Friday, May 21, 2010

Prelude to November – Perception is Reality

This is my political recap of the elections held Tuesday. With respect to the outcomes, the Democrats had every reason to smile and maybe, just maybe, the Republicans had every reason to shudder while the rest of us had cause for much concern. I am sure you’ve heard, and seen reports, from the Tea Baggers who stridently shouted “it’s time to take our country back”. In fact, this is what Rand Paul said at his victory party, "I have a message, a message from the Tea Party, a message that is loud and clear and does not mince words. We've come to take our government back." Whenever I hear that “Rebel Yell” I have to wonder; what are they talking about but I digress, and will get back to him later.

Let me talk about some of the other races that meant something. Starting in western Pennsylvania in a district once represented by the late Jack Murtha a pro-gun, anti-abortion Democrat. Republican strategists used this district as a campaign laboratory, of sorts, to test the themes and techniques that could use in the fall to nationalize the elections. You know the themes socialism, healthcare reform, invoking the names Obama and Pelosi to terrify voters. It did not work. Democrat Mark Critz won handily over Republican Tim Burns in a district that voted for John McCain in 2008.

Also in Pennsylvania Representative Joe Sestak easily defeated Democrat and onetime Republican Arlen Specter in the state’s Democratic Senate primary. This was the marquee event in terms of media coverage because Specter was a familiar and prominent presence in Washington having occupied his Senate seat for 30 long years. There was just one problem: For all but one of those years, he was a Republican and voters did not buy the idea that seemed more like a calculation in principle to save his job choosing instead to vote for a real card-carrying Democrat.

In Arkansas, Sen. Blanche Lincoln's fate was only slightly more telling as she failed to win a majority of voters in the Democratic primary for a runoff against Lt. Gov. Bill Halter. Halter’s strategy was to attack her from the left while the voters may have wanted to punish her for the way she stalled and equivocated on healthcare reform. But the final verdict on Lincoln won't be in for several weeks, which most pundits predict a losing effort.

Now, let me get back to the far more interesting victory or maybe ominous. There was a candidate, Rand Paul, who became a cult figure among libertarians and Tea Party activists, not unlike his father Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex) who are both known to march to a different beat. Rand is a Republican with little regard for the GOP party line and believes in a philosophy that might best be described as radical individual freedom and privatizing as many functions as possible to reduce government to its barest bones. If Paul wins the general election, he would probably vote sometimes as a Republicans, maybe few times as a Democrat but more than likely he will vote with the Whigs.

In an interview the day after his primary victory, Paul could not bring himself to endorse the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Civil Rights Act of 1964. "I think there's a lot to be desired in the Civil Rights Act... I haven't read all through it, because it was passed 40 years ago and hadn't been a real pressing issue on the campaign whether I'm going to vote for the Civil Rights Act" suggesting that he might not have voted for it if he was around. In addition, he continued with his view that businesses should not be forced by government to adopt anti-discrimination rules. He had to be dragged into recognizing some of the largest moral achievements of recent American history, while still suggesting that the country should go back to the days of old.

It's simply astonishing in this day and age that a major party nominee for the U.S. Senate would try to breathe life into the long discredited notion that the Constitution might protect an individual business owner's 'right' to exclude customers on the basis of race. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) was asked his thoughts about Paul's problems with the Civil Rights Act and its application to private businesses, to which he said, "Not being familiar with the context of his response or his questions I really can't opine as to his position."

Sometimes saying nothing is worst that saying what you really mean but I can hear what Cantor wasn’t saying. Whether he heard Paul's remarks in context or not, I think he could have expressed a firm commitment to the Civil Rights Act and the American ideals it upholds is perhaps more troubling than Paul's musings. This philosophy has the virtue of being easily explainable and the drawback of being impossible. Separate but equal is the remedy for what was not accomplished during the last eight years, I suppose is the message.

The current federal role did not grow primarily because of the statist ambitions of liberals; it grew in response to democratic choices and global challenges. Federal power advanced to rescue the elderly from penury, to enforce civil rights laws, to establish a stable regulatory framework for a modern economy, and to force by law a wicked system that was designed to suppress the helpless. I might add that these are the same people who benefit from these same government handouts.

Their commitment to individual freedom defined as the absence of external constraint is nearly absolute. Taxation for the purpose of redistribution is theft. The national security state does not defend liberty; it threatens it. American global commitments are just another form of big government. Paul, Tea Baggers, and other libertarians are not merely advocates of limited government; they are anti-government. Their objective is not the correction of error but the cultivation of contempt for government itself. There is a reason why movements such as this has never been, and probably will never be, a national political force: because too many would find its utopia a nightmare.


I have launched an information portal “The John T. Wills Chronicles” that will be the new home of "Thought Provoking Perspectives". The sole purpose of the “The John T. Wills Chronicles” is to be a source of empowering knowledge for the enhancement of community and the minds of mankind. I am extending an offer to all authors, writers, poets, and progressive thinkers to become a contributor as a way to promoter yourself, your skills, your work, and to benefit others with your stories.


“The John T. Wills Chronicles” will also present an exciting new Blogtalkradio Show called “The Book Tree” hosted by the amazingly talented SILVER RAE FOX to further this effort. SILVER will be the Literary Ambassador during on-air conversations with authors, poets, and literary minds every Wednesday starting June 2, 2010 at 7:30 - 8:00 PM (est). Silver Rae Fox will be the main voice for the “The Book Tree Radio Show” and one of the main voices for The Book Tree Literacy Project designed to promote literacy.

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