Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Goodbye, Farewell, So Long, See Ya, Bon Voyage, Aloha, Shalom, Adios, Peace Out: Senator Specter

It came as no shock to me today to hear that veteran GOP Senator Arlen Specter switched parties from Republican to Democrat. The Senator's actions merely solidified what I, and many other Conservatives already suspected, or knew: Sen. Specter is a Liberal. Previously a Republican in name only (RINO), Sen. Specter took intense heat for breaking with the Republican Caucus in voting for President Obama's economic stimulus bill. Sen. Specter faced a challenging re-election bid in 2010 and faced Republican opposition in the primary. The move to the Democratic Party has ensured Sen. Specter the support of President Obama and potentially the advantage of having no opponent in the primary. This may seem like it was a clever move by the Senator, and maybe it was, but I think this was just the ticket to outrage Republicans enough to defeat Specter in 2010 and get a true Conservative elected to the Senate. Sen. Specter's move to caucus with the Democrats, puts the Democratic Party one seat closer to the magic number of 60 seats, which would essentially make the filibuster a worthless option for the Republicans. It's worth it! A strong GOP candidate should be able to beat Specter in 2010 and a real Republican will finally hold the seat. Sen. Specter's action is good for the GOP on one side of the spectrum, but disgraceful on the other side. The Senator was elected as a Republican, presumably by a Republican base of constituents, and the act of switching parties undermines the election process, and defies the will of the people who elected him. The act of switching parties because of a disagreement with the caucus is contrary to the belief that American voters have, that the official that they elect will reflect the views that they campaigned on, and the views of the party. Maybe this view of a representative elector is naive in this day and age, but it is, in my view, essential to the democratic function of electing our public officials. The fact that an elected official can so easily switch parties to try to save face does nothing to strengthen the faith and the trust that Americans have in the election process and it is little wonder why so few Americans actually go out to vote. Still, I think this is a positive step for the GOP, and time will tell if this was a smart move on Specter's part, 2010 is coming fast.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

GOP to Obama: Stop Apologizing for the U.S.

I generally try to avoid attacking President Obama on this blog because this blog isn't about Obama and because it may potentially turn-off any non-conservative readers that I may have, diminishing my goal of presenting the conservative side of things to liberals. The actions that President Obama has taken over the last few days has made this very difficult for me and I really have to President Obama's patriotism to question. I am not saying that President Obama does not love this country and I am not saying that he is not patriotic, but I will say that he does not exemplify the degree of patriotism that I would like the President of this country to have. This point has been evident since the campaign in the 'little' things, like Obama refusing to wear a flag lapel, Obama not putting his hand over his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance, and Obama's associations with known domestic terrorists. Now President Obama has taken it upon himself to represent America as an arrogant country and apologize to the world for all of our 'mistakes'. GOP-take a stand and demand that President Obama stop weakening our country with apologies and stop misrepresenting us as arrogant and as the source of all of the world's problems. At the same time, President Obama's administration has released CIA memos that significantly weaken the country's defenses and the memos that were released only present one side of the torture story. The memos portray the fact that the Bush Administration allowed torture to take place contrary to the Geneva Convention. The administration on the other hand conveniently failed to release memos that prove that the harsh interrogation tactics prevented a 9/11 magnitude attack in L.A., and the memos also leave out the fact that a bi-partisan committee of Congress was aware of the interrogation techniques and raised no objections as described in the Washington Post . Members of the Committee included both Democrats and Republicans, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. There is strong evidence to suggest, and former CIA Chief Hayden suggests that the release of the 'torture' memos has already been utilized by Al Qaeda to recruit new members, members whose main goals are to bring destruction to America. Anyone who is willing to release memos in a political move to discredit the former Administration and Party with a total disregard to the security threat that it may pose does not love the United States as much as a president should in my opinion. Now, in a huge flip-flop of opinions, President Obama has indicated that he is open to the prosecution of Bush Administration officials who approved the harsh interrogation methods, as seen on MSNBC today. This is an unprecedented move that further diminishes the countries safety and will set a precedent for future administrations that they cannot be tough on terrorism without the threat of prosecution. This week has been tough on Republicans because we have seen our country reduced to apologies, we have seen our President accept the gift of a book that slanders the United States, and worst yet, we have seen our security take a severe blow. Former Vice-President Dick Cheney was on Hannity last night and offers his thoughts on President Obama's apology tour, check it out below.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Justice Scalia on Constitutional Interpretation

Today I attended a public address by the Honorable Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Justice Scalia spoke in Albuquerque New Mexico, at an event co-sponsored by the Federalist Society and the University of New Mexico School of Law. Justice Scalia spoke about Constitutional Interpretation and made a strong and compelling argument for the originalism interpretation theory which suggests that the Constitution of the United States does not change, and that it can only be changed through the amendment process. Justice Scalia was nominated as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court by President Reagan and he assumed office on September 26, 1986. Justice Scalia is a self described conservative and serves as an example to conservatives today in regard to how the Constitution should be interpreted when applied to court cases and controversial issues such as gay marriage, abortion, gun rights, etc. The Justice argues that the idea of the Constitution as a 'living' document began with the Warren Court in the 1950's. The idea of the Constitution as a living document suggests that the Constitution must be flexible and change with the times. Justice Scalia's concern with the living document theory is that the United States is in danger of having a Supreme Court that will reflect the will of the people, which he suggests is the exact opposite of what the Supreme Court is supposed to do. The Supreme Court was designed to protect the individual from the majority and to ensure that legislatures do not impose the will of the people if it is contrary to the Constitution. The originalism theory, also known as the original intent theory looks for the understanding of the Amendment, or law, when it was adopted, as opposed to interpreting and changing the Constitution to make it mean what you want it to mean. Justice Scalia uses abortion and gay marriage as the main examples for his argument. He contends that the original drafters of the Bill of Rights never would have thought that they intended the right to have an abortion to be included within the right to privacy. He also makes the assertion that the drafters of the 14th Amendment never would have imagined that the Amendment would be used a means to make gay marriage a constitutionally guaranteed right.

