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Posts Tagged ‘Conservative Politics’

Photo thanks to RonPaul.com

There is no doubt in my mind that Representative Ron Paul is currently the most important figure in the liberty movement today.  His actions over the last several years have awakened a multitude of activists and cured the apathy of countless others.  However, we must keep in mind that it is likely that Ron Paul’s spotlight will diminish once his current House of Representatives term expires next year.

It’s time for a bit of history.  For those who don’t recall, late 2006-2007 was a bleak time for many conservatives.  The Democratic Party captured both the House and the Senate, establishing the Pelosi/Reid era in Congress.  Although a Republican still sat in the White House, it became increasing apparent that George W. Bush had little desire for promoting conservative principles like a constitutionally limited government, rolling back the size and scope of federal agencies and departments, and reducing the ever inflating national debt.  It seemed as if many of my fellow conservatives turned a blind eye toward many odious policies, even though they ran contrary to our principles, simply because a Republican leader promoted them.  Many of the same conservatives who once opposed the military adventures of President Bill Clinton now applauded Bush for an even more aggressive policy of nation building.  In short, principle had taken a back seat to party.

As for myself, I was feeling pretty depressed about the direction of my party and the state of politics in America in general.  Early 2007 found me in Tennessee, working a three-month contract with Students for Life of America, a pro-life organization based in Northern Virginia.  Promoting important causes, like the pro-life issue, allowed me to advanced my principles, even when it seemed as if my party had lost its way.

After this position ended, I considered returning to campaign work.  In 2006, I was employed by the Republican Party of Virginia.  Prior to that time, I had volunteered on many campaigns and so I felt as if I had a pretty good understanding of the ins and outs of campaigning.  I had never worked on a presidential campaign and considered it to be a logical conclusion to my time in the field.  But who was the best choice?  Who was the candidate who best advocated my principles, the values of a liberty-minded conservative?

Based upon familiarity, I first considered former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore.  But I quickly found a few key areas of policy disagreement.  Next on the list came pro-life favorite Senator Brownback of Kansas.  But again, he was less than ideal.  Well-known politicians like Mitt Romney, John McCain, or Rudy Giuliani, didn’t seem like very good choices either.

Digging deeper into the field I came across Representative Ron Paul.  I must confess that I didn’t know too much about him at that time.  Given the fairly establishment circles in which I ran, I believed what I was told, that Dr. No was little more than a cantankerous old man from Texas who didn’t get along with most of his fellow Republicans.  But the more that I read about him, the more I realized that he represented just what my party needed and my principles demanded.  He fought against the expansion of the federal government and sought to shrink it, he cherished the Constitution and the rule of law, he was a voice for the unborn, and opposed installing leaders of other nations and meddling in their domestic affairs.

These were some of my thoughts before Paul.  You may find it odd that I use the term “before Paul” given that he has been in elected office since the mid 1970’s.  But let me explain.  Although it is true that Ron Paul has been involved in politics since before many of us were born, his greatest impact in the national political dialogue began with his 2007/2008 run for the GOP nod for president.  This primary catapulted him to the forefront of the liberty movement and established a near cult-like following among some of the faithful.

But now, after five years, we are faced with the grim reality of a movement without Paul.  After all, he is not running for re-election to the House of Representatives in November and, unfortunately, will not be the Republican nominee for president.  I won’t say that I know his plans, he could host a talk show or be a regular on Fox News like Mike Huckabee or Sarah Palin, but I expect that his role will diminish as the years pass.

I wish I could say that the movement has transcended national leaders, that a sufficient portion of the population is educated and energized to take back their country from the statists who have led us down this troubled path.  I wish I could also say that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan were the GOP leaders who fully embraced our philosophy, but neither statement would be true.

Fortunately, there are other leaders in Congress, leaders like Representative Jeff Flake of Arizona, Representative Justin Amash of Michigan, Representative Scott Garrett of New Jersey, or Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina who have been fighting the good fight for liberty.  The best well known, Senator Rand Paul, has also drawn a good bit of flak, tarnishing him in the eyes of some Ron Paul supporters for endorsing Mitt Romney recently.  I won’t go into that argument again, but you can find my thoughts here.

