Ed Hudgins

A Specter No Longer Haunts the Republican Party

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A Specter No Longer Haunts the Republican Party

by Edward Hudgins

May 1, 2009 -- Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter's sudden change from the Republican to the Democratic Party has left Republicans with mixed feelings: rage that he is probably handing the Democrats a filibuster-proof Senate at one of the most critical political junctures in modern times and relief that they're rid of a RINO (Republican In Name Only) who has often been at odds with the majority of Republicans on crucial issues.

George W. Bush's eight years in the White House, during six of which the Republicans controlled both the House and Senate, were actually not good times for the GOP. Bush defined himself as a "compassionate" conservative, by which he meant that he would support the sort of big-government programs that Reagan Republicans found anathema. These included the No Child Left Behind federal education program (a far cry from Reagan's call to abolish the federal Department of Education), a prescription drug program that was a major expansion of Medicare, and other hikes in domestic spending surpassed only by Lyndon Johnson. Many Republicans supported these programs only grudgingly.

The GOP's loss of control of Congress in 2006 caused many Republicans to break with the White House and demand a return to the limited government philosophy. The Bush administration did try to hold back on spending in its final two years and did resist the temptation to pile more new regulations onto the economy and backs of Americans than it might have. Still, Bush had the practices of a big-government politicians combined with the reputation of being a conservative who was playing to the political Right and who was just plain incompetent—witness Iraq and Katrina.

After the defeat of moderate John McCain by Barack Obama, most Republicans in Congress were determined to highlight both their distinctive brand and their unity by opposing the Democrats' $700 billion "stimulus" package, which was little more than a Leftist ploy to seize greater federal control of healthcare, education, energy, and the environment. The Republicans again raised the limited government flag. Sen. Specter was one of only three Republicans who failed to salute it and who sided with Obama and the Democrats.

Specter argued that he was an independent Republican who voted on an issue-by-issue basis, another way of saying he is a man with few guiding principles. Dissent from the majority Republican position as such is not necessarily a bad thing if freedom is your goal. Specter, for example, has opposed limits on a woman's right to chose whether to get an abortion. One could justify these positions as consistent with the principles of limited government and rule of law. But many of Specter's other positions were pure statist.

Specter claims that he is switching parties because the Republicans have moved too far to the Right. But he can't mean that they had too many anti-individual liberty positions and were expanding government. In that case he would have become a Libertarian. Rather, he will probably support Obama's energy tax and further government control of healthcare. Before his party switch he agreed, grudgingly, not to side with Democrats to eliminate the necessity for a secret ballot in union elections. Now, perhaps, he will find some way to wiggle out of that promise.

Still, Specter's switch puts the limited-government Republicans in a difficult position. Assuming that Democrat Al Franken is awarded the senate seat in the contested Minnesota election, the Democrats will have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

Some think the lesson of Specter's defection is that the Republicans need to become more moderate. But "moderate" isn't the issue. The Republicans should become more consistent and principled in their defense of freedom. They should continue to focus on the looming threat of true socialism in America and make real to the American people exactly how much their new chains would weigh. They should drop symbolic—and silly— battles over such issues as gay marriage and religion. The fact that a Specter no longer haunts the Republican Party is an opportunity for the GOP to continue their return to a philosophy of freedom.
-----
Hudgins directs advocacy and is a senior scholar for The Atlas Society, the center for Objectivism in Washington, D.C.

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Ed; Good job. Excellent title. Your point about the GOP becoming more consisent is a great one.

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Thanks Chris and Bill!

We need to keep the minds or Republicans, and anyone else who cares, on the goal of freedom. The issue is not "moderate or not" but "individual liberty or not."

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Thanks Chris and Bill!

We need to keep the minds or Republicans, and anyone else who cares, on the goal of freedom. The issue is not "moderate or not" but "individual liberty or not."

Ed,

I always find your articles enlightening and inspiring.

I wonder if you are aware of the efforts of Robert Schulz of NY and founder of the We The People Foundation (www.GiveMeLiberty.org) who noticed the unmentioned and hidden in plain sight obscure last ten words of the First Amendment, the right to petition for redress of grievances.

