Searching for Judas

A little while ago, I got the latest issue of the Life Defender in the mail.  For those unfamiliar with the newsletter, it is a publication of the organization Virginians for Life, a pro-life organization based out of Front Royal.  Although the issue contained a number of interesting pieces, including a small picture of yours truly, the item that caught my eye was a provocatively entitled article “What Should We Do When Pro-life Politicians Sell Out for 30 Pieces of Political Silver?”  For those with even the most basic knowledge of the Bible, you should instantly recognize the reference to Judas.  For the price of 30 pieces of silver, Judas agreed to betray Jesus to the Jewish authorities and thus led to Jesus’ crucifixion.  Now this article claims that a certain Virginia politician has sold out the pro-life movement in exchange for political capital, but who might this politician be?  Why, it is none other than State Senator Ken Cuccinelli.  But how you may ask, according to this article, did the conservative Cuccinelli betray the pro-life cause?  By endorsing Frank Wolf.

Now I think that anyone who has read much of this blog would not be surprised to hear that Rep. Frank Wolf is not one of my favorite Virginia politicians.  He supported the $700 million dollar bailout of Wall Street, he supported bartering our freedoms by voting for the Patriot Act, and he supported limiting our gun rights through the Brady Bill, just to name a few issues of concern.  But when it comes to the issue of life, for the most part, Rep. Wolf is actually pretty good.  He is against partial-birth abortion, votes to remove much of Planned Parenthood’s funding, has an 85% voting record with National Right to Life in 2007, and typically supports the pro-life movement.  So what is his great sin, that which tarnishes him in the eyes of Virginians for Life?  He is pro-life except in the cases of rape and incest.  As I stated in the past, although I don’t agree with these exceptions, I do not condemn those pro-lifers who hold them, but treat them as brothers and sisters in the fight.  Think about it for a moment.  Not only would banning abortion except in cases of rape and incest reduce the number of abortions in this nation to a relatively few, it would also be a solution which I believe a majority of Americans could rally behind.  Do I want abortions in this country?  Absolutely not, but, like those who favor gun control, we must work though incrementalism and not tear ourselves apart through infighting.

Would I support Frank Wolf for Attorney General of Virginia?  No, I wouldn’t.  But, on the same hand, I cannot condemn Ken Cuccinelli for endorsing him based upon the life issue either.  After all, Cuccinelli is on the ballot, Wolf is not.  Plenty of conservatives supported McCain even though I did not.  Should I treat them as unrepentant heretics?  Heaven forbid.  Not only would I alienate myself, I would also condemn many otherwise fine and upstanding people that I respect and desire to work along side, not against.  Fellow conservatives, I firmly believe that Senator Cuccinelli represents a strong hope for us in the coming years and we must continue to advance our beliefs through whatever candidates and organizations share such values.  To Senator Cuccinelli, I say good luck to you, sir.  To Virginians for Life, I say do whatever you can to continue to fight for the unborn, but please do not disparage the strongly pro-life Cuccinelli on this fundamental issue.  There are certainly Judases among our ranks, but Ken Cuccinelli has proven himself to be our friend and ally, not a traitor.

The Lustful Hope of Equality

One fairly easy method to differentiate conservatives from liberals is simply one of terminology choice.  For example while conservatives and libertarians prefer the concept of liberty, liberals and socialists work for equality.  Need proof?  Fair enough.  For example, if one were to look through all the posts on this site through today, you would find that the word liberty shows up 17 times while the word equality appears only twice and both are in reference to the notion of state equality.

At some level, all of us, besides those who express open hostility toward a certain socioeconomic, ethnic, religious, or cultural group desire equality.  The equality of which I speak is equality under the law.  Everyone, be they man or woman, white or black, Christian or Hindu, rich or poor, should be constrained by the same agreed upon rules and regulations.  Despite the claims of Senator Stephens, even our leaders must abide by the same restrictions that bind the common man.  Ideally this same equality would apply to many facets of life: e.g. employment opportunities, college acceptance, our commercial dealings, equal work for equal pay, etc.  Merit would be the sole determining factor between two otherwise fairly equally qualified individuals.

