By now we have all heard something about the 2007 decision of Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) to sign an executive order mandating the Gardasil vaccine for all girls entering the sixth grade in Texas schools receiving money from the State of Texas. One of the most fair and comprehensive articles on the web about this incident has been written by Ben Howe (@Ben_Howe) at RedState.com (@RedState), Vetting Rick Perry (http://www.redstate.com/aglanon/2011/08/17/vetting-rick-perry/).
I’m not going to rehash everything in Mr. Howe’s article. What would be the point? Read it. It’s very good. Instead, I’m going to use Mr. Howe’s article as a jumping off point.
The trouble with almost all the reporting and opinion writing I’ve seen on the incident is that they all seem to miss the point of why this is important, if not necessarily fatal, when looking at the presidential candidacy of Gov. Perry. How did I get it and few others seem to? I don’t know. Maybe because I have no personal ax to grind. No, I’ll admit it, I am not the biggest fan of Gov. Perry; however, I did vote for him in every general election in which he ran. So, I can’t exactly be seen as his biggest detractor, either. So, let’s get to it.
The important thing about this incident is not the vaccine itself. Though I understand the problems many people have with vaccines, I am an advocate of necessary vaccines.
The important thing about this incident is not the mandate. Though I understand the concerns of libertarians and parents’-rights activists, many other vaccines are required to enter Texas’ state-funded schools. (However, I must say that mandated vaccinations for venereal diseases does push the envelope a bit much, and I would be opposed to it.)
The important thing about this incident is not allegations of influence peddling. Though I share the concerns of many regarding this candidate’s history of bending to corporate interests, there has been no evidence given of anything more than garden variety campaign donations and corporate lobbying involving Merck. (I don’t like the way it smells, but it’s perfectly legal.)
No, the most important thing about this incident is executive overreach by Gov. Perry.
The executive and the legislative branches have completely different duties and authorities. Governor Perry by-passed the Texas State legislature when he signed that executive order. Instead of having someone sponsor the desired legislation and letting it go through the appropriate process, he basically amended State Law by his own, independent action.
Did Gov. Perry have any right under the Texas constitution for such an act? Did Gov. Perry have any administrative authority under state law for such an act? No to both. As a matter of fact, his order was widely understood to be both constitutionally and legally dubious. Amongst the public furor arising from the order’s announcement, both houses of the state legislature passed measures denouncing Perry’s order, and not just for the publicly controversial parts. The legislature knew their authority had been commandeered by the Governor.
Now, Gov. Perry did rescind the order, after the public uproar. He did apologize for the nature of the order, the particulars concerning the vaccine and the mandate. However, he never apologized for assuming the authority to make the order in the first place. He never tried to explain why he had assumed such authority, except to say “I hate cancer”. (Well, don’t we all?)
So, why do I consider this the most egregious part of the entire affair? Circumspection.
When picking a candidate for President, we have to consider their experience. In this incident, Gov. Perry has shown a disregard for the constitutionally defined duties of his office. We are all too aware of our current President’s disregard for limits to his power, with his signing of executive orders and his appointment of “Czars”. How can we criticize President Obama’s actions, but accept out of hand similar actions done by our own candidate? Wouldn’t that be hypocritical of us?
I’ve had a thought percolating for quite a while now. However, it wasn’t until the passing of Ted Kennedy that it finally gelled into a thesis. Here it goes: “Shameless hypocrisy is a hallmark of the Left.” I don’t know if it’s ever been said straight out like this (If it has, please let me know. I want to give attribution.). I’m not saying I’m the first to point out the Left’s hypocrisy. The evidence is everywhere, and each of us can name countless examples.
I’m not the first to say how completely shameless their phoniness has been. Like a mountain on the landscape, it’s a permanent presence. You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a hypocritical politician, activist, theoretician or philosophy on the Left. First and foremost, what kind of political theory believes giving “power to the people” means taking away the individual’s economic, medical, educational, philosophic decision-making powers? It is the height of hypocrisy, and brazenly so.
Hell, the life of Ted Kennedy was a parade of shameless hypocrisy. A man, who “championed the poor,” born to and living amongst privilege. A man whose vast financial holdings were in tax sheltered investments, yet who railed against the rich and called for increased taxes. A man who cared for “the people,” yet allowed a woman to die, unaided in his own car. A man, who preached about our responsibility to our fellow-man, yet took no responsibility for how his actions affected others. The leading proponent of “health care reform” was the creator of the hated HMO. Well, you get the point.
I’m not saying hypocrisy is unique to the Left. Hypocrites exist on both sides of the political spectrum. However, on the Right they are savaged when discovered. Ended careers litter the political highway as a testament to our impatience for them. Only on the Left are hypocrites honored and promoted.
