Posts Tagged 'constitutionalist'

Back to Our Roots

Shock: Mitt Romney is quickly falling out of favor with the GOP.

Ok, I’m not really shocked.  In fact while I thought Romney was going to win, it wasn’t what I was predicting when he won the nomination.  In fact, I wrote back in March on Whitehouse12.com that when it came down to it, the election would not be about the economy.  Turns out, I was right.

With a mixture of QE Infinity, a suspect September jobs report, and unemployment applications surprisingly falling (because California failed to report their numbers on time), the argument on the economy became relatively dampened just in time for the election.  Toss in pure media malpractice in their coverage on Benghazi and Sandy, where there was simply the latest in a string of incompetencies by this administration, and come election day Romney’s success as a businessman did not put him over the edge in voters minds.

What did put Obama over the edge was perception.  Obama was the candidate with your lady parts on his mind, and not in a dirty way.  He was the one who didn’t put women in binders, whatever that means.  But he was the one who is making it so that our nation stops killing sick people.  He is the one who cares so much about the poor and middle class, despite taxing them through Obamacare.  And of course, his strategy of divide and conquer worked.  Obama is the President of blacks, Hispanics, women, students, the poor, the middle class, Hollywood, and so on.  Romney’s one failed attempt at divide and conquer was announcing that he was not the guy for the 47%.  Somehow that was less successful than Obama’s strategy.

The Republican establishment has 2012 all figured out.  If only we offered our version of the Dream Act, rewarding young illegal immigrants for good behavior.  If only we were less rigid about what we believed and sounded more like Democrats.  The fact is, we did ok with moderates.  Moderates don’t win elections.  The only reason we keep having it drilled into our heads that they do is because pandering to moderates is a great way to lose conservative votes.

Now, Republicans have an opportunity to communicate with the country.  The Fiscal Cliff should teach the country a few very important lessons.  All the tax hikes in the world won’t solve our deficit problem.  Tax hikes on the rich will hurt the economy, but they won’t cover even one major pork bill.  The problem is spending.  We are spending ourselves broke and not even taxes on the rich can close the gap.

But instead, the lesson coming out of the fiscal cliff is that we all need to do our fair share.  Those of us who make more should pay far more.  Forget deficits and budgets and all that wonky stuff.  If you are rich, you didn’t build that.  It’s time for you to suffer like we are all suffering so that we can all share in this wonderful suffering that is America.  Somehow this is the message that is resonating, and it is probably because we have no Newt Gingrich in Congress to stand up and call the whole concept ridiculous.

Conservatism is not about shared suffering.  It is about freedom and opportunity.  It is about striving for so much freedom and opportunity that poverty becomes a choice.  It is about a people who tell the government what it can and can’t do, not the other way around.  It’s about personal responsibility and the ability to choose whether or not to buy your neighbor the things he or she needs and wants.

Conservatism is about fair, simple taxes.  It is about states rights.  It is about limited foreign engagement only when our national security is at risk.  It is about the right to drink beer and shoot off fireworks in your back yard.  It is about the right to teach your kids the Bible or worship however you want.  It is about the right to live, pursue happiness, own property, earn your way through school and get a job you love.  The outcomes are not guaranteed, but the right to pursue the outcomes are.

This is a message that would resonate.  Freedom gets people to the polls.  The problem is that too many moderate Republicans are so worried about governing that they forget their primary responsibility: to uphold the constitutional protections against their attempts to govern.  We are a nation of individuals governed by states and united under one constitution.  A party that runs on a conservative constitutionalist platform will win.

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Why I am a Conservative Constitutionalist

Originally posted 4/11/10

There are people in this country who, if they had their way, would shut down every strip club in the country. Many of us wouldn’t mind that. Our neighborhoods would be safer, husbands would be home at night, there might be fewer sexual crimes, and our society would spend less time looking at women as objects and instead looking at them as individuals.

