Thaddeus McCotter, guitar hero and 2012 dark horse: A Michigan star rises in Washington

S.E. Cupp|NYDailyNews

The sign outside the ballroom was matter-of-fact: “Unsigned $20. Signed $15. No Haggling.”
That matter-of-fact sign was next to a matter-of-fact pile of books, which sat on a matter-of-fact folding table. And sitting behind it was a matter-of-fact man, whom you might walk right past without so much as a glance.

That’s too bad, because he could become the next President of the United States.

The man was Michigan Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, and he was signing copies of his new book, “Seize Freedom! American Truths and Renewal in a Chaotic Age,” outside the Conservative Principles Conference in Des Moines late last month. When he addressed the crowd later in the day, he told them that he drove the 17-hour round trip from Detroit alone because, “If you spent 81/2 hours in a car with me, it would violate the Geneva Convention.”

It’s that uncomfortably understated, almost dour and definitely unique sense of humor that has made him a favorite not of the esteemed Sunday talk shows (although he does those, too), but of a late-night comedy show on Fox News called “Red Eye With Greg Gutfeld.” Gutfeld has written, “In my mind, he’s one of the few pols who seem less interested in impressing celebrities or making cheap points of sentimentality than preserving the freedoms unique to our delightful island nation.”

When compared with some of his archetypical, camera-ready, hair-riffic colleagues, McCotter hardly looks presidential. And he is alarmingly lacking in slick, polished bravado. His Twitter bio, for example, reads “U.S. Rep. for Michigan‘s 11th District; Financial Services Committee member; U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson‘s erstwhile guitar player; and ugly sweater maven.”

The guitar playing is a reference to his congressional rock band. Yes, these do exist, and his is called the Second Amendments. President George W. Bush knew him as “that rock ‘n’ roll dude.” It is an accurate descriptor, though McCotter isn’t exactly one of the Ramones.

But don’t tell that to the college kids, who widely adore him.

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