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At the Intersection of Faith and Culture

At the Intersection of Faith and Culture

An Honest Look at Michele Bachmann

posted by Jack Kerwick

Second only to Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann is the most consistent of the GOP presidential candidates when it comes to the subject of liberty.  Her record is, for the most part, commendable.  Beyond this, Bachmann strikes the unprejudiced and prejudiced observer alike as a woman of conviction, a woman with a keen intelligence, intestinal fortitude, and the ability to articulate her views with concision and clarity.

Still, from the perspective of the lover of liberty, Bachmann’s positions on the issues are anything but unproblematic.

 

Foreign Policy

War in Afghanistan

It is one thing to have initially lent support for the invasion of Afghanistan.  Our country had suffered a major terrorist attack the likes of which it had never before experienced and the government of this Middle Eastern land, we knew, was harboring those responsible for it.  It is another thing entirely, however, to not only continually support our efforts to “democratize”Afghanistan, but to resolutely oppose attempts to diminish our troop presence there.

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But this is exactly what Congresswoman Bachmann has done.  In March of this year, Bachmann voted “NO” on removing our armed forces from Afghanistan.  

Bachmann presumably agrees with Republican Congressman Ros-Lehtinen who conveyed her colleagues’ position on the matter.  She states: “Completing our mission in Afghanistan is essential to keeping our homeland safe.  This is about our vital national security interests.”

War in Iraq

As for Iraq, the war was launched before Bachmann was elected to Congress.  Yet she has been a vocal proponent of it. In fact, she had voted against a measure in May 2007 to begin withdrawing American troops from the conflict-ridden region within 90 days.  The following statement issued during this congressional debate represents the view of Bachmann and her colleagues on this issue.  “This legislation embraces” not only “surrender and defeat;” it as well “undermines our troops and the authority of the President as commander-in-chief,” and it “places military decisions in the hands of politicians rather than military commanders in the field.”  Worse yet,America’s enemies inIraq “view this bill as a sign of weakness.”  The statement concludes: “It is absolutely essential thatAmerica, the last remaining superpower on earth, continue to be a voice for peace and a beacon for freedom in our shrinking world.” 

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Notice, as the statement’s conclusion makes abundantly clear, Bachmann is indistinguishable from her Republican colleagues who wanted to prolong the war in Iraqin regarding the latter as part of a grand ideological crusade.  The significance of this can’t be overstated, for if American-style liberty can be said to have an arch-nemesis, it is precisely the sort of militaristic ideology that Bachmann wholeheartedly endorses.

Strangely, because it is primarily this ideology that resulted in two crushing defeats for the Republican Party in the elections of 2006 and 2008, one would think that every GOP presidential aspirant would emphatically repudiate it.  But this is far from the case.  As further evidence that Bachman is a true believer in it, there are other facts to visit.

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Defense Spending

First, Bachmann insists that defense spending hasn’t anything whatsoever to do with our “budget crisis.”  The Department of Defense must have “efficiency,” she says, but as far as she is concerned, there is no need for any cuts in defense. 

“Democratic Revolution” in Iran

Second, in June of 2009, Bachmann signed a bill expressing support for Iranian demonstrators, “all Iranian citizens who embrace the values of freedom, human rights, civil liberties, and [the] rule of law.”

The Patriot Act 

Third, in February of this year, Bachmann voted in favor of extending the Patriot’s Act “roving” wiretaps.  It is true that, by itself, this course of action on her part does not necessarily imply that she subscribes to an ideology of “American Exceptionalism” or “Global Democracy” or whatever we may want to call it.  But, coupled with the foregoing considerations, it certainly lends support to this claim, for beefed up surveillance of American citizens at home is among the more notable, and notably controversial, measures appropriated by our government in its prosecution of “the War on Terror,” a phenomenon that has alternately, and euphemistically, been characterized as a global “Freedom Agenda”—which in turn is, for all practical purposes, inseparable from “American Exceptionalism,” “Global Democracy,” etc.   