The Equality of Race
Liberals however do not like the idea of merit determining equality.  After all, they say, some groups are disadvantaged.  Now it is certain that certain groups have been discriminated against in the past.  One of the most notable groups is the blacks.  After the abolition of slavery, black people were subjugated to a number of laws that not only dehumanized them, but always prevented them from enjoying the same rights and opportunities that white people had.  Fortunately, due to the efforts of the civil rights crusaders, black people achieved equal rights.  Liberals, however, were not satisfied.  They argued that as a result of past discrimination, in order to have true equality, we must create extra opportunities for minorities and thus affirmative action was born.  Of all attempts to create an equal society, affirmative action is one of the most ill-conceived and unfair programs ever introduced.  They clamor for equality among the races and then they offer a system that sharply divides us based upon race.  If you are an employer, you cannot necessarily hire the best-qualified candidate due to racial quotas.  If you are looking for either education or employment despite your merit you may be denied simply based upon the color of your skin.  And if you are a minority and received your position solely as a result of your merit, how do you quell your coworkers’ spoken or unspoken thoughts of mere racial promotion?  Does this system cause resentment? Does this system promote racial equality or does it hinder it?

The Equality of Income
When it comes to income levels, liberals, unlike conservatives, do not trust the free market to distribute wealth fairly.  Everyone, they argue, should receive a “living wage” from their employment.  Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast definition of a “living wage”.   Is $15,000 a living wage? How about $20,000?  What about $40,000?  $120,000?  In order to achieve greater economic equality, liberals promote policies of welfare and a progressive income tax where your tax rate is based upon your level of income.  Now why would liberals act in such a fashion?  Why should they punish those who prosper?  Often times, super wealthy liberals feel guilty for their success and therefore feel better by forcing themselves and their neighbors to offer some of their wealth to the lower classes.  Certainly those who make their wealth through illegal or unscrupulous means should suffer guilt, but those who achieve honestly should harbor no such remorse.  Other liberals, who do not enjoy material success resent the successes of their fellow man.  After all, shouldn’t his or her labor be of equal value to anyone else’s?  It should make no difference if the marketplace holds some work in higher regard.

Although I believe it is strange to the conservative’s mindset, equality often comes to the forefront of a liberal’s mind.  Most liberals, I would argue, push for this lustful hope of equality merely to further their own notion of fairness in the same way conservatives push for liberty out of fairness.  Therefore their goal is laudable, though misguided.  Unfortunately, their efforts over-inflate the worth of some work, they upset the established social and religious norms, they create new discrimination, and worst of all, they further bloat the power of the government.  Seeking to right some perceived wrong, they cling to the skirt of government, like children looking to have their nanny/parent solve all their problems.  By doing so, they forfeit not only their own liberty and responsibility, but also, the liberties and responsibilities of all their fellow citizens and, slowly but surely, all traces of freedom.  Thus, the more dangerous liberals use race and class under the guise of equality to sharpen the distinctions among us.  Divided, confused, and resentful, they make us their pawns to achieving their goal of absolute and unquestioned power.  But, if we return to my earlier point, in order have true equality in this country, we must arrive at a system whereby we are all treated the same under the law and in the marketplace irrespective of the color of one’s skin or the coins in one’s pocket.  We have seen the so-called equality of welfare, discrimination, and dependency created by the liberal acts of the federal government.  Is this legislated equality the kind of equality you desire?

Reclaiming the Party

Well fellow conservatives, we stand at a historic opportunity to reclaim the GOP.  Although the Republican Party was trounced in the election, the principles of limited government conservatism remain strong.  The Republican Party lost.  Neo-conservative thinking lost.  But, you must remember that we did not lose because our policies and principles were not on the ballot.  True, some conservatives did and might lose (let us hope that Virgil Goode (5th, VA) triumphs), however, those defeats likely stemmed from the weakness from the top of the ticket.  I assure you that more McCain voters were motivated by fear of Obama than enthusiasm for McCain.  That tactic is no way to win an election.  Love trumps fear.  Have we learned nothing from Machiavelli?  If only our candidates had run away as fast as they could from big government advocates like Bush and McCain, they would have done far better.  As I’ve said in the past,

“I believe that there are three key elements that lead to our success.  We win if we:

1.    Stick to our principles,
2.    Properly articulate our message to the fine citizens of the Valley and the rest of our state, and
3.    Campaign hard

When we fail at even one of these principles, we usually lose (and deservedly so).”

Unfortunately, when conservatives place party ahead of principles, conservatives lose.  Then, sooner or later, the Republican Party loses …Virginia loses…and the nation loses.

