Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman has just barely been able to have his voice heard in the Republican Party’s presidential primary race, so low are his polling numbers. Yet, still, he is a candidate that, not unlike every other such candidate, proudly proclaims his commitment to liberty and, hence, “limited government.”
But is Huntsman really who he claims to be?
This is the question with which we must concern ourselves. As we will see, just a brief look at Huntsman’s utterances and deeds discloses in no time that, in his case, appearance is eons apart from reality.
To Huntsman’s credit, as Governor of Utah he presided over tax cuts — sales taxes especially — and a simplification of the overall tax code. For this, the Cato Institute lavished praise upon him. Yet lest we hastily exploit this fact as proof of his commitment to smaller government, we would be well served to note that the very same libertarian-friendly think tank criticized Huntsman for having “completely dropped the ball on spending, with per capita spending increasing at about 10 percent annually during his tenure.”
It’s rare that a contender for his party’s presidential nomination calls for his own execution, but Newt Gingrich did exactly that on Monday.
This congenital hypocrite was prattling about limited government 15 years ago while his infamous “Contract With America” manicured Leviathan’s claws. Far be it from him to abolish unconstitutional programs when he could tinker with and “improve” them instead! Nor have the passing years dampened his fascism and faith in policy: witness Mr. Wonk’s proposal earlier this year to replace — not eradicate — the tyrannical EPA “with a new agency that would work with industry.”
Predictably, Mr. Wonk also endorses the police-state. Whether we’re talking non-governmental terrorism or drugs Our Rulers dislike, the politician with two divorces, numerous infidelities, and other scandals to his credit lusts to “protect” us by running our lives for us.
So when a reporter asked him, “In 1996, you introduced a bill that would have given the death penalty to drug smugglers. Do you still stand by that?”, Mr. Wonk responded, "If you are, for example, the leader of a cartel, sure. Look at the level of violence they've done to society. You can either be in the Ron Paul tradition and say there's nothing wrong with heroin and cocaine or you can be in the tradition that says, 'These kind [sic] of addictive drugs are terrible, they deprive you of full citizenship”
It’s no secret that Christmas has been under attack by secular groups for the past several years, with court challenges to nativity scenes becoming nearly as much a seasonal tradition as the crèches that have graced cathedrals, churches, and chapels for more than a century throughout America.
This year two national religious organizations, the Christian Defense Coalition and Faith and Action, decided to take the fight for Christmas all the way to the Supreme Court — not with a legal challenge, but with a live nativity scene set up for all to see in front of the nation’s judicial building.
The November 30 display, which included live animals along with actors in key roles from the biblical account of Christ’s nativity, was actually a parade of sorts that wended its way past the U.S. Capitol building before arriving in front of the Supreme Court building before noon.
A press release by the groups explained that the display was part of the “Nativity Project,” a nationwide campaign designed “to share the message of Christmas and also to confront the erosion and hostility toward public expressions of faith, especially during the Christmas season.”
While Congress abides in gridlock, as Republicans and Democrats debate tax policy, and the SuperCommittee admits failure over deciding how to tame the mounting federal deficit, the fight against American liberty remains a bipartisan war. Conservative and liberal elites seem to share a common theme: The American people are too free for their own good.
Indeed, for those in the elite ranks of Washington politics, the concept of liberty is regrettably similar: Those on both the Left and the Right continue to stomp on the Founders’ vision of a free America.
Responding to a new analysis published Monday, the White House denied charges that President Obama's "official business" trips (paid with taxpayer money) to presidential swing states were actually for campaign events. White House officials suggested that the study overlooks the fact that Obama "expanded the political map dramatically" in 2008, which created a notable spike in the number of battleground states.
According to the Wall Street Journal, which published the exposé, when the President jets to Scranton, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday to promote his jobs agenda ("official business") — including a renewal of a payroll tax cut — he will log his 56th event in a swing state this year, vaulting him well ahead of President George W. Bush’s record-breaking swing-state campaign drive in 2003. Obama’s excessive campaign politicking has been a magnet for Republican criticism, as conservative politicians and pundits criticize the President for exerting more effort toward his 2012 reelection campaign than toward working to fix the nation’s high unemployment and stagnant economic growth.