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Furthermore, whatever her motivations are for voting for an extension of the Patriot Act, that Bachmann would feel comfortable granting our already expansive federal government that much more authority and power over our lives, that she would have no cause for concern that this awesome power could all too easily in the future be abused by the foes of liberty, bespeaks much regarding her own relationship to the latter.

Iran

Fourth, as if we haven’t already invested more than enough of our blood and treasure in our efforts to fundamentally transform the Middle East into a Western-friendly oasis of Democracy, Bachmann has advocated imposing sanctions against Iran while clarifying her openness to the possibility of using nuclear weaponry against it in the event that its government acquire a nuclear weapon for itself.

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Foreign Aid to Israel

There is one final consideration that substantiates the thesis that Bachmann is as beholden to an ideology of Big Government vis-à-vis foreign policy as anyone else: Bachmann has unabashedly proclaimed her support for foreign aid for Israel.  Even the most impassioned of defenders of Israel—like Alan Keyes—have long observed that materially speaking, America has nothing to gain from Israel.  Rather, the relationship between the two countries is essentially moral—that is to say, ideological.  Now, it is one thing to recognizeIsrael as an ally; it is quite another matter, however, to insist that the federal government of the United States confiscate the legitimately acquired resources of its citizens in order to subsidize the Israeli government. 

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Yet it is upon exactly this that Michele Bachmann insists.

 

Domestic Policy

EPA

Domestically speaking, Bachmann’s predilection for Big Government in foreign policy is not utterly devoid of a counterpart. 

For instance, while she is, to her credit, adamant about trimming down the Environmental Protection Agency, she has never argued for eliminating the agency altogether.  Bachmann says that by the time she is done with the EPA, it will be limited to the task of “conservation” only. 

That is, it will still exist.

Marriage

As for marriage, again, it redounds to Bachmann’s credit that she is as devoted to preserving the integrity of the institution of marriage as she is.  However, from the standpoint of liberty, the creation of a constitutional amendment explicitly defining marriage as a monogamous, heterosexual activity is, at the very least, a problematic course of action.  Such an amendment would usurp the right of the individual states to negotiate marital arrangements while consolidating that much more federal power.

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The “War on Drugs”

Bachmann is a warrior all right.  In addition to our overseas adventures, she is as well committed to fighting “the War on Drugs” here at home. From the vantage point of the lover of liberty, the task of reconciling, on the one hand, individual liberty and, on the other, the federal government’s criminalization of harmful substances is no mean feat. 

The reasons for this should be obvious.

First of all, there isn’t a single substance or activity that isn’t potentially harmful, and an equal number of such things that are potentially good.  Once the government proceeds to dictate to American men and women—supposedly self-governing citizens—what they must and must not do, liberty is compromised.  Whether the government forbids one potentially deleterious substance or a countless number of such substances, liberty is diminished.

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Second, precisely because there is all manner of practices that citizens should and should not engage in, once the government seeks to determine what citizens must do with respect to any one of them, in principle, it can do the same with all of them. 

Third, sensibilities vary considerably among our country’s 50 states.  It is bad enough that any government should seek to criminalize the use of a substance; it is cause for no slight measure of alarm when the federal government should seek to do so.

Fourth, not only has the federal government criminalized recreational drug use.  It has done so in the absence of a constitutional amendment.  Ron Paul has raised this point on more than one occasion.  Whereas the federal government’s prohibition of drugs is as foolish and inimical to liberty as was its prohibition of alcohol, at least the latter was achieved by way of an amendment to the Constitution.  The former, like so many of the “wars” our government has been waging over the last sixty years, is “undeclared,” so to speak.

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Conclusion

This analysis of Michele Bachmann is not intended to be exhaustive.  Although she is preferable to most of her rivals in the GOP presidential primary race, Congresswoman Bachmann’s relationship to liberty remains confused.     

