For all the gnashing of teeth in the media over Tea Party upