expect their government to work for them. But McClintock can’t even bring himself to support President Barack Obama’s efforts against the Islamic State, misreading the president’s statement in a way that seems to grant the religious fanatics an actual territory and that will surely anger moderate Muslims. In his statement, McClintock worries that anyone we arm in opposition to the Islamic State might weaken the murderous regime of Syria’s dictator, Bashar Assad. Is he a fan?

Such thinking should be more worrisome to conservatives than to liberals – who are against any military action in the region. Regardless of what liberals might wish, we’re likely to be involved in this conflict at least until the immediate threat has been incapacitated. We need someone who isn’t blinded by disdain for any policy with Democratic support.

That’s why we’re endorsing Republican Art Moore for the 4th Congressional District, which includes all of Tuolumne and Mariposa counties and parts of seven others. He has conservative credentials and, even at age 36, a far keener understanding of the world in which we live. The Auburn native went to West Point and then served 14 years in the military, rising to the rank of major. He spent 30 months overseas, including tours in Iraq and in the Sinai, earning a Bronze Star. If Moore wins, he would be one of roughly 20 Middle East veterans in Congress.

Instead of ideologues, Congress could benefit from having someone among them whose boots have actually been on the ground.

Moore says he’s a conservative, but pledges to work with Democrats. He wants more federal aid for his district, 70 percent of which is controlled by the federal government. One reason he’s running, he said, is that McClintock voted to shut down the government in 2013 – threatening security while damaging the economy of the tourist-dependent region around Yosemite.

McClintock, 58, has served in Congress since 2008. He lives in Elk Grove and came to the region after being elected to the Assembly from the Thousand Oaks area, north of Los Angeles.

In one of the most Republican districts in the nation, Moore remains a long shot even though he has been endorsed by Republican stalwarts Pete Wilson and George Radanovich. To win, Moore will have to appeal to Democrats, independents and moderates dissatisfied with McClintock’s hyper-partisanship.

McClintock talks a great conservative game. Maybe the area would fare better with someone whose actions speak louder than words.