I suppose my take home point here is that there has been a time before Ron Paul was there to share his wisdom, inspiration, and leadership.  Whether it happens today, tomorrow, next year, or fifty years from now, there will come a time when Ron Paul is no longer with us.  Therefore, although Ron Paul is currently an important force and should be remembered and honored as such, for the sake of the future of the movement, we must become something more than a cult of personality based around Dr. Paul.  When he leaves us, we cannot allow ourselves to be lost in the wilderness once more, waiting for the next great leader to serve as our guide.

The future belongs to all of us.  Ron Paul has made his mark and, God-willing, he will continue to do so for a long time to come.  But, like Barry Goldwater before him, the time of Ron Paul is coming to a close. So what will you accomplish to further the ideals of liberty in this great nation of ours?

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In my various posts over the years, I’ve made no secret of my support of Dr. Ron Paul and, even more importantly, the political principles for which he stands.  Therefore, I must say that I was pretty surprised when I got an email asking if I would collect signatures to get Newt Gingrich on the ballot here in the state of Virginia.  For those that know me, you are aware that I had a lot of respect for the former Speaker that morphed into fear/hate relationship stretching back to my earliest awareness of politics, 1994.  Although I would gladly sign any candidate’s petition to get on the ballot, be they Republican, Democratic, third party, or independent, asking my friends and neighbors to do likewise is another matter entirely.

However, the kicker in this situation was the promise of payment for each signature collected.  Heaven knows that it is an extremely tough time financially for so many Americans.  Personally, I’ve had to resort to creative ways to make money as I wait for the start of my next full-time position…whenever that will be.  So, flush with the idea of making a little extra money, I jumped at the chance.  However, while working in my current part-time position, I took a moment to reflect upon Newt Gingrich and my time in politics.

Gingrich is a man who I believe is antithetical to the idea of limited government conservatism, as well as morality.  He seems to advocate remaking society, the government, and really the entire world, not based upon the ideals of liberty, federalism, and personal responsibility, but rather on some sort of futuristic utopia (or dystopia) where Gingrich reigns as the intellectual and political overlord of the ignorant and savage masses.  He oozes hypocrisy writing a book entitled Rediscovering God in America in 2006, after having cheated on two of his wives.  Now maybe you think that he has changed his ways.  Well, if you may recall earlier this year he blamed his past infidelity not as a result of any moral weakness, but due to his overly zealous work ethic.

Even though I could temporarily put my political principles aside and more or less work for this man for the sake of badly needed cash, what would be the result?  How could I live with myself if my actions indirectly led to his election?  Like too many politicians in Washington who have fallen to the temptation, does wealth trump principles?  Who could condemn Gingrich if he or she sold out too?  Just because I have a very disappointing relationship with Ron Paul’s national campaign, cheating on him (and, more importantly, my principles) with his loose and immoral Republican half sister doesn’t reset the scales of justice.  Would every blog post I write from here on out be nothing more than a convenient lie that I tell myself?  Could I pass in front a mirror without pointing at my own reflection and scream “whore!  You are nothing more than a political prostitute”?

Although I will freely admit that I don’t know much about what motivates a person to enter the world’s oldest profession, I wouldn’t imagine that many people engage in prostitution because it sounds fun or offers promise of a stable career, but rather stems from a desperate hope to do anything to escape their present misery.  Maybe I’m being a little overly optimistic here (and/or naïve depending on your perspective), but there is no good reason why, as Ronald Reagan once quipped, the second oldest profession (politics) has to bear a “striking resemblance to the first”.

In the end, I couldn’t bring myself to help Mr. Gingrich.  I believe that doing so would have been a tacit endorsement of his campaign.  Now to my fellow activists and friends who did collect for him, don’t think for a minute that this article seeks to condemn your efforts.  After all, I doubt any of you have the same relationship with Newt that I have had, watching your political hero trample upon what you thought were your shared principles.

As you may have heard, Newt Gingrich will not be on Virginia’s March 3rd Republican primary ballot unless he mounts a successful legal challenge.  Although I doubt that whatever signatures I would have collected would have changed this outcome, I believe that I made the right decision.  The temptation always looms, especially in these uncertain times, but we all have to keep reminding ourselves that principles should not be sold to the highest bidder and honor is worth more than a ton of gold.

