Pre-Primary Must Read For Republicans
Part 1- Vision vs Pandering
Make this part of your pre-caucus or primary reading
Alexander J. Madison - December 23, 2007
I had a recent opportunity to have some holiday cheer and briefly talk politics with two longtime conservative associates; one a Mike Huckabee leaner and the other a Fred Thompson guy. The arguments (paraphrasing) went like this:
Huckabee guy: Huck is the one who can truly re-energize the Christian Conservatives in the party, he has a good sense of humor, presents himself well and his personality surely will attract moderates, not scare them off. His recent ‘surge’ is evidence of a winning political ear, which we will need to beat Hillary. He also was a successful governor from a Southern state, and despite a few missteps that all politicians have, he has a solid, conservative platform, just check out his website. Besides, Hunter does not have traction.
Thompson guy: Fred is the guy to beat Rudy McRomney. His record on fiscal issues and government reform and federalism is impressive and no one ever considered him a liberal, like some of these other schmucks. And his endorsement by the National Right to Life organization last month over Huck and Hunter shows that he is fully capable of carrying the values voters. And his recent position papers on social security and Illegal immigration are the type of clearheaded thinking the country needs in a President.
Me: Just look at their records in totality. Hunter is strongest and most consistent on borders, military affairs, foreign policy, sovereignty, tax cuts, anti-communism, all the most important things we need in a commander in chief right now. Hunter’s warnings about China and porous borders and losses of industrial might have all come home to roost, and most of the other candidates have been far less than helpful in these areas throughout their careers.
Three reasonable arguments for three Republicans in good standing? So it would seem.
But there is a significant difference that my friends both grudgingly admitted to: Hunter has been the most consistent of the three throughout their careers. However, both stressed the ‘here and now’, using Huckabee’s recent “strong” position on enforcing our borders and Fred’s willingness to tackle entitlements, respectively, as more proof of their candidate’s veracity and viability.
But if we are to give great weight to what a politician says during the course of a campaign for the GOP nomination, then one could argue that Rudy and McCain and Romney also deserve accolades and support for their candidacies. And indeed, they do have a fair amount of support and accolades at this time. If you read the position papers and policy statements and see the debate answers from each of these men, it is possible to coherently argue for any one of them being the superior man for President.
Though both of my friends were more than happy to rake Rudy and Romney and McCain over the coals for their past ‘sins’ against conservatism, they were able to minimize and basically ignore the less savory aspects of their chosen man’s record with ease. I do not argue that all transgressions against conservatism are equal, they are not. But giving undue weight to the rhetoric of a candidate’s stump speech or policies posted on a campaign website is an exercise in rationalization, not prudent evaluation.
So how do we separate them as they all dash for the title of ‘strong conservative leader’? The answer: Vision.
Vision is what separates a man like Ronald Reagan from a man like his Vice President, George Herbert Walker Bush. Vision provides the ability to see what lies over the horizon, the courage to confront it before it spins into chaos, and the wisdom to apply conservative solutions, regardless of how tantalizing or expedient a more liberal remedy may be. Vision also entails the ability to clearly recognize history for what it truly is, including the underlying wisdom our founders espoused, and including the knowledge of man’s nature. Vision is what separates those whose values are anchored like roots of a 200 year old oak tree from those who use a moistened finger to assess the political winds.
Vision is what sets Duncan Hunter apart from ALL of the others. That vision is reflected in his consistency, his record, his press statements, his long held beliefs and his current platform. No other candidate, other than Ron Paul (who espouses an odd hybrid of libertarianism and leftism), comes close to the having a rock solid vision that has animated his entire life and public service. The winds of change may have devastated large swaths of the Republican Party in recent years, but they just caused Hunter to dig in deeper and to fight even harder. While others pander to the current circumstances of a Republican primary and to subgroups within the GOP, Hunter is as he was; an America-first, conservative patriot with the unflinching vision of what our country stands for.
