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.