It is quite an eye opener to trace his journey from the very first petition which Bob submitted and now more than seven such petitions, all virtually unresponded to in the tradition of King George the Third. He was charged with an illegal scheme for tax evasion and the govt lawyers focused on trying to squash him for that thus distracting judges from even knowing the context of his pointing out to his supporters that in 1774 a unanimous vote occurred at the Continental Congress which advocated withholding ones taxes until redress of grievances occurred in cases where petitions were ignored.

Bob has sought Supreme Court ruling on the interpretation of the last ten words of the First Amendment as well as "accountability" meaning that one wonders whether the Congress is required to respond to such petitions. The Supreme Court has failed to deal with such cases which is characterized as a form of "treason" as it is their Constitutional duty to interpret the Constitution and there has never been any such ruling or interpretation historically.

More recent petitions have dealt with the seemingly unconstitutional actions of the Treasury in giving money to a private entity for private use.

An earlier petition deals with the unauthorized establishment of the Federal Reserve itself.

Bob has the determination and courage to keep exercising his rights as a citizen seeking to have the government act in accordance with the powers granted to it in the Constitution and redress when it is evident that the government has gone beyond those enumerated powers.

Now in desperation because of the failure of each branch of the government including the judicial branch itself, Mr. Schulz is organizing a Continental Congress to meet later this year, as did our Founders when they found their own petitions unanswered in their day, to see what course to pursue.

I wonder if you are aware of this and if you would like to comment at all at this time or in the future. It is not my intention to put you or anyone else on the spot.

I am also aware that Edwin Vieira, Jr. (www.newswithviews.com contributer and Constitutional lawyer) is advocating reinvigoration of the state militias, meaning each and every citizen to prepare to stand for our freedom.

Given that the Constitution is being ignored officially despite the oath taking ritual and the floodgates are open meaning the printing of paper currency is awash which might just wipe out the middle class if enough is Zimbabwaid, isn't it time for us to join the fray in some positive way?

Appreciate any words of wisdom, guidance, advice, even orders or prayers. Only kidding!

www.campaignforliberty.com 3May 7PM 150793 and growing (www.YALiberty.org)

gulch

Edited by galtgulch

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John Quincy Adams after he was defeated for re-election got elected to the House of Representatives. One of the items he worked for his several terms was getting the House to accepts petitions about slavery. Since the South controlled Congress the House was refusing such petitions. I believe he eventually got them considered. As anything changed about Congress recieving petitions.

Edited by Chris Grieb

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Follks:

I will have to look this up tonight, but I do not know whether they have to accept petitions, or, if they accept them, whether they have to do anything with them. Are they referred to an appropriate committee?

At any rate, the loss of the inventor of the miracle bullet theory is a gain.

Ed, I do not have time to read your post until later, but I am sure I will not be disappointed, your posts are always thoughtful.

Adam

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Gulch – I wasn't aware of this case. Thanks for bring it to our attention.

I'm not a lawyer but a couple of preliminary points come to mind. First, the "withholding taxes" in 1774 was pre-Constitution, which set down the rules still in force today—except for Obama, most members of Congress an usually at least half of the Supreme Court!

Second, the First Amendment says we can petition for redress of grievances but it doesn't require Congress or the administration to respond to petitions. Courts do have to respond although some might simply say, "You don't have standing."

Actually, efforts of Obama et al. to limit what they call "lobbying" is really an effort to shut up those who would petition for redress of grievances.

Third, you might make a more general point that we're heading for, if we're not already in, a tyranny that justifies revolution. But the reality is that such attempts would be unsuccessful. And I think there is no chance of gathering the support needed for a convention to amend the Constitutional as specified by the Constitution. And simply getting together a bunch of libertarians to declare themselves a new Constitutional convention circa 1787 would have zero impact on the political system today though it might have good PR or heuristic value.

Of course, if the government would simply adhere to the Constitution we already have, we wouldn't be in the condition we're in now.

A lot of less developed countries—e.g. in Latin America—have had pretty good constitutions on paper but have not been able to keep them, and have swung between various forms of dictatorship.

