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Bill Larson asked a series of questions directed at Republicans in office, or seeking office. Well, I’m a Republican and I am seeking national office so I’ll give it a shot. I must however offer a disclaimer before I begin. My views are just that, my views. They are not necessarily the views of the Republican Party. Just as the Democratic Party consists of a broad spectrum of opinion and ideologies, so does the Republican side of the aisle. My views reflect those of working class Republicans more than they do mainstream corporate Republicans.
Bill’s lead question has to do with the Foley fiasco and the possible Republican Party “cover-up” for Congressman Foley by its leadership. I have written a post related to this question that I would refer readers to for details on my position, but for this post’s purposes let’s say that outrage is my general feeling on the subject. We will simply have to let the investigation progress to determine exactly what happened. If we are honest here, we have to concede that such scandals are not unique to any one Party. Yet, the Republican Party has cultivated the “image” of being the “family values” Party, and as such it is fair to hold it to a higher standard in such matters.
“the terrorist to win after September 11th 2001 by making America and Americans less free?”
At any time this Nation has been at war, there has been a debate between the encroachment of personal freedoms and national security interests. This is not a partisan issue, and any intrusions we are experiencing now are nothing like we experienced during the Civil War or World War II. Yet there is always the danger than the Executive Branch will abuse their Constitutional authority during such times. That is why our founders in their wisdom created three co-equal Branches of power. I think we have seen that dynamic at work in recent history with the Supreme Court and oversight by the Congress. Although I agree that there is legislation that should be of grave concern to all of us.
“the war on Iraq which distracted us from our real enemies allowing them to escape?”
I’m not so sure that the latter part of the question is correct. Historically, large foreign armies on Afghanistan soil have been very ineffective. The operation in Afghanistan against the Taliban and Al Qaeda was for the most part quite effective within limits. Osama Bin Laden and his Afghan allies defeated the Soviet Union and are operating among friends and familiar territory. The best intelligence puts him and his remnants in Pakistan among his supporters. So we have two options, contain him and work with Pakistan to try to secure his capture, or invade another country in search for him. I prefer exhausting the former before we decide to invade another sovereign country. Here is a post I wrote that may expand on this somewhat.
“the patriot act, which was anything but patriotic?”
As I mentioned in the first question, when this Nation is at war, it is common to give tools to the Executive in order to defend this Nation. Many Constitutional conservatives in the Republican Party have serious problems with some of the provisions of the Patriot Act. We are fighting an enemy which operates in the shadows among us, so intelligence officers have to go into the shadows to fight them. Although assurances were given that the Act would not be used against citizens, I think we have seen that it indeed has been. Yet that is why the Act does have a sunset provision and must be renewed frequently. Congress must be very vigilant in oversight of this authority.
“the creation of free speech zones which penalize Americans on the content of their speech?”
I’m not familiar with “free speech zones”. What I am familiar with is the prohibition of clergy to be active in political affairs without fear of retaliation against their Church by the IRS, and it was a Democratic administration that gave us that little item. Perhaps Bill can point me to more information on this topic.
“the administration to violate federal law by spying on American citizens in the United States?”
I’m not sure that has been demonstrated to be the case. If you are referring to the NSA surveillance program, it is designed to monitor communications originating outside the United States by our enemies. I should think that we certainly would want to do that. When those communications are determined to involve a United States citizen, then it would be my hope that the appropriate Constitutional limitations would come into play. Those Constitutional limitations are not subject to Federal law or Executive abuse. Again, you are talking about secret programs that Congress has an obligation to oversee to insure that citizen’s rights are not violated. And the Judiciary is responsible (Constitutionally) to intervene when they are.
“the suspension of Habeas Corpus in times not permitted by the Constitution?”
Again, I will refer readers to a post I did on this topic in detail. One of my first legislative efforts would be to amend HR 6166 to include the limitation that nothing in that bill could be applied to a United States citizen.
“the intertwining Christianity in Politics, in Government?”
Now I’m old enough to remember that it was a Democratic President, Jimmy Carter who brought the concept of “born again” to the political lexicon. In recent history it has been the Republican Party that has used the model to greater effect. But Christianity has always been a part of American politics (read George Washington’s inaugural address). Where I have a problem is when Christianity is marketed and used for political gain, and we have seen a lot of that lately for sure. Also, this is a Nation of many faiths and the use of the political arena to exclude any one, or to promote one over another is simply unacceptable.
“the stripping of due process from anyone under the control of the American Government?”
Nothing new here. Every war (including the Civil War) has seen the use of military courts to administer enemy combatants and unlawful actions against American citizens. Our Constitution guarantees “due process” to citizens or those within our boundaries, not enemies of the same. But again, we must remain vigilant to insure that the scope of such actions do not go beyond such limitations.
“the President to declare someone guilty without a trial?”
I must have missed that law somewhere.
“the corporations of America to run rampant at the expense of the individual Americans?”
Again, not a partisan issue. When I lost my first job to “corporate globalization” it was under a merger approved by the Clinton administration. NAFTA and China trade agreements were initiated under Republicans and finalized by Democrats. The answer to your question is politicians in general. Take a look at where Congressman Tanner’s money comes from for your answer to that question. TennCare and the Tennessee Waltz are other fine examples.
“the loss of American manufacturing jobs to go unchecked, unanswered?”
Same answer as the last question. And the only real answer is for working people to become more involved in their government and politics. It is this question that has me running for the United States Congress this year.
I understand Bill’s frustration with how things are going in this Nation. I was a Democrat until Ronald Reagan’s second term. By that time the problem was widespread corruption within the Democratic Congress. Republicans gained control full of good intentions, but then the money shifted to them and so did the corruption. Yet, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is a shining example that it is not limited to Republicans. So the answer is not throwing out a Party, but doing your homework and supporting the candidate who will best represent his or her constituency.
And I certainly take my own advice, In Congressional District 9 I am supporting Democratic candidate and State Senator Steve Cohen. I just believe he puts Constitutional rights and his constituency above partisan politics and corporate interests. We disagree on many issues, but we also agree on many issues. And electing Harold Ford, Jr. to the United States Senate would be the biggest mistake Tennessee could ever make. Just look to his current Congressional District for evidence of that. I would refer you to a Memphis progressive Democrat, a Memphis libertarian Democrat, and a Memphis African-American Democrat for the substance of that. A vote for Junior is a vote for one of the most corrupt families in American politics and they will fleece this Nation as they have Memphis for the past three decades. As I tell my Republican friends not satisfied with Bob Corker and who look to vote for Junior as a protest, look at Independent Bo Heyward and vote for a strict Constitutional conservative instead.
So Bill is absolutely right, we as citizens need to shake things up in Washington. But let’s not run blindly into partisan politics and change one master for another. Research the candidates and vote for who you believe will best represent your interests, not because of the letter that follows their name. If that means Democrats are in charge next year, then that is okay if they have the citizens needs at heart and not their own or corporate interest as an agenda. And likewise if it is still a Republican Congress, let’s just make sure whoever we send is going there to serve us.
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