Along these lines, I present to you a speech given by the author of the book Conservatives Betrayed, Richard Viguerie.  He gave this speech at the Virginia Conservative Leadership Conference on April 26th 2008 in Richmond, Virginia.

Should you want to hear more of Richard Viguerie, you should pick up his writings or visit his website.

Fellow lover of liberty, all is not lost.  We must take back our party, our state, and our nation.  Do you want more faux conservative candidates like McCain or Bush?  Do you want more betrayals and crushing defeats?  If we fail to act today, who knows when we will get another opportunity like the present?  Now is our time, so let us begin.

The Virginia Democratic-Republican?

Well…here we are…the day after the presidential election.  In a recent post, Jack Hunter a.k.a. the Southern Avenger asked what issues motivated you in this election.  For him, the central concerns were controlling illegal immigration and an elimination of the present aggressive and expansive foreign policy.  I think that both were indeed important, but did these issues move you?  Could there have been others?  What about the killing of our children via abortion?  Or how about cutting taxes?  Reducing government spending?  Protecting our rights to keep and bear arms?  The list goes on.  Although there were numerous issues of importance in this election, as with every year, the single most important and all-encompassing issue for me was a drastic reduction of the size and scope of the federal government.  As well you know, neither of the two major party candidates offered any significant plans to noticeably put us on a path to a reduction in government.  Although you would be right to ask why neither the Republicans and the Democrats would nominate a person who shares my goal, instead let us focus a bit on the history of American politics.

Those without grounding in early American politics might find my title “the Virginia Democratic-Republican” a bit strange.  No, I assure you that I don’t have some sort of multiple personally disorder or that I’m pining for the fusion of both Democrats and Republicans, but rather I’m referring to one of the two original political parties in the county.  Early in the nation’s history, there were, like today, two parties.  The first sought greater power for the federal government through means such as the establishment of a national bank, a strong national army and navy, close ties to Great Britain, high tariffs, considerable government spending, and the ability to punish those who spoke against the policies of the government.  They were called the Federalists and were led by men like Alexander Hamilton and John Adams.  Sounds a bit like today doesn’t it…with a federal reserve/bailout, the War on Terror, and the Patriot Act, huh?  Opposing this party were the Democratic-Republicans who favored a weak, limited, constitutional government with greater power reserved for the states.  They argued for low taxes and spending, small or nonexistent standing military, good relations with France, and a balanced budget.  Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe were leaders in this party.  Slowly, but surely, due to a number of factors, the Democratic-Republicans gained power until the Federalist Party disappeared.

Although the Federalist Party died, their ideas did not and they reformed as the Whigs and later as the Republican Party.  The Democratic-Republicans, on the other hand, became the forbearers of the Democratic Party.  The first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, and his successors continued in the vein of the Federalist Party of old by attempting to create national banks, an income tax, a large military force, internal improvements through massive government spending, high tariffs, and subduing states rights under the heel of the national government.

For the most part, the Democratic Party stood as the champions of states rights and limited government.  Curiously this trend changed with the presidencies of the first two Democratic Presidents in the 20th Century.  Woodrow Wilson, like the Republican Lincoln before him, created a permanent national bank (the Fed), the income tax, and vigorously supported American military interventionism in the name of idealism.  Later came Franklin Roosevelt who expanded the power of the federal government like never before with the creation of unconstitutional programs such as the New Deal, complete with the financial nightmare of social security and massive federal spending such as the Public Works Administration.  With the Democratic Party corrupted, who would stand firm for the Jeffersonian or Democratic-Republican principles of limited government?  Enter the Conservative coalition.

A conservative faction within both the Democratic and Republican parties rose to stand in opposition to big government advocates like FDR.  The Democratic wing came from mostly southern states and, unfortunately, often tied the movement to policies of racial inequality.  The most prominent leader of this group was Senator Robert Taft.  He, like the Democratic-Republicans, supported a small government rather than the welfare state and a non-interventionist foreign policy.  Conservatives managed to get two presidential nominees, Barry Goldwater followed by Ronald Reagan.  As time passed, the conservative Democrats disappeared which left the Republicans to hold the torch.  As Reagan stated when he became a Republican after being a Democrat, “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party.  The party left me.”  Unfortunately, since Reagan, neither party has nominated a true limited government advocate for president.

