GOP Hopefuls Weigh-In On Cuts

I’m sure that just about every American would agree that our government is in a financial crisis.  Regardless of whether Congress agrees to raise the debt ceiling or not, we cannot continue on our present course; we spend more than we take in, we borrow from foreign nations, and our government expands all the while.  It is a degenerative cycle that will bankrupt future generations.

Back in 2008, I offered the following suggestion to my fellow conservative voters,  “When considering the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, I encourage you to put the torch under each candidate asking, ‘if elected, what federal programs, agencies, or departments will you work to eliminate?'” These words were important then, but they are far more pressing today.

As of May 2011, there are five candidates seeking the Virginia Republican nomination for the 2012 U.S. Senate race.  But do any of them actually plan to cut the size and scope of the federal government?  And, if so, what specific areas do they look to cut?  Although I had read snippets from the various campaign websites, I didn’t have a clear and concise answer to this question.  Therefore, I decided to contact each candidate seeking an answer.  Here is the question I put forth on April 27th:

As more and more citizens across the commonwealth of Virginia take interest in our upcoming 2012 Senate Race, many of us are increasing alarmed about the size of our staggering federal deficit.  Too many members of both parties spend our money on frivolous programs and thus the government continues to expand.  One obvious solution is to dismantle portions of the government that are questionably unconstitutional or wasteful and return these powers to the state governments or the people.  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?

Thank you for your time.  I look forward to sharing your answers, as well as those of the other candidates, with the readers of my blog, The Virginia Conservative.

Sincerely,

Joshua Huffman
conservativeva@gmail.com

Now, I should mention in fairness, I asked George Allen for a little more information.  Given that he previously held one of our Senate seats, I also inquired what programs he worked to cut during his time in office from 2000-2006.

Having served on many campaigns over the years, I know how busy and hectic they can be.  Nevertheless, I am appreciative that all five of the campaigns found the time to answer my request.  I’m pleased to present to you, the readers of The Virginia Conservative, their unedited answers in the same order that they were received.   I hope my fellow Republican primary voters find their remarks enlightening.


Jamie Radtke

One of Jimmy Carter’s boondoggles, the Department of Energy, was created in response to the OPEC oil crisis of the 1970s with the goal of promoting alternative energy sources and reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil. Look at where we are today. If there was ever an example of federal agency that’s spent billions and failed in its mission — DOE fits the bill. Since DoE was created, the amount of oil the U.S. imports has risen from roughly 45% to nearly 70%. The DoE also actively supported research and production of energy sources that are not — and likely never will be — viable without ongoing taxpayer subsidies.

The Department of Education is another spectacular failure from Jimmy Carter. For decades, U.S. student performance has declined relative to the rest of the world. In response to the problem, the federal government has thrown tens of billions of dollars of taxpayer money and regulations at the problem. Yet the DoED is failing with flying colors and the U.S. continues to lose ground against the world. Until Jimmy Carter, education had always been a local issue, and it should become so again, without DC taking a cut of the education budget and then sending the money back to the states. It is time for parents and local governments to control education and not teacher unions and a federal bureaucracy.

A third quasi-federal activity (among many) that I would move out of the government is Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, for many reasons. Earlier this month, Fannie Mae announced it lost $6.5 billion in the first quarter of 2011, and also asked for $6.2 billion more in taxpayer subsidies. So far, between Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, American taxpayers are on the hook for at least $138 billion.

It’s time to privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and get the government out of the mortgage business. It just makes common sense. They’re a prime example of what can go wrong when Washington politics and lobbying combine with Wall Street finance. Working hand-in-glove with executives at Fannie and Freddie, Congress guaranteed billions of dollars in bad loans which contributed to the sub-prime mortgage meltdown in 2007-2008, leading to the Great Recession.

Before the housing meltdown, a handful of Senate Republicans tried to rein in Fannie and Freddie. Senator Chuck Hagel circulated a letter to Republican senators in a desperate effort to get Majority Leader Bill Frist to bring a reform bill to a vote in the Senate. But they ran into a lobbying buzz saw. According to an Associated Press story, Freddie Mac hired lobbying firm DCI of Washington to help keep Republican senators from supporting the bill. For instance, Freddie Mac paid lobbying firm DCI $10,000 every month just to focus on persuading Senator George Allen not to support Senator Hagel’s legislation. In the end, nine of the 17 GOP senators targeted by DCI chose not to sign the letter – including Senator George Allen. The lack of Republican support for the bill doomed it. A year later the sub-prime mortgage crisis began.