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Everyday, it seems that I receive another email announcing some other group or elected official who endorses George Allen’s Senate bid.  More and more people are climbing aboard the Allen bandwagon, but I cannot get on board.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I was a very strong supporter of George Allen back in 2006.  During that election cycle, there was nothing that I wanted more than to work for his re-election effort.  Although I didn’t get a job with him directly, through my employment with the Republican Party of Virginia, I did get to spend a lot of time assisting his campaign.  Like most Republicans and conservatives, I was both shocked and disappointed when he lost to Jim Webb by a narrow margin.

When I heard that George Allen was running again in late 2010/early 2011, my first reaction mirrored the same excitement that I displayed back in 2006.  Here is a conservative with almost universal name recognition who can reclaim one of Virginia’s two Senate seats currently held in Democratic hands.  But then, at the urging of a handful of anti-Allen folks (some of whom have since either joined the Allen campaign or who have endorsed him), I delved into Allen’s record when he served as our Senator from 2000-2006.  What I found would make just about every constitutional conservative cringe.

Like many conservatives, as the Bush presidency dragged on, I became increasingly disheartened with George W. Bush for not only failing to rein in the power of the federal government but massively expanding instead, as well as failing to enact conservative legislation.  But it wasn’t just the President who betrayed the conservative movement.  After all, for a huge chunk of the 107th, 108th, and 109th Congresses, Republicans controlled both the United States House of Representatives and the Senate.  For some unexplainable reason, I focused my frustrations on our President, while maintaining a rather rosy view of our legislators.  Nevertheless, as our Congressional representation endorsed and advocated these plans, they should be held just as culpable.

Let me outline what I feel are a few of George Allen’s most troubling votes while serving as our Senator.

He supported passage of the U.S. Patriot Act in October 2001.  George Allen, along with many other legislators voted to strip away some of our civil liberties in exchange for supposed security.  This act vastly increased the power of the federal government by allowing previously illegal roving wiretaps done without a court order and spying on what books folks check out in libraries.  You might be able to merely excuse his vote due to the widespread panic immediately following 9/11, but the fact that he voted to continue the program in October of 2006 meant that he had no qualms placing this country on the path to a police state.

He supported passage of Aviation and Transportation of Security Act in October 2001.  Are you happy with the TSA handling airport security?  Does the idea of aggressively patting down your grandma and your children please you?  How about revealing body scans?  Again, we can thank George Allen for this situation.

He supported No Child Left Behind in December 2001.  The federal government has no Constitutional authority to be involved in the education process.  Why should bureaucrats and legislators in D.C. have any control of an issue that is, depending on where you stand, the role of the states, localities, and most important, the parents themselves?

He supported the Iraq Conflict Resolution in October 2002.  Senator Allen voted to authorize use of force against the nation of Iraq while forces were already committed in another nation.  This invasion set a dangerous precedent for pre-emptive war.  As we all know now, we attacked a nation who posed no threat to the security of the United States.  This action led to the death of over 4,000 U.S. soldiers, over 100,000 Iraqi civilians, and a cost to the American taxpayer of $1.9 trillion dollars.

He supported Medicare Part D in November 2003.  Senator Allen advocated the expansion of federal government meddling in the health care industry by voting for passage of the Prescription Drug and Medicare Improvement Act.  From where in the Constitution does the federal government derive such authority?

He supported raising the debt ceiling.  Over the span of his six years in office, George Allen voted to raise the debt ceiling not once, not twice, but four times.  How is repeatedly driving this country further into debt the mark of a fiscal conservative?

Lastly, one of the defining marks of a limited government conservative is to actually eliminate unneeded, wasteful, or unconstitutional government.  How many federal programs did George Allen eliminate or try to eliminate while serving as our Senator?  Can you name just one of any substance?  I sorely wish that I could.

It is true that there are some good conservatives that voted the wrong way on one of these issues.  One area of disagreement typically shouldn’t scuttle a politician.  However, the fact that George Allen is on the wrong side of each of them is particularly troubling.  Although some of my Republican friends may think openly questioning George Allen’s record tantamount to treason, shouldn’t we resolve these matters now, before both the primary and the general election?