1994 was another important milestone in conservative politics in the United States.  Not only did the Republican Party simply regain control of the House and Senate, but also it was after a 40-year hiatus.  They achieved power through a coordinated effort promising to streamline government called the Contract with America.  By promoting conservative thinking, the Republican Party was able to win.  Since 1994 conservative politics have been backsliding.  As I’ve stated in earlier posts, the presidency of George W. Bush has been a pretty consistent disappointment for conservatives and a John McCain presidency offers little joy either.  Add this to the fact that none of the Republican or Democratic leaders in the House or Senate have taken a firm, strong stand for conservatism in recent years and you get a recipe for massive government increases.

Where are the politicians who embrace the philosophies of limited government in the tradition of Jefferson?  Although they still exist, both major parties have marginalized them.  Ron Paul has been the most vocal leader in recent years; the conservative Democrat Bob Conley unfortunately failed in his attempt to knock off McCain pal Lindsey Graham in South Carolina; Bob Marshall nearly grabbed the GOP Senate nomination here in Virginia.  What the future has in store for us I cannot say, but we must never give in and never compromise our core values.  I hope that with McCain’s defeat yesterday the Republican Party will be shocked back to its senses.  Otherwise we will need a new party to advance our cause.  No more Bushes and no more McCains.  Where’s Robert Taft when you need him?

The Uninformed Voter

First, let me direct your attention to today’s Sinfest comic.

I suppose the strip would be funnier if there were not actually voters like the dumbfounded one in the comic.  Let me tell you that having been involved in politics for as long as I have, few things scare me more than the uninformed voter.  You might be voting for McCain, you might be voting for Obama, you might be voting for someone else, but I sincerely hope you have some sort of logical reason for doing so.  If you can’t offer any sort of rational thinking, then please, please, do not vote!  If you don’t know the positions of the candidates, then you shouldn’t select from among them.  As I’ve told a number of folks, back in 2000 while volunteering for the Bush campaign, I came across a voter who said he would be supporting W. in the election.  When I pressed him for a reason why he was voting for George Bush, he answered, in all honesty and with a straight face, that it was because he liked Busch beer.  Although I said nothing then, and even though he was voting for my candidate, I would have preferred it if he had not voted.  Just as bad, still other voters have told me that they want to vote for whichever candidate will win.  Do you honestly think that you get a prize if you vote for the winner?  Don’t we still have a secret ballot in this country?  Although I think you should be ashamed if you don’t know at least a little bit about political issues and candidates, there is a far greater shame in voting ignorantly.  At the rate we are going, mark my words…sooner or later an uninformed electorate will ruin our country.

Voting is not a test.

Voting is not a popularity contest.

Voting is not like picking a winner at the horse race.

Voting is a chance for the voter to express his or her opinions and principles through the selection of a like-minded candidate.

Any questions?

President Obama

Well, with only day left in the election, voters gravitate further and further to the Obama camp.  Even Virginia has slipped from a tossup state into the Democratic camp.  Although I see that McCain is ramping up is TV ads in the final 72 hours, it seems practically certain that he will be unable to overcome this gap.  Even Rasmussen Reports, who features McCain ads and anti-Obama ads on their website recently put Obama’s chances of victory at 85%.  If and when Obama does win, the blame game will begin.  Success, they say, has many fathers, while failure is an orphan.  Some Republicans pundits will blame conservatives such as myself for not rallying for McCain (or against Obama), but I steadfastly believe that if the Republican party nominated a true conservative rather than a liberal/moderate “maverick” we could have had a shot at winning.  It would have been tough, no doubt, with the unpopularity of President Bush, the war, and the economy, but there was still a chance of victory.  Senator McCain ignored the conservative base in favor of pandering to the liberals and the independents and we all will suffer for it tomorrow.

Nevertheless, I wonder what will come of an Obama presidency.  Government spending and taxes will increase, but what about foreign policy.  When the Republican got slammed back in 2006, the silver lining I hoped for was the end of the Iraq conflict.  After all, many Democrats, like our own Senator Webb, campaigned on the issue.  Unfortunately, we are still there in Iraq.  Ideally, I’d like to think that in an Obama administration diplomacy would replace the barrel of a gun approach favored by the Bush administration.  Will there be other changes?  You betcha.  The minimum wage will likely increase and there will be talk of a national health care system once more.  However, fellow conservatives, we must not become despondent or remain complacent.  We must shift the Republican Party toward conservatism if we want any voice or any true counterbalance to this cradle-to-grave liberalism.  Mark my words though, if we work together and promote our small-government ideals, we should be in prime position to make tangible gains in the midterm 2010 election.