On Communist China & Trade
Fred Thompson, despite tough rhetoric today, has been all over the map on China. In 1997 he voted to revoke China’s Most Favored Nation (MFN) trade status (S.Amdt. 890 to S. 955), then turned around in 1999 – after even more Chinese malfeasance was uncovered, some by Mr. Thompson himself – and voted in favor of MFN (S.J.Res. 27). Then, during the 2000 debate to give Bill Clinton his coveted Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) for the chicoms, Fred teamed with Robert Toricelli to put in a poison pill amendment (S.Amdt 4132 to HR 4444), tying trade to a series of weapons non proliferation standards. Despite the Jesse Helms-like posture and the subsequent failure of his amendment, Fred ended up voting for PNTR, amendment free, handing Clinton a huge victory at the expense of our national security.
In the October 9 debate in Michigan, Fred half-heartedly used the ‘Free-trade’ card when Hunter confronted all 3 Senators present for voting in favor of PNTR. You could tell he was not particularly comfortable debating Hunter on the subject, because he knew Hunter was right; Michigan has been hemorrhaging manufacturing jobs badly to China, and the media headlines had been filled all year with tales of additional Chinese perfidy. The tales have only gotten worse - and more serious - since October. And all the candidates, including Fred, have been adjusting their stump speeches accordingly.
Fred Thompson, along with Arlen Specter and the democrats on the Senate Panel, also took what should have been a deadly serious investigation into Chinese money and influence in the 1996 election and expanded it to be an overarching campaign finance investigation that even targeted groups such as Americans for Tax Reform and the Christian Coalition!! All to conservatives’ utter disbelief and chagrin.
Mike Huckabee has recently begun aping some of Hunter’s rhetoric on China, particularly when it comes to the staggering trade deficit. This past September, Huck wrote: “Our government has failed us by allowing the Chinese to buy up extraordinary amounts of our currency, and then manipulate that currency to artificially lower their prices and to force things back into the country. This has created an incredible trade deficit that last year alone was over $232 billion”.
Yet, he never even whispered a hint of criticism about our ill-conceived relationship with China during his 10-1/2 years in office. In fact, Huckabee was PNTR’s biggest gubernatorial cheerleader, telling World Net Daily in May 2000: “I’ve long believed the best way to defeat communism is to introduce a free-market system. Once people become used to the free market, they will refuse to return to the old way of doing things. Such an occurrence in China would be good news for every American since it has more than a fourth of the world’s population.”
In 2000, Huckabee helped craft, and signed, the letter from the governors to Congress begging them to pass PNTR. He also naively told Time Magazine just last April, “The good news is that China is becoming much more a part of the mainstream. In its economic development and even in giving greater liberties to its people…I am not as worried about China, though we have to be concerned about any nation that has the military and economic power that it does. I think we need to be more concerned from a standpoint of anxiety from nations led by radical and outspoken tyrants who openly issue threats to the United States and its people”.
So it is glaringly obvious that the recent ‘get tough’ gum flapping is just another case of a Road to Des Moines conversion; one of many for Mr. Huckabee.
John McCain, for all of his supposed expertise in foreign affairs, was an even bigger cheerleader for phony ‘free trade’ with the communists, not only for China, but for Vietnam as well. In fact, McCain argued in 1990 that normalizing trade and relations with Vietnam (despite unaccounted for POWs) would act as a “counterweight” to Chinese aggression in the region; yet he quickly tossed that out the window to become one of China’s biggest proponents in the US Senate. He was so enthusiastic for “engagement” with China in the 2000 presidential debates that it prompted candidate Gary Bauer, a former Reagan official, to tell him he had a “naiveté about Chinese leaders that is breathtaking.” Truer words have seldom been spoken. And his naiveté about China is only matched by his ignorance about conservatism.
Now, as McCain runs again for the presidency in 2007, he offered up this milquetoast comment to Chris Matthews: “China needs to act like a super-power and take on global responsibilities. Some of us are disappointed in its lack of maturity.” That ought to really rattle the tough old communist vultures in the PLA.
Contrast these gentlemen’s unanchored swerves with Duncan Hunter. Hunter has had the vision from the outset that communist China was, is, and will be for the foreseeable future, an adversary, not a “strategic partner”. Hunter does not trust China for one very, very simple reason: History has taught him that communists cannot be trusted. Most real conservatives understand this axiom. Hunter understands that an agreement with China is not worth the paper it is written on.