Jack Kerwick, Ph.D.

originally published in The New American 

 

 

 

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An Honest Look at Herman Cain

posted by Jack Kerwick

Herman Cain, frontrunner for the GOP’s presidential nomination, styles himself a Washington“outsider,” an “anti-politician” and a businessman who is just what America needs at this critical moment in its history to turn itself around.  Only someone of Cain’s peculiar background, he would have us believe, only someone uncorrupted by the insatiable hunger for power from which all career politicians suffer, can restore America’s greatness in the world.

Again, this is the self-image that Cain works inexhaustibly to project.

There is one question, though: is it true?

The first fact that must not be lost upon us is that while Cain is a reasonably successful businessman, and while he is not a professional politician, the notion that he is the “Mr. Smith” of our time who is about to take Washington by storm is a fiction of the first order. 

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Cain, you see, was at one time a Federal Reserve chairman. 

Federal Reserve

Now, if ever we needed a symbol of Big Government, the Federal Reserve is it, bar none.  The White House, Capital Hill, the FBI, the CIA, the IRS, and even the Pentagon—none signifies more profoundly and succinctly the omnipotent nature of our federal government.  As Henry Kissinger once remarked, whomever “controls the food supply controls the people,” and whomever “controls the energy can control whole continents,” but whomever “controls money can control the whole world” (emphasis mine). 

The point to take away from this is not that Cain acted objectionably in assuming this position, or at any time during his tenor as Fed chairman.  The point is that he hasn’t an iota of credibility when he depicts himself as a stranger to Big Government.  As a Federal Reserve chairman, he was wedded to the all-encompassing sovereign known as the federal government. 

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That Cain hasn’t any objections to the Federal Reserve and, by extension, federal supremacy, becomes undeniable once we consider his response to the proposal, advanced tirelessly by the likes of his colleague and rival, Ron Paul, that the Fed be audited.  While on Neal Boortz’s show, Cain said that since there were already audits in place, another audit of the sort that Paul requests would be “unnecessary” and a “waste [of] money.”  On another occasion, Cain expressed uncertainty concerning the usefulness of an audit. “What I’m saying is [that] this request for an audit, I’m not sure if that’s the answer to any problem other than people think that they [the Fed] don’t want to be audited.”  At still another time, Cain asserted bluntly that: “I don’t think you’re going to find anything to audit on the Federal Reserve.”  He suggested that anyone who is curious about the dealings of the Fed should simply contact the bank and direct questions to its officials.  This should suffice to dispel all doubts regarding the Federal Reserve’s trustworthiness, for it is “one of the tightest-run federal entities I have ever seen.”

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In spite of attributing to it unprecedented efficiency, Cain acknowledges that the Federal Reserve Bank today has its share of problems.  Yet this hasn’t anything at all to do with the structure of the Bank itself; rather, it is because those in charge—like Ben Bernanke—have allowed it to become “politicized.”  During the 1990’s, when Cain was a Federal Reserve chairman, you see, the Fed was “non-politicized.” 

TARP

It isn’t just Cain’s almost astonishingly naïve views on the Federal Reserve that expose his affection for Big Government; Cain also supported the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) of 2008.  This, as I am sure everyone now knows, is the notorious piece of legislation by which the federal government spent hundreds of billions of taxpayers’ dollars bailing out troubled banks. 

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In October of 2008, Cain takes “free market purists” to task for objecting to the bailouts on the grounds that it would consist in “the nationalization” of the banking industry.  It would not, Cain insists, for nationalization entails that “the government would own at least 51 percent of the entity for an indefinite period of time.”  But, Cain assures readers, with TARP, taxpayer ownership of the banks “is going to be relatively small and nowhere near the amount to be called nationalization.”  “So,” Cain asks, “what’s the problem?”

Cain’s position is clear: “Owning a part of the major banks inAmericais not a bad thing.  We could make a profit while solving a problem.”

Observe both the narrowness and, truth be told, deceptiveness of Cain’s definition of “nationalization.”  Since nationalization requires that the government have at least 51% ownership of the banks, and since the government will own a relatively small share under TARP, the latter does not open the door to nationalization.