There are proposals now before the House and Senate that would take a quick approach to transitioning Fannie and Freddie to the private sector and reducing the risk to American taxpayers. One such bill is H.R. 1182, introduced by Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and co-sponsored by 47 other members, including Rep. Michele Bachmann, Rep. Randy Forbes, and Rep. Paul Ryan. Unfortunately, there is considerable resistance on Capitol Hill to privatizing Fannie and Freddie. Unfortunately, the Washington lobbyists who got us into this mess are saying it would be just terrible to privatize Fannie and Freddie – and Congress seems to be listening to the lobbyists.

Congress is like a family that’s been living beyond its means and borrowing each month – for years – to pay its bills. Now it’s credit is running out and it’s fallen behind on the mortgage and if it doesn’t cut its spending it’s going to lose its home. A family can sit down at the dinner table, face the hard choices and make the tough decisions. It’s not pleasant or easy, but families do it all the time. It works because each family controls its own spending. But we — the taxpayers — don’t control Washington’s spending. The hard truth is, right now, we can’t make Congress stop spending.

What to cut is vitally important. But let’s be careful not to get the cart in front of the horse. Right now, we still have to figure out how to get the Washington politicians to sit down at the dinner table and agree to make some real cuts – instead of continuing to borrow. The best way to do this is to freeze the debt ceiling and stop the spending insanity. We must start to live within our means. Because when you find yourself in a hole, the best thing to do is… stop digging!

*A release from the Jamie Radtke campaign. Sent May 5th, 2011.  Revised May 17th.

David McCormick

Reduce the size, scope, and power of the Federal Government

  • Downsize the bureaucracy of the Federal Government one department at a time.  First eliminate the Department of Education, followed by the Department of Energy, followed by the Department of HUD and lastly the EPA.  Once the Fair Tax is implemented; eliminate the IRS.
  • Balance the Budget and pay off all debt.  It is the moral obligation of our generation to pay off all our debts.
  • Stop all earmarks, bailouts, subsidies, stimulus, and corporate welfare.
  • Privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Audit all transactions for the past 20 years.
  • Audit and nationalize the Federal Reserve.

Stop the Corruption and Political Pandering in Washington

  • Ban all Senators from working as a lobbyist for a period of 10 years from retirement.
  • Limits on Power- Term limits for all Federal Judges (8 years), Congressmen (8 years) and Senators (6 years).
  • Stop all stock and commodities trading by all Senators and their staff.
  • Send Them Home- I support the conversion from a full-time to a part-time Congress and Senate.  Reduce all budgets by 33%.
  • Transparent Legislation- All bills under 100 pages shall be made public for 7 days before a vote.  All bills over 100 pages shall be made public for 21 days.  All bills must identify the parties that have drafted the bill, must have an economic cost analysis, a source of funding and the citation of the Constitutional authority.
  • All amendments to any bill must relate back to its main provision.

* A release from the David McCormick campaign. May 12, 2011

E. W. Jackson

Note from The Virginia Conservative: Unlike the rest of the candidates, Mr. Jackson’s campaign did not send a formal written statement, but rather a brief email in combination with a phone conversation.  Therefore, although the thoughts are his, the specific words are mine.

Mr. Jackson is a strong supporter of the Fair Tax.  He believes that our debt is our greatest priority.

As for specific departments within the federal government, he intends to work to abolish: The Department of Education, The Department of Energy, and The Department of Housing & Urban Development.  Mr. Jackson is a strict constructionist who will not support laws not authorized by the Constitution.

* From the Jackson campaign on May 18th, 2011 and May 23rd.

George Allen

Our country’s annual deficit is set to hit a record $1.5 trillion this year – and that’s after two straight years of trillion dollar annual deficits.  Washington’s out-of-control spending – the $800 billion jobless stimulus, the unconstitutional government mandated healthcare, and bailouts – has to end.  The small businesses and the families of Virginia can’t afford to continue footing the bill for unsustainable government growth.

