Tag Archives: State’s Rights

The Year of “The Angry Voter” and the Future of the G.O.P.

As Election Day approaches, American voters are not in a good mood. More than 64% agree that the nation is heading in the wrong direction. On the economy, consumer confidence is consistently at one of its lowest points in years, unemployment continues to rise, and more than ever before, Americans are finally believing the issue of our nation’s debt is at a crisis level.

As a result, the Party which controls every legislative chamber of federal government is now facing one of the most abrupt falls from political power that we have ever seen. In 2008, Democrats rode a wave of change. Creating that wave was Barack Obama, a new presence in politics who convincingly argued that with him at the helm, he would lead Democrats in “transforming America”. From Berlin, Germany to Bayonne, New Jersey, Senator Obama traveled the globe and the nation and painted a picture of a new and improved America, an America that was loved by all the world and that lifted the quality of all our lives. He promised to provide us all with better healthcare, financial wealth, inexpensive, cleaner energy, the best education and a less partisan political atmosphere that would unite us rather than divide us.

Instead what they got was not just the opposite, it was so antithetical to that promise that people are not just angry, they are offended.

Instead of real bipartisanship, the nation has seen the major issues of the day turned into  an audaciously corrupt and intensely partisan process that closed it doors to any differences of opinion. Instead of financial wealth, they have seen less business growth, less jobs, increased federal spending, higher prices, economic uncertainty and by year‘s end, record tax increases. And in the case of healthcare instead of seeing any meaningful reforms, they have seen it turned into a government bureaucracy that is raising costs more than lowering them. In fact, on virtually every signature issue of President Obama and the Democrat Congress, such as stimulus spending, the healthcare law and the bailouts, most voters oppose reelecting anyone who supported them.

In general, Democrats have done nothing to instill confidence in their leadership and vision for America. In fact, it is just the opposite and it happens to be their ‘signature’ issues, their top priorities, which have produced not only a lack of confidence in them, but a backlash of anger against them.

The healthcare bill, and the way in which Democrats rammed it through, highlighted all that Americans hate about politics and all that they feel is wrong with how business is done in Washington, D.C.. It was a process that revealed how the bills they vote on, go unread and how it closed the door to the Republicans, and even went so far as to shut down opposing views by asking Americans to report to the names and sources behind arguments which refuted the Democrat’s position on the issue. They asked that such dissention be reported to them at flag@whitehouse.gov, an assault on freedom eerily similar to that of the German National Socialist Party as it began to takeover Germany.

The process also highlighted numerous backroom deals that bought the votes of wavering Democrats at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars each. And in perhaps what was one of the most astonishing shows of just out of touch Democrats are, they spent an entire year focusing on ramming through their unpopular government takeover of healthcare, at a time when the economy was the top issue on the minds of Americans.

Today, the economy is still the top issue in the minds of most, but as demonstrated by their focus on healthcare reform, the White House and Democrat led Congress, nproved themselves to be out of touch and ineffective on. But even more than that, the one solution that they consistently offer to solve our economic troubles is turning out to be a another problem of its own which they fail face up to…… spending.

To every issue, their solution is spending. But spending has now gotten so obviously out of control that average Americans who understands that 2 plus 2 equals 4, have become offended by this liberal mentality that hopes people will believe that more money out of their pockets will allow government to put more money into their pockets. This offensive notion has only been compounded by the Democrat approach to all issues and problems which also calls for more government.

People are waking up to the realization that more government costs more money. They understand that a healthcare bill which creates over 127 new government agencies, department and bureaus does little to drive down healthcare costs and much to, among other things, increase costs.

Combined with that fact that the exaggerated growth of government and government spending is doing nothing to improve the economy and in fact is doing just the opposite, what you have is a new voter demographic. It is not a demographic identified by race, religion, or geographic region. It is not a demographic identified by age, or life conditions. It can’t be described as “Soccer Moms”, “Reagan Democrats” or “Yuppies”. It is a demographic that crosses all divides and unites a profoundly large portion of the electorate in 2012. It is the demographic of “Angry Voters”.

In the Republican Revolution of 1994, credit for the political turnaround of that time was credited to what pundits penned as “Angry White Men”. They claimed that white men were fed up and felt threatened by the rise of women and minorities in society and took it out on democrats. These pundits were as wrong then as those who try to play the race card anytime President Obama must face legitimate criticism today. In ‘94, the revolt away from Democrats largely began when President Clinton gave First Lady Hillary Clinton the responsibility for reforming healthcare with a plan that would have government take it over. That move did not suddenly unite white men again Democrats and it did not motivate African-Americans to come out and support them. It had nothing to with sex or color and everything to do with federal overreach.

Fast forward 16 years and history is repeating itself.

