Posts Tagged ‘elections’

Follow-Up on the PATRIOT Act.

9. February 2011

Well, you all did it, congratulations! The PATRIOT Act failed to receive the necessary two-thirds of votes necessary to pass it on the suspension calendar, so the three provisions that were set to expire will now do so, it seems. They were eight votes short of the two-thirds majority and the eight votes that were being counted upon by the GOP leadership that did not vote for the Act were all tea party freshmen. To them, I extend my greatest thanks.

I know my Representative voted for the legislation again, but if you don’t know how yours voted, you can go here and see. Democrats are italicized, Republicans are not, North Texan representatives are all in the Yea box.

As this was assumed by all–including me, to be honest–to be a sure thing to vote to extend the sunset provision, I believe that this has been an important step in refocusing our nation’s security practices back into the realm of constitutionality and sanity. When we find that the government’s capacity to “keep its citizens safe” (although that is fully an impossibility, but I will address this fact in a separate post) is not diminished after the hopeful retirement of the PATRIOT Act, I hope that we as a nation will see how silly and counterproductive that legislation was.

What good is living “safely” if you are not free to live securely in your person, without fear of arbitrary and unannounced government intrusion therein?

USA PATRIOT Act.

7. February 2011

The USA PATRIOT Act is up for reauthorization in the House tomorrow. Unfortunately, there are only forty minutes of scheduled debate and no opportunities for amendments. Please write your Representative and tell them not to vote for it under these conditions. The PATRIOT Act abridges your rights in the name of national security. A power so unlimited in the hands of the government deserves to be well-regulated and well-debated.

If you would like to write your Representative, I have a form letter below that you may feel free to use, or you may compose your own email.

Representative __________,
I implore you, do not vote for a suspension calendar with the USA PATRIOT Act on it. Though terrorism can be a threat, there are more effective ways to fight it than allowing for a suspension of Americans’ constitutional rights and allowing roving wiretaps, secret searches and other breaches of personal privacy and security.

You certainly have the security of the nation at heart, of that I have no doubt, but I beg you to recognize that by supporting an Act of dubious constitutionality and the restriction of law-abiding Americans’ rights, you might be inadvertently bringing about the end goal of the terrorists: the destruction of the American society which you and I both value so greatly.

Thank you for your time,
YOUR NAME HERE

If you would like to write your Representative but are unsure who that is, you may quickly find that information here.

On the Futility of Term Limits.

7. November 2010

There’s a big divide within the conservative/Republican/tea party world about term limits. I’ve seen signs at tea party rallies calling for term limits on Congressmen and I’ve talked to others about why term limits are the wrong choice in trying to control Congress. After hearing what people have to say about term limits, I’ve reached the conclusion that they are wholly unnecessary.

Those who support instituting term limits generally hold Congressmen like Barney Frank and the late Sen. Kennedy as examples of the perpetual incumbency allowed by our current system. They say that the presidency has been term limited, and that it should rightly follow that the Congress ought to also be limited in that fashion. These are good points and show failings inherent in our political system.

What those people forget is that the burden of ensuring good governance lies not on the heads of the governors but on those of the governed. We cannot rely on the mechanisms of government to save us from scheming politicians, or even ones who have simply outstayed their usefulness in Washington. To do so would go against the spirit of the Constitution, imbued in it by the Founders during its construction. A successful democracy depends on active participants both elected and electing.

We have faith in elections and respect their results because we know that they reflect the wishes of those who made the effort to voice their opinion. If the same people keep winning their seat we must only assume that it is because their constituents are satisfied with their performance. The only effective means to voice dissatisfaction is to vote the politician in question out of office. Term limits barricade the people from voicing their true opinions. What happens if, like in Rep. Ron Paul’s district, the people actually like their elected official? He has been reelected a number of times, but would have been forbidden to do so had he been subjected to term limits. In short, it is up to the people to elect a new representative if they believe the current one is not doing his job well enough. If no one is running against him, they must find and elect someone who will.