America needs to get back to our constitutional roots, respecting the limitations our Founders placed on the power of the national government and insisting on the wise and frugal government that Mr. Jefferson described in his first inaugural address.  I don’t know anyone outside of Washington who thinks today’s over-reaching, over-spending federal government is being a wise steward of taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars or operating at 100% efficiency.  A few months ago the GAO came out with a report that confirms what we already knew – the federal government’s budget is bloated with duplication and hundreds of billions of dollars of waste.  We can start to rein in the spending by consolidating or eliminating some of these wasteful, duplicative programs saving billions of taxpayer dollars.

I would begin to rein in government by rolling back the excesses of the Obama Administration — from repealing Obamacare and its unconstitutional mandates to getting rid of all the unelected, unaccountable “Czars” who do not have the scrutiny of Senate confirmation yet exercise far-reaching powers that affect not just spending in Washington, but our very freedoms as Americans.  Right behind them are all of the new regulators who have been added in agencies such as the EPA and the IRS, helping fuel the regulatory excesses that are burdening our families and our economy.  We must stop spending taxpayer money on programs that clearly aren’t working like the $800 billion jobless stimulus.

Several federal Departments and agencies are ripe for streamlining — Energy, Commerce, the Surgeon General’s office as well as the Department of Education — with the majority of their activities and authority turned back over to the people in the States, where such decisions rightfully belong.   There is no better example of how this can work than welfare reform.  During my service as Governor, Virginia took over the federal government’s bloated, initiative-sapping welfare program, transformed it to reflect Virginia values of work and individual responsibility, saved taxpayers money and put people on the path of leading independent, self-reliant lives.

We should also take a page from Blue Ribbon Strike Force that I appointed as my first act as Governor and pursue government management reforms such as selling unneeded and unused federal property; cutting back the federal government’s growing fleet of vehicles and civilian aircraft and tightly controlling to make certain those that remain in the fleet are used only for legitimate business purposes and when most cost-effective; and eliminating wasteful printing and publications.

It is clear that Washington is in desperate need of checks and balances to stop the Washington Democrat agenda that has vastly expanded the size and scope of government and put our country on the verge of bankruptcy.

Throughout my service to the people of Virginia, I have worked to rein in and reform government to make sure it does its job efficiently and effectively and does not waste our hard-earned tax dollars.

During my service as Governor, we reduced the size of the state government payroll by 10,000 while providing the conditions for businesses to create over 310,000 net new private sector jobs in Virginia through lower taxes on job creators, business recruitment and prompt permitting.  I also appointed a Blue Ribbon Strike Force to identify ways to eliminate waste in Virginia’s government and ordered a comprehensive review of state government regulations that resulted in over 70 percent of all regulations being eliminated or modified to be less burdensome. These reforms made government more efficient and less intrusive for families and businesses.

I took that same philosophy to the Senate where I earned a lifetime rating of 93% from the American Conservative Union and a 100% rating from Americans for Tax Reform for keeping America competitive for jobs and investment while cutting wasteful spending so taxpayers could keep more of what they earn. I was one of 15 Senators to vote against the wasteful Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska; I voted for earmark reform to bring accountability and transparency to the process; and led the successful fight for the Internet tax moratorium to ensure federal, state and local governments could not tax internet access and threatening its future as a source of economic growth.

Recognizing that unelected bureaucracies needed to be held in check, I cosponsored the Congressional Responsibility Act which would prevent regulatory overreach by requiring approval by elected representatives.  I also advanced ideas to return more decision-making to the states and to the people – for example, I supported creation of an education demonstration program similar to the welfare reform model whereby up to 7 States and 80 localities could receive funds as a block grant to use according to state and local priorities (receiving a waiver from rigid federal program  formulas).

I was a sponsor of the Commission on the Accountability and Review of Federal Agencies Act which would have established a commission to review federal agencies and programs and recommend the elimination of duplication, wasteful or outdated programs and agencies.

Believing the government should not stand in the way of freedom of expression and association I voted against the McCain-Feingold restriction of freedom, fought against outdated, restrictive FCC regulation of cross-ownership of newspapers, TV and radio stations; and stood up against big union bosses costly, non-competitive Project Labor Agreement for building the Wilson Bridge.