Last week, I heard that conservatives should support Allen because he has learned from his mistakes and now shares our values.  I haven’t seen sufficient evidence to back up this claim and thus I don’t really believe George Allen 2011 is much different from George Allen 2006.  Need proof?

If you will recall, from my article on May 27th of this year, I wrote each Republican candidate for Senate asking, “therefore, as a Republican candidate seeking to represent us in the United States Senate, the burning question on my mind is, if elected, what federal programs, agencies, or departments will you work to eliminate?”  Although George Allen stated that he planned to streamline a number of agencies and programs, unlike the other candidates he did not mention completely eliminating anything with the exception of Obamacare which is important, but not nearly enough.  Read my article and decide for yourself.

Now some people will point to Tuesday’s news of supposedly 100 tea party individuals who have endorsed George Allen’s campaign.  Although I’m certain a handful of partiers will do so, it is becoming apparent that this claim is a hoax.  From what I’ve read, quite a few of the people listed did not give their blessing and some of the people on the list aren’t even associated with the tea party.  The Virginia Tea Party Patriot Federation, of which I am a member, released a statement dispelling the claims of the Allen camp.

Nevertheless, I’d very much like to join with my friends and elected representatives who have endorsed George Allen.  After all, Virginia needs a strong conservative voice who will stand up for the Constitution, our principles, and the people of the Commonwealth; we need a man or woman with strong convictions who will do what is right even if that means sometimes standing against the President and his or her own party.  Given his track record from 2000-2006, like so many people in the tea party movement, I’m just not convinced the George Allen is the suitable person for the job.

Sure, George Allen has more than established his credentials with the officeholders, but that fact alone doesn’t win either the GOP nomination or the general election.  The challenge for both George Allen and his campaign is to prove to the tea parties, conservatives, Republicans, and average Virginians that he is the most principled candidate.  Despite what some outlets are reporting, so far, they have not succeeded in doing so.

I prized my A Team pin when it received back in 2006, but I guess it will continue to gather dust.  How unfortunate.

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On Friday, Washington Examiner and President of the Young Conservatives Coalition Christopher Malagisi wrote an article concerning Ron Paul’s and Gary Johnson’s recent participation in the South Carolina’s Republican Presidential Debate.  I encourage you to read his piece for yourself.  To follow is my commentary on it.

As you can tell from the title of my work, I believe that Malagisi’s conclusions are just flat out wrong.  He starts out claiming that the Republican Party is a three-legged stool, a merging of libertarians, traditionalists, and anti-communists.  Unfortunately, in this article, we are left with only inadequate assumptions of what he means by these terms.  However, if we look to one of his earlier posts, we find that he lists them as “1.) Classical Liberals – who believe in a limited government, individual liberty, and free markets; 2.) Traditionalists – who believe in preserving our traditional values and heritage; and 3.) Anti-Communists – who believe in a strong national defense.”   Although I would shy away from using the phrase “anti-communist” because I think it is outdated and has little real significance since the collapse of the Soviet Union, I believe he is spot on regarding this fusion of political ideologies within the party.

After this one salient point, Malagisi’s work devolves into fairly mindless bashing of Paul and Johnson for embracing this libertarian or “classical liberal” wing.  He claims that both men are more suited to be Democrats rather than Republicans because they don’t support the war on terror or imposed moral standards coming out of Washington D.C.  Doesn’t it seem strange that Malagisi admits there are three legs of the party, while at the same time seeking to saw off one entirely?  Although this news may come as a shock to those who lack either common sense or a basic understanding of physics, but this two-legged stool that Malagisi seems to be advocating cannot stand.

But Joshua, Chris implies that Ron Paul doesn’t want to defend our country.  Oh really?  Is it possible that one can be in favor of a robust defense while at the same time opposing undeclared wars, imperialism, and nation building?  If he is so “anti-national defense”, why did Paul receive more donations than any other candidate during the Republican nomination process in 2007-08, including former military veteran John McCain?

OK, I guess, but what about his claim that Ron Paul wants to erode our social values through destroying traditional marriage and legalizing heroin. Wrong again.  What Ron Paul has consistently advocated is taking power away from politicians and bureaucrats in the nation’s capital and returning this power to the states.  Just because we want the federal government to do one thing or another, doesn’t that desire allow us to circumvent the Constitution?  After all, are we not a nation of laws?

