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Tag: Rick Perry

The Republican Hydra

This year’s Republican nomination process was interesting, because the candidates who contested through the process represented distinct ideological perspectives.  Thus, they are proxies for the relative strength of contesting ideas within the Republican Party.

The ability of candidates with these clear distinctions to maintain the contest as long as they did may be attributed to an increase in protection of free speech rights from the Citizens United decision (see post “Super PACs: Shedding the Bad Rap” by Ray La Raja on Riding the Tiger).

In order of their relative electoral strength, the candidates and their ideas were as follows:

Mitt Romney, the victor, is the standard bearer for pragmatic stewardship, which is the dominate ideology of the Republican Party.

Rick Santorum evangelized for the religion right.  His electoral failure demonstrates the weakness of the theocrat faction.  For all their huffing and puffing, they are a minority within the party.

Newt Gingrich’s government reform platform expressed the agenda of the neoconservatives.  Republicans proclaimed him the candidate of ideas, and most Republicans don’t like ideas.

Ron Paul was followed by the ‘libertarians’.  While I disagree that Ron Paul is an advocate for freedom and limited government, his mistaken and passionate supporters label him so.  Based upon his supporters’ narrative, Paul’s showing demonstrates the electoral weakness of advocates of limited government within the Republican ranks.

A relevant mention is merited for Rick Perry, who championed the neoconfederates and was quickly booted from contention by the party of Lincoln.

Given the results on the primaries and caucuses, the Republicans have demonstrated themselves to be primarily a pragmatic party, not a conservative party.  This supports my frequent contention that those that complain loudest about RINOs as not really Republicans, but they hope that they can pretend to be the dominate voice in the party without being challenged for their fraud.

Because pragmatists oppose principles on principles, Romney’s policies will be implanted in his mind by those who do express ideas.  The changes brought into being during his potential Administration will be big government reforms from the neoconservatives, who will give empty promises that big government will be changed into better big government.  Meanwhile, the religious right will be thrown sufficient policy concessions to keep them obedient within the Republican coalition.  However, those that advocate limited government will be given rhetoric without implementing policies.

For an examination of the neoconservatives as the ideological bastard love children of Leon Trotsky and Plato, I recommend C. Bradley Thompson’s book Neoconservativism: An Obituary for an Idea.

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Answering the 14th Amendment Question

The other day, I wrote about the question that I would ask the Republican candidates for President. Today, I will answer that question as that will unpack it a bit and make the deficiencies of various candidates more evident:

I do agree that certain “Republican” candidates sound more like Jefferson Davis than Abraham Lincoln.

In some cases, they express anti-American sectionalism such as Gov. Perry endorsing secession, former Speaker Gingrich attacking federal civil rights law by endorsing essentially literacy tests as a qualification for voting, and Rep. Paul sounding like President Thomas Jefferson’s contemporary critic Rep. John Randolph of Roanoke.

Speaking about the antidisestablishment advocates, they express a hostility to the Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment in the name of an appeal to a democratic trampling of individual rights…they would make failed former Democratic presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan proud.

To be specific, this error in constitutional interpretation is expressed on the Supreme Court today by the anti-conceptual orginalist doctrine advocated by Justice Scalia.

Let me attempt to summarize my own view briefly…I agree with President Jefferson who advocated a role for the federal courts as a power to protect individuals from abuse by a state. Through the leadership of George Mason and James Madison, our constitution was enhanced with a Bill of Rights identifying civil (procedural) rights that were so fundamental, although not exclusive, that the government may not infringe them. After the Civil War, the 14th Amendment guaranteed citizens the protection of due process and equal protection of the law against abuse by a state. Through Supreme Court decisions, this has been interpreted as a federal guarantee of fundamental rights (the incorporation of aspects of the Bill of Rights) such that individuals are secure in their individual rights from abuse by state action.

Many Republicans recently cheered when the Supreme Court incorporated the 2nd Amendment as a check against overreaching state and municipal gun control laws. Yet, as if ideas and principles do not matter, many of these same Republicans (some currently running for the Presidency) oppose the incorporation of the 1st Amendment’s establishment clause. Given the history of ours states abusing Christians of various sects, including the sects of these same people, they have failed to learned the lessons of history, which led to disestablishment–the separation of church and state.

Some may say that these are a lot of words that do not amount to much, so let me concretize it with a couple of examples of protections against state power that you risk taking for granted:

* buying condoms in Connecticut (Griswold v. Connecticut 1965)
* marrying the person you love in Virginia, even if you are of a different race (Loving v. Virginia 1967)
* attending school as a Jehovah’s Witness without getting beaten up for failing to pledge allegiance (West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette 1943)
* just compensation for property seized by the state (Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad v. City of Chicago 1896)

While I could go on, these examples demonstrate the principles and consequences of those who seek democratic state governments unchecked by federal constitutional protections for individual rights.
* they promise to make abortion illegal, and they will take your condoms
* they seek to revoke the voting rights of blacks, and they will decide who you can marry
* they command praising the Christian god, and they will oppress the wrong kinds of Christians
* they take a citizen’s property for Pfizer’s benefit today, and they will take your property as a gift to the collective tomorrow

Related to court appointments, I would not advance advocates of Justice Scalia’s anti-conceptual originalism nor Justice Breyer’s subjectivist living constitution model; instead, I would nominated judges who appreciate that the purpose of government is the protection of individual rights and that our Constitution, civil rights statutes, our laws, and regulations are to be means to that end.

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“Republican” Presidential Candidates vs. 14th Amendment

For tomorrow’s FoxNews/Google Republican presidential debate, YouTube was soliciting questions; unfortunately, I did not make the effort to construct a video question…such a hassle to find a period without ambient noise; yes, little girls I refer to you.

However, I did have an idea for a question, for which I wanted to understand the answer. As a visual, consider a war weary picture of President Lincoln with the following scripted audio, spoken with my own personal drawl:

In this here Republican candidates’ debate, I am surprised to see participants who are not Republicans, but are in fact neo-con-federates! Yes, Perry, Gingrich, and Paul, I am especially referring to you. Much has been and should be said about the 10th Amendment; however, some of y’all’s rhetoric is outright antagonistic to the 14th Amendment. As someone who puts yourself forward as the nominator of the federal judiciary, please expound upon your view of the 14th Amendment, equal protection, due process, and the incorporation of the Bill of Rights as a check upon the abuse of individual rights by state authorities. In praising recent decisions about the incorporation of the 2nd Amendment by the Supreme Court, please do not neglect the more vital Establishment Clause from the 1st Amendment.

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