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Posts Tagged ‘Nancy Pelosi’

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Representative Bob Goodlatte

Today in the mail, I received a letter from the office of my member of the House of Representatives, Bob Goodlatte (VA-6).  At first, I must confess that I was a bit puzzled by it.  After all, I hadn’t contacted Representative Goodlatte in many months and thus wasn’t expecting any sort of correspondence.

Once opening it, I discovered the letter was in response to a query I sent him back in the first week of January, some two and a half months earlier.  It is a bit disappointing to see the response time of his office hasn’t really improved much.  Nevertheless, I appreciate the fact that his office does answer, sooner or later, unlike Senator Mark Warner’s who has never replied to any inquiries.

Anyway, today’s message was in reference to the vote for the Speaker of the House of Representatives.  If you may recall, I, like my 6th district Republican committee, had urged Representative Goodlatte to vote against re-electing John Boehner for that position.  However, much to the disappointment of my conservative friends and associates in and around the Shenandoah Valley, Mr. Goodlatte cast his vote for Boehner anyway.

In his letter, Goodlatte writes “…I voted for Speaker Boehner and not Nancy Pelosi.  Those were the two choices.”  Was the election for speaker a choice of damnations?  Can we all agree that Boehner may be bad, but if we didn’t support him, we would have gotten Pelosi and that outcome would have been even worse?  To further bolster his position, Representative Goodlatte goes on to list several conservative members of the house who also voted to re-elect Boehner.

However, as I wrote in January, this line of reasoning presents a false dichotomy; a few members of the House of Representatives cast their votes for individuals other than either Boehner or Pelosi.  Now, this kind of move was not without risk.  Voting against the person who would become speaker, especially when he is a member of your own political party, can bring all sorts of trouble, such as the loss of a prized chairmanship or a position on a key committee.  It was a tough spot, no doubt.  Unfortunately, when presented with the choice of damnations of upsetting the leadership in Washington versus upsetting the entire 6th district Republican committee and scores of grassroots activists back home, Representative Goodlatte preferred the second option.

Given the vast multitude of political opinions, it is not realistic for an activist to agree with his or her elected officials all of the time.  On occasion, we must expect our leaders to stand their ground, even when it runs counter to our own principles.  However, even if it ends up making you pariah in either Washington D.C. or Richmond, I prefer it when legislators are more worried about the concerns of their constituents than pleasing the lobbyists or the politically powerful.  Maybe that idea is an old fashioned relic from earlier days in our republic.

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Earlier today, the House of Representatives held a vote for speaker of that body.  Although there was and still remains conservative animosity toward John Boehner, he secured re-election as speaker with 220 votes out of 426 cast.  Nancy Pelosi finished in second place, garnering the support of the Democratic members of that body with 192 votes.

390px-Bob_Goodlatte_OfficialAs you may know, prior to this vote, Virginia’s 6th District Republican Committee, the district that Bob Goodlatte represents in the house, passed a strongly-worded resolution calling upon Representative Goodlatte to oppose Boehner’s re-election as speaker.  It should also be noted that this resolution passed unanimously, favored by Republican political activists throughout the greater Shenandoah, Page, and Roanoke Valleys.

For the record, the resolution reads as follows:

November 10, 2012

Dear Congressman Goodlatte,

The framers of the Constitution of the United States wisely instituted the division of powers, not merely to enable specialization of the respective commissions, but primarily to limit the powers of each community. Under the influence of both Christian thought and the abysmal historical precedents of foreign nations, they recognized the tendency even of the best of men to secure to themselves unlimited and unjust authority, and to employ it for the purpose of enslaving the masses. The authors judiciously embraced their moral obligation by including this mechanism (division of powers) for the simple frustration of such tyrannical efforts.

The imposition of Obamacare against the wishes of the people is an unequivocal expression of the anticipated tyrannical powers. Yet even though every member of the House of Representatives is aware of his ability to thwart this measure, no such effort of protection is forthcoming. Apparently few enough care more about the people they purport to represent than about their own political aspirations.

Speaker Boehner has called for “Repeal and Replace,” all the while he has been fully cognizant of the fact that the Senate and the President would not concur with him.  Such disingenuous acts are intended to defraud the people while leading them to believe he is fighting for their cause. His unwillingness to lead the effort to de-fund Obama’s healthcare, a truly feasible mechanism for restraining this tyranny, is a conscious dereliction of duty. His recent commitment to active pursuit of its funding, coupled with his capitulation on the issue of amnesty and his agreement to raise taxes are acts that are nothing short of treasonous to our interests and our security.