The lesson is that freedom really must be written in the heart and mind of enough people, otherwise what's written on paper will be mere words that are ignored both by the people and the ruling elite. We need to fight the battle for freedom on many fronts and the front of culture and ideas are most important of all, since politics usually follows culture and ideas.

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Gulch – I wasn't aware of this case. Thanks for bring it to our attention.

I'm not a lawyer but a couple of preliminary points come to mind. First, the "withholding taxes" in 1774 was pre-Constitution, which set down the rules still in force today—except for Obama, most members of Congress an usually at least half of the Supreme Court!

Second, the First Amendment says we can petition for redress of grievances but it doesn't require Congress or the administration to respond to petitions. Courts do have to respond although some might simply say, "You don't have standing."

Actually, efforts of Obama et al. to limit what they call "lobbying" is really an effort to shut up those who would petition for redress of grievances.

Third, you might make a more general point that we're heading for, if we're not already in, a tyranny that justifies revolution. But the reality is that such attempts would be unsuccessful. And I think there is no chance of gathering the support needed for a convention to amend the Constitutional as specified by the Constitution. And simply getting together a bunch of libertarians to declare themselves a new Constitutional convention circa 1787 would have zero impact on the political system today though it might have good PR or heuristic value.

Of course, if the government would simply adhere to the Constitution we already have, we wouldn't be in the condition we're in now.

A lot of less developed countries—e.g. in Latin America—have had pretty good constitutions on paper but have not been able to keep them, and have swung between various forms of dictatorship.

The lesson is that freedom really must be written in the heart and mind of enough people, otherwise what's written on paper will be mere words that are ignored both by the people and the ruling elite. We need to fight the battle for freedom on many fronts and the front of culture and ideas are most important of all, since politics usually follows culture and ideas.

Ed,

Not only was the 1774 pre Constitution but obviously pre Declaration of Independence and pre American Revolution so I am not clear what weight or credibility a statement adopted unanimously at the Continental Congress in 1774, if that is what it was carries today.

I think Robert Schulz is planning another Continental Congress, not a Constitutional Convention, and is aiming for the "PR or heuristic value" you point out.

I want to mention that on the Campaign For Liberty website you will find a quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson which reads:

>>>"Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty."

—Thomas Jefferson"<<<

That being true it might be the best thing to come out of the get together which Schulz has planned.

www.campaignforliberty.com 4May 10PM 150,929 and growing by the day.

gulch

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He was an uber-nightmare; rarely do I pray for deaths, but I am willing to make exceptions.

If only Hunter Thompson were alive, he could and probably would write an obituary eclipsing his one on Nixon (He Was A Crook). Arlen is a disgusting, filthy scumbag.

Just for review here's the Nixon obit: http://www.theatlantic.com/unbound/graffiti/crook.htm

You know, if you run down psych/personality studies of died-in-the-wool politicos, you end up looking at sociopaths. In milder cases, narcissists.

There are many commonalities, but Thompson hit a universal, not just Nixon:

He had the fighting instincts of a badger trapped by hounds. The badger will roll over on its back and emit a smell of death, which confuses the dogs and lures them in for the traditional ripping and tearing action. But it is usually the badger who does the ripping and tearing. It is a beast that fights best on its back: rolling under the throat of the enemy and seizing it by the head with all four claws.

I can only think maybe, just maybe, even worse things happened to Spector. I would hope he got, by surname implication only, the same thing Phil Spector got, with bows on his feet and jets on his heels.

But that's just my fantasizing....

rde

Only The Good Die Young

Edited by Rich Engle

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Gulch --

You quote Jefferson saying "Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty."

That is right to the point. There's a speech I give about why Americans are confused about freedom.

Point One is that the schools do an especially pathetic job of educating students about history and economics. Point Two is that they do an even worse job teaching critical thinking skills.

So now we live in a nation of adults who are victims of government schools, who have no conception of why America's Founders decided on a government that divided power between three branches, between federal and state, and why a Bill of Rights was added on top of it all. They have little appreciation for the fact that government can't just create wealth out of thin air to rain down on them like manna from heaven. And many have attention spans that limit them to sound bits and shows like "Today" and "Good Morning America."