According to the Seattle PI in 1986: Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., strongly opposes any efforts to relax present export controls because he believes U.S. companies would gain far less than the government would be forced to spend to beef up security in the event of a strategic leak. ”It’s like the propeller milling equipment,” explained John Palafoutas, a Hunter aide. ”Once they apply it overseas, we have to upgrade security and defense spending. The businesses may make $60 million more, but it costs us $30 billion in defense costs.”
And later, when it came to lifting export controls on anti-submarine warfare (ASW) technology to China, Hunter added, “My philosophy is that we should err on the side of caution in these cases. I would oppose any move to sell even dual-use technologies in the ASW area.”
Hunter led the charge to revoke MFN for China in 1992, and each year since. In 1996, as the republicans folded one by one to the China lobby, Hunter wrote this for Knight Ridder News:
“Advocates of continued Most-Favored-Nation trade status for China claim that this is a ”normal” part of U.S. international relations and that China hasn’t done anything odd enough to be an exception.
“China’s friends seem to have adopted a rather jaded view of normality. Are thinly veiled threats to attack Los Angeles, like those made by China during the recent Taiwan crisis, ‘normal’ diplomatic discourse? Was Beijing’s attempt to influence elections on Taiwan by military demonstrations and missile firings ”normal? Was the movement of two U.S. carrier battlegroups to positions of potential confrontation with China a ”normal” gesture of friendly relations? Or, do these actions indicate a strategic relationship with China more on a par with Cuba or North Korea, countries with which we do not extend MFN?
“We didn’t grant MFN to the Soviet Union either, when it was aiming missiles at U.S. cities……Renewing China’s MFN status without a strategic quid pro quo would be another sign of relative American weakness.”
In 2001, while the Bush administration, Colin Powell and the State Department tip-toed gingerly during the hostage standoff involving China and our downed Air Force servicemen, Hunter immediately offered up new legislation to kill PNTR. Hunter has always been eager to put his knee on China’s neck. Only Hunter has been illuminating the new weapons systems and technology that the Chinese have purchased, stolen and developed, as a cogent argument for not tolerating the lopsided trade deal that enriches the communist nation, saying “as we trade, China prepares for war”. As the DC publication The Hill headlined in 2006 – ‘Leadership knows Rep. Duncan Hunter’s Arm doesn’t Twist’ – each President from Reagan to GW Bush has had to learn that same lesson the hard way.
Time after time after time, the Chicoms are caught red-handed in some nefarious activity - putting toxic fillers in pet food, exporting fish raised in rancid pens, cyber-attacking the Pentagon or NSA, and pirating intellectual property - yet Hunter is one of the very few people with the balls in DC willing (and itching, actually) to confront them. The same cannot be said for ANY of his opponents.
And as Mitt Romney is learning, Hunter will not tolerate a blank stare for an answer when it comes to protecting US technology from Chinese clutches.
On Tax Cuts
One can choose to ignore the horrendous grades given to Mike Huckabee by the Club for Growth, the National Taxpayer’s Union and the CATO Institute. Across the board, they rated Huckabee as a far more proficient tax raiser than tax cutter. Huckabee earned an F, yes an F, from CATO at one point. But, just as Huck has attempted, one can argue that they are looking at his record too narrowly. But what one cannot do is ignore Huckabee’s own statements. From a May 2003 Arkansas Assembly speech (captured on Youtube):
“Again, let me state what I’ve said privately, as well as publicly, I want to get it on the record again. There is a lot of support for a tax at the wholesale level for tobacco, and that’s fine with me. I’d very happily sign that, because it is a revenue stream that will meet the needs if enacted at a level that will help us meet that 90 to 100 million dollar target. That’s what I want to begin focusing your attention on…is the target. Some have suggested a retail level of tobacco and if that ends up being your preference, I will accept that. Some have suggested a surcharge on the income tax, that’s acceptable. I’m fine with that. Others have suggested, perhaps a sales tax. That’s fine. Yet others have suggested a hybrid that would accept some monies from any one or a combination of those various ideas. And if that’s the plan that the House and Senate agree upon, then you will have nothing but my profound thanks”.
Then, top it off with blatant dishonesty regarding his record, such as his repeated claim that the taxes in question- which he literally begged for - were mandated by the US Supreme Court. That is 100% false, like so many other claims Mr. Huckabee has made.
