Our President has unilaterally decided to suspend the implementation of a law (granted a horrible one) passed by congress (granted using the barest of procedurally minimal votes) and he has offered no constitutional justification for his actions. Additionally, the suspension only applies to corporations. Individuals will have to live with the flaws of this law without White House intervention. To further add to this brazen flouting of the separation of powers, he has granted “waivers” to members of Congress and their staffs to ensure that they do not have to suffer the consequences of this “train wreck” of progressive legislation.
Where do we live? How can this stand? Our country’s foundation of freedom is the separation of powers – devised to prevent tyranny by any branch of government. Our free press is supposed to be our diligent watch dog, ready to warn us of abuses and overreach. Where are they now?
This president loves to think of himself in grandiose comparisons with Lincoln (in a stunning exercise of hubris.) This comparison by Nicholas Quinn Rosencrantz, shows exactly how puny those comparison display him to be. But this perspective should not only be found on the editorial page of America’s most conservative paper. It should be everywhere. This is not about partisan politics, it is about the foundations and integrity of our republic.
As Benjamin Franklin left Independence Hall in Philadelphia after the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, he was asked, “Well, Doctor, what do we have — a Republic or a Monarchy?” He replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”
I know that my many liberal friends will think that The IRS Scandal is a partisan issue because conservatives were attacked. But this is about something far more troubling than partisan politics. It is about a government bureaucracy that is unaccountable. With a change in political fortunes, the IRS could just as easily target liberal organizations. The entire machine needs to be profoundly reformed and its duty to be fair and impartial needs to paramount and unquestionable. Are any of my liberal friends equally concerned?
Connecticut’s Senator Blumenthal published a letter in the Hartford Courant professing his shame at his colleagues and his disappointment at the failure of the Senate to pass “common sense” (talking point language from a careful ‘positioning’ document just like a ‘balanced’ approach to deficit reductions means higher taxes and no meaningful cuts in entitlement spending) gun control legislation. He vowed to fight on. He sent his letter to his constituents who have written him about gun violence. He sent it to me and here is my reply:
What common sense is there in enacting cynical, opportunistic legislation that does absolutely nothing to solve the problem it purports to address? SHAME ON YOU for trying to exploit tragedy to advance a disproven agenda that curtails constitutionally enumerated rights and does nothing to advance public safety. You know that all rifles, much less the cosmetically defined “assault weapons” are used in a single digit percentage of all gun crimes. You know that magazine size limitations will have no impact on criminals who have ready access to whatever size magazine they want but will ensure that law abiding citizens are overmatched or limited in their ability to protect themselves. You know that these same criminals will easily circumvent background checks and that of the “2 million people prevented by background checks from buying firearms” virtually none have been prosecuted – what do you think they did next? You know that, as your esteemed colleague Diane Feinstein admitted, background checks would not have succeeded in preventing the tragedies that you so shamelessly seek to exploit.
Why don’t you try to do something real about gun violence? The violence that disproportionally affects poor black males in our cities? Why don’t you stand up for mandatory sentencing to prevent recidivists from committing multiple gun crimes? We know these criminals can get guns. We know they use them in crimes. We know that they will do it again but we still let them go free.
Why don’t you help our country follow New York city’s successful implementation of ‘stop and frisk’ policies in our cities? Wouldn’t Bridgeport, Hartford and New Haven benefit from a reduction in gun violence? How about Chicago and its “tough gun laws?”
And when it comes to mass murderers, why don’t you advance better systems for mental health professionals to raise the alarm when they see patients who are likely to commit violent acts? Can you come up with a respectful, fair and thoughtful way to connect them to law enforcement officials and the NICs system?
I guess that would take uncommon courage, brains and effort – things utterly absent throughout your political career. “Common sense” as you define it is so much easier. Exploit a distraught mother – ask her to attend congressional hearings while she is still grieving and vulnerable and by all means have her talk to the press. Those are “common sense” ways to help her heal.
Told anybody about your distinguished military service in Vietnam lately?
