Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thoughts on the 2010 Mid-Term Elections

For a number of years I loosely associated myself with the Republican party, although never considering myself “a republican.” But around 2004, I officially disclaimed any part of the republican party, on the grounds that I believed the party had become every bit the party of enormous, centralized government that the democratic party was--the party of endless foreign interventions, and constant violations of the constitution. The only difference between the Democratic party and the Republican party became, not whether more unconstitutional federal programs should be created, but which new unconstitutional federal government programs should be created.

Until just recently, I was convinced that government could not be returned to within constitutional limits unless a third party arose. I bounced between the Constitution Party and the Libertarian Party, but still maintained that I was an “independent conservative.” And so I still am. The difference is, however, that I see a glimmer of hope that the Republican party just MIGHT still be salvageable through conservative and libertarian activism through the Tea Party.

Now I must say, there are a great number of Tea Party candidates that I did not like. I felt Sharon Angle and Christine O’Donnell were unqualified. You cannot run on a platform of “constitutional government” but then not understand basic concepts under the Constitution. The obvious example was during the debate between Coons and O’Donnell, where O’Donnell didn’t even know about the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment. Really? And you want to defend our constitution? Not that Coons’ understanding of the First Amendment was any better, but at least he cited part of it correctly. Another unqualified Tea Party candidate was Carl Palidino out of New York. I need not say anything much about the man except that I believe he is slightly deranged. Bringing a baseball bat to a concession speech? Is he auditioning for a part in Good Fellas, or is he running for public office? Come on.

But there were other bright spots among Tea Party backed candidates. Major bright spots. My favorite is Rand Paul. Unlike many other candidates running on the Tea Party, small constitutionally limited government platform, it is clear that Rand Paul has put a great amount of work and development into his political philosophy. He’s actually been thinking and studying these matters for years. Other Tea Partiers, by contrast, are new to this way of thinking. For years these people were just mindless lock step republicans, so becoming familiar with the constitution, founding fathers political thought, American history, and sound free market ideas, is a slow process. But we are glad, nonetheless, that “they have awoken to their awful state.”

New Senate members like Rand Paul have already put in the work to obtain the true Tea Party philosophy. Others, like Mike Lee in Utah, have done likewise. They are prepared with a developed political philosophy. I cannot say the same for people like Sarah Palin. She may have the instincts and desire for this philosophy, but she does not have this philosophy developed--she has not put in the work. This is why she cannot be trusted or supported for any reason but to publicize others who are much further along in the development of their political philosophy. This should be her only role.

But, nonetheless there are good signs on the horizon. Our gains have been small, but the fact that a few true small government patriots have made it into the Senate and the House means there is hope for future gains. There is still hope that we can take our government back from the clutches of the all consuming centralization of power into one body—the executive branch. If this mid-term election cycle showed anything, it showed that there is hope. And not the false hope of 2008.

And who would have thought…there is actually hope for the republican party of all places. Perhaps a third party is NOT the answer after all. As long as the Tea Party remains viable and works to produce candidates like Rand Paul and Mike Lee, there is still a chance to work within the republican party and return it to its true principles.


Jason said...

Great observation! With representatives like Lee and Paul soon to be sworn in there is indeed a cause for hope but being the lousy cynic that I am I'll take my hope with a grain of salt. Like saplings planted on a mountain blackened and devastated by a roaring forest fire the freshly planted trees will have to take deep roots amidst a landscape of ash and ruin. The restoration of Republicanism and, much more importantly, Americanism, will only be fulfilled if Americans remain engaged. Involvement of the common American is the soil from which either trees or thistles of government grow. If it is rich in nutrient the trees will flourish and multiply and dominate the now barren mountain. If the soil is lifeless clay, as we see in places like Detroit, the young trees will wither, and the mountain will erode away in many places and be covered with thistles and spiny weeds. It is true, the election will do little to curtail the imperial powers placed in the hands of unelected executive agencies and overreaching activist judges. Nor will it, as evidenced by Wednesday’s QE2 announcement, influence the Fed’s wanton devaluing of our money, savings, and economic future through quantitative easing in its flailing monetary policy intended to fight off deflation. There is now, however, a hint and hope that the Keynesian fiscal philosophy driving federal spending may at last be checked. There is little doubt though, that the Republicans will be under tremendous pressure to get along and go along if the economy continues to struggle. They will be blamed for being the “party of No.” Will they have the courage to stick to their guiding values when the word “Gridlock“ is parroted on all the news networks relentlessly? Will they have the ability to articulate what they’re saying “No” to and why? Rand Paul and Mike Lee have great potential. Now they and their colleagues have to deliver. America, I hope, is watching.

Andy said...

Don't worry Jason, I still have a healthy dose of cynicism. haha.

Also, Michigan IS a great poster child for progressive policy. But check out this article on a local city council that is bucking the trend there, which is made up of four men their opponents call "the gang of four".

Jason said...

The pesky gang of four not to be confused with the four horsemen of the apocalypse! Looks like the election outcome heavily favored Repubs at state levels as well. That is also very good news - as long as the Rs in office stick to a Constitutional platform, that is. If the state level Repub resurgence is based in limited government and personal liberties in word and deed there may be a few Huzzahs to shout. States rights may yet play a big role in the health care mandate and curtailing the wildly abused Commerce Clause.

Andy said...

There was, of course, the "four horseman" that were the original Supreme Court opposition to the New Deal. Then one of them cowered and became "the vote in time to save the nine."

But you said it. Depending on what happens if the healthcare issue makes it to the Supreme Court, I've been thinking that it is time for a Constitutional amendment that would limit the Commerce Clause back down to its original understanding--that is, goods which IN FACT move in interstate commerce, and NOT that which merely "substantial effects" interstate commerce.