Mitt Romney was somewhat better during his reign in the Massachusetts governor’s chair. Mitt often touts the notion that he closed a multi-billion dollar budget deficit “without raising taxes”. But as the CATO Institute and others have pointed out, Mr. Romney is pulling a Schwarzenegger, by not classifying hikes in fees as tax increases. According to the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald, Romney raised fees by 400 million, yes - 400 million, and closed “loopholes” for another 300 million in revenue. Of course, Mitt also reminds us that he is the only top tier 2008 candidate to sign Grover Norquist’s “no new taxes” pledge. Yet just a few short years ago he refused to sign it for his run for governor, saying, “I’m against tax increases. But I’m not intending to, at this stage, sign a document which would prevent me from being able to look specifically at the revenue needs of the Commonwealth.”
Mitt’s history on taxes gets worse. He chose not to endorse the Bush tax cuts when they were being debated in 2001 and 2003. And according to the Washington Times, Mitt strongly opposed the 1994 Contract with America’s call for a capital gains tax cut. Mitt also ran ads against Steve Forbes’ flat tax proposal calling it a “tax cut for fat cats”. Regardless of one’s opinion on the particulars of a flat tax, Mitt’s statement smacks of democrat class warfare, unfit for any republican. It may also help explain why he oddly blurted out that he does not “stay awake at night worrying about the taxes that rich people are paying” at the last Iowa debate. But conservatives sure would lose a lot of sleep worrying which Mitt would show up in the Oval Office.
Rudy Giuliani’s record on taxes is equally unimpressive. Though he did cut a number of taxes (he claims 23) and certainly improved the conditions in NYC, Rudy was vehemently opposed to Republican Governor Pataki’s call for a reduction in the state income tax. That opposition is inexplicable, unless one realizes that Rudy also vehemently opposed the City’s elimination of the 12.5% city surcharge on income. Rudy lost that battle, but now takes credit, as is his habit. So while Rudy’s record on taxes was mixed, at best, he now is trying to paint himself as Reagan reincarnated.
Here is what the National Review had to say in a September 2007 article entitled Rudy’s Taxing Problem: Rudy Giuliani’s recent attempt to portray himself as Reaganite tax-cutter just doesn’t square with the hard facts about his record opposing broad-based tax relief. The mayor honestly admits that he is more liberal than many Republicans on social issues, but has yet to admit that his economic record is similarly out of sync.
As far as John McCain and taxes go, not much needs to be said. From the WSJ in March 2007: Sen. McCain was one of only two Republican senators to oppose the 2001 tax cuts and one of only three GOP senators to oppose the 2003 reductions. Furthermore, his reason for opposing the cuts was taken straight from the playbook of the most radical left-wing Democrats. In 2001, Sen. McCain argued, “I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us at the expense of middle-class Americans who need tax relief.” McCain proves his untrustworthiness and innate liberalism in a single sentence. Enough!
Meanwhile, Duncan Hunter has a nearly perfect record on taxes. He voted for tax cuts as a House member and voted against tax increases as a House member. Hunter’s vision mirrors that of Ronald Reagan when it comes to taxes: Lower taxes stimulate growth and ultimately generates more money into the treasury because of it. However, Hunter was not content to just vote on whatever tax proposals appeared in the House, he aggressively pushed for them, sponsoring and cosponsoring numerous bills and amendments dealing with taxation. In his first two years in Congress, Hunter put his sponsorship to about a dozen bills to amend the tax code to lower taxes, including a bill to kill the ‘marriage penalty’ (HR 1700). Subsequently, Hunter has sponsored tax relief for family businesses, fringe benefits, tip income, work done abroad, capital gains, research and development, health care savings accounts, oil and gas, farmers and farm equipment, capital equipment depreciation and much more. He sponsored bills to kill the ‘windfall profits’ tax and the death tax. He also cosponsored a 10% individual flat tax in the late 1980s.
Hunter vigorously supported Reagan’s historic 1981 tax cut package, and vigorously opposed George Herbert Walker Bush’s fateful 1991 tax increase. He also opposed President Clinton’s tax increases while cosponsoring GW Bush’s historic tax cuts in 2001 and 2003.