There are people in this country who, if they had their way, would shut down every church in the country. Many of them wouldn’t mind that either. People could spend Sunday morning drinking, Sunday night with a whore, and not feel an ounce of guilt about it. They could walk to work without having to fear someone telling them God loves them, and walk home at night not having to fear someone telling them God hates their sin.

There are people in our country who only eat vegetables, tofu, black bean burgers and the like. They believe that eating meat is disgusting. Then there are others who love a steak and a beer and don’t care if eating that steak makes it 81.5 degrees out instead of 81.4.

This is why I am a Conservative Constitutionalist. Our founders came from a society where their government told them who and how they could worship. Their government sent them to wars, not for protection but for expansion of the empire. Their government did not listen to their voice, but “took care of them”. In exchange, they belonged to the government. Their money was the king’s property, to be surrendered upon demand. Their homes were military barracks on loan to them. Their speech was regulated. Their writings could put them at the end of a noose. What the government said was truth, even when it contradicted fact and conscience.

Our founders created a society of individual freedom. Each man is responsible for the application and management of his own destiny, rights, and pursuit of happiness. The “king” is subject to the same laws as the “subjects”. In fact, not only are the leaders subject to the same laws as everyone else, but they are also subject to popular removal. Every four years we have a bloodless revolution.

I am a Conservative Constitutionalist because I believe in my right to choose – not to choose whether I can kill someone, steal from someone, or break the common laws that we as a nation have approved under the limitations of our constitution, but to choose whether I want to drink or go to church. To choose whether I want to save for retirement or buy a hot tub and work till I die. To choose whether I want to pay more for my health care and eat burgers every day or pay more for the gym and look like an athlete. Whether I want to drive a Hummer or an electric golf cart. These are my choices because the Constitution limits the government’s ability to take my rights away.

I have the right to call my president a god or a moron. I have the right to shoot attackers, whether criminal or governmental. I have the right to let a US soldier whom I hardly know live in my house for half a year (which I did once) or to tell that soldier to take a hike. I have the right to kill someone in cold blood in front of witnesses and be tried by a jury of my peers before society has a right to sentence me to death for it. I have a right to choose who I do and don’t associate with. I have a right to worship my dog or my God however I want. I have the right to vote for someone to be the leader of my nation because I think they have a strong chin and I don’t like that the other guy is a Buddhist. I have a right to live by these freedoms without the fear that another nation, state, city, or homeowner’s association will remove my rights without my consent. I have the right to start a business, make a million dollars, and spend every penny of it (aside from the taxes necessary for efficient government) on Twinkies. I have the right to choose not to buy government-taxed tea.

At least that’s the way it’s supposed to work.

Instead, the government takes 12.4% of my income off the top and puts it towards an underfunded retirement I may never see. The government forces me to buy health insurance from heavily taxed companies – absolutely no different than when the government forced the colonists to buy heavily taxed tea. The government takes almost half of my income. What do I get in exchange? The government spends my money telling me and my family how the government thinks I should live. The government takes my money and spends it to deny fifth, seventh and fourteenth amendment rights to the unborn. The government exempts office-holders from these very laws that they impose on the rest of us. The government calls me a radical and a terrorist, when our own President began his political career hand in hand with real terrorists who have committed real violent acts. The government has decided what my happiness should be, takes my means from me, and tries to pursue it for me.

But the very nature of government is that its own limitations now become my limitations. The government buys my health insurance, but can’t afford to insure my lifestyle. Therefore, I can no longer smoke and drink without paying penalties to the government. And soon, if I eat burgers every day I will not be able to enjoy rationed health care privileges that were rights just a few months ago. I will not be able to start and run a business because the government needs my profits. But I will also no longer have the right to waste my talents as I see fit since the government cannot afford to exist without them.

Instead of making and producing goods and services that people want and need at prices they can afford, the government demands that we produce goods and services that the government thinks we need and want at prices the government demands. That is not conservatism; that is not constitutionalism.