In 2010 Americans are seeing a dramatically exaggerated display of government largess which is leading to a government that is growing too much, spending too much, controlling too much and failing too much. It is the failings and the overreach of Democrats which is what is behind the Republican Rejuvenation of 2010. In 2008, politicos and the left wing of American politics touted the demise of the G.O.P.. Some political prognosticators claimed that the Republican Party was dead for a generation or more. Others claimed it had gone the way of the Whigs. As usual, they were wrong. But this is not to the credit of Republicans. The Republican bounce back has less to do with them and everything to do with Democrats.

Democrats have so offended the senses of rational thought in mainstream America, that the average person has become “angry”. So much so that even those who care little for Republicans, are willingly holding their noses to vote the Republican ticket, simply to register their disgust with government and the Democrats controlling it. And all of these people have become the “Angry Voter” demographic that is about to undo the liberal overreach of the past 20 months which has simply highlighted and brought to the forefront, all that Americans see wrong with government.

I would suggest that I could be wrong, but if I were, Republicans would not be preferred over Democrats by 48% to 39% of likely voters, a dramatic turnaround from 2008. If I was wrong, voters would not be trusting Republicans more than Democrats on 8 out of 10 key issues. If I was wrong, 78% of mainstream voters would not be claiming that they prefer fewer services and lower taxes.

If I was wrong. West Virginia’s overwhelmingly popular Democrat Governor would be far ahead of his Republican opponent in the race replace the late Robert Byrd in the Senate. However, despite the fact that voters in West Virginia love Governor Manchin, they are skeptical of sending another Democrat to Washington, D.C., where the last thing they want is to provide additional support to take the nation in the wrong direction that they feel Democrats are leading us in.

Americans are fed up. They feel hoodwinked by a President who promised to unite us but has only successful polarized us. They feel swindled by a Congress that promised a healthcare bill that would lower costs, but is already raising premiums. They feel swindled by a government that is taking more freedoms away than they are protecting. They feel betrayed by a federal government that will sue a sovereign American state in order to allow the free flow of illegal immigration in America. They are angered by a White House that promised to not conduct business as usual, only to demonstrate that they are conducting business worse than usual.

These are the reasons why Democrats are losing voters since 2008. It is why more voters are again beginning to identify themselves as Republicans than as Democrats. It is also why many Democrats are not even coming out to vote and why Democrats are on scheduled to suffer some of the most significant losses in decades. 20 months after promising the world to voters and inspiring and motivating millions of young and first time voters to the polls, Democrats under Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and President Obama, have not only disappointed them, they have embarrassed them and successfully discouraged those new voters from showing their support for Democrats again in 2010. And what’s more is, they have so alienated so many, that new group of young and first time voters are now inspired to come out to vote against them.

In 2008, Republicans presented little reason to vote for them and in many cases, were already seeing the signs of disenchantment from their own base of support. But now, in 2010, although Republicans have done little to change that, Democrats have successfully embarrassed their own base, turned disenchantment into downright anger and chased voters back into the arms of the Republican Party. From here on out it will be up to the G.O.P. to prove that they have gotten the message which they strayed away from and cost them dearly in 2008. If they fail to, I predict that a third Party will begin to rise.

From the TEA movement, arguably, the most influential political force of the last year, we will see an independent ideological division of voters significant enough to not merely influence the selection of candidates in the primary elections of both major Parties, but one so potent and so disgusted with the failure of both major Parties, that it will naturally rise to the forefront. Ultimately, this would be to the benefit of the Democrat Party, for this new breed of anger voters is united behind principles which are largely encompassed by the Republican Party but seemingly ignored by the political establishment of the Party.

These angry voters are beholden not to any Party. They are ruled by a commitment to the Constitution and three core achievements ……. less government, less spending and, more liberty. By the very nature of today’s contemporary Democrat Party, those goals contradict with the liberal faith in an activist government which seeks to regulate more, provide more services, oversee more, and spend more to do so. For that reason, if Republicans fail to represent the total opposite of what Democrats offer, this new breed of angry of voters is far too fed up to reverse the current trend, jump back to Democrats and put them back in power. Instead they will continue to reject the modern Democrat Party, turn their back on the G.O.P. once and for all, draw votes away from them and make it possible for the smaller number of left leaning supporters to build up a coalition of enough votes to compromise slim electoral victories for Democrats in local, state and national, three way elections.

