I read with keen interest in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that former Congressman Bob Barr, R-GA, may be considering running for president as the candidate of the Libertarian Party. Then I read with growing disgust the comments posted on the AJC blog, condemning Barr for even thinking of it. No, we have to get on board McCain’s "Straight Talk Express." To save America. From whom? Why, from the Democrats, of course!
You remember the Democrats. That party of big government, big spending, always squandering American blood and treasure on foreign soil. (Remember Vice Presidential candidate Bob Dole in 1976: "All the wars o’ the 20th Century have been Democrat wars!") Surely, we must rally behind the Republican ticket to keep America safe and strong!
As we (some of us) have been doing for decades. It will be 40 years ago this fall that I picked up a copy of National Review with the cover story, "A plea to conservatives from Barry Goldwater." Goldwater’s plea was that we not "throw away" our votes by casting our ballots for American Party candidate George C. Wallace of Alabama. Because many of us heeded Goldwater’s plea, Richard Nixon narrowly defeated Democrat Hubert Humphrey.
From that time to the present day, a Republican has been in the White House for 28 of the past 40 years. Ronald Reagan also enjoyed the support of a Republican Senate for six of his eight years. Republicans controlled both houses of Congress from 1995-2006, including the first six of President George W. Bush’s eight years in the Oval Office. Jimmy Carter made no Supreme Court appointments in his single term, so ten consecutive nominees seated on the Supreme Court were the choices of Republican presidents. What have we achieved with all this Republican success?
Are you proud, conservatives, of our great Republican annual deficits of $400 billion (conservatively estimated) and our national debt of nine (or is it ten now?) TRILLION dollars? Are you proud of a government willing to go to war at the drop of a hat or the tilt of a turban? Are you glad we are paying for our wars and our vast military empire through our increasing financial dependence on Communist China, among others? Aren’t you glad that our wars in the oil rich Middle East have driven oil prices above $100 a barrel?
Aren’t you happy we have established the principle under this administration that the president has the power to lock up American citizens indefinitely, without trial, without charges, without due process? Won’t you be delighted when the next Democratic president (Hillary Clinton?) builds on that precedent?
Don’t you feel so much safer now that the same administration that apparently ignored warnings of a terrorist attack prior to 9-11 now claims that to prevent another one it needs to listen to our international phone calls without a warrant? Aren’t you glad the allegedly conservative party is about to nominate a candidate for president whose contempt for the freedom of speech guaranteed in the First Amendment has been expressed in various ways, most ominously in features of his McCain-Feingold Campaign Reform Act?
Ah, but Obama (or Clinton) will pack the federal courts with liberal judges! Uh-huh. And we may be sure the Republican nominee won’t? Amnesia is fast becoming the leading cause of mental dysfunction among Republicans. Sure, Reagan gave us Scalia and Rehnquist as chief justice. Bush ’41 gave us Clarence Thomas and Bush ’43 nominated Roberts and Alito, who, so far, appear pretty good. But who gave us Warren Burger and Harry Blackmun, the author of the Roe v. Wade decision, along with Lewis Powell? Nixon. Who gave us John Paul Stevens (Ford) Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy? (Reagan) David Souter? (Bush ’41). And once Clinton came into office, who were such good sports about the whole thing that they whisked through the nominations of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer?
The Republican members of the Senate, of course, only three of whom voted against Ginsburg. And that was after the Democrats had "Borked" Judge Robert Bork and nearly derailed the nomination of Justice Thomas. If the Republicans believed a fraction of their own rhetoric about the importance of confirming "strict constructionists" to the high court, they would have worked to block the Ginsburg and Breyer appointments.
Time and again, at every turn, the Republican Party has betrayed its conservative faithful. So much so that the name "Republican" is now virtually synonymous with betrayal. But don’t expect lobotomized Republican voters to notice. They are too busy being frightened by the Democratic bogeyman.
Manchester, NH, resident Jack Kenny [send him mail] is a freelance writer.