Pablo Kleinman -- A New Kind of Republican
Pablo Kleinman is a straight shooter who has a lot to offer the residents of California’s 30th District. His constituents include legal immigrants, those of the Jewish faith, with a small base of Hispanics from the middle class. He is running as a Republican, not as an Independent. American Thinker interviewed Mr. Kleinman about his chances against the Democratic incumbent Brad Sherman and his stand on some of the issues.
American Thinker: Why didn’t you run as an Independent? Don’t you think your chances would be better?
Pablo Kleinman: If I do get elected I would have to caucus with one of the two parties and I want to be upfront and sincere. I also hope to change how those in my district feel about Republicans. I think many of those in my district are frustrated like myself, so why not make a change? Brad Sherman’s voting record is almost 100% party line. Is he even listening to his constituents? We should be as competitive with this district as with any other. We need to point out that the Federal government is way too big and much more can be accomplished at the local level. We need to make it easier to start a business and revive our economy by getting rid of regulations and red tape. This can resonate with both Democrats and Republicans.
AT: Can you briefly discuss your background?
PK: I came here when I was thirteen years old, in the mid 1980s, from Argentina. Between 1987 and 1991, I coordinated the development of the Latin American branch of FidoNet, the first free, public-access computer network from Baja California to Patagonia. FidoNet was the first email network in Latin America. I then attended and graduated from the USC School of International Relations, and moved to the East Coast in 1995 where I found work in New York City, first as a translator and then in advertising. As the Internet began to revolutionize the entire American economy, I joined a group of independent professionals that helped NYC-based companies, primarily in the financial sector, to begin offering online services to their customers. A few years later I attended and graduated from business school in Europe. After working with startup companies giving advice on helping them with technology, I founded El Medio, the first journal and news syndicate about Middle Eastern affairs edited in Spanish, whose main objective is to provide readers in Spain and Latin America with perspectives about the region that are more aligned with Western ideas of freedom and democracy. My current venture is being the co-founder of Urbita, a small network of local search and travel-related online services that is especially popular in emerging markets and currently has 15 million monthly users. I speak Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, and Bar Mitzvah Hebrew.
AT: Let’s talk about some of the issues: being an immigrant yourself, do you think there should be a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants?
PK: I am not for amnesty and think we need to learn from the mistakes made in 1986. The Gang of Eight Senate proposal was on the right track, but is still insufficient. It says nothing about a guest worker program, which is something this country needs. Let’s remember it was the unions that didn’t like the guest worker program and had it done away with in the 1960s. We talk about border security but we should not forget that half of those here illegally have overstayed their visas. Even if we secure the border we will not have resolved this problem sufficiently. It is not in our interest to have millions of people here whom we know nothing about or where they are located. We should give those here illegally an opportunity to come out of the shadows, pay taxes, and have a path to permanent residency.
AT: Do you think our educational system needs to be reformed?
PK: Yes. We spend unwisely. We need to give parents choices. The Democrats are always talking about how we need to allocate more money for education. We don’t need more money; we just need to allocate it in a responsible manner. We need to shift the balance of power from the unions to the parents so that the money follows the children. The teachers union is too powerful. I think most of the union members have the best of intentions but I cannot say the same thing for the union leadership who suck the blood out of the budgets, cities, and communities.
AT: Would you repeal ObamaCare?
PK: I don’t know if that is practical even if we take the Senate considering we would have to override this President’s veto. I do believe that for every problem ObamaCare attempted to resolve they created a multitude of new problems. I think any health care reform should include portability, allowing children to stay on a parent’s insurance until age twenty-six, coverage for pre-existing conditions, tort reform, and market-based solutions. I think the way to go is to repeal those issues of ObamaCare that are not working.
AT: Do you support the Keystone Pipeline?
PK: Yes. We need more energy that moves away from dependence on foreign oil. It has to be a process. The government should not be the one to choose who gets the taxpayer’s money. We need to extract more energy but safely.
AT: Do you think we are seen as weak in the world’s eyes?
PK: What is happening in the world is directly related to the positions Obama has taken over the past years. His policies are clearly a departure from what has been America’s role in the world that has left a void and is now being replaced by people like Putin. America’s interests and prestige have diminished a lot.
AT: Do you support sanctions against Iran?
PK: Yes. Our current policy regarding Iran’s nuclear program is a mistake. It reminds me a lot of the mistakes made with North Korea. We allowed them to trick us as we gave them aid. Then all of a sudden they had a bomb and there is now nothing we can do about it. Our friendship with Israel has been damaged because of the negotiations with Iran.
AT: Where do you stand on the social issues?
PK: Abortion has been settled by the courts. Personally, I am not in favor of it but I don’t believe in making them illegal because it will just drive it underground like what is happening in Latin America. What I would like to see is to spend those resources to convince women not to get abortions.
I think gay marriage is an irreversible path considering how it is viewed by the younger generation. I do believe in personal responsibility and individual freedoms for all levels. I would not want to preclude two people of the same gender who want to formalize their relationship. At the same time, I draw a distinction between civil marriage and religious marriage. We need to make sure that no religious organization is forced into doing something that goes against their faith.
AT: Do you think a Republican can win in your district?
PK: I have not been a lifelong Republican. In college, in the 1990s I was a centrist Democrat. Many of those like me have left the Democratic Party. Then when I was living in NY, I experienced Rudy Giuliani who I loved. He was my first attraction to the Republican Party. Having gone to school in Europe I had to experience socialism. With all those exposures I decided to become a Republican and I plan to talk about it during the campaign. So to answer your question, yes.
The author writes for American Thinker. She has done book reviews, author interviews, and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.