Sincerely indignant and ashamed that you are my senator,
PS – To the staffer who may have actually read this before chalking up one “anti” and throwing it in the bin, I hope you are proud to be working for such an upstanding public figure…Go do something honorable with your life (isn’t that why you got into politics?) and dump this sorry hack Blumenthal.
Albert C. Brooks in today’s Wall Street Journal:
Conservatives are fighting a losing battle of moral arithmetic. They hand an argument with virtually 100% public support—care for the vulnerable—to progressives, and focus instead on materialistic concerns and minority moral viewpoints.
The irony is maddening. America’s poor people have been saddled with generations of disastrous progressive policy results, from welfare-induced dependency to failing schools that continue to trap millions of children.
Meanwhile, the record of free enterprise in improving the lives of the poor both here and abroad is spectacular. According to Columbia University economist Xavier Sala-i-Martin, the percentage of people in the world living on a dollar a day or less—a traditional poverty measure—has fallen by 80% since 1970. This is the greatest antipoverty achievement in world history. That achievement is not the result of philanthropy or foreign aid. It occurred because billions of souls have been able to pull themselves out of poverty thanks to global free trade, property rights, the rule of law and entrepreneurship.
Progressive policies achieve the opposite of what they say they set out to do. A cynic would say that the only thing they succeed in doing is trapping dependent voters for future elections. I think most liberals believe that these policies are helping and want that help to be successful. But they don’t pay much attention to outcomes. And they consistently defer doing their own analysis and instead trust people who are far more cynical — see the number of Democrats that get caught with their hands in the progressive till. Jessie Jackson, Jr., Charlie Rangel, Pedro Espada just to name a few.
Despite the fact that many ethnic groups have conservative values and leanings – especially in social beliefs – immigrants to the United States skew heavily to identification with Democrats not Republicans.
There may be many reasons: better branding by Democrats as the party of the “non-establishment” or a more racially tinged identification as the party for “non-whites.” Perhaps it is because most other countries’ politics are decidedly more left than American politics (I have a European friend who describes America as a country with two political traditions; the conservatives and the even more conservatives…) In a comment on a story that addressed this phenomenon one reader produced this fascinating and (I think) insightful thought experiment:
Let’s say you were to immigrate to a new country which is essentially divided between two hostile tribes engaged in perpetual low-intensity warfare. We’ll call them Hutus and Tutsis. You have no previous allegiance or affiliation with either tribe.
Let’s also say that one tribe, Tutsis, holds a hegemony on all organs of education and opinion, virtually the entire government bureaucracy and all of popular culture. Many of the most prestigious institutions in the country consist of 95%+ Tutsis. Tutsi organizations like “Harvard University” and “The New York Times” are widely respected by even ardent Hutus.
Now of course there are Hutu organizations and no shortage of powerful Hutu people. But, unlike the reverse, there are virtually no prestigious institutions where Tutsis are excluded. I.e. some prestigious and powerful institutions, like “General Electric” or “Goldman Sachs” may be 2:1 Hutu at most. But any with a 10:1 ratio or more are virtually guaranteed to be far inferior, second-rate and low status institutions or organizations. Examples of these pariahs are “Oral Roberts University”, “Fox News” and “Amway.”
This leads to a strange asymmetry where it is certainly possible to succeed in this society while being Hutu, it almost never hurts to be Tutsi. For example just the other day there was a Tutsi ceremony called “The Academy Awards” that almost exclusively honors Tutsis. Despite this, this ceremony is observed and recognized by Hutus around the country.
A rational, self-interested immigrant to this society would of course choose align himself as a moderate, but reliably loyal Tutsi. Unless you’re a Tutsi extremist, leaning Tutsi will almost never hurt your career or standing except in all but the most malformed, backwards and irrelevant Hutu organizations.
But failure to demonstrate at least general sympathy to the Tutsi side will almost undoubtedly lock you out of many career options and generally draw attention to you in most corners of polite society.
It makes a lot of sense to me. What do you think?