I also fought to change the way Washington does business.  I introduced a comprehensive budget reform plan that included a Balanced Budget Amendment with taxpayer protection as well as Presidential line-item veto authority and a “paycheck penalty” that would withhold Members’ salaries when they don’t pass budgets on time. The presidential line item veto authority would give the President the ability to eliminate programs without having to veto an entire appropriations bill.  As Governor, I found using the line-item veto a very useful tool allowing me to cut waste and undesirable policy from spending bills.

These past few years have proven that in the U.S. Senate every single vote counts.  I will be a leader who will fight for real reforms to get our country back on the path to prosperity.  If given the honor and responsibility of serving the people of Virginia in the United States Senate, I pledge to work hard rein in the federal government; work to create an economic environment to make America competitive for jobs; and fight to unleash American energy resources thereby creating more jobs and more affordable electricity, fuels and food.

* A release from the George Allen campaign.  Sent May 23rd, 2011.

Tim Donner

The single most important element of reducing the size and scope of the federal government is to think big.  Repeated fights over individual line items in the federal budget have produced the same results: threats of government shutdowns accompanied by minimal reductions.

Exhibit A was the recent fight between the two parties that supposedly resulted in $38 billion in cuts.  But when the CBO crunched the numbers, the actual amount of cuts was $355 milliion, a proverbial drop in the bucket, or more precisely, the ocean.  The same accounting tricks that have become the trademark of Capitol Hill were employed to inflate the cuts dramatically.  For example, almost $2 billion was “cut” in 2011 for the now-completed 2010 census…funds that obviously could not be spent anyway.

It is true that the Departments of Energy and Education have been demonstrably counter-productive to their stated goals – educational outcomes have decreased in inverse proportion to federal spending, and we have failed to develop anything approaching a coherent energy policy as we become increasingly dependent on foreign energy sources.

But while these departments and others should be squarely on the chopping block, the reality is that we will get nowhere in reducing the size and scope of government as long as we are willing to deal with only the 12% of the federal budget that has been on the table – non-defense domestic discretionary spending.

It is well beyond time that we deal with 100% of the federal budget.

This entails going beyond just spending cuts to structural reform, foremost of which should be a constitutional amendment to require a balanced budget and limit federal spending to 18% of GDP (as proposed by Utah Sen. Mike Lee).  Only by limiting budgets by law can we ultimately forge a permanent cure for Washington’s spending addiction.

This also entails, yes, “entitlement” reform, and Medicare is undeniably the biggest storm cloud on the near horizon.  And while I applaud Paul Ryan and his courageous foray into the hornet’s nest of Medicare reform, his premium support plan is, in my view, insufficient for the long-term sustainability of a popular program crippled by the reality of up to $70 trillion in unfunded liabilities.  Instead, we must evolve long-term to a system in which participants are given the choice to re-direct their Medicare contributions – and those of their employers – to retirement health savings accounts.

These structural reforms will take time, but will result in what should be the ultimate goal of reducing the size and scope of government – to give Americans the opportunity to keep more of their own money, make more of their own decisions and take greater control of their own lives.

* A release from the Donner campaign. Sent May 28th, 2011.

Although this article originally included responses from only the first four candidates listed, within hours of posting I received word from both the Donner campaign and Mr. Donner himself.  Not quite sure what caused the communication glitch, but I’m glad to have Mr. Donner join this conversation.

So what do you think of the responses of all five of the candidates for U.S. Senate?

Next year, conservatives, libertarians, moderates, and, yes, even some liberals across Virginia will be heading to the polls to select our Republican nominee for Senator.  It is imperative that we educate ourselves; we must become informed voters who choose a candidate who best addresses the specific needs of our state and nation.

As stated at the beginning, I, for one, strongly believe that we must reduce the size and scope of our bloated federal government to chip away at our staggering debt and restore our limited Constitutional framework.  That is why I have sought and now offer you the thoughts of four conservative men and one conservative woman who seek this high office.

So whose plan is the best?  Whose ideas are most feasible?  There will be plenty of time for commentary in the days to come.  I hope that the answers provided by the five candidates will aid you in your decision.

