A Conversation with Citizen Mack

Citizen Mack: Politics, An Honorable Calling is written by former Florida Republican Senator Connie Mack.  This memoir details his life while a part of Washington D.C. politics.  He self-imposed term limits, serving first as a congressman for three terms and then as senator for two terms.  What makes his book valuable is the realization that history repeats itself.  Many of the issues during his time are playing out today. American Thinker had the privilege of interviewing him.

He exclaimed, “I wrote the book because I want my friends, family, and fellow Americans to understand my service in Washington for eighteen years.  My grandfather on my mother’s side, Morris Sheppard, served as a United States Texas senator. After he died, I would have given anything to have been able to read a book about his life, to understand his views of the world.”

His other grandfather was the famous Baseball Hall of Fame figure Connie Mack.  Considering this is currently baseball playoff time he was asked about his iconic grandfather.  “He created the American League with two other people.  He job was to pick cities and ownership groups.  This is how Philadelphia got the Athletics.  He managed there for over fifty years, won nine pennants, and five World Series.  Personally, I think the greatest team in baseball is the 1929 A’s.  I think the best description of my grandfather is by the famous sportswriter, Red Smith.  He said, he was ‘tough and warm and wonderful, kind and stubborn and courtly and unreasonable and generous and calculating and naïve and gentle and proud and humorous and demanding and unpredictable.’ I adored my grandfather and remember only the good.”

Baseball must run through the senator’s blood, considering he uses baseball metaphors to describe his political dealings.  Play ball, hardball, and beanball are some of what he referred to when discussing politics. 

When asked if he was frustrated with the Washington swamp, Mack noted, “Coming from a state that has a number of swamps, Florida, I got used to it.  I figured out what I needed to do to survive.  It has always been there and probably will always be there.”

Does he still believe in term limits? If more politicians self-imposed like he did, wouldn’t there be less deadlock?  “In the early to mid 1990s term limits were a pretty hot topic.  I voted for term limits here in the State of Florida.  Since then I have had second thoughts.  I believe in free markets, free enterprise, free trade, and free expression.  I have come to the conclusion there should be free markets in politics as well.  If someone doesn’t like their representative or senator, they should vote them out.”

He cites the example of Congressman Ron Dellums from Oakland California. “He was very far left.  People would say to me, ‘we need term limits to get rid of him.’  What nobody understands is that his district would have elected someone just like Dellums.  Term limits is not as cracked up as we think.”

Senator Mack and President Trump seem to be in agreement regarding the economy.  He supports him and will vote for him for President. “Rebuilding the economy, having work incentives, and getting economic growth is important.  I had a good relationship with New York congressman Jack Kemp because we both believed in supply side economics.  There is a third alternative to reducing spending and raising taxes.  It is about putting people back to work.  Jobs and businesses that are created allows for more revenue to flow to the federal government.  I take the position that growth is a reasonable alternative to debt, spending, deficits, and monetary policy.”

The Brett Kavanaugh hearing horrified Americans on how cruel politicians could be.  Now that Amy Coney Barrett has gone through the same process, Senator Mack takes readers on a play-by-play regarding what another conservative judge had to go through during the nominating process.  As a strict constructionist, Clarence Thomas drew the ire of many Democratic Liberal Senators.  Like Christine Blasey Ford did with Kavanaugh, Anita Hill accused Thomas without any proof or witnesses. The accusation: making lewd comments to her and creating a hostile work environment, claiming he was coarse, vulgar, and obscene. 

Mack in his book writes how “I found the whole thing much worse than distasteful.  It was revolting.  It was a serious blemish on the Senate and worse, a despicable attack on a man who had, really no means of defending himself.” Sound familiar?

Mack feels “I am very concerned about what is happening during these hearings.  I remember how my father said to me after the Thomas hearings, ‘I never thought I would be embarrassed to tell someone my son is in the U.S. Senate.’ Now these hearings are getting worse and worse.  I am concerned about how Amy was treated by some.  Three years ago, Senator Feinstein said that she would inject her religious beliefs into her judicial decisions, calling it a dogma.  No ones’ religious beliefs should be raised as a reason to deny them to be a Supreme Court Justice.”

Since there is a large Cuban population in Florida what did Mack think of Biden comparing President Trump to Castro while campaigning there? “It was disgusting and revolting. The Cubans are very upset with Biden and they voiced their outrage.  It is not just the Cubans, but people from Central and South America.  They have been through socialism and know firsthand what it is like.  I think their outrage is beginning to show at the polls.”

In the book, Mack relays that while in the Senate he always believed the U.S. should be firm with China.  Too bad many did not hear his call.  He directly said, “China is a totalitarian nation.  During the pandemic Americans can see firsthand that it is not a free and open society and does not have a free flow of information.  China is a very worrisome nation.  I have a concern that we are naïve about our attitude.  It is much more obvious today than when I said that quote.  Regarding the pandemic, the Chinese government did not provide the whole world with information that could have saved lives.”

He also gave a shout out to his wife Priscilla and late brother Michael. “She is my inspiration and support.  She once told me to stop complaining and do something about it.  My brother Michael is also an inspiration.  He fought malignant melanoma for twelve years.  His fight to survive and then his death forced me to question the meaning of my life. I wanted to serve some cause larger than myself.”

After reading this memoir Americans should wish for a return to civil discourse. He is an honorable person and that is what is needed today among politicians.

The author writes for American Thinker. She has done book reviews and author interviews and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.

Image: Brown Books