Who are the Left’s heroes? Bill Clinton — the man was somehow a serial philanderer and a promoter “women’s rights.” Hilary Clinton — the model “woman of the Left” who rode her husband’s coattails to power while allowing him to disrespect and dishonor her. President Obama — a “racial healer” who attended a racist’s church for 20 years. Al Gore — the “environmental savior” who personally consumes more energy than a small town. How many of the Left’s leaders have gone to elite universities, avoided taxes, become rich while in office or as a result of connections made while in office, sent their kids to private schools, shook down corporations for sweetheart deals or campaign contributions, used the “unfair” US healthcare system to extend their lives, and left a carbon footprint the size of the Jolly Green Giant?
Yet, who are the Left’s “bogeymen” on the Right? Ronald Reagan — attacked as an “amiable dunce,” “just acting,” or “asleep at the wheel,” but somehow freed hundreds of millions of people and brought the world back from the brink of Armageddon. George W. Bush — an “inarticulate idiot” who freed tens of millions of people, including the half of these populations who were basically treated as chattel, women. Sarah Palin — another “brainless twit,” a woman who rose from obscurity to become the governor of her state through her own actions and under her own terms, and a true “feminist.”
However, it’s not just that the Left allows their politicians to remain in office once the hypocrisy is discovered. No, the Left uses hypocrisy as a political tool, and does so shamelessly. It can be seen as simple expediency: Do whatever is necessary to advance your side’s pursuit of power. However, what does that say about your ideology if all principles can be pushed aside in the accumulation of power? “What have you gained if you’ve lost your soul?” Their arguments reflect no guiding principles save the pursuit of power for its own sake.
Try having a consistent constitutional argument with a leftist. They claim unenumerated rights are discernible within the document, but deny those rights clearly enumerated. They favor federalizing constitutional rights, or demand states’ rights, whichever is convenient and necessary at the moment to expand government power. They purport that the Commerce Clause allows the federal government to regulate almost all activity within the states, but that the federal government can’t regulate medical marijuana within a state. They will argue that the only way to assure non-discrimination is to mandate discrimination. They claim the “right to bear arms” and the “takings clause” to be only in regard to the federal government, while their favored rights are enforced down to the local level (i.e. the freedom of religion equals a ban on public religious ceremonies).
The only continuing threads in leftist thought are the accumulation of government power (federal preferred, but state/local will suffice) and the undermining of the civil society (the public arena outside government purview). Unfortunately, one ultimately precedes the other. Historically, the reduction of a community’s religiosity and family centeredness leads to an expansion in government to fill the vacuum left in those areas of society. Chicken or egg?
Leftist politicians could not get in political office in America without the aid of shameless hypocrisy. The Left couldn’t gain power if its true creed were known. “Give us ever more power over your life. You don’t know, and can never know, how to properly take care of yourself. Let us make those decisions for you. Some things are too important for you to decide.” It’s not exactly a winning slogan. Without unapologetic lies and obfuscation, what do they really have? All that remains is a never-ending drive for further government control.
[Note: For full disclosure, this is a compilation of my side of a conversation with fellow blogger, Jen Penman (@jpenaz on Twitter) at her blog, “My Life as a Blog,” in May 2009. You can read her post, “Libertarian, yes, positive,” and our conversation at http://jpenaz.blogspot.com/ . I’ve resurrected it in light of the recent Tea Party Convention and continuing calls for a third-party movement. This compilation has been edited for clarity of thought.]
I completely understand dissatisfaction with the Republican Party. I began to feel this same dissatisfaction as I watched the Party squander the gains of the ’94 and the ’00 elections on petty power politics. The Party never effectively educated the public about its agenda. It never took advantage of its time in control of both Congress and the White House to introduce the systemic changes for which many of us worked so hard to bring it to power.
I have always been about principle over Party, but known that we must all work within a right of center coalition. The natural home for this coalition is the Republican Party. Splintering of this coalition leads to our defeat at the hands of our ideological nemeses residing in the Democratic Party. We all have to understand we must hang together, or we will hang alone.
Is there room for dissent against the leftward drift of the GOP we’ve seen since ’94? Absolutely, but dissent needs to be expressed within the party structure to pull it back to the right. The current status of the GOP should be unacceptable to conservatives, libertarians and other people of the right. However, the answer isn’t to abandon the GOP, but to change it.
The job of voters under a republican government is to elect persons who represent our opinions. The job of our representatives is to vote as they’ve pledged they would while seeking office. However, it appears many only seek ways to broaden their appeal for re-election. We need to hold them accountable, and show them they must faithfully represent us, if they wish to stay in office.
Politicians must realize that we are more than willing to replace them if they aren’t fulfilling their obligations. They must understand that we will not automatically vote for them just because they have the correct letter next to their name. Also, there must be primary contests to remove those politicians who do not represent those who have elected them. Even if they ultimately win re-election, it will act to pull them back into the proper direction.
The United States has, and has always had, a two party system. These two parties, which have gone by many different names over time, represent the overwhelming majority of U.S. voters. They do so because they represent the two larger ideological movements, center-left and center-right, in respect to the overall body politic of the time.