Therefore, we are writing to notify you of our unwillingness to accept such representation; to demand that you oppose the selection of Mr. Boehner as speaker for the next session; that you only select a representative who is willing to engage fully in battle against Obamacare and the many other imprudent and unconstitutional efforts of the Obama administration, and that our future support for you is contingent upon your efforts to lead the fight to deny President Obama every unconstitutional measure, and that this must be done without excuse.

Passed unanimously, this 10th day of November, 2012

The Sixth Congressional District Republican Committee of Virginia

Although some activists may appreciate the willingness of Goodlatte to stand his ground, this move to re-elect Boehner will almost certainly infuriate his base, the conservatives of the 6th district who believe that the federal government has grown well beyond its constitutional limitations and who also think our Republican leadership has been actively leading the country in the wrong direction.

A few moments ago, I called Bob Goodlatte’s D.C. office as well as all of his district offices to confirm his vote on this matter.  Although I have been unable to secure a direct confirmation from these sources, I was told if given a choice between John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi, Goodlatte would choose Boehner.  However, this either/or choice is not entirely correct.  Although it is true that there was no single, unified Republican candidate to stand against Boehner, other options were available as illustrated by the fact that some Republican members of the house cast their votes for Rep. Eric Cantor, former Rep. Allen West, Rep. Justin Amash, Rep. Jim Jordan, Rep. Raul Labrador, or David Walker.  Other also voted present or remained silent when his or her name was called.  According to Republican Liberty Caucus Chairman Dave Nalle, Representative Goodlatte was not among the list of Republican representatives who opposed Boehner.

In this most recent election cycle, Bob Goodlatte faced a Republican challenger for the first time in his 20 years in office.  Karen Kwiatkowski, his GOP opponent, attacked Mr. Goodlatte from the right, claiming that he was not conservative or liberty-minded enough to represent the people of the 6th district.  Although she was unsuccessful in her first attempt, it should be noted that she did win the city of Harrisonburg and almost captured Page County as well.  Today’s vote makes another challenge from either Kwiatkowski or someone else all the more likely.

Conservatives across the country are rightly upset with Boehner’s leadership and many will be unhappy to discover that he retains the position of speaker.  The fact that our representative, Bob Goodlatte, chose today to ignore the wishes of some of his most important and influential constituents, the entire 6th District Republican Committee is quite surprising and could cause a particularly nasty fracture between Goodlatte and the committee.

So, the big question now is how will Virginia’s 6th district Republicans react to this news?

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This past week or so, my inbox box has been abuzz with emails from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  The interesting thing is that the Democrats have been consistently writing that they will maintain their majority after the November election.  As Pelosi writes, “We will retain our Democratic Majority in the House because I have you in this fight”.  Now obviously she doesn’t have my backing, and I would expect the Democrats to suffer a strong backlash in these midterm elections in protest of Obamacare, a continually faltering and protracted conflict far beyond our borders, and the general weakness of the economy and the job market.

The historical trend is that the party in the White House will lose seats in both houses of Congress in midterm elections.  For example, when did the Democrats most recently gain control of Congress?  2006, during the middle of Bush’s second term.  After a forty-year drought, Republicans took control of the House of Representatives during Clinton’s first mid term in 1994.  Although there are exceptions, there have only been three times in the last one hundred years that have bucked this trend.  In the current cycle, according to Rasmussen Reports, Republicans have enjoyed a small, but uninterrupted, advantage on a generic ballot since June 28 of last year.   In addition, they report that the number of folks who identify themselves as Democrats have fallen to record lows.

Republicans will make gains in next months election, of that I am certain.  However, I am not unwilling to make the claim that this upcoming election will be a “slam dunk” for the Republican Party, nor do I think it necessarily should be.  Voters are in general fed up with politics and usual and until and unless one party (the Republicans) is consistently willing to stand for the Constitution and a limited government, the government will continually vacillate between the two parties, casting each aside in turn as they hope for something better.  We must reject politicians like Pelosi who claim first priority over our income, our general welfare, and even our children.  I don’t know who will be speaker after the November election, but given her very low popularity, 59% negative according to a yesterday’s Rasmussen Reports, I would expect that both Nancy’s reign and her letters are soon coming to an end.

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I can’t tell you how many times recently people have said to me either via email or in person that our country would be heading on the right track if only President Obama was out of office.  Unfortunately, such a viewpoint is not only overly simplistic, it is also quite wrong.  President Obama is a problem, yes, but the issue runs far deeper.  Even if we were to broaden our scope and remove Congressional leaders like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, our government would still be in a bad shape.  Some people have the mistaken impression that our government is a type of monarchy whereby one person, or a select few people, runs the nation.  Although from all public appearances we seem to be trending in that direction, there are still many people in Washington D.C. who can influence policy.  Just disregarding the cabinet members, advisors, and legions of bureaucrats, we still have the power to elect our president and the four hundred and thirty five members of Congress.  You must remember that the President cannot make laws, that power is reserved for the Congress. So let’s turn our focus there.