A paternalist regime can only exist with a deluded, dumbed-down population.

Schulz has no chance to have an impact on the legal system itself but as I've often said, we need to fight the battle on many fronts. If he gets attention with his convention and if it can go viral online, great! I would advise producing a document in the style of a good National Review piece that seriously asks, "Are We at the Point Our Founders Faced in 1776?" Discuss by what standards they revolted. Recognize the political realities that were behind Jefferson's statement that "Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed fir light and transient Causes." Then innumerate the "long Train of Abuses." Such a piece might get attention!

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Gulch --

You quote Jefferson saying "Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty."

That is right to the point. There's a speech I give about why Americans are confused about freedom.

Point One is that the schools do an especially pathetic job of educating students about history and economics. Point Two is that they do an even worse job teaching critical thinking skills.

So now we live in a nation of adults who are victims of government schools, who have no conception of why America's Founders decided on a government that divided power between three branches, between federal and state, and why a Bill of Rights was added on top of it all. They have little appreciation for the fact that government can't just create wealth out of thin air to rain down on them like manna from heaven. And many have attention spans that limit them to sound bits and shows like "Today" and "Good Morning America."

A paternalist regime can only exist with a deluded, dumbed-down population.

Schulz has no chance to have an impact on the legal system itself but as I've often said, we need to fight the battle on many fronts. If he gets attention with his convention and if it can go viral online, great! I would advise producing a document in the style of a good National Review piece that seriously asks, "Are We at the Point Our Founders Faced in 1776?" Discuss by what standards they revolted. Recognize the political realities that were behind Jefferson's statement that "Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed fir light and transient Causes." Then innumerate the "long Train of Abuses." Such a piece might get attention!

Ed,

I see what you mean. I am trying hard not to start my next sentence with the word "but."

I am reminded of an experience I had when I was in the military stationed in South Korea on a small army base north of Seoul and not far from the DMZ right on the traditional attack route from the North. I was a mere Captain among Majors who were all well educated physicians, surgeons, an anesthesiologist, a radiologist, internists. We discussed a variety of things over meals but they had their minds made up about Ayn Rand and Objectivism long before I got there. They were unwilling to give explanations for their position other than to convey that there was something immoral and unethical about Rand's views. It wasn't pretty and I spent most of my tour doing my job and having as little to do with them as possible.

On the other hand I did have occasion to encounter young men who were high school graduates and had enlisted and I found that if I spoke with them one at a time it was possible to enlighten them, arouse their interest in ideas, help them to take a fresh look at the ideas they had been raised to believe and many would be motivated to read some of the books I had schlepped over. One fellow, a pharmacist, became quite aware of how Rand's ideas conflicted with the ideas of his religion. He was able to make tremendous progress in acquiring a rational perspective and he was able to be critical of certain basic dogmas within his former belief system. He and i still keep in touch and he has thanked me for exposing him to Objectivism as he considers it has changed his life for the better.

My point of all that is that I think many more people who have fallen victim to the evil influences of the public school system or the parochial system are more open to the ideas we hold than more highly educated people. As Rand and Branden pointed out man is a being with a volitional conceptual consciousness which remains true even after compulsory public schools get through with them. If our ideas are expressed well enough they will be able to grasp those ideas.

What occurs to me here is to create a book in the vein of the For Dummies series from our perspective Reality for Dummies. Problem is most people are not rummaging in book stores and there is so much to choose from in them these days.

A popular talk show host was suspended in Boston for remarks about Mexicans. I think I will contact the radio station and see if they are holding auditions for his replacement.

www.campaignforliberty.com 5May Cinco de Mayo 151041

gulch

Edited by galtgulch

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Gulch:

The gentleman's name is Jay Severin. I have listened to him on the internet. Quite edgy, really smart politically - he was a super heavyweight political consultant.