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Vis-à-vis the nationalization of the banking industry, the percentage of the government’s ownership of the banks is neither here nor there, and Cain, we can only hope, must know this.  In fact, it doesn’t matter whether the government owns any share at all in the banks.  If the government controls the banks, if it can determine how lending institutions conduct their affairs, then this, for all intents and purposes, suffices to establish that the banks have indeed been nationalized.  And anyone who knows anything at all about the nature of government knows that if it “owns” any part at all of the banking industry, it in effect controls all of it. 

As if his support of the disastrous TARP wasn’t bad enough, just a week prior to the economic collapse in September of 2008 to which TARP was thought to be the remedy, Cain insisted that the economy was in fine condition.  But one week outside of among the most severe economic crises that our country has experienced since the Great Depression, a crisis loudly predicted for years by, among others, Cain’s fellow Republican, Ron Paul, Cain insisted that our economy was sound.  The housing market bubble that had been inflated for years by government intervention was about to burst, and yet Cain apparently couldn’t decipher the connection between the one and the other.

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Miscellaneous Issues

Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

For all of his talk of being an anti-politician, a Washington outsider, Cain sounds awfully like those Republican politicians who have spent their careers inside the Beltway—especially when it comes to our military’s overseas exploits intended to “democratize” the Islamic world (and elsewhere).  Cain supported both the wars inIraqandAfghanistan, and he steadfastly opposes any and all “timetables” for withdrawing our troops.  This is significant, for war, particularly the perpetual “War on Terror” of which the wars inIraqandAfghanistanare but specific battles, is the lifeblood of the government.  Government grows at no time like it does during times of war.  Yet Cain wants to cut not a single penny from our defense budget.

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Social Security and Public Education

Again, on these issues, Cain sounds indistinguishable from just those professional politicians to whom he is supposedly opposed.  He does not object to the federal government’s involvement in either social security or education.  He would, though, like to “reform” the current systems that we have in favor of systems in which “choice” figures more prominently than it currently does. 

As is true in the case of the federal government’s bailing out the banking industry (or any industry), whether the government’s role in providing “a safety net” and a “free” education is overt or covert, whether or not it is concealed with talk of “choice,” “options,” and/or “market-based solutions,” it is the federal government that remains in control of the system.  As they say, you can put lipstick on a pig but….

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Cain has never called for the abolition of any governmental programs, let alone agencies.  Instead, he talks of reforming them.  As is the way with all socialists, communists, and, in short, lovers of Big Government, so is Cain’s way: it is never government per se that is the cause of our problems, but only the office holders who administer it.

Conclusion

Herman Cain, I hope it is now clear, is an establishment politician’s politician.  If the Tea Partiers, conservatives, and libertarians of whom the Republican Party is comprised want but another champion of Big Government as their next president, then Herman Cain is as worthy of their party’s nomination as anyone.          

Jack Kerwick, Ph.D.

originally published at The New American   

 

 

 

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Herman Cain, Race, Sex, and the Left

posted by Jack Kerwick

GOP presidential frontrunner Herman Cain has had a rough couple of weeks.  Several women have come forth accusing Cain of sexual harassment.  Now, Cain may or may not be guilty of the charges that are leveled against him.  It is not my intention here to defend him.  In fact, I am not now nor have I ever been a Herman Cain supporter.  However, as a conservative, I am disposed to be skeptical of most things in life.  And there are few things as deserving of skeptical treatment as the phenomenon that has engulfed Cain since he has become a presidential frontrunner. 

This is the first reason for why I am disinclined to extend Cain’s accusers a sympathetic hearing: it is only now, once his party’s presidential nomination is within his reach, that they have come forward.

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Second, not only have these women waited until Cain became a frontrunner before they decided to disclose these revelations, they waited well over a decade to do so!

Third, the publicity-hungry, Democratic-friendly Gloria Allred is representing at least one of Cain’s accusers.  This fact alone suggests that the Cain “scandal” is politically motivated.  When, however, it is taken in conjunction with the foregoing considerations, it all but compels this conclusion.