For this reason, it is with trepidation that I look forward to November 2nd. I fear that the G.O.P. may not fully be ready to lead as it should. Thanks to Democrats, the Republican Rejuvenation of 2010 is coming to the the G.O.P. leadership  far too easily. I fear that the wrong leadership in the Republican Party will take this victory for granted. If they do, Democrats and the liberal ideology that most Americans do not agree with or have faith in, will once again be advanced much too far for their liking. If Republicans fail to adhere to a hard-line on states rights, a constitutional limited government, limited spending and a social agenda that does not invade privacy and individual rights, they may not go the way of the Whigs, but they could find themselves enduring many years of hard fought elections that produce the same type of electoral success that John McCain saw in 2008.

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Hidden History of the Confederacy Reveals Some Good Advice

mikewithdogs Guest Editorial by Mike Duminiak

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    In the simplification of history in order to spoon feed it to children in public schools, we often lose sight of many important lessons. In public schools children are taught that Lincoln fought the Civil War to free the ConfederateStatesofAmericaSealslaves and that the Confederacy was nothing more than about slavery. So ingrained in this view in generations of Americans that knowledge about the Confederate government is almost entirely absent.

By design or simply by consequence, we fail to learn any lessons for our own government. The convention in 1861 to revise the U.S. Constitution for adoption as the Constitution for the Confederacy is the only time in our history when a concerted effort was made to review the entire Constitution. The ambiguous sections that serve as the gray area in which the federal courts set and then later break precedent were clarified. Problems that were unforeseen in 1787 were addressed. Problems that hadn’t even happened yet, but were realized to be possible were proactively addressed.

Nearly 150 years later, most of these lessons have been forgotten. In that same span of time we have seen issues addressed by that convention become modern political battle grounds. It makes sense to look beyond placemat history and consider the modifications made at that historic convention; the only time aside from 1787 when representatives of the States met to thoroughly review and debate all parts of the Constitution.

In a move that predates the 14th Amendment, the Confederates changed the voting rights to be uniform across the entire Confederacy and not subject to individual State requirements. This is an unexpected change from aConfederate_States_Map government supposedly focused solely on State’s Rights and demonstrates that while State’s Rights was a key view of the Confederates, they also understood that in any federal governmental structure, the people should have equal rights regardless of the State in which they live. This matter already having been addressed in the U.S. Constitution after the war, I do not cite it as a proposed point to consider for revision but as demonstrative of the kind of forward thinking of the Confederate Constitutional Convention.

LEGISLATIVE BRANCH

Two major additions to the Confederate Constitution should be especially noted. First was the prohibition of Congress to appropriate any money unless requested to do so by the President in a budget request, to pay for their own expenses (staff, travel, etc.), or to pay verified claims against the government. The Congress therefore could not create a new program or earmark funds. It could only approve or deny budget requests from the executive departments relayed by the President. Second, the Congress was prohibited from authorizing any money beyond the budgeted amount. If a project cost more than budgeted, additional money could not be allocated to it without having to receive another new budget request to be passed as a new bill. Such changes in our Constitution would radically restrain our Congress and bring our spending under control.

Another change of interest made in the Confederate Constitution was that federal judges and other officers whose authority was exercised entirely within a single State were subject to impeachment by a 2/3 majority of the legislature of that State. This measure allowed the States to redress corruption of federal officers acting within their borders in cases where the federal government failed to act. As most federal offices are filled by political patronage, this provision sought to curb abuses of that system.

Also ahead of their time, they provided that any Cabinet Secretary or similar officer could be granted a seat in either house of Congress for the purpose of discussing issues relative to that executive department. The Congress today uses hearings and subpoenas to compel the executive branch to answer questions of the legislative branch. In a far more civil manner, the Confederate Constitution provides for this.

The line item veto was provided to the President of the Confederacy. This issue has been raised by Democrat and Republican Presidents alike, but a jealous Congress that runs off trading votes for pork always fails to pass a Constitutional amendment to provide it. The line item veto would allow a President to keep what is good in a bill and veto all the pork. It certainly still deserves to be considered.

An interesting provision in the Confederate Constitution that presaged the shift towards free trade is the provision that prohibits the government from laying any protective tariffs. As trade issues are still hot political topics, this view adds a new dimension. Rather than be purely for free trade, the Confederate government sought only to prevent protectionism. Trade restrictions or tariffs for other reasons were kept as both an ConfederateCvseconomic and a diplomatic recourse.

A major change in the power of the government was a prohibition on using federal government funds to develop infrastructure. The Confederates believed both in private railroads and turnpikes as well as State funded projects, but opposed federally funded ones as they used money from all people to benefit only the section served by the improvement. Our government used the commerce clause to justify the building of interstate highways. Hawaii and Alaska, being unable to be connected to other States complained that they were taxed for a highway system they could not use and so the government expanded its authority of interstate commerce and built highways that are entirely intrastate. The legal separation between intrastate and interstate commerce is now gone and the federal government exercises powers far beyond its Constitutional limits.