As a response to the argument about the presidential term limits, I can only implore people to remember that his term limit was imposed not by the Founders but as an amendment in the twentieth century. It was not in the original design of the Constitution and while it may suit the office of the President, it is not as easily applicable to Congress. A President is not directly elected by the people and it could therefore be argued that a term limit should be imposed to serve as a barrier to abuse of power. Congressmen of both houses are elected directly now, and it is in this way that we can ensure that the representatives will be voted out of office when the time comes.

What the Incumbents Don’t Seem to Get.

8. June 2010

As I was making the rounds through my Wall Street Journal this morning, I flipped to A5 to see what was written about the primaries taking place today. What stood out to me was the similarity of the stances of the incumbents who looked like they were going to lose. In most races where an incumbent looked like he was going to be unseated by a tea party candidate, the incumbent had relied on his record of social conservatism to justify his GOP nomination.

I don’t know why. This election is about money. Anyone could tell you that. Abortion and gay marriage can wait. Gun rights? Back of the agenda. What matters is how you voted on TARP, the bailout and what you plan to do regarding the debt and the deficits. And these Congressmen don’t seem to get it.

The economy, while not a black hole of horror, isn’t in its prime. People are concerned about their jobs and their money, and by extension, the money matters in the federal and state governments. That’s what is most important to people, which means that that is what they’ll likely be basing their votes on.

Unfortunately, once you’ve voted for something, you can’t go back and change it (unless you’re John Kerry, in which case you can vote for something before you vote against it) which really leaves you up the creek without a paddle come election time. You’re open for attack on those votes, because no one can ignore that glaring YEA in your voting record for the bailout bill.

I guess these congressmen just don’t get what the election is all about this time around. Or maybe they do know and they just want to run one more time before they’re voted out. Either way, they deserve what’s coming to them.

The Answer to the Question CNN Can’t Stop Asking.

30. March 2010

“Is the Tea Party movement hurting the GOP?” read the headline under Larry King’s bright red suspenders last night on CNN. Though the sound was turned off, I could imagine what was being said. The screen space not being occupied by Larry King’s head showed alternating pictures of Sarah Palin and people holding signs. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time they’ve discussed this very same topic on CNN. In fact, this has been discussed every single time any tea party of any relative size has been organized. The answer seems to simply escape those souls at CNN, bless their hearts.

The answer is simple. In terms of short-term election results, we may. We may do what Bob Barr did to McCain in 2008 and what Ralph Nader did to Gore in 2000. In the long run, this is good for the GOP and its rather large tent. As RNC-backed candidates start to find their numbers slipping against true conservatives, the Republican Party will surely catch on that Americans are tired of the McCain candidates. If the message gets through the GOP’s skull, they’ll push on in a more conservative direction, which is what the Tea Party wants.

It’s not as if we have anything against those suffixed by an “(R)”. If they start putting out candidates that fight for what we want, we’ll have no trouble backing them. It’s the candidates who don’t embody conservative ideals who run as Republicans in strong Republican districts that we dislike.

This intense fascination with the tea parties that CNN exhibits is interesting. Though they try to marginalize the protestors, they can’t help but put them in the headlines every couple of days. They misconstrue the goals of the tea parties and seem to intentionally mislead their viewers. This is an example of bad journalism, and ought to be stopped. Of course, it won’t be. The Democrats, the unofficial party of the Cable News Network, are very happy with an misinformed voting base. And though liberals like to say that Fox is biased, at least its news programs get their facts right as much as possible.

So here you go, CNN. I’m going to allow you to put this debate to rest. I’m going to answer the question you haven’t seemed to be able to put to bed with all of your pundits and news anchors of stunning intelligence. The Tea Party movement may be hurting the GOP in the immediate future, but the conservatives of which it is comprised are going to try remake the GOP in their own image. A conservative image, and one which the GOP seems to have lost in recent times.