There is another reason, though, to account for my suspicions that, whatever may or may not have happened in Cain’s past, this episode is largely a plot hatched by his political opponents.

To put it bluntly, Cain is black and, thus far, his accusers are white.

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Beyond this, some of them—including and especially Sharon Bialik, the woman who is the first to put a face to the sexual harassment charges—are white women with blonde hair.

Now, the base of the Republican Party remains predominantly white.  From the leftist’s perspective, white Republicans are even more preoccupied with “racist” delusions than are whites generally.  This explains, according to the leftist, why white Republicans love Herman Cain: he is a black man “who knows his place.” 

This, at any rate, is what MSNBC analyst Karen Finney said during an exchange on Martin Bashir’s television show.  “One of the things about Herman Cain is, I think that he makes that white Republican base of the party feel okay, feel like they are not racist because they can like this guy.”  Finney continued to say that she believes that Cain has given the Republican Party base “a free pass” because they view him as “a black man who knows his place.” 

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Janeane Garofalo, on more than one occasion, has attempted to reinforce this notion of an incorrigibly “racist” Republican Party and its relationship to Cain.  While speaking with Keith Olbermann, she asserted: “Herman Cain is probably well liked by some of the Republicans because” such support on their part “hides the racist elements of the Republican Party.”  So that no one would miss her point, Garofalo was blunt: “[The] Conservative movement and tea party movement [are] one and the same.”   That is, they are “racist” against blacks. 

From the perspective of the leftist, then, Republicans, conservatives, and Tea Partiers generally dislike blacks—except for when those blacks, like Herman Cain, “know their place.”  When blacks like Cain come along and defy those threatening stereotypes concerning blacks that “racist” Republicans regard as self-evident truths, then they exploit him in order to prove that they aren’t “racist” after all.

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But now, so goes the logic of the leftist’s vision of Republicans, the latter will have a change of heart.  Cain would have only appeared to Republicans to have undermined the worst of black stereotypes.  But the women—white women—who now alleged that Cain made unwanted sexual advances toward them will surely throw this into doubt, for Cain sounds like precisely the sort of black man that they have always feared, a black man with an insatiable sexual drive and an irrepressible attraction to white women.

On November 14, Kimberle Williams Crenshaw and Catharine A. MacKinnon co-authored an op-ed in The New York Times in which they touch upon this theme of the intersection of black male sexuality, miscegenation, and white hostility.  As is clear from the title of their essay, “Why Herman Cain is Unfit to Lead,” the authors are no fans of Cain’s.  However, they caution against casually dismissing Cain’s claim to be, like Clarence Thomas two decades earlier, the victim of a “high tech lynching.”  They write: “It would be wrong to dismiss the appeal of his defense, given the common dimension of public sexual humiliation and how deeply ‘lynching’ resonates as a metaphor for black men in the real context of the sexual politics of racial hierarchy.” 

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That is, whites generally and white men in particular have always reserved the harshest treatment for black men who insist on pursuing white women.

Leftist MSNBC contributor Toure is even more explicit on this score.  While on Martin Bashir’s program, he remarked: “We’re going to see how open the GOP is to this black—their ‘new black friend’ when they find out he is harassing blonde women as opposed to black women.”  The idea here is that because this “sort of thing,” i.e. “predatory black sexuality,” is still “very frightening,” “very threatening,” inAmerica (emphasis mine).

Another MSNBC contributor, Karen Finney, seconded her colleague’s sentiments.  Of Republicans, she commented: “Look, I think it will be interesting to see if these guys rally around Herman Cain with as much voracity as they have these last couple of weeks now that it’s clear that a whole other layer of black sexuality has been infused into this.”  Finney is confident that the fact that these are “white women” and Cain is a “black man” is not bound to sit well with Republicans—or most whites, for that matter.

