Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif) gives all his interns a copy of Atlas Shrugged

Reason Magazine has an excellent new article about Rep. John Campbell, who — as we noted when he replaced Rand fan Christopher Cox who was picked to head the SEC — is himself an admirer of Ayn Rand’s writings.

Author David Weigel notes that Campbell may be in a position to help lead the Republican Congress in a few years.

The article is titled “This is John Campbell Speaking” and begins:

If Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.) said his book shelf was a time capsule, a memorial to the modern GOP, youâ??d believe him. Here is Ste­phen Slivinskiâ??s Buck Wild, a jeremiad against the Bush-era big-spending Republicans. Here is Bruce Bawerâ??s While Europe Slept, the terrifying tale of how â??radical Islam is destroying the West from within.â? Here is one of Watergate felon Chuck Colsonâ??s bestsellers on how Christ can save your life.

Less predictable are the tomes bookending the collection: not one but two hardbound cop­ies of Ayn Randâ??s 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged, a favorite among many supporters of free markets and limited government. â??Those arenâ??t my only two copies,â? Campbell says, laughing. â??Atlas Shrugged is the book I give to our interns after they spend a summer here, working for free. I consider it to be the authoritative work on the power of the individual.â?

It is late September in Washington, D.C. Another Rand disciple is in the news: Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve chairman, is on the talk shows promoting his autobiography. Like Greenspan, Campbell is upset that the Repub­lican Party has been growing the government, hiking spending with funds that donâ??t exist. But Greenspan is out of public life. The 52-year-old Campbell, an Orange County, California, car salesman who arrived in D.C. just two years ago, is one of his partyâ??s fastest-rising stars.

â??Heâ??s an absolutely fantastic member of the Republican conference,â? says a senior GOP aide. â??I think heâ??s become the heir apparent to lead the Republican Study Committee,â? the anti-tax, anti-spending caucus founded in 1973 by then-insurgent proto-Reaganite Republicans. Campbell currently heads the RSCâ??s Budget and Spending Taskforce.

Here’s a great anecdote from later in the article:

During the floor debate over the defense appropriations bill, Campbell honed in on a $2 million earmark for Sherwin-Williams, a paint company that is developing a â??paint shieldâ? for military vehicles. In the process, he locked horns with the fearsome chair­man of the Defense Appropriations Committee, Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.). To everyoneâ??s surprise, Campbell cleaned the 33-year congressmanâ??s clock.

After Murtha rambled about how the military probably wanted the paint shield earmark even though it wasnâ??t on its â??priority list,â? Campbell pounced. â??Mr. Chairman,â? he said, â??you said youâ??re â??sureâ?? the military [wants it]. So youâ??re not aware if, in fact, the military has asked for this kind of technology?â?

Campbell kept his eyes trained on the Democrat. Murtha didnâ??t have anything to say.

â??I guess the answer to that is no,â? Campbell said.

Of course, the House isnâ??t a debat­ing club. The earmark survived any­way.

See the full article for much more about Campbell and his excellent work.