"Severin, a former Republican Party political consultant, who describes himself as a libertarian conservative , constitutionalist, or radical independent, worked for the presidential campaigns of George H. W. Bush (1980) and Pat Buchanan (1996) before becoming a radio talk show host and political analyst.[6] Throughout his childhood and early adult years, he was called "Jimmy Severino", and later changed his name to "Jay Severin" upon entering the world of Republican politics."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jay_Severin

http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_...ay_severin.html

http://www.wtkk.com/

FM 96.9 WTKK

Studio: 617-822-1969

Verizon Wireless: #969

Main Office: 617-822-9600

Really good thread guys,

Adam

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Gulch:

The gentleman's name is Jay Severin. I have listened to him on the internet. Quite edgy, really smart politically - he was a super heavyweight political consultant.

"Severin, a former Republican Party political consultant, who describes himself as a libertarian conservative , constitutionalist, or radical independent, worked for the presidential campaigns of George H. W. Bush (1980) and Pat Buchanan (1996) before becoming a radio talk show host and political analyst.[6] Throughout his childhood and early adult years, he was called "Jimmy Severino", and later changed his name to "Jay Severin" upon entering the world of Republican politics."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jay_Severin

http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_...ay_severin.html

http://www.wtkk.com/

FM 96.9 WTKK

Studio: 617-822-1969

Verizon Wireless: #969

Main Office: 617-822-9600

Really good thread guys,

Adam

Adam,

Thanks for the info. I just may give them a call tomorrow to see. I listen to Jay Severin on my commute and marvel that people call in to tell him how much they have learned from him. He is a bit of a blowhard, is often crude, especially with female callers. He may claim to be a libertarian but is a far cry from being consistent and rarely expresses a principle.

All these folks have the gift of gab. He may have the experience he claims but does not argue effectively in my opinion.

gulch

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Gulch:

Good points. He knows his politics though. I think he is an adequate debater, but my standards are really high. I have not heard him go up against a person in the media. He used to be on Imus in the Morning a lot, but they had a real falling out.

I think it would be an excellent idea for you to call them up and pitch them a show - go for an hour of the three hours. Hell you're a Doctor, pitch a show with a slant towards medicine and politics.

Adam

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Gulch:

Good points. He knows his politics though. I think he is an adequate debater, but my standards are really high. I have not heard him go up against a person in the media. He used to be on Imus in the Morning a lot, but they had a real falling out.

I think it would be an excellent idea for you to call them up and pitch them a show - go for an hour of the three hours. Hell you're a Doctor, pitch a show with a slant towards medicine and politics.

Adam

Adam,

I have been told many times that I have a good voice for radio.

My wife and I were states apart when we met and spent hours on the telephone. She loves my voice. She is much prettier than I am though. I got the better of the deal.

I will try to find the moment to call before the end of the week. I will ask for an opportunity such as to cover for a day like Avi Nelson does at times.

Nothing would make me happier than to promulgate our wisdom in the defense of liberty.

www.campaignforliberty.com 6May 6AM 151,107, 6PM 151,191 Everyone counts, each and every one! One at a time!

gulch

Edited by galtgulch

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Excellent.

And stress that you have a face for radio! Its an old joke, but you and I are old, so it works.

I admire the fact that you will try.

Adam

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... freedom really must be written in the heart and mind of enough people, otherwise what's written on paper will be mere words that are ignored both by the people and the ruling elite.

Ed,

I am sorry I have not gotten to your things in these last few days. I always start at the top of the forum page to see what people have posted, then I go down one by one. Then I end up getting entangled in a discussion, then another, then another. Then I run out of time.

I don't see Specter's changeover as bad. He's not really committed to anything other than staying in the game, anyway. I actually think 2 years of a Democratic majority with a filibuster-proof Congress will ensure power to the Republicans for many, many years, just from the mess they will make.

btw - That quote above is a great quote. I am going to repeat it in the quote section, but you should think of prettying it up some. This thought is Hudgins at his finest and a stand-alone format for it would be a fine thing.

EDIT: It is here.

Michael

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Michael:

Agreed, real fine use of the language.

You read it standing alone, and it is, at least for me, very Randian in that you say in your own mind...

"But of course!" A actually is A. Existence actually does exist.

Ed's statement is a truism as are the others.

Adam

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