Let’s look at the question in another light.  To use Virginia as an example, who has defended our Judeo-Christian values better, D.C. or Richmond?  Which has produced greater restrictions on abortion?  Which has enshrined the traditional definition of marriage in its constitution?  Under federalism, conservative states, like Virginia, can offer their citizens a more upright society, while more liberal states, like Nevada or Vermont, provide outlets for sins of the flesh.  Is your state too liberal or conservative?  The proper remedy is to lobby your elected officials in your state capitol or move to a state more suited to your point of view rather than ram your social values, or lack thereof, down the throats of every citizen of the U.S. of A.

Those points aside, Malagisi then goes on to discuss the three most recent Republican nominees for President as “proper Republicans”.  But were they?  I maintain that Bob Dole and John McCain lost, not because they weren’t Republican enough (whatever that supposedly means), but because they could not appeal to all three kinds of Republicans.  Specifically, they were neither conservative nor libertarian enough.  As Malagisi points out, one of the reasons Bush won was that he advocated “a non-nation building approach”, an idea that resonated with most Republicans, like Paul and Johnson, who were weary of the multitude of Clintonesque adventures.  Then again, we saw how long Bush held true to these ideals.

Both Paul and Johnson are a welcome change to the current Republican politicians as usual who advocate a blend of fiscal irresponsibility, moral pandering absent any real commitment for meaningful legislation, wars without end, and the shredding of our Constitution.  Now, I will admit that Johnson is too libertarian for my tastes, after all, I am a social conservative.  However, with the recent debate as a guide, I would support him over Rick Santorum.  Although Santorum and I agree on many social issues, his statements in the debate lead me to fear that he would support an agenda more akin to fascism than liberty.

Despite what you may think from this post and others populating this blog, I am not a libertarian.  However, as a constitutional or paleo-conservative, I see libertarians as allies as we both seek to rein in the power of the federal government.  We can and do disagree on a number of social issues, like abortion and defending our borders, but the party should welcome these folks to counterbalance the Republicans who abandon any notion of limiting the power of government while Republicans reign.  After all, as the government continues to grow unabated, the greater fear is not having too much liberty, but having too little.  Still not convinced?  Remember that the idol of modern Republicanism, former President Ronald Reagan once said that, “the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism”.  If we punt Paul and Johnson off the team, we lose those whom Malagisi himself calls the first leg of Republicanism and, like in 1996 and 2008, the stool will collapse.

As Ron Paul’s viewpoints increase in popularity, it comes as no surprise that folks like Malagisi bash him as being a Democrat, even though such claims lack any merit.  Once you get beyond the surface, how many Democrats support reining in the power of the federal government, fiscal responsibility, a noninterventionist foreign policy, and states’ rights?  Can you name even one who embraces these platforms?  I maintain that unlike “mainstream” candidates, Ron Paul is a blend of all three legs of the Republican Party and should be treated likewise.  As I’ve explained above, shouldn’t Malagisi support Representative Paul given that the good doctor embodies Malagisi’s fundamental Republican principles of “individual freedom, limited government, free markets, a strong national defense, and preserving our traditional values and heritage”?

I would wager that either Malagisi is woefully ignorant of Paul and the conservative movement (unlikely) or he is a neoconservative who longs for the return to big government Republicanism.  Either way, I encourage my fellow traditional conservatives and libertarians to steer clear of his poisonous rhetoric.  Although he is welcome to his opinions, given his current political position, I fear how many other potential allies will become unknowingly tainted by his misguided and baseless words.

Update:  Fellow Jeffersoniad blogger Rick Sincere offers his take on Malagisi’s article here.

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Earlier today, political commentator and former Clinton consultant Dick Morris briefly appeared on Peter Schiff’s radio program.  Before I make a couple of brief comments, you should listen to the exchange.  I think you’ll find it interesting.

First of all, I find it strange that Mr. Morris doesn’t want to discuss the issue that Mr. Schiff brings up.  Instead, his only concern seems to be peddling his newest book.  Now why is the world would you be interested in reading his book about Obama’s supposed socialism if the author is unwilling to talk about the facets of this issue?