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Michael Tomasky, contributor to The Daily Beast, argued before anything was known about Cain’s accusers that if the latter were black, this wouldn’t hurt Cain in the least, for “white conservative voters are less likely to care what black people do amongst themselves.”  If, though, his accusers turn out to be white, then he can count on losing much support, and “if they’re blonde,” he will lose that much more support (emphasis mine).  Granted, Tomasky’s article—“The Cain Sexual-Harassment Game”—is satirical.  But it is obvious to all who read it that Tomasky sees his hypothetical thought experiment as embodying real truths about Republicans and blacks.         

We know, of course, that when it comes to the issue of white Republicans and Herman Cain—like when it comes to most issues—the leftist is self-delusional.  Yet it is precisely because leftists do think this way about white Republicans, race, and sexuality that invests my theory that the Cain “scandal” is politically conceived with a measure of plausibility.  

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It becomes even more plausible, though, when we recognize that the interracial character of this episode serves another crucial function.  It kills two birds with one stone, if you will.  Not only can it be made to alienate white Republicans from Cain; it can serve in alienating blacks, black women specifically, from him as well.

As Thomas Sowell has written of Cain: “My gosh, he is certainly one of us [i.e blacks], far more so than Barack Obama [.]”  The Democratic Party establishment is not at all comfortable with the prospect of a black man raised in the old South during Jim Crow going up against Barack Obama, a much younger bi-racial candidate who enjoyed a relatively privileged life coming of age in plushHawaii.  A brief perusal of their respective histories suggests that Cain is more “authentically” black than Obama.

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This, at least, is what leftists think the rest of us think.  So, for the sake of precluding that perception, they depict Cain as a black man for whom black women aren’t good enough.  That he has been married to a black woman for many years, far from detracting from this message, actually strengthens it, for his wife’s is the face of the black women everywhere who he has disrespected and denigrated by pursuing white women.  Cain, blacks can now know, really is “the sell-out Uncle Tom” that they have suspected.

To reiterate, my point here is neither to exculpate Cain from the allegations made against him nor to convict the left of foul play.  Rather, I simply wanted to present a theory as to why the left, if it was interested in framing Herman Cain or any black Republican, would choose to do so in terms of the kind of scandal at the center of which Cain currently stands.

Jack Kerwick, Ph.D.

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An Honest Look at Mitt Romney

posted by Jack Kerwick

From the time the GOP presidential primary contest got under way, Mitt Romney has been heralded in the media as the frontrunner.  Since its crushing losses in ’06 and ’08 and the ensuing rise of both Barack H. Obama as well as the Tea Party movement, the Republican Party has claimed to have learned the error of its ways.  It alone is the party of “limited” or “constitutional government,” the party of liberty.  Yet during its reign of power under the tenor of George W. Bush, it not only abjectly failed to reduce the size and scope of the federal government; it significantly expandedWashingtonD.C.’s control over our lives. Now, the GOP promises us, it will “return to its roots.” 

From the time the GOP presidential primary contest got under way, the media has treated Mitt Romney’s nomination as virtually inevitable.  How, though, does the idea of an allegedly repentant Republican Party renewing its commitment to individual liberty square with the idea of Mitt Romney as this party’s presidential nominee?

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To put this question another way, is Romney a credible standard bearer of the party of “limited government?”

To answer this question, we need to look not so much as what Romney says now, during a Republican primary race.  We need, rather, to look at what he has said and done throughout his career.

Abortion

The first thing of which to take note is that in spite of his assurances that he is opposed to abortion, for most of his political career he has been a proponent of women’s “right to choose.”  Mind you, it isn’t just that Romney refused to ally himself with the opponents of abortion; he actively sought to counter their efforts. 

In 1994, while he was running for the Senate in Massachusetts, Romney was photographed at a Planned Parenthood fundraiser.  That same (election) year, he insisted that “we should sustain and support” Roe v. Wade, as well as “the right of a woman to make that choice” to pursue an abortion or not.  Whatever Romney’s or anyone else’s “personal beliefs” regarding the wrongness of abortion, he adamantly rejected the possibility that it would be appropriate to interject them “into a political campaign.” 