And over the last couple of years, Hunter has sponsored or cosponsored major, permanent tax relief in HR 411, the Fair Tax, deductions for education expenses, a permanent ban on the internet tax, elimination of the alternative minimum tax and the estate tax, repeal of the telecommunications excise tax, a reduction of the non-corporate tax rate, and the bill to make the Bush tax cuts permanent.
Simply stated, Hunter has been as consistent an advocate for tax relief as he has been for the life of the unborn. And that is saying something. He penned the following in early 2007, but it could just have easily been penned by Mr. Hunter in 1981:
“An over-taxing government is the biggest contributor to creating poverty. By continuing to inhibit the economic growth and potential of our citizens, we prevent the investment capability to create jobs, increase income and provide a stable financial environment. I believe all citizens are “deserving of tax relief and tax-cutting policies benefit the American economy as a whole.
I do not support efforts to identify segments of our society that are more deserving of a tax cut over another and I believe political stereotyping in this area hinders the goal of providing efficient tax relief.”
On Bureaucracy and the Nanny State
Rudy Giuliani loves to tout his anti-bureaucracy bona-fides as he stumps around the country seeking support for his presidential bid. He did indeed strong arm some departments into performance and slashed the welfare roles (as they were also cut nation wide) as Mayor. However, upon closer examination, it is apparent that he is a nanny-state advocate along the lines of his successor, Mayor Bloomberg. Banning smoking in restaurants and bars? Check. Providing day care for government employees? Check. Opening up tax payer funded clinics for the gay and lesbian community? Check. Welfare for illegal aliens? Check. Unconstitutional search and seizures of guns and automobiles? Check. Lawsuits to put the gun manufacturers out of business? Check. A government budget in his second term that grew by a whopping 25%, leaving office with a huge projected deficit? Check.
Then, of course, who can forget these classic Rudy hits: “There must be public funding for abortions for poor women” and ‘Mayor Giuliani Introduces Legislation Banning Cell Phone Use While Driving’ and ‘NYC Sues Tobacco Companies’. But perhaps the double platinum best seller is this quote from 1996 as he contemplated endorsing Slick Willy: “Most of Clinton’s policies are very similar to mine.”
In this arena, Rudy has stiff competition from Mike Huckabee. As governor, the Huck demanded that fatty sweets be banned from the schools. He signed onto a ban on public smoking (and wants to expand that nationally - egads). He pushed for scholarships and in state tuition for illegal aliens. He raised the minimum wage in Arkansas. And according to the Club for Growth, he presided over a 67% increase in state spending from 1996 to 2004, several times the rate of inflation. The stark reality is that you need to spend more when you want to give “free” college tuition to highschoolers who maintain good grades, administer body fat tests to school kids, and conjure up a socialized medicine program called ARKids. But I’ll let liberal Time magazine, who selected Huckabee as one of the ‘Top 5’ governors in 2005 describe his metamorphosis from conservative to well….liberal:
More important, but less noted, has been Huckabee’s political transformation. In his early years as Lieutenant Governor and then in the top job, he offered little more than anti-Clinton resentment and capering populism; in 1996 he warned of “environmental wackos who … want to tell us what kind of deodorant we can use.” Huckabee is now a mature, consensus-building conservative who earns praise from fellow Evangelicals and, occasionally, liberal Democrats. (my ed. - notably absent, praise from conservative, who despised him)
In 1997 he surprised some Republicans by introducing ARKids First, and a year later he decided that all the state’s proceeds from the tobacco industry lawsuit settlement should go to health education, antismoking campaigns and—get this—Medicaid expansion.
Fred Thompson, on the other hand, has a reputation as a hard nosed federalist and government shrinker. However, the reality is a bit less flattering. In 1996, Fred was tasked with re-writing the federal Juvenile Justice laws. He coughed up an albatross called the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1996. Among its finer provisions was this gem:
(a) IN GENERAL- In order to be eligible to receive formula grants under this part, each State shall–
(1) ensure that not less than 75 percent of the funds made available to the State under section 222, whether expended directly by the State, by the unit of general local government, or by a combination thereof, or through grants and contracts with public or private nonprofit agencies, shall be used–
(A) for prevention and nonincarcerative intervention, including drug and alcohol treatment activities, and programs that encourage courts to develop and implement a continuum of post-adjudication restraints that bridge the gap between probation and confinement in a correctional facility, including graduated sanctions for youth offenders;
The entire thing is a liberal mess and a further usurpation of state power to deal with juvenile crime. Fortunately, Orrin Hatch recognized this, and strangled the tar baby in committee.