Second, Dick Morris makes a rather startling suggestion.  “We should drug test every high school student”?  Unlike the libertarians, I don’t believe that the solution to the drug problem in this country is to legalize every drug; however, I do strongly believe that such issues should be left to the states, not the bureaucrats in Washington.  Nevertheless, like Schiff, I don’t believe that drug testing every student is a policy that is responsible, cost effective, constitutional, or conservative.

Now some people make the claim that “if you’ve done nothing wrong then you’ve got nothing to hide”, but such an attitude is harmful to the liberty of the citizenry.  After all, I’m proud to say that I never took drugs while in high school.  However, even though I was clean and thus “had nothing to hide”, a school testing every student without probable cause is a gross violation of the privacy of the student.  Although I have heard that some people engage in these activities in the bathrooms, is installing cameras in these bathrooms a suitable response?  Yes, I’m sure it would cut down on illicit actions, but is it worth this “big brother” style invasion?  I’d like to think most rational people would say no.

So what is Dick Morris’ agenda?  As far as I can tell, it is only about making money through his books and getting more appearances on TV and radio to promote himself and his work.  It is hypocrisy to call Obama a socialist in one breath while you advocate a troubling big government solution just a few moments before.  Are the only two options left a big and intrusive government run by the Democrats (socialism) or a big and intrusive government run by the Republicans (fascism)?  Fortunately, there are a growing number of activists, libertarians and conservatives alike, who are working to purge the GOP of this Dick Morris style mindset.

Apparently I’ve got it all wrong.  Maybe if I just pretend to be a conservative and spend time with prostitutes I too will get a gig on TV.  Hey, it worked for Morris.

Thanks to Chris for alerting me to this video.

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Today, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky gave his first speech on the Senate floor.  In it, he recalls the actions and attitudes of two Kentuckians, The Great Compromiser Henry Clay, and his less well-known cousin, Cassius Clay.  Paul encourages the listener to ponder the following thought; is it better to compromise and achieve greater success or is it better to stand firm to your principles?

Again as this speech highlights, Senator Paul stands for so many important principles like: liberty, fiscal responsibility and Constitutional restraint.  As I’ve said multiple times, I believe that in order to achieve any real reform in this nation, we must elect more leaders like Senator Paul and his father.  Compromise is sometimes needed, but we must never compromise our cherished ideals for the sake of petty political power and selfishness.

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As a follow-up to my two-year-old post, “The 31 Flavors of Conservatism“, I just found a nifty little quiz that seeks to answer the question, what kind of conservative are you?  It’s only eight questions long, but as it covers a broad range of issues and includes a good number of choices, it should give you a pretty accurate answer.  Hopefully your response, like mine, will read,

“Congratulations!

You are Most Likely a Paleoconservative!”

So, go check it out for yourself! The quiz is part of U.S. conservative politics on about.com.

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Well, today marks another milestone.  Today is my birthday, the big three zero.  Oh, how time flies.  Normally I don’t make much of a deal about birthdays.  After all, how much of an accomplishment is a birthday?  What great feat have I mastered?  Not dying, I suppose.  Nevertheless, I will admit that it is nice to have a day when people pay attention to you.  But in this post I’d like to talk to you what I believe is a more relevant anniversary, my fifteenth.

You see, about fifteen years ago I first took the great plunge into politics.  Sure, I developed an interest earlier.  Let me draw you back into those halcyon days.  I remember voting in our school’s mock Presidential election in ‘88 and ‘92; I stopped in to the local GOP headquarters in November 1994 to pick up an “Ollie!” button.  I watched the election returns at home and remember being excited about the result, though I wasn’t really involved.  Like most Americans, I was a passive spectator.  Soon after that cycle, everything changed.  I eagerly purchased “To Renew America”.  I committed myself to my first important issue, abortion, and so I ordered a bunch of Pro-life literature from Heritage House 76.  I even created a crude bumper sticker, which I proudly displayed on a folder around the halls of my high school.  It was a very simplistic time, a time when everything was clearly black and white.  All Republicans, like my heroes Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Majority Leader Bob Dole, were good guys, and Democrats, like President Bill Clinton and Minority Leaders Tom Daschle and Dick Gephardt, were the bad guys.  1995 was a year of tremendous optimism.  After all, Republicans dominated the 1994 election unified on the back of the Contract With America.  And after my first attempt at volunteering in that year, Glenn Weatherholtz picked up the 26th House of Delegates seat and Kevin Miller won the 26th State Senator seat, things were looking extremely positive.  But life didn’t stay that way for long.