Radtke On The Debt Ceiling

In my previous post on Monday, I wrote about the horrible prospect of shattering our current national debt ceiling of over $14 trillion.  There is no doubt that our nation is in serious trouble.  We cannot afford these record deficits and any attempts at spending cuts under this current Congress have been laughable at best thus far.

A few moments ago, I received an email from the Radtke campaign regarding her thoughts on this issue.  I’m glad to see that she and I are of a similar mindset.  As I’ve stated, we cannot spend our way to prosperity.  I haven’t found anything from the other candidates on this issue either on their websites or elsewhere, but I hope whomever we elect will work diligently to curb this outrageous spending.

In case you didn’t get the memo, I’m giving an open invitation to all the Senate campaigns; I welcome any and all information that any of you care to send.  Email me something interesting or something I agree with and, chances are, I’ll write about it.

Getting back to the main focus of this article, although I run the risk of sounding like a broken record, it is simply unfair to burden future generations with our current irresponsibility.

So here are Jamie Radtke’s thoughts:

Yesterday the U.S. government reached the federal debt ceiling of $14.294 trillion. The Washington Establishment consensus seems to be that we must raise the debt ceiling and increase the limit on the taxpayer credit card to as much as $16 trillion by some proposals.

There is an expression – “when you are in a hole… stop digging” – but the Washington Establishment and career politicians seem determined to dig us all the way to China. Congressional Republicans should refuse to raise the debt ceiling and should instead take the actual step of balancing the budget.

I have been traveling all over the great Commonwealth of Virginia and something I hear consistently is: don’t raise the debt ceiling and let’s live within our means. People outside of the Washington Establishment are feeling the effects of an irresponsible government every time they fill up with gas or buy groceries. The spending insanity must stop.

It is wiser to make the hard choices now, before the debt crisis explodes and wreaks uncontrollable havoc on our economy. Standard & Poor’s downgraded its credit outlook on the U.S. to “Negative” and has already warned us that business as usual spending approach cannot continue.

The real problem is finding leaders with the backbone to stop the immoral spending. Instead of actual cuts, current career politicians ‘promise’ cuts. However, we saw last March that Congress’ ‘promises’ are meaningless. During the budget negotiations the ‘promised’ spending cuts shrank from $100 billion to $353 million.

So it has fallen to a handful of principled conservatives in the House and Senate to tell Congress and the President: It’s time to stop digging!

Another Hat In The Ring

Late last night, I received word that the race for Virginia’s 2012 Republican Senate primary was getting a little more crowded.  In order of announcement we now have: Jamie Radtke, George Allen, David McCormick, Bishop Jackson, and the newest contender, Tim Donner.  At this point I’m sure you’re wondering, who is Tim Donner and what makes him so great?  Well, here’s the email that his campaign sent me:

CONSERVATIVE VIRGINIA BUSINESSMAN TIM DONNER

ANNOUNCES FOR THE U.S. SENATE

Says Washington is a mess and needs new leadership

Great Falls, VA – Northern Virginia businessman and small government advocate, Tim Donner, announced today that he is entering the Virginia Republican primary as a candidate for the open U.S. Senate being vacated by Senator Jim Webb.  Donner made his announcement on his website www.donnerforsenate.com.

I’ve watched this great country of ours sink deeply into the quicksand of overwhelming debt and dependency.  And like many of you, I have grave concerns about our future,” Donner says.

Donner is an entrepreneur who started his own media production company, Horizons Television, and also founded One Generation Away, a free market education, research, and public policy organization.  He works with two family foundations that help fund conservative and faith-based causes and has served on the boards of small government, free market and values-based organizations such as the Virginia Institute for Public Policy, Radio America and Cal Thomas’ Values Through Media.  His family helped William F. Buckley start National Review.  (further bio information is available on the website www.donnerforsenate.com)

Donner emphasized that he wants to be a citizen legislator, not a career politician.   “As a citizen, I am frustrated enough to leave my business and go to Washington to help the freshmen senators we elected last November build a majority and return us to the principles that made this country the greatest on earth. I am tired of watching our hard-earned money spent on political favors, failed stimulus and bailouts programs, and policies that push people deeper into government dependency, such as Obamacare, a failed and flawed socialist experiment.”