The greater good can only be achieved through the will of the greater majority. When we no longer trust the masses is when the masses become slaves to the Machiavellian few. And when the Machiavellian few are handed the keys to all our dreams and happiness is when suddenly the governing become the privileged and “lobbying” those in power is the only avenue left for happiness. Haven’t we already seen this with the deals in the stimulus and health care bills? It will only get worse.

I am a Republican, but I am a Conservative Constitutionalist first. It is not the government’s job to take care of me, put a roof over my head, provide me happiness, feed me, or buy my health care. It is the government’s job to get out of my way, pave the road in front of me, and keep all others not subject to the same protections of citizenship to our government from hindering me. Anything beyond that is a usurpation of my freedom and individual responsibility.

Halfway States Rights Does Not Equal States Rights

In the political circles where I like to debate, the question commonly comes up about drug policy.  Most Libertarians, many progressive social Democrats and even some Conservatives will argue strongly against our war on illegal drugs.  Many argue that it costs too much, many argue that it is government intrusion into our lives and unconstitutional, and others argue just because they happen to be high at the time.

I have been asked my opinion on the issue and people are sometimes surprised how I answer.  Most conservatives, especially Christian, free-market conservatives who know that illegal drugs ruin lives and turn some people into permanent wards of the state, strongly support Federal intervention and Federal drug laws.  I don’t.

I have read through the Constitution many times and cannot find anything that would justify a Federal ban on putting any sort of substance into your body.  Don’t get me wrong, I have seen what drugs do to people and I would vote in a heartbeat to ban them in my state or city.  But until we amend the Constitution with a new prohibition amendment, we damage the integrity of our national foundation of personal freedom and states rights when the Federal Government assumes the duties that the Constitution clearly delegates to the individual states.    In fact, I think if Thomas Jefferson knew only that Reagan was the one who mandated that states adopt 21 as the drinking age limit, he would certainly have called Reagan an anti-Constitutional tyrant.

So is this high praise of President Obama for instructing his attorney general, Eric Holder, to spend more time on affirmative action violations and less time on prosecuting medical potheads in states where it is legal?  No, and here is why:

Currently there are medical marijuana laws in 13 states.  Washington State is perhaps the most lenient, allowing you to have 24 oz. without getting busted and not charging you for a license to carry (marijuana).  Meanwhile, the other 37 states do not have any medical marijuana freedoms.  Yet, every year all 50 states pay billions in Federal taxes for national drug rehab programs alone.  We are spending nearly $500 billion a year on the state and federal level for rehab, incarceration, child services, dealing with homelessness, and other drug related costs.  States cover much of the bill on their own, but according to Columbia University’s National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, if the Federal Government recorded costs for prevention and rehabilitation as a separate budget item, it would rank as the  sixth most expensive Federal program.  It accounts for 9.6% of the Federal budget.

Let me break that down in simpler terms.  When Californians can get a prescription for marijuana to handle their stress, athlete’s foot, occasional headaches, or whatever else they can get a doctor to write a prescription for; people in Florida, Connecticut, New York, and Texas will be footing the bill to help them clean up their lives.  When someone in Michigan can’t get a job because spend half the day too stoned to get up, someone in Minnesota will be writing their Federal welfare check.

The Federal Government does not have the constitutional authority to rob one state to pay for another’s social ills.  The Federal Government does not have the constitutional authority to provide for certain groups’ specific welfare while harming the welfare of others through redistributive programs.  The Federal Government does have the constitutional duty to regulate interstate commerce and ensure that one state is not ripping off another.

By granting states the individual right to legalize self-destruction, but requiring that all states be mandated to pay for the consequences, Obama has violated the interstate commerce clause and made national social programs such as Federal welfare, Medicaid, Federally funded SCHIP, Federal funding for faith-based organizations, and his dream of universal healthcare and a public option that much more unconstitutional.

Given the choice, I would rather that Obama had ended unconstitutional wealth redistribution programs than lifted the unconstitutional Federal ban on drugs while still making me pay for the consequences.  Either way, this is no victory for states rights advocates.


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