Justice Scalia represents the conservative ideology of the Supreme Court and is a big proponent of judicial restraint, State sovereignty, and the original intent theory. Conservatives today should study the theories that Justice Scalia applies to his interpretations of the Constitution and strive to exemplify the same principles.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Immigration Reform: GOP Beware

On top of every other initiative, the economy, health care reform, two wars, etc, the Obama administration is also going to tackle immigration. This year! Reuters reports that Presidents Obama intends to begin the reform as early as May of this year and the plan calls for a "search for a path to legalize the status of millions of illegal immigrants." This sounds a lot like amnesty. The term 'amnesty' has become one of those words that is tossed around the political arena extensively, but no-one really knows what it means. In this context, and for the purpose of my argument, amnesty refers to actions taken by the government to make a large group of illegal immigrants American Citizens without the immigrants participating in the necessary steps to become legal. This is a thorny issue in regard to the GOP because past Republican administrations have attempted versions of amnesty, and it is difficult to determine how the electorate will respond to the action. There has been speculation that the issue of immigration reform is 'good' for Democrats and 'bad' for Republicans. This is a logical argument because Democrats are typically portrayed as having compassion on illegal immigrants and Republicans are seen as racist and as wanting to round-up all the illegals and deport them immediately. The Democrats want to use immigration reform to make them look good and to make the Republicans look bad.

The Democrats want to use immigration reform as a way to strengthen their electorate and strengthen th
eir Hispanic base. Bob Shrum, a Democrat consultant argues my point for me in the following quote he made on Andrea Mitchell’s NBC News program regarding whether or not he thought President Obama would move on immigration reform, “I think they're going to move on immigration. I hope the Republicans fulminate against it because they'll get to the point where they won't get a single Hispanic vote. Go ahead and make my decade, turn Texas into a Democratic state.” The Democrats want to move on immigration in an effort to “dare” the Republicans to take a stance on the issue that would isolate the Hispanic vote and make the election of Democrats that much easier. The GOP must approach this issue delicately. If GOP leaders do not take a stance for tough border control, they will isolate the GOP base and they may suffer at the polls. If they do take a strong stance on border security and illegal workers, the GOP will isolate the Hispanic vote, and a Republican candidate cannot win without the Hispanic vote. The GOP needs to demonstrate that they have compassion for illegal immigrants and those who wish to flea oppressive countries and countries with no economic growth, but that they support legal immigration. The GOP needs to draft a plan that would make the legal entry into the United States more viable, so that the immigrants that enter this country are accounted for and do not pose a threat to the country, in terms of bringing illegal drugs into the country, or in terms of terrorists using our vast border with Mexico to get into the county. The GOP needs to demonstrate that we don’t mind that immigrants find jobs in this country as long as they are properly documented and pay the appropriate taxes, etc. There is a way for Republicans to support strong border control while still appealing to Hispanic voters. I don’t think the GOP is going to lose Texas anytime soon, but I still caution the GOP to approach the issue of immigration reform with extreme caution.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Marriage: A Union Between a Woman and a Man

The Iowa Supreme Court on Friday ruled in a unanimous decision that the Iowa statute limiting civil marriage to a union between a man and a woman violates the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution. This would not have come as a surprise to me if it were California we were talking about, as California is a very liberal state, but Iowa? Come on! The GOP needs to take a strong stance on the position that marriage should be between a man and a woman. The Iowa Supreme Court and other courts across the country have used the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment to find statutes that limit civil unions to male/female couples unconstitutional. Republican leaders must argue that this is a flawed assessment of the statute. Laws that outlaw homosexual couples from entering a civil union do not deny any individual the right to marry. If Steve wants to marry Mark, the state can deny him, but he can always go marry Jane. He is not being denied the right to marry; he is being denied the right to marry Steve just as the state may deny the marriage between brothers and sisters, and marriage to more than one spouse, a.k.a polygamy. The GOP needs to stand up for initiatives like the Proposition 8 bill that made gay marriage illegal in California. The issue of gay marriage will not go away any time soon, and the GOP cannot hide from it anymore. During the 2008 campaign McCain did not take a strong position on gay marriage but President Obama did, stating in a response to the Human Rights Campaign Presidential Questionnaire: "I do not support gay marriage. Marriage has religious and social connotations, and I consider marriage to be between a man and a woman." It’s time for Republicans to hold President Obama accountable for that statement and push for a Constitutional ban on gay marriage. Now, I’m not so na├»ve as to believe that a Constitutional ban on marriage is going to happen anytime soon, it didn’t happen with a Republican in office, but the fact that Obama will not act on the issue despite the pressure will give Republicans an issue to get voters passionate about in 2012. Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996 and President Clinton signed it into law. DOMA defines marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman for purposes of federal law. In addition, although it leaves each state free to define marriage however it likes, DOMA also affirms that no state is required to recognize a same-sex marriage from another state under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of Article IV of the U.S. Constitution. The United States has recognized that marriage should be between a man and a woman, but the states still have discretion on the matter. A Constitutional ban, although a drastic move, would eliminate the ability of a state to allow gay marriage. A Constitutional ban might be drastic, but it might be the only way to preserve the “sanctity” of marriage and the religious and social connotations that goes with it.