There is nothing wrong with being a member of the Libertarian Party or any other “alternative” party, in and of itself. “Alternative” parties are often ways for the dissatisfied to come together outside of the structure of the main parties to build coalitions, which then ultimately act as groups within the larger parties. However, party membership leads to party loyalty, and that’s the problem. It’s the same with all third, or “alternative,” political parties.
“Alternative” political parties are, almost exclusively, ideologically based in the strictest sense. Whether it is the Greens, Communist, Natural Rights, Conservative, Libertarian, et al, they are built around on a very tightly held set of beliefs, which inevitably leads them to be relatively small groups. People voting for these parties have only a marginal effect on elections, but the result can be to the detriment of the larger ideological movement to which each of these parties belongs.
We do not operate under a parliamentary system. It is winner takes all. If an “alternative” party wins ten percent of the vote across the entire electorate, it gets exactly nothing for this achievement. The most likely outcome will be defeat for the candidate which comes second closest to its members’ views. People with deeply held political convictions should bring that passion and drive back into the major parties. They should influence those parties in the direction they want them to go.
No third party will ever gain enough voters to have any positive outcome for its greater ideological movement. The moment it wins a majority of the movement’s voters, it would cease to be a third party, but would continue to split the movement’s votes. The movement would continue to be powerless until its members come together under one party.
Now, I want to clarify a point on which I’ve already touched. Historically, the two major parties have represented the vast majority of American voters. This is because each party is a coalition of voters on their respective sides of the American political spectrum. The political spectrum, as opposed to the ideological one, slides in relation to the political beliefs of the general population. The beliefs of the voters set the scale by which left and right are measured.
As an example, think of the political spectrum as the range of colors broken down from white light. In shorthand the spectrum of light is ROYGBIV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet). Just looking at it, the center color of light is G; however, the actual center, or average light color, of a star’s light depends upon the elements present in the star which are undergoing nuclear fusion. So, the “center” color of a star is the average of all the light colors emitted by the star.
In much the same way, the center of a population’s political beliefs depends upon the people being measured. America has historically had a political center which is to the right of Europe’s. As a people, we want less government than do Europeans. However, this is not an absolute and is not static. It bounces around from one election to the next.
Let’s say in one election all voters show up and vote for one of two parties. The party which attracts not only their half of the spectrum, but just one additional person wins. The next election the losing party is going to try to get back that one voter, and take another one to win. This back and forth would continue as each party tries to take a majority of all voters.
In reality, not all voters participate, and additional parties vie for votes. Both of these subtract from total votes of the two major parties. In the aftermath of recent elections, Republican Party leaders have looked at the numbers and seen only those votes garnered by the Democrats. These voters have become the focus for the next election, forgetting non-voters and alternative party voters. This leads Party officials and campaign advisors to pull the Party to the left seeking these votes.
If you are unhappy with the Republican Party as it exists, and you are unhappy with the direction the Democrats are taking the country, then you must become active in the Republican Party to bring it back to the Right. Growth in alternative parties only allows the apparatchiks within the Republican Party hierarchy to continue drifting left in search of “the center”. In reality the center remains where it was, but voters have been left behind on the Right. These voters must become active in the party machinery, and vote in primaries to remove candidates who undermine the party’s right of center ideological coalition.
Yes, there are ideological differences. We won’t agree all of the time. So, do we combine or divide our resources? No one tightly defined ideology is ever going to win an absolute majority. So, we must work together to move the country in our shared direction, the Right. Just remember what Reagan said, “Someone who agrees with me 80% of the time is my 80% friend, not my 20% enemy.”
The Supreme Court issued a decision in Smith V. Sanford. The majority handed down a two part decision. Part one threw out the claim of one party due to lack of standing in federal court, based on citizenship issues. Part two was more far reaching and ruled unconstitutional a federal law allowing states to make law concerning an individual’s rights. In addition, the Court found existing states’ laws restricting these rights to be null.
The immediate effect of this decision is believed to be that those persons living in states where their rights are not currently restricted are now allowed to exercise those rights in all other states. The result being a practice once illegal in a majority of states is now legal in all States and U.S. Territories. Opponents are criticizing the decision as being politically motivated, with the new Democrat President having covertly coerced the final outcome.
No, you didn’t miss a big headline, or the parades of scantily clad men and ruggedly handsome women.
The first party’s name wasn’t Smith, but Scott. The federal law thrown out wasn’t The Defense of Marriage Act, but the Missouri Compromise. The right held to be protected wasn’t “same-sex marriage.” It was to own slaves.
The Dred Scott Decision was never overturned by the high court. The first part of the decision was only nullified by the passing of the Fourteenth Amendment, when all former slaves were made citizens.
So, no one ever tell me the court can’t make “same-sex marriage” legal in all states. It’s done much worse in the past. All they need do now is say they are following precedent.
Ain’t the law fun?