Pete McCloskey: The Media’s Recycled “Moderate” Republican

January 25th, 2006 6:20 AM

California’s upcoming GOP primary just got interesting. Former U.S. Rep. and decorated veteran Paul "Pete" McCloskey recently announced that he will challenge Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Tracy) in June.

Often described as a "maverick Republican" (code word for liberal) by the mainstream media (MSM), McCloskey is being lauded as a "moderate" who will restore the conservative principles of small government to a scandal-plagued Washington. To drive the point home, Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay’s names are invoked frequently in articles on the subject.

McCloskey ran against President Richard Nixon in 1972 as an antiwar candidate and testified in congress along with Vietnam Veterans Against the War organizer John Kerry, who he also endorsed for president in 2004. All this, combined with having been co-chairman of the first Earth Day in 1970 and one of the authors of the Endangered Species Act, makes McCloskey a "good" Republican in the eyes of the media.

But there’s another aspect of McCloskey’s background that has been conveniently overlooked by his fans in the MSM. McCloskey has some, shall we say, interesting ideas about the war on terror, the Middle East, and the so-called "Jewish lobby."

In June 2000, McCloskey was one of the speakers at an Institute for Historical Review (IHR) conference held in Canada. Made up of self-described "Revisionists" (another name for Holocaust deniers), the IHR lauds McCloskey as one of its supporters and features his writings at their website. An article on the conference posted at, the website dedicated to German Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel, describes McCloskey’s speech:

"Former US Congressman, Pete McClosky, was the featured Sunday night banquet speaker. He delivered a fluid and genuine speech, stunning at times in its frankness, about Jewish influence and financial control of the political process in America. He was not afraid to say ‘Jew’! He mentioned names of leading politicians who sold themselves to the Jewish Lobby, and he added that it was impossible to get elected in California without Jewish money…His speech was warmly received."

McCloskey is the founder and chairman of the Council for the National Interest (CNI), an organization that claims to "promote a U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East that is consistent with American values" but that’s really about freeing America from "the undue influence and pressure of a foreign country, namely Israel." The organization’s website is filled with pro-Palestinian propaganda. Odes to Hanan Ashrawi, Ralph Nader and Rachel Corrie are featured alongside references to Israel’s "Apartheid Wall" (security fence) and divestment campaigns.

In November 2004, McCloskey wrote an admiring piece titled, "Arafat’s Legacy Must Be a Palestinian State," which was posted at the CNI website. In it, he extolled the virtues of the late terrorist leader and recalled fondly his own meetings with Arafat and attempts to further along the failed peace process under President George H. Bush. McCloskey held up Arafat as an example of democracy in the Arab world, despite the fact that his "elections" were hardly democratic and his corruption was legendary. In closing, McCloskey repeated the favorite line of antiwar Israel-bashers: "The road to peace in the Middle East lies through Jerusalem, not Baghdad."

Yet another overlooked tidbit from McCloskey’s past is an April 2002 interview with the Citizens Electoral Council of Australia, an organization that’s associated with American conspiracist extrordinaire Lyndon LaRouche. In the interview, McCloskey implied that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) was involved in a variety of nefarious plots involving the murder of Alex Odeh, head of the southern California chapter of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee. McCloskey insisted that "the ADL should be made to register as an agent of a foreign government," and we all know which foreign government he’s referring to.

In an article posted at the CNI website in January 2004, McCloskey elaborated on his views of the war on terrorism. Calling for an immediate U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq, McCloskey decried the alleged influence of the "neoconservatives" on President Bush’s foreign policy. He launched into a diatribe regarding Richard Pearle and the Project for a New American Century the likes of which can be read on just about any leftist website these days. Indeed, McCloskey seems to share the view of the far left that Israel was somehow behind President Bush’s decision to oust former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. McCloskey’s animosity also extends to Christian Zionists and the "unholy alliance" between "fundamentalist" Jews and Christians.

So here we have a Republican candidate for congress who has ties to pro-Arab propagandists, Holocaust deniers, and the LaRouchies, and he’s being labeled a "moderate" by the MSM? If McCloskey were a conservative Republican with such problematic credentials, it’s hard to imagine that these oversights would have been permitted.

The public deserves all the information they can get about a candidate and everything written here is easily located by simply typing McCloskey’s name into a search engine. But for some reason, the intrepid reporters of the MSM seem to be incapable of conducting even the most basic research.

It’s a good thing we have pajama-clad bloggers doing it for them.