The time for complaining about America’s problems is over.  The time for solving them is now,” he concluded.

Tim Donner will be available for phone interviews Tuesday morning, April 26 starting at 10:00 am and television interviews in Northern Virginia that afternoon.  He will be touring the remainder of the state over the next few weeks and will available for in-person interviews at that time.

Like so many of the other contenders, Mr. Donner will have to overcome the difficult hurdle that he is generally unknown in statewide politics.  You’ll note that his comment against a “career politician” is an obvious dig against the two front frontrunners, George Allen and Tim Kaine.  Digging deeper, his website promotes many conservative ideals, but the real test is, will he be able to distinguish himself in this expanding field?

This latest entry begs the question, who else will make a play for the brass ring of our U.S. Senate Seat?  Will there be any other surprise candidates?  And how about Marshall or Stewart?  Only time will tell.

I wish Mr. Donner well and look forward to learning more about him and the rest of the hopefuls.  Like many Virginians, I have not made up my mind for U.S. Senate.  Whomever we select, I hope he or she will be a principled conservative who is never afraid to stand up for our values.  After all, a good leader is not one who caves in to the slightest peer pressure, but one who remains strong.  I want a Senator who has the courage to say what is sometimes the hardest word in the English language, no.

Tax Day 2011

Well, ladies and gentlemen, tax day is fast approaching.

Hopefully you’ve gotten your taxes finished and filled and aren’t scrambling around gathering W-2s and various receipts.  But putting such unpleasantness aside, April 15th means another Tea Party tax day rally is right around the corner.  If you will recall, a mere three hundred and fifty days or so ago, hundreds of folks jammed into Harrisonburg’s Court Square to voice their support for fiscal responsibility and constitutional restraint.  But if you thought last year was big, I’m pretty sure you haven’t seen anything yet.

Tax Day 2010

On Saturday April 16th, the Shenandoah Valley Tea Party will be hosting Tax Day 2011.  This event promises to be exciting as it features former Governor and Senate hopeful George Allen, former Tea Party leader and Senate hopeful Jamie Radtke, Representative Bob Goodlatte (VA-6), State Senator Mark Obenshain (Harrisonburg-26), nationally known 2008 campaigner Tito “the builder” Munoz, and Joe Oddo with The Fair Tax.  In addition, you can pick up shirts, bumper stickers, political playing cards, and assorted other Tea Party memorabilia.

This event should be one you don’t want to miss.  I’ll be in downtown Harrisonburg from the beginning to the end, 1 PM to 5PM.  Join me on Saturday.  You won’t regret it.

Radtke to Reid

A few moments ago, I received an email from the Radtke campaign.  The bulk of it contains a letter from Jamie Radtke to Senator Harry Reid of Nevada (which was also recently posted on RedState).  Although I get a lot of political email, I decided to share the letter here too given that it is well worth the read.  As you will discover, it expresses a shared frustration regarding the seemingly endless spending coming out of D.C. coupled with a profound disappointment over the irrational understanding and demonization of the Tea Party movement by some politicians, pundits, and activists in the establishment.

Hope you enjoy.

Joshua

An Open Letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid from U.S. Senate Candidate Jamie Radtke

Dear Senator Reid:

To quote Ronald Reagan, a man we are really missing this week: “There you go again.”

In the same way that an overwhelming majority of Americans did not want Obamacare, yet it was aggressively forced on them by the single-minded zealotry of the Democrats in Congress, you are again ignoring the will of the American people who, by majorities of 3-to-1, want you to cut spending. And you are so intent on getting your way and ignoring the demands of the electorate that you are forcing a government shutdown to prevent cutting a mere 1.5% of the budget.

And rather than assuming responsibility for falling down on the job, failing to pass a budget last year and doing nothing to solve the fiscal mess you have put us in, you are again (just as with Obamacare) attacking the Tea Party for resisting you.

Honestly, Washington Democrats seem to have changed their motto to: “When all of us fail, blame the Tea Party.”

Well, Senator, the Tea Party was right about Obamacare, and the Tea Party is right about cutting spending with the budget vote, and Americans know it.