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When Romney’s opponent in the Senate race, Ted Kennedy, accused him essentially of flip flopping on the abortion issue—Romney was “multiple choice,” according to Kennedy—he replied that among his most cherished beliefs is the belief that he must not “impose my beliefs on other people.”  Upon losing “a dear, close family relative” who had “passed away from an illegal abortion,” Romney said that he, his mother, and his family “have been committed to the belief that we can believe as we want, but we will not force our beliefs on others on that matter [i.e. abortion].”  So that there would be no doubts regarding the strength of his conviction on this issue, Romney unequivocally asserted: “And you will not see me wavering on that, or being multiple-choice, thank you very much.” 

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As of 1994, then, Romney confessed to having been a lifelong advocate of “abortion rights” for women.  By 2002—when he ran for the governorship of Massachusetts—things had not changed in this respect.  Romney pledged to “preserve and protect a woman’s right to choose” and his platform reiterated his stance on this topic: “The choice to have an abortion is a deeply personal one.  Women should be free to choose based on their own beliefs, not [those of] the government’s.”

As Romney relays the story now, all of this changed for him in 2004 when he had an encounter with Harvard University stem cell researcher, Douglas Melton.  When Melton explained to Romney that destroying two week-old embryos via therapeutic cloning was unobjectionable, the governor supposedly had an epiphany.  Turning to his chief of staff, Beth Myers, Romney told her that “we have cheapened the sanctity of life by virtue of the Roe v. Wade mentality.” 

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Melton, however, takes exception to Romney’s account of their meeting.  There was, he insists, no talk of killing embryos at all.  That a year later, in 2005, Romney underscored that he was “absolutely committed to” his “promise to maintain the status quo with regards to laws relating to abortion and choice” suggests that perhaps there is more than a grain of truth in what Melton says.

So up until he decided to run for the presidency in 2008, Mitt Romney was essentially “pro-choice.” 

Unfortunately, many Republicans and self-declared conservatives will miss the main significance of this.  From the perspective of a champion of “limited government,” the primary problem isn’t that Romney was effectively “pro-choice.”  The problem is that he favored usurping the right of individual states to negotiate this most controversial of issues for themselves.  Romney defended an obscene power grab on the part of the federal government, a concentration of government authority over an even greater part of our lives.

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Yet this was far from the only time that Romney betrayed his sympathy for Big Government. 

Education

Romney, like most Republicans, supports “school choice” and charter schools.  And, like most Republicans, he wants to preserve the Department of Education.  There is no inconsistency here.  The rhetoric of “choice” is politically appealing, but when it comes to this issue of education, Republicans are no more interested in depriving the federal government of the role in education that it has assumed over the decades than are Democrats.  Romney, furthermore, is actually a fan of the Department of Education.  In the GOP primary race of 2008, Romney remarked that he had come to “see that the Department of Education can actually make a difference.”

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Oh, and he is a proponent of “No Child Left Behind,” a law that has served to strengthen the federal government’s grip over state schools.

The Second Amendment

It turns out that Romney hasn’t been all that much friendlier to those committed to protecting the Second Amendment than he has been to the unborn and the champions of states’ rights. 

While campaigning for the governorship of Massachusettsin 2002, Romney both acknowledged his state’s strict gun laws and expressed his belief in them.  He was unequivocal: “We do have tough gun laws inMassachusetts; I support them.  I won’t chip away at them.  I believe they protect us and provide for our safety.”

And lest one object that Romney was just governing a specific state in accordance with the prevailing sensibilities of the majority of its residents, we would be well served to recall that during his Senate campaign, he endorsed “the Brady Bill”—a federal piece of legislation requiring all would-be purchasers of firearms to wait five days before they can follow through with their purchases.  He commented that his decision to do so was “not going to make me the hero of the NRA [National Rifle Association].”  But that was fine with Romney, for as he proudly noted, “I don’t line up with the NRA.”