The next years were a back and forth series of ups and downs, positive at the state level and disheartening at the federal.  In my first Presidential election in 1996, Bill Clinton easily defeated Senator Bob Dole.  In 1997, then Republican Attorney General Jim Gilmore won the Governor’s race in Virginia promising to eliminate the car tax.  Next, in 1998, we had the GOP congressional loss and Newt Gingrich’s fall from power, coupled with the later discovery of his hypocritical affair.  Then in 1999, Republicans captured a majority of the seats in the House of Delegates for the first time since Reconstruction.  During this time, however, I slowly began to come to the critical understanding that politics was more than blind partisanship and the single issue of abortion.  Sure the Republican Party and pro-life work are important, but they are facets of a larger struggle of ideology and principles…conservatism versus liberalism.

Considering I mention it so often in this blog, I feel like I need to talk a bit about foreign policy.  Interestingly enough, foreign policy was never an important issue to me until after the attacks of 9-11.  Who cares about other nations?  I thought.  Our own domestic policy was all that really mattered.  Sure, I didn’t support Clinton’s adventure in Bosnia, but my objection primarily stemmed from economic concerns.  As I studied more about the issue in college (at first rather reluctantly), I came to realize that how we conducted our affairs abroad had a tremendous impact on policies at home both in terms of security and our budget.  If we are supposedly a Judeo-Christian nation, shouldn’t we treat other nations and peoples as we ourselves would like to be treated?  Now don’t misunderstand, the primary objectives of our government are to secure the lives, liberty, and property of its citizens and so if another nation (or group) seeks to destroy our freedoms or our people, we must prevent them from doing so.  But, as John Quincy Adams reminds us, “Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.”  Unfortunately, this seemingly simple time honored principle has gotten me in more trouble in Republican circles than any other.

These last eight years or so have been extremely depressing.  Why?  At the national level, how many government programs, department, and agencies have been eliminated?   Compare that number to how many new bureaucracies have been added.  It’s sad isn’t it, watching the government grow, our liberties shrink, and our constitution reduced to mere toilet paper?  So many politicians cry for change, but how many of them protect our rights, our borders, or the unborn?  So many are pathetic shills.  Until the Ron Paul campaign came along in 2007, I didn’t think politics would ever get better.  Suddenly Paul was a single drop of limited government conservativism in an indifferent ocean of status quo politicians.  He firmly stood for principle over party politics.  Most Republicans I knew shunned Paul and it wasn’t until after the campaign had concluded that they finally viewed the doctor in a positive light.  These days, with the rise of the tea party movement, I’m very hopeful that this new wave of activists will push both the Republican Party and the federal government toward the conservative principles that I have been advocating for a long time now.

Based upon these last years, what will the future hold?  Will taxes, regulations, and mandates from Washington further shackle the American public?  Will the states refuse to obey any more unconstitutional legislation?  Will a great leader emerge to restore the republic or conversely will he or she create a socialist paradise?  We should not look to others for the answers to these questions, but to ourselves.   Right now we have a lot of positive rhetoric and hope, but we need greater numbers and, more importantly, action.  Therefore, I ask you to join me.  Politically speaking, you may be an infant, a teenager like myself, or someone far more experienced, but really age doesn’t mater.  Only by working together can we enact meaningful change. We must not be silent.  We must not be complacent.  Recruit your family, your friends, your neighbors, and your coworkers.  Run for office, draft legislation, write your Congressman, volunteer in your local GOP, or join a Tea Party.  Getting back to the original point about my birthday, if you’re looking to get me the perfect gift, how about a little liberty?

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Tonight was an important night for the restoration of liberty in our nation.  Both the primary success of Rand Paul in Kentucky and the defeat of Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania signal that voters are looking to change D.C.