After adding $3.64 trillion to the national debt in just over two years, President Barack Obama and the Washington Democrats can claim credit for a $14.2 trillion debt, which equals nearly 100% of U.S. GDP!

You must know that this level of debt-to-GDP is crushing our economy. The degree of cynicism and ideological zealotry required to ignore that threat for political purposes is breathtaking.

So, given the cynical approach you and establishment Washington took on Obamacare and are taking on this budget issue, I can only say thank God for the Tea Party!

The fact is, if there had been no Tea Party, the establishment career politicians (in both parties) would still be talking about whether we should steer a lot to the left or a little to the left as you drive our country off a cliff.

Rest assured that, just as with Obamacare, the Tea Party will not be silenced, and we will not be satisfied until Washington puts an end to the fiscal insanity in Congress, saves the America we’ve always known and restores our liberty.

Mark Twain once said, “Always do right. That will gratify some of the people, and astonish the rest.” The Tea Party seems to have astonished you with our resistance to Obamacare and Washington’s fiscal insanity. But you might as well get used to it, because Tea Party Americans will continue to stand with those doing the right thing until this mess is fixed.

Sincerely,

Jamie Radtke

Radtke & Allen on Libya

Earlier today, I read Jamie Radtke’s response to the Libyan situation on her website.  About an hour ago, I received an email from George Allen’s campaign regarding his thoughts.  That information is also now found on his campaign site.  Unfortunately, David McCormick’s website is currently unavailable, so I don’t know if he has a stated position on this issue.  I figure you might find this information helpful as you get to know more about the Republican candidates running for United States Senate.  I have listed them in chronological order.

From Jamie Radtke:

A U.N. vote does not supersede a Congressional vote

President Obama’s decision to commit America to a third concurrent war has two serious flaws. First, the president has committed American troops to battle without the authorization of Congress. And second, Libya does not present a security threat to the United States, and we have no business being a part of this military intervention.

It is the United States Congress, not the United Nations Security Council, which should determine if we commit the American military to war. A United Nations vote does not supersede a Congressional vote.

I am disturbed that the President seemed more concerned about a U.N. vote than Congressional authorization. The United States Congress must hold an immediate vote on a declaration of war on Libya.

I support the war in Afghanistan, which was in response to the terrorist attack on U.S. soil that killed thousands of Americans, and the war in Iraq, which was intended to stop a WMD program that we and nearly all other nations believed that Saddam Hussein was undertaking. While I would have preferred declarations of war, Congress did at least pass war resolutions for the use of military force in both wars.

In Libya, however, the United States is facing no imminent national security threat, yet we are doing most of the heavy lifting, and we have no Congressional authorization for the use of military force.

What’s even worse, this military intervention does not have clear goals or objectives. Are we intending to drive Qaddafi from power? If so, air power alone will not suffice. Do we intend simply to level the playing field? What if Qaddafi still gains the upper-hand? Do we escalate? Will American forces be subordinated to the Europeans or the UN? Who will be in charge of allied forces, and thus take ultimate responsibility for victory or for defeat? How will victory even be defined? Will a two-state Libya be an acceptable outcome?

And if humanitarian reasons are our chief reason for intervention, as Obama has stated it is, what of the many other civil wars and slaughter of civilians that are occurring around the world every day? Why Libya and not the Ivory Coast or Sudan or Congo?

None of these questions have been answered by President Obama, or even raised by him. One wonders if he has even thought of them, in spite of the fact that these were the very questions that Obama himself raised in opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. By his own criterion, Obama is setting up America for failure.

The Arab League, Europe and Africa are in the best position to provide accountability to their Libyan neighbor. President Obama’s decision is reckless and ill-advised. Congress must find the courage to reassert its Constitutional prerogative for any use of force involving the American military.

From George Allen:

With the courageous men and women of our armed forces serving in harm’s way in North Africa, Americans should support them and their families as they perform their duty. However, we should not be outsourcing our sovereign foreign policy decisions to the United Nations. The elected representatives of the people in U.S. House and Senate, not the UN Security Council, should be the governing body authorizing U.S. military action. With our current commitments in Korea, Afghanistan and Iraq, the President must present to the American people and Congress the goals and the extent of our military action in Libya.