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In 2008, on the eve of the declaration of his candidacy for president, Romney acquired a membership with none other than the NRA. 

Other Domestic Issues

Government Subsidies and Industry

Romney supported the government’s bailout of the automobile industry.  Not only, though, does he call for the federal government to subsidize this industry, he also believes that it ought to continue subsidizing the agricultural industry.  Romney wasn’t always this sympathetic to the latter, though.  While he was running for the Senate in 1994, he demanded what he referred to as “the virtual elimination” of the Department of Agriculture.  However, in 2007, when he was pushed on this point, one of hisIowa spokespersons assured farmers that “Governor Romney believes that investing in agriculture is [the] key to our economy and families.”

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Romney has also made known his fondness for the federal government’s indispensable role in “investing” in technology.  For Romney, it isn’t enough that, to his own admission, “we as a country already invest an enormous amount…in defense technology, space technology,” and “health”; we need as well “to invest in some of the emerging technologies that are important at a basic science level such as fuel cell technology, power generation, materials science, [and] automotive technology.”  The federal government must also combat the “moral pollution” that engulfs America’s children on a daily basis.  To this end, Romney wants to coerce home computer manufacturers to install a device that will permit parents to block objectionable content.  According to Romney, “We have to recognize that where we invest as a nation, both from a government standpoint but also from a private standpoint, those are the areas we’ve been most successful” (emphasis mine). 

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Global Warming

Romney doesn’t just believe in “global warming;” he thinks as well that human beings contribute significantly to it.  In and of itself, this belief is neither here nor there, but as we know all too well, believers in “global warming”—especially when they are politicians, like Romney, with dreams of amassing vast quantities of power—invariably jump all too easily from this belief in an impending apocalypse to the conclusion that “we must do something to thwart it.”

And this, of course, means that we need bigger and bigger government.

When he was governor ofMassachusetts, Romney authored a 72 point “Climate Protection Plan” and supported the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative—both measures designed to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. 

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Though he has thus far said little about it, you can bet the bank that as president, Romney would be ever so eager to combat “global warming” at the federal level.

Health Care

There is very little that hasn’t already been said concerning “Romneycare.”  Still, it bears repeating: Romney’s socialized health care scheme for the citizens ofMassachusettswas instrumental in the formation of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”—i.e. “Obamacare.” 

Regrettably, for Romney, his attempt to establish a morally relevant difference between his health care plan and that of Obama’s has failed abysmally.  Certainly, there is indeed a difference between policies enacted at a state level and those enacted at the national level.  But much of “Romneycare” is funded by the federal government.  That is, the citizens of the 49 states—American taxpayers living outside of Massachusetts—have been made to part with their resources so as to finance “Romneycare.”  This much Romney never mentions. 

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Furthermore, in the hard cover edition of his book, No Apology: The Case for American Greatness, Romney said that he would like to do for all of America’s citizens vis-à-vis healthcare what he did for the citizens ofMassachusetts.  Since “Obamacare” became woefully unpopular, the paperback version of his book has been released.  Only this version is slightly different from its predecessor inasmuch as it omits this line.

Foreign Policy

Romney is no different from any other Republican inasmuch he enthusiastically embraces a robust, activist military, a military that is engaged in exporting “Democracy” throughout the Middle East and (potentially) beyond.  He supported invading Iraq as well as “the surge” of 2008.  Romney doesn’t deny that we continue to face real challenges in Iraq, but he attributes these problems, not to the fact that we are there, but to our government’s “mismanagement” of the situation. 

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That is, like all proponents of Big Government, it is never the government itself that accounts for the disasters that occur when government seeks to intervene in this or that; it is always specific government office holders that are responsible.  It isn’t that government cannot get the job done correctly; it is that government just has not been able to do so thus far. 

Conclusion

There is much more that can be said about Romney.  But I think that what has been said should suffice to convince readers that Romney is as devoted a lover of Big Government as anyone.

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