Let me first start with Specter.  Although he was competing in the Democratic primary, I believe Specter’s loss is certainly positive.  Even when he was a Republican, he never was a conservative so I never cared for him.  Of course, when he discovered that he would lose the Republican nomination last year, he switched to the Democratic Party.  At that moment, some Republican pundits considered Specter to be a traitor but, as I never considered him an ally to liberty, his party switch was mainly cosmetic.  I think that at the end of the day, he was more wed to saving his political career than conservative principles.  Good riddance to a lifelong politician I say.

Of course Rand Paul’s smashing victory in Kentucky is far more exciting.  Rather than repeat the arguments I made a mere eleven days ago, I’ll redirect you to my earlier post, “The Battle for Kentucky and the GOP”.  One burning question though is, with his win tonight, will the establishment Republicans rally behind the Republican candidate or shrink away?  Obviously, I am hoping for the former option, as we need leaders like Paul in office.  In addition, assuming that Paul wins the general election in November, will he be one of the few voices crying in the wilderness, or will we bolster his victory by electing other liberty-minded men and women to aid in the cause?

I have no doubt that tomorrow will bring new challenges…but tonight let us revel in the sweetness of victory!

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Sorry for little pause in updates.  My personal circumstances are changing including a potential move, though I should still be in the 26th district.  But on to the topic at hand…

Limited government conservative and establishment Republicans have long butted heads and 2010 is no exception.  For starters, you can look south to Florida for The Rubio/Crist feud.  How about blowback against the maverick John McCain in his primary fight in Arizona?  We in the limited government camp are not alone.  The tea party movement itself rose to tell not only the federal government, but also the Republican Party, that to quote the movie Network, we are “as mad as hell and not going to take this anymore!  Things have got to change!”  Now we don’t merely want change for changes’ sake.  We have seen the supposed hope and change that President Obama offers, and now our future is clouded and uncertain.  We need a new and better direction.  Neither citizens nor corporations should endlessly suckle at the teat of the government, merely crying for bread and circuses.  That crooked road doesn’t lead to freedom and prosperity, but to shackles and serfdom.  To reclaim our nation we need a path paved with the promises of liberty and personal responsibility, not welfare and bailouts.

This year, I believe no battle is more important in war for the heart and soul of the GOP than in Kentucky.  For the side of the limited government crowd we have Rand Paul, son of Texas Representative and 2008 Presidential candidate Ron Paul.  For the side of the establishment, we have Trey Grayson, the Secretary of State of Kentucky.  With the primary less than two weeks away, politicians and political leaders from both wings of the Republican Party have taken notice and have come out swinging with endorsements.  In Grayson’s column, we have Senate Minority Leader and Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, Dick Cheney, Rick Santorum, and Rudy Giuliani.  Paul’s supporters include Senator Jim DeMint (SC), Steve Forbes, Dr. James Dobson, and Sarah Palin.  These endorsements alone should give you some indication of the quality of the two men.

On many issues both candidates share the same (or nearly the same) views: abortion, taxes, and spending.  Therefore, I don’t believe it would be fair to say that either candidate is not conservative.  What makes Paul a better choice, in my mind, is his limited government mindset.  I think Erick Erickson of Red State sums up my thoughts pretty well.  “The problem with Republicans in Congress is that they lost their way. They were willing to do things they otherwise would oppose because George Bush told them to.  And they have been willing ever since to go along with strategies that were poll tested and mother approved because that is what the leadership wanted and told them to do.”  He goes on to add, “I want men and women of high moral character who are men and women of conservative principle, not of party.

When of party, politicians think too often of saving themselves, not the country. For too long the Republicans have invested in solid party guys who advance the party’s agenda, but not conservatism and certainly not smaller government.”

Amen Mr. Erickson.  We need leaders who are not afraid to actually lead.

Like his father, Rand Paul is against bailouts of all kinds, the Federal Reserve, and even opposes the Patriot Act and the War in Iraq.  Although such a line of thinking is not popular with the establishment Republicans and may even be considered radical, I believe that this path is the only method to save the Republican Party and, more importantly, our nation as a whole.

Although I do not live in Kentucky, I wholeheartedly endorse and support Rand Paul.  Neither side will be able to claim ultimate victory as a result of this primary, but a win for Paul will likely create aftershocks felt across the land.  Sooner or later in our own cities, counties, and states, both you and I will have the opportunity to choose between the status quo and a limited, constitutional government.  On that day, will you have the courage to take a stand?

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