In an interesting clarification of the commerce clause, the Confederates allowed for the Congress to place tariffs (taxes) on goods imported or exported from one State to another (interstate commerce) if 2/3 of both houses of Congress concurred.

Lastly and as important as the first two changes I mentioned in this section is the Confederate Constitutional requirement that every bill have only one subject which had to be expressed in the title. This eliminated the “and for other purposes” practice that allowed bad bills to be amended into good ones so that they would pass. Such a change has been sought in our Constitution for years, but career politicians always thwart efforts to implement it so as not to lose their power.

EXECUTIVE BRANCH

The Confederate President was limited to a single term of six years. This allowed the President to have sufficient time to implement a multi-year plan, removed politics from the office of the Presidency by eliminating the need to pander in order to gain re-election and prevented any person from building a ‘lifetime Presidency’ as FDR had done. Our Constitution was amended after FDR to limit the time a person could serve as President, but there is some merit to the Confederate model of a single six year term.

The President was also Constitutionally empowered to fire any civil servant. This exact issue was the source of the impeachment of Andrew Johnson and a source of political scandal as recently as George W. Bush when several members of the Justice Department were fired. The only requirement placed on the Confederate President in this area is that such firings be reported to the Senate and the reasons for the removal be presented.

Finally, the President is prohibited from appointing a person rejected by the Senate to a fill a position during a subsequent Senate recess. This issue arose most recently when John Bolton was put forward for U.N. Ambassador and rejected by the Senate, but was then appointed to the position by President George W. Bush during a Senate recess when confirmation is not required.

AMENDMENTS

The Confederate Constitution’s amendment process was changed. It completely removed the Congress from the process and left the matter entirely to a convention called by at least three States. Proposed amendments would then be effective if ratified by 2/3 of the States (rather than the original 3/4). This change serves two purposes. First, it prevents entrenched politicians in Congress from blocking amendments that would limit their power. Second, it makes the amendment process a bit easier so that the argument to ‘re-interpret’ the Constitution would be lessened in favor of actually amending the document to address potentially needed changes.

CONCLUSION

There are many other changes in the Confederate Constitution. Most are insignificant and the others deal with issues that are no longer applicable to today, such as slavery. However the changes that have been cited deserve to be reviewed and debated in the present. Many of the challenges we face with our own government could be addressed by the application of some or all of these revisions as modern day Constitutional amendments.

Many of the greatest minds of the 19th century, those who directly inherited the government created and tested by the Framers and who knew them, were present at the 1861 Confederate Constitutional Convention. Their wisdom and the decisions they made should not be carelessly discarded. They should be reviewed as potential starting places for fixing problems in our Constitution that have plagued us for over 200 years such as deficit spending, piggy-backing bad bills onto necessary ones, pork-barrel projects, corporate welfare, federal corruption and general partisanship.

Every cloud has a silver lining or so the saying goes. Out of the ashes of the Confederacy with its doomed adherence to slavery, there is some value. Many of the revisions they made when given the opportunity to hold a second Constitutional Convention are as relevant to us today as they were to them 150 years ago. The time has come to polish the tarnish off that silver lining and use it to improve our own government so that it fulfills the promise of being a government of the people, by the people and for the people that millions have died to secure.

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*Editors Note: Those without intellectual integrity will try to describe this post as an account of pro-Confederacy propaganda. They will try to explain that it promotes the racist past of slavery that led to our nation’s bloodiest war. Before any reader tries to extrapolate such a lie from the facts pointed out here, I want it to be clear that neither myself or the guest blogger, Michael Duminiak, deny the fact that slavery and racism are and were despicable human practices. Nor do we deny their ugly role in the history of our nation. However this post is not based on second grade, bullet point teachings of history. It does not make some claim that we know George Washington chopped down a cherry tree because he could not tell a lie. It does not deal with simple historical storytelling . It analyzes some of the lessons which can be found in the factual details of our history. Especially parts of history which are often ignored and usually lost on those who try to rewrite it and others who allow themselves to be spoon-fed the conclusions articulated by some in brief summaries. For instance, the issue of slavery is often considered the sole reason behind the creation of the Confederate States and the Civil War. However, the issue of slavery was one part of a broader issue, the blatant disregard for the tenth amendment. It is also worth noting that only 6% of the Southern population owned slaves.So as one reads this account, it is important to remember that what is being dealt with here is not simply popular perceptions. What is being dealt with here is akin to an archaeological dig. Mike Duminiak delves beneath surface of history and uncovers what most do not even examine. The opinions and conclusions presented in this post are based on actual events which have been unaltered and are often overlooked and cannot in any way construed as policies or sentiments that defend slavery or promote racism. Any attempts to do so would be juvenile, insincere and wrong.

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