Though failing in his attempt to further bureaucratize juvenile crime, he did succeed in 2002 - in collaboration with Jeff Bingaman, Olympia Snowe and John Kerry - on a massive global warming bill. Called TITLE X—NATIONAL CLIMATE CHANGE POLICY, Senate Amendment SA 3232, it is page after page of bureaucratic PC-speak aimed at posturing the United States for an international treaty on global warming. It is truly one of the most unfettered fluster-kuck pieces of legislation to come down the pike in years. It reaches into dozens of federal agencies requiring them to comply with new regulations, creates a new ‘Office of National Climate Change Policy’, and appropriates billions of taxpayer dollars in pursuit of a hoax. Item 10, under the ‘findings’ section tells us all we need to know about this beast:
(10) Senate Resolution 98 of the 105th Congress, which expressed that developing nations must also be included in any future, binding climate change treaty and such a treaty must not result in serious harm to the United States economy, should not cause the United States to abandon its shared responsibility to help reduce the risks of climate change and its impacts. Future international efforts in this regard should focus on recognizing the equitable responsibilities for addressing climate change by all nations, including commitments by the largest developing country emitters in a future, binding climate change treaty.
I’ll leave Fred’s involvement in the equally egregious attack on the 1st amendment called McCain-Feingold-Thompson alone for now. Suffice to say that it too was an exercise in unconstitutional nanny-statism that, mercifully, the courts are starting to toss in the crapper.
Mitt Romney, on the other hand, never got the chance to vote for McCain-Feingold-Thompson, being a Governor and all, but he was quite the cheerleader for it. When McCain campaigned for Mitt in his 2002 race the Concord Monitor reported:
“Romney also praised McCain for his general reform campaign when the Arizona senator came to Massachusetts to stump with Romney just before Romney’s 2002 election victory in the governor’s race. ‘He has always stood for reform and change. And he’s always fought the good battle, no matter what the odds,’ Romney said at the time. ‘Those are my values.’”
Of course, these days, Romney decries McCain-Feingold-Thompson as unconstitutional. Just another in a long line of blatant – and frankly hilarious – flip flops.
Mitts views on stifling free speech in campaigns were just the tip of the iceberg in his pursuit of a Massachusetts nanny-state. Mitt signed an ‘assault weapons’ ban, despite not knowing an assault rifle from a turnip: And this position is one of the few things he has NOT flipped flopped on. He presided over a group called the ‘Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth’ which instituted the most radical gay indoctrination in any school system outside of San Francisco. The chairman of the group, Kathleen Henry, was tickled with Romney’s funding for them. According to the Boston Globe in July 2005, she defended the budget saying: ”The fact that he doubled last year’s [proposed budget allocation] this year is huge to us. It’s really huge. It says to us clearly that he gets the service for what it really is.”
Of course, the coup de grâce to any notion that Mitt was a conservative is his mandatory healthcare insurance plan, un-affectionately known as RomneyCare. His was the first plan in the nation that mandated health insurance. It is an expensive, unworkable and unconstitutional intrusion into the affairs of free citizens; and in no way should ever be emulated on the federal level, which Mitt vows to do.
No wonder he made Human Event’s ‘Top 10 RINOS’ list in 2005.
John McCain’s foray into the camp of federal bureaucratic nanny-statism is as wide as it is deep. Everything from affirmative action to banning “cheap” guns to federal funding of stem cell research to minimum wage increases to supporting ‘hate crimes’ laws to his namesake legislative assault on free speech to higher CAFE (mileage) standards to ‘family leave’ legislation to winning the endorsement of the Log Cabin Republicans, has shown that this self-proclaimed government reformer is pushing many ‘reforms’ that would please Ted Kennedy.
McCain is downright Gorelian when it comes to the hoax called global warming. In 2002, he pushed to make the grandaddy of all busybody agencies, the EPA, into a cabinet level position. Though savvy enough to avoid co-sponsoring Fred’s Title X global warming masterpiece, McCain has since moved farther and farther left. He and Mike Huckabee are the only two candidates to publicly proclaim their admiration for a mandatory ‘Cap and Trade’ system to deal with CO2 emissions. And he spends his time telling his GOP colleagues how foolish they are to dismiss the subject. No John, you are the fool, and hopefully your and Algore’s efforts to hoodwink the public will meet the disgraced demise they so richly deserve.
