By Robert A. Vella
A week before the November midterms, an election the GOP is likely to win, Republican politicians are trying to avoid talking about their extreme views on certain topics which could turn moderate voters against them. Still fresh in their minds are the failed candidacies of Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell, Todd Akin, and several others who self-destructed by proudly discussing controversial issues such as gun rights and abortion/contraception. For the American electorate – especially for the low turnout variety in midterms – it’s a case of out-of-sight, out-of-mind.
But, the electorate should understand who they’re voting for. The days of the moderate Republican are long past. The current cast of characters are doggedly right-wing. If elected, they will pursue their extremist agenda with ruthless determination. Whatever was said, or unsaid, on the campaign trail will be mere dust in the wind.
We will highlight two conservative politicians, one running this year for the U.S. Senate and another vying for a presidential bid in 2016. Listen to what they have to say, and do, in rare moments of candor… and learn from it.
The Huffington Post reported yesterday that Joni Ernst, the Republican candidate for Senate in Iowa, is prepared to shoot it out with the federal government, if necessary. Speaking at a National Rifle Association event in 2012, Ernst said that she carries a gun around to protect herself from government intrusion upon her rights. “I do believe in the right to carry,” Ernst said, “and I believe in the right to defend myself and my family — whether it’s from an intruder, or whether it’s from the government, should they decide that my rights are no longer important.”
Ernst’s campaign has, to date, worked very hard to keep hidden her extremist past and penchant for conspiracy theories, but her stated willingness to get into a gunfight with the federal government isn’t really a “revelation” of her real views. Ernst wrote an August 2013 Op-Ed for the Des Moines Register in which she argued that the Second Amendment “is the steel foundation upon which our freedom is built and the backbone of our God-given individual and constitutional right to protect ourselves and our families from those who would do us harm, be they an intruder or a tyrannical government.” So it is an extremist position, but one that she hasn’t taken any pains to conceal.
Of course, stating your intention to use physical violence to defend against government tyranny raises an obvious question: What, exactly, constitutes “tyranny”? The interminable arguments over healthcare reform, immigration, executive orders, domestic surveillance and just about everything President Obama has done have shown that one man’s “tyranny” is another man’s sensible policy. References to the Affordable Care Act as “tyranny” are commonplace on the right. Talk radio hosts refer to the Supreme Court’s refusal to deny marriage rights to same-sex couples as “tyranny.” The word has been thrown around so carelessly by conservatives that it’s come to mean “something I disagree with.”
So the question for Joni Ernst is: At what point do you pull out that “beautiful little Smith & Wesson nine millimeter” and point it at a representative of the federal government? What action by the government would be sufficiently threatening to her rights that it would justify, in her mind, the use of violence? She’s already indicated that she would support legislation to jail bureaucrats who do nothing more than implement federal healthcare policy in her state, so it seems like her personal threshold for “you’re violating my rights” is pretty low.
From The Des Moines Register – The Register’s Editorial: Amending the Constitution isn’t ‘simply a statement’:
[Democrat Bruce] Braley was referring to Senate Joint Resolution 10, which proposed amending the Iowa Constitution with what has come to be called a “personhood” amendment. The resolution stated, “The inalienable right to life of every person at any stage of development shall be recognized and protected.”
[Joni] Ernst was among 21 lawmakers who supported the resolution last year. The proposed amendment stalled.
During the recent debate, she said the proposed amendment “would not do any of the things” Braley said it would do. “That amendment is simply a statement that I support life,” she said. She said the consequences Braley cited could result “only if the legislation would be passed.”
Wasn’t that her intention, though, to try to pass the resolution when she voted for it?
In a nutshell, a so-called “personhood” amendment seeks to provide a fetus with the same “right to life” as the rest of us. One does not have to think very hard to recognize the potential problems with that concept and to foresee the anxiety such an amendment could bring to our state.
From the New Republic – Chris Christie Just Exposed His Entire Party’s Deceitful Voter Suppression Plan:
“Would you rather have Rick Scott in Florida overseeing the voting mechanism, or Charlie Crist?” New Jersey Governor Chris Christie asked this week at a Chamber of Commerce event in Washington. “Would you rather have Scott Walker in Wisconsin overseeing the voting mechanism, or would you rather have Mary Burke? Who would you rather have in Ohio, John Kasich or Ed FitzGerald?”
Christie went on, “The fact is it doesn’t matter if you don’t really care what happens in these states, you’re going to care about who is running the state in November of 2016, what kind of political apparatus they’ve set up and what kind of governmental apparatus they’ve set up to ensure a full and fair election in 2016.”
By no coincidence, Republicans in each of those states have already imposed disenfranchising restrictions, which makes it clear that Christie sees these kinds of laws as an existential necessity, the key to Republican self-perpetuation. In Christie’s mind, American election outcomes are a direct function of partisan control of states. Republicans, who “oversee the voting mechanisms,” need to win so that they can continue to “oversee the voting mechanisms.” If they don’t win now, they’ll lose control of the voting mechanisms ahead of an election in which fundamentals will favor the Democrats, and be doomed.