How did Nancy Pelosi become Speaker of the House?  How did Harry Reid become Majority Leader?  Was it merely by chance or was it some sort of electoral free-for-all?  No, of course not.  With the Democrats in power, they selected two of their Congressional leaders to take charge in the House and Senate.  Don’t like the actions of Reid or Pelosi?  Blame the Democrats in Congress who gave them power.  What about the Republicans?  Can they be held responsible for massive increases in the growth of the federal government?  Absolutely.  While some of them outright supported unacceptable legislation, some of the others stood silent, merely watching from the sideline.  As all spending bills must originate in the House, House members must claim the courage to vote against unconstitutional acts and wasteful spending.  But our Senators are guilty too.  In the Senate, a dedicated minority can use the filibuster to stall business in order to kill or delay bad laws.  They must not be afraid to use this tool whenever the rights of the constituents are being trampled.  The simple rule we must follow is that Representatives and Senators who either actively or passively ignore the Constitution must be removed.  Although we rarely take advantage of the opportunity, we have that chance every two (or six) years.

But the blame goes beyond the corrupt cesspool of Washington.  Should our national leaders fail us, which most have repeatedly, we must look to Richmond, and related capitals for redress.  After all, under the authority of the 10th Amendment, power not specifically granted to the federal government is reserved for the states and the people.  As a result of this nationalized health care scheme, some states, like ours, have sued the federal government.  It is a step in the right direction, of course, but they must press other issues as well where D.C. has overstepped its bounds.  Unfortunately, such a course of action requires a political will and determination that few statesmen possess.  The majority of politicians do not chart this course, and so they are at fault as well.

But blame goes further than the White House, Congress, and the State House.  What about the average citizen?  Does he or she blindly go through his or her day rarely reflecting on the mischief of Obama and his associates?  When we vote, do we really consider the issues and stances of the potential leaders in question, or are we duped by the hollow promise of “hope” and “change”?  Educated and active voters are key components of a healthy nation.  In America though, our base is largely apathetic and ignorant, drawn to the tiny details of the relatively empty lives of celebrities rather than actions of our supposed representative delegates.  We cannot complain about the whims of Washington, and the power-grabbing nature of our leaders when we refuse to get involved.  How can you hold politicians accountable when you remain unaware of their activities?  Thus the greatest culpability for people like Obama along with the greatest hope for their removal rests with a single person.  Surely you know the individual.  After all, you see that person in the mirror every morning.  So, now that we all share the blame, only one question remains.  What are you prepared to do?

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During the Tea Party rally about a week ago, the promoters were selling a number of political items: Tea (or Tee) shirts, bumper stickers, Gadsden flags, and the like.  As a casual poker player, one particular novelty that caught my eye was a deck of playing cards called “America’s Most Wanted”.  Similar to the most wanted cards printed during the Iraqi invasion, this deck contains pictures of a number of politicians, though U.S. not Iraqi.  The two ties, which bind this assortment of fifty-four leaders together, are their support for big government policies and the fact that they are up for re-election in the 2010 election cycle.  Of course you can find the usual suspects, Speaker Nancy Pelosi as a Joker, Rep. Barney Frank as the Queen of Hearts, Senator Chuck Schumer as the King of Spades, but what caught my eye was the Aces of Spades.  It may surprise you to know that the deck includes a handful of Republicans.  As they put it, “Republicans and Democrats alike, who have betrayed the American traditions of individual liberty & personal responsibility by voting for or supporting these four issues [TARP, the Stimulus Bill, socialized healthcare and Cap and Trade] are represented.  As a result, for the twin acts of supporting TARP and Cap & Trade, on that Ace, we find none other than Arizona Senator and 2008 Republican Presidential nominee, John McCain.

Now I’ve outlined my objections to John McCain during the 2008 Presidential cycle, so I won’t rehash them here.  Nevertheless, I believe it is healthy for political activists to question the positions of any political candidate regardless of party affiliation and so I’m glad to see the Tea Party take another stand for principle.  It is my hope that the Tea Party movement will serve as the catalyst to push both the Republican and the Democratic Party toward greater constitutional conservatism.  Only then will we be able to begin to restore the Republic.

If you want your own set of cards, you can find them at the Shenandoah Valley Tea Party Patriots website.

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