There is a fascinating "Conservative Index" in the December 29th issue of the New American Magazine. The index makes a compelling case that we should find a new word to describe those (few) in Congress who are defending the Constitution, because the word "conservative" has lost all meaning.
The most recent "Conservative Index," paints a fairly bleak picture of the willingness of those in Congress to adhere to the constitutional principles of limited government. In a true show of bipartisanism, Republicans and Democrats alike - with few exceptions - showed not even the slightest inclination to obey the law.
Check the index out for yourself [http://www.thenewamerican.com/tna/2003/12-29-2003/108-2.pdf]. But I need to warn you. It is not a pretty sight.
The votes used as the basis for this index were those that funded: Labor-HHS-Education ($470 billion), Agriculture ($78 billion), the U.N. (we're still giving those guys billions?), prescription drugs ($500 billion), foreign aid ($ billions and billions) and the $87 billion for Iraq - all of which are unconstitutional spending programs. We're way past the chump change, pork barrel spending stage here. This is some serious unconstitutional spending!
Also included in the index was the vote on an abortion ban that does not ban any abortions, the Partial Birth Abortion Ban. Yes, it was a meaningless vote, but the index assigned a conservative (+) to those who voted for the "ban."
The overriding message of this "Conservative Index" is that there is virtually no difference in voting patterns between the Democrats and the Republicans - both will choose bigger government every chance they get.
One bright spot in the index was Congressman Ron Paul (R) of Texas, the standard bearer for constitutional government. He was the only member of Congress to score a perfect 100%. Anyone who has tracked Congressman Paul's career, knows this is a man who really understands the proper role of the federal government - which is a very limited role - and adheres to those limited powers while voting on a bill. It is encouraging to see there is at least one person in Congress who is consistently able to obey the law.
However, just up the road few miles from Congressman Paul's district, is another Texas Republican who did not fare so well, House Majority Leader Tom Delay. I used to live in Congressman Delay's district and can vividly remember the jubilant victory celebration we had the night he was first elected to Congress in 1984. There was a collective "Whew, we finally elected a man who is going to get something done." He actually voted fairly well for the first few years (when the Democrats were in charge), but the lure of power seems to have been too much for him to handle.
Not to pick on Congressman DeLay too much, since the entire Republican caucus is a collective "conservative" train wreck, but his voting record provides a stark warning of what can happen to a man after twenty years of compromise. His 30% conservative score shows that he chooses big government, over obedience to the law, almost every time. The man has become a mere shadow of his former self. What a sad story.
Unfortunately, he is not alone. Many others have veered just as far off the path.
Here are a few 108th Congressional "Conservative Index" highlights from the House Republicans: Hayworth (AZ, of Fox News fame) 25%; Issa (CA) 0%; Harris (FL) 10%; Hyde (IL) 11%; Bohner (IL) 20%; Istook (OK) 33%; Walden (OR) 10%.
And from the Senate: Sessions (AL) 30%; McCain (AZ) 40%; Graham (FL) 38%; Lugar (IN) 20%; Snowe (ME) o%; Dole (NC) 40%; Inhofe (OK) 30%; Smith (OR) 33%; Hatch (UT) 30%.
We could argue over the choice of the votes that were used in this "Conservative Index," but it will be hard to deny the huge expansion of our government that has occurred under Republican control of Congress. Compromise after compromise, big government vote after big government vote, Republicans have saddled us with over a 60% increase in federal spending, and the accompanying loss of freedoms, just since they took control of Congress in 1994!
Every single spending bill must originate in the House, so it is not hard to point to the source of the problem … and the problem is not the Democrats!
The "Republican Revolution" of 1994 barely lasted the "first 100 days" Newt Gingrich promised us would be the beginning of a new era of obeying the law, and a return to sanity in our government. The "Revolution" has instead turned into a spending free-for-all, with virtually no rules or restraints. The only guiding principal is; "win elections at any cost."
Sure, the Republicans have convinced millions to ignore the evidence and allow the charade to continue. And they have certainly figured out how to win elections - simply become just like your opponent and promise everything to everybody. But we are never going to solve our problems by re-electing the same people who created this mess in the first place!
I have thrown away so many votes over the years voting the "lesser of two evils, " I get ill just thinking about it. I am at the place now, where if winning elections means voting for a big spending, big government socialist, I no longer care if a single candidate I support ever gets elected to office.
A zero tolerance policy toward law breaking politicians is the only way we are going to dig ourselves out of the hole in which we find ourselves.
Now that the word "conservative" has come
to mean, "big government," I am using the label a friend came up
with. I am an ABC … an Active Biblical Constitutionalist.
© 2004 David Brownlow - All Rights Reserved
Dave Brownlow, an engineer, has been designing and selling industrial automation control systems since 1979. He lives in Clackamas OR with his wife Suzanne and their four children. Active in the pro-life movement and conservative politics for over 20 years, David ran for US Congress in the 3rd District of Oregon in 2002 on the Constitution Party ticket. He has announced his plans to run again in 2004. His Web-Site www.davebrownlow.com E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
"A zero tolerance policy toward law breaking politicians is the only way we are going to dig ourselves out of the hole in which we find ourselves."