This action once again brings to the forefront the need to develop an American energy policy that reduces our dependence on oil from a volatile region – a dangerous vulnerability that demands an ever-higher cost from America.  All while we have very accessible American coal, gas and oil resources.

The President has much more to explain to the American people.

Who Is David McCormick?

Who is David McCormick?  Earlier today, I couldn’t have told you the first thing about him.  Just a few moments ago, I learned he is a dark horse candidate running for the Republican nomination for Virginia’s 2012 Senate seat.  But who is David McCormick?  According to his website, he is an attorney from Hampton Roads.  Prior to his announcement, he served in the leadership of the Virginia Beach Republican Party.

Why is Mr. McCormick running for the Senate?  According to his website, he supports a whole host of issues, some of which are quite good, others that I find troubling.  Let’s highlight some of the more interesting and controversial thoughts.

When it comes to Washington reform, McCormick sounds pretty reasonable:

– Audit the fed?  Sign me up.

-Increase bill transparency?  Absolutely.

– Only allow germane amendments to bills?  Sounds good to me.

– Term limits?  Here I have mixed feelings.  Although I am concerned by career politicians who are more or less out of touch with the societies they supposedly represent, term limits could remove very good legislators as well.  The better solution is to remove some of the barriers to political competition and incumbancy protection such as McCain-Feingold.

– Constitutional Amendment to require a balanced budget?  Unless Congress can quickly learn to live within its means, the American people will be overwhelmed with debt.

– Cut spending and salaries of bureaucrats and politicians?  As I’ve said recently, people should be motivated to go into politics in order to serve our nation rather than to grow rich off of the taxpayers.

– Hostile nations cannot buy U.S. debt?  Although that may sound good, what would such a position do to our current financial servitude to China?

In national defense he has a few good ideas like:

– “Reduce  one-third  of our troops deployed outside of the U.S.”

– “Use Military to assist in the guarding and security of all of U.S. Borders”

– “End our deployment in Iraq.”

However, under children’s issues I see some problems:

– “All beer, wine, and other alcoholic  beverage commercials shall not be shown during regular family television viewing hours.”  Sure, we don’t want to encourage underage consumption of alcohol, but this idea exceeds the proper jursidiction of the federal government.  Plus, wouldn’t such a plan violate the 1st amendment?

– “No one under 21 years of age shall have to pay any social security or medicare.”  I don’t really understand this position at all.  Social security and medicare are already going bankrupt as it is, so this action will only hasten their demise.  Sure, I would like to see the federal government removed from these areas too, but we cannot cheat those citizens who paid into the system their whole lives and now rely on this income.

– “Congress to regulate the FCC and demand that standards of common decency be enforced for all prime time television programming.”  As a social conservative, I can understand where he is coming from, but supporting censoring out of D.C. smacks of totalitarianism.

– One bright spot is repealing No Child Left Behind.  As Senator Obenshain and Delegate Bell recently stated, if we want to get the federal government out of children’s education, it starts with eliminating this Bush era error.

I could delve further into his positions, but I believe I’ve covered the most interesting ones listed on his website.  You’re welcome to read and explore to your heart’s content.

Maybe you like what you’ve read about Mr. McCormick, maybe you don’t, but one thing is certain; he has a very tough road ahead in order to secure the Republican nomination.  The biggest problem I see is name recognition.  Outside of Virginia Beach has anyone heard of him?  Doubtful.  Although I still haven’t met Jamie Radtke or Corey Stewart, they are spreading their names and positions.  As a side note, Mr. Stewart will be visiting our local tea party in just a couple days.  Delegate Bob Marshall is well-known in political circles; he is beloved by some activists and passionately despised by others.  And then there is the front running juggernaught, George Allen.  As he was both our Governor and our Senator, even normally nonpolitical folks know his name.  Right now David McCormick has far and away the lowest name I.D. of any person who is currently running or those supposedly considering running.  Who knows?  Although it is very unlikely, maybe Radtke, Allen, and who ever else ends up running will damage each other so badly in the process that an unknown candidate like McCormick ends up winning.

The Virginia Senate race just got a little more interesting.  After all, dark horse candidates can win, but they are far more the exception than the rule.