Constitution

How I'm voting on Colorado ballot issues

How I'm voting on Colorado ballot issues

Because friends often ask how I’m voting and why, here’s my take on this year’s measures.  Keen observers will see I am voting a straight-ticket “No,” and for good reasons.

Madison rolls over

As “Black Monday” dawned to the realization that the fraud-filled spectacle of "ObamaCare" has finally passed the House of Representatives, you may have noticed some rumblings under foot.  It wasn't an earthquake in the literal sense, though from the perspective of our constitutional republic, it might as well have been. It was the sound of James Madison rolling over in his grave.

Of all the Founding Fathers, Madison was the one who most understood the importance of structure and process in our new democracy.  He would have been shocked to hear the President of the United States telling the media that process doesn't matter, or the Democratic Majority Leader of the House of Representatives say that the American people don't care about how the government “makes sausage” -- only that it "gets things done".  To Madison, any such talk would be akin to blasphemy: the Constitution was set up to prevent the kind of system where rules could be changed on a whim, and where partisan, parochial "ends" could always be justified by employing "means" which would put government -- and not the people -- in charge.

In short, the sausage making matters.

Madison understood principally that if the American system of government was going to be truly "by and for the people", it had to function in a way that enshrined a balance of power between the legislative and executive branches, thereby preventing both the whim of an executive acting by fiat, or a tyranny of a majority in Congress usurping the rights of the minority party and acting on "winds of passion".  The challenge for Madison and the other Founders – particularly Hamilton and Jay, his fellow authors of the Federalist Papers – was to create a structure of government that simultaneously gave vigorous representative power to the legislature, but which ensured that this power would be divided between different branches, two distinct houses of Congress, with different representations, rules and procedures.  The goal, as Madison outlined eloquently in Federalist 51, was to ensure that government -- in scope and power – be controlled:

In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.

Principal among these “auxiliary precautions”, according to Madison, was to “divide the legislature into different branches; and to render them by different modes of election, and different principles of action, as little connected with each other” as possible.  The House of Representatives, then, was to be apportioned and elected differently than the Senate. House members, elected every two years and assigned to a relatively small constituency, was to be the “people’s house”.  The Senate, until 1913 appointed by state legislatures, offered equal representation among states irrespective of size and six year terms, insulating it from the vagaries of popular opinion. It also offered clear rules that protect the rights of the minority party from being steamrolled by the majority (thus the “filibuster”). The combination created, in Madison’s words, “opposite and rival interests, and the defect of better motives”.  And these motives were – first and foremost -- to create a government that reflected the will and interests of the people.

Given this, one can only imagine the outrage that Madison would feel today as the Congress – the very institution he crafted so carefully – made a mockery of its balanced powers to break every procedural rule in the book to pass a wildly unpopular bill.  It was a bill so unpopular, in fact, that the Democratic leadership in the Congress knew it could not pass on its own merits, and within Congress’ normal rules and procedures. After the Scott Brown victory in Massachusetts as the “41st vote against ObamaCare”, President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid decided to do an end-run around the Constitution by re-writing House and Senate rules to fit their partisan goals . Thus you had Rep. Louise Slaughter (D, NY) putting forth “Deem and Pass” – essentially passing the bill without any vote at all -- and Harry Reid’s decision to in the Senate to use reconciliation on ObamaCare to avoid the filibuster, even though the architect of the reconciliation rule, Democrat Robert Byrd, has said clearly that the rule is not appropriate for legislation of this scope and magnitude and should not be used.

For the left, such opinions are nothing more than inconveniences. The goals of progressive government – universal health care, wealth redistribution and social justice -- are so important, not even the Constitution itself should stand in its way.  Obama has said so himself: In an interview with Chicago Public Radio station WBEZ-FM in 2001, he talked explicitly of the Constitution as a “flawed document” with “essential constraints” that were placed by the “Founding Fathers and Constitution” limiting its ability to promote social justice goals.  Thus the concept of the Constitution as a living document, open to modern interpretation and cultural updating.  This is no longer a theoretical threat to the Constitution.  This threat now sits firmly in power on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.

James Madison certainly understood one important thing about the nature of man and power: “But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”  Indeed, our leaders today are no angels.  And never have we more needed Madison’s prescriptions for a limited government that operates on rules which guarantee the rights of the minority, and which derives its legitimacy from We the People.  They work for us, after all.  We don’t work for them.

Get off the couch

This great country -- and I do mean EXCEPTIONAL -- is in the grips of a domestic enemy. Let's leave aside the politically correct platitudes and politeness for a moment and be honest. The left is the enemy to traditional American values of individual freedom, personal liberty and entrepreneurship.

They want to create a Nanny State, where the government runs your life. Health care is a big piece of this puzzle. Next will come the kind of car you drive, the light bulbs you use and which colleges you can go to. They want to tax and control every breath you take.

And make no mistake about it: the left is now firmly and fully in charge of the U.S. government. There is not a single (as in ONE) moderate or conservative Democrat in the U.S. Senate, and very few in the House. The White House is inhabited by Marxist revolutionaries -- and that includes the guy in the Oval Office.

We are being led by radicals.

That's the truth. And Democrats and Independents (and many so-called "Republicans") who voted for "Hope and Change" may feel hoodwinked, but the reality was there for all to see. The President of the United States is a Saul Alinksy operative with radical friends. That doesn't happen by accident.  Americans liked the cut of the guys jib and the fact that decades of race-guilt could be slayed in a single pull of the voting lever, and so the nation took a leap into the great unknown.

Off a precipice, and into an abyss.

And then insult got added to the injury by putting the likes of Al Franken (hey Minnesota -- politics is not really a JOKE!) in the Senate, giving the left a massive majority and the 60 votes needed to ram home big-time change on a purely partisan basis.

And that's really the main message here: this is a President and a Congress that thinks that a straight party-line vote is democracy in action. There was no pretense of bipartisan accommodation or compromise, only a "shove it down your throat" Chicago-style politics. The left is so certain they are right that they simply don't care what YOU think.

Nice, huh?

We are in for a very rough ride. But it isn't hopeless. We can take back the House in 2010 and put Nancy Pelosi out to pasture. We can defeat Harry Reid in Nevada and give him the good old Tom Daschle treatment.

We can change this in 11 months.

But to do so, you have to get OFF THE COUCH.

You have to start giving -- in money, time and energy -- to Republican candidates.  Money is the life's blood of politics, and to win in 2010, conservatives need to raise cash.   And if you can't contribute money, then volunteer for a candidate.  Stuff envelopes. Walk precincts. Host voter meetings in your living room.

We can't be passive. The enemy is organized, zealous and unbelievably vicious.  We must parry their every thrust.

We can't afford to lose this country for another generation. Please do WHATEVER you can. I am working with a Republican Congressional candidate here in Colorado -- Diggs Brown.  He's a very good man and a solid conservative.

Find someone -- anyone -- who you can support running for Congress in a swing district.  That's the way we can change this -- by putting solid conservatives in office in 2010.

We must do more than complain. We must ACT!!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.

Let's make 2010 the year we TAKE BACK THIS GREAT COUNTRY!!