And just to keep up with current events, McCain just voted FOR the new ‘Energy Bill’ - signed into law on 12/19. Among its thousands of pages of bureaucrat-speak, it includes a 40% boost in CAFE standards and the outlawing of the incandescent light bulb. What geniuses.
Congressman Duncan Hunter’s vision for the role of the Federal government can best be described in two words: Tenth Amendment. Hunter, along with Reagan, wanted to eliminate the Department of Education in the 1980s. Both viewed it as an illegal and unwise usurption by the feds. Though reality tells us that the liberals and RINOS will never allow that to happen any time soon, Hunter is still running on a platform to gut it, telling the audience during a press conference on FreeRepublic.com: “I would substantially cut the bureaucracy in the Department of Education, top to bottom”.
Both Hunter and Reagan worked (though failed) to overturn the thoroughly overreaching and unconstitutional power grab by the courts banning prayer in schools.
Running for reelection in 1994, Hunter told Public Radio that he wanted to cut the EPA’s budget by 50%. He had this to say about OSHA: “I think 10 percent of OSHA performs a valuable function and keeps the workplace safe,” suggesting a 90% reduction in their budget.
In 1995, Hunter made Hazel O’Leary’s secretive Department of Energy ‘Enemies List’ (which got her in hot water, FWIW). The San Diego Union Tribune reported: A proponent of abolishing DOE and giving its nuclear weapon responsibilities to the Pentagon, Hunter has criticized the agency as having too much bureaucracy and too many consultants financed by its $6.5 billion nuclear waste cleanup account. A new budget authorization passed by the House would cut $742 million from the account. But, Hunter said, referring to CARMA, “When I cut their budget of nonessential consultants, it looks like I missed one.”
While McCain, Huckabee, and Mitt have used hurricane Katrina as foil to point out ‘mismanagement’ of FEMA as they try to score points for their own management prowess, Duncan Hunter has used Katrina as a prime example of the great volunteer work that private citizens do in the event of a disaster.
Hunter led the charge in 2003 to exempt military installations from endangered species laws, saying “These troops need to have places to train, and these training grounds are becoming more and more restricted because of applications, and I think wrongful applications, of our environmental laws.” He told the North County Times, “We went at this with the viewpoint that the most important endangered creature is the 19-year-old Marine rifleman.”
Hunter was rewarded with a zero rating from the League of Conservation Voters.
Hunter also led the charge to eliminate the NEA in the 1990s and was thwarted time and again by the RINOS who sided with the democrats. And just when Hunter and the conservatives had the NEA on the ropes in 2000, they hired a southerner as the head honcho, Bill Ivey, and he charmed his way to more funding, even getting former NEA foe Fred Thompson to toss his support to the agency. Fred told CNN, “If we can do something for rural kids and smaller-state kids, get more resources for art forms outside of New York and California, that’s a good thing.”
And just this month, Hunter voted against the democrats new Energy Bill, which included the new CAFÉ standards as well as the elimination of incandescent light bulbs.
Finally, no one in Congress or elsewhere over the last 26 years has spent more time and energy attempting to kill off the benefits, sanctuaries and the red tape associated with deportations for illegal aliens.
In conclusion, Duncan Hunter has stood his ground for his conservative vision of America. An America that must continue to confront it’s enemies such as China and Iran without fear and doublespeak, an America that must allow its citizens to keep their hard earned dollars in their own pockets, an America that must fight to keep the bureaucratic state from running roughshod over our freedoms and rights, and an America that must toss aside harmful, politically correct niceties and govern in the manner which our founders intended.
When the candidates were asked by the Des Moines Register this year what they would like their legacies to be, Hunter provided the shortest answer:
“I would like to see a country where the day I walk out of the White House, after a couple of terms, the American people are more independent of government than the day that I walked in.”
And in Hunter’s case, he has a long career to prove he means it.
(Stay tuned for Part II of "Vision vs. Pandering", where Alexander covers the candidates records on Illegal Immigration, US Military Strength, and conservatism).