Rick Santorum is widely heralded as a real “conservative.” Rush Limbaugh has praised him on the air on multiple occasions, and another nationally syndicated radio talk-show host, Bill Bennett, has had Santorum guest host for him regularly. To hear the Limbaughs and Bennetts of our generation tell it, a real “conservative” is one who favors “limited” or “constitutional government” and “individualism.”
Thus, presumably, Santorum must be an enemy of just the sort of Big Government ideology to which Barack Obama and the Democratic Party are beholden.
But is this correct? A look at Santorum’s positions on the issues of the day readily reveals that his rhetoric aside — and the rhetoric of the party of which he has been a fixture for decades — Santorum is no less a champion of Big Government than President Obama himself.
Last Sunday morning dawned bright and early for me in New Hampshire and — Wait a minute! What am I saying? Don't all mornings 'dawn” early? And isn't every dawn comparatively “bright,” considering what has gone before? Do you remember the theme of the Reagan reelection campaign? It was “Morning in America.” It followed four years of Carter's crises. Compared to the solemn Carter, Reagan was southern California sunshine. It took us years and decades to realize that we can't afford all that sunny optimism. Yes, during the Reagan years the rate of growth in federal spending did slow down. But spending did continue to climb compared to previous years — and the deficits exploded.
It used to be common for people to urge us to learn "the lessons of history." But history gets much less attention these days and, if there are any lessons that we are offered, they are more likely to be the lessons from current polls or the lessons of political correctness.
Even among those who still invoke the lessons of history, some read those lessons very differently from others.
Talk show host Michael Medved, for example, apparently thinks the Republicans need a centrist presidential candidate in 2012. He said, "Most political battles are won by seizing the center." Moreover, he added: "Anyone who believes otherwise ignores the electoral experience of the last 50 years."
GOP presidential contender Herman Cain has found himself contending with a variety of alleged scandals over the course of the last month, ranging from sexual harassment allegations to accusations of a long-term extramarital affair. The most recent allegation, which asserts that Cain had been involved in a 13-year affair with a woman from Atlanta, Georgia, led Cain to tell his senior staff on Tuesday morning that he was “reassessing” his campaign’s livelihood. However, there are mixed signals from the Cain camp regarding the future of Cain’s candidacy.
Cain’s declaration prompted some to wonder whether he would pull himself out of the race for a Republican presidential nomination, but Cain’s campaign manager Mark Block indicates that he simply meant he was conducting a “strategic reassessment” and “not a reassessment of withdrawing” from the race.
According to Block, Cain will be outlining the specifics of that strategic assessment during his campaign stop in Dayton, Ohio, where Cain will “lay out his way forward.” When asked if Cain would drop out of the race under any specific circumstances, Block answered that there are only two things that would prompt Cain to leave the race: “Mrs. Cain, and if we show up to do an event and no one is there.”
Republicans are amazing. It's possible they could lose the 2012 presidential election before 2011 is over. Really, they ought to rename that big river in Egypt (You know, “Duh Nile”) the Republican River. If you want to see an entire party in denial, with a few honorable and intelligent exceptions, look at virtually every Republican presidential hopeful but Ron Paul, the premier honorable and intelligent exception.
The others will talk about balancing the budget — though they believe the SuperCommittee should get that job done for them before any of them gets to the White House — but none, with the exception of Ron Paul, is in favor of cutting the military spending, euphemistically called the “defense budget.” Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania made that emphatically clear when I spoke with him in New Hampshire on Sunday. The same Rick Santorum has on op ed piece in today's New Hampshire Union Leader calling for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
No cuts for our worldwide military empire and no tax increases, praise God, but do pass an amendment that will tell us we must balance the budget.
What a wonderful opportunity for the Democrats to tell the country that these allegedly pro-life Republicans really love bombs more than babies — more than old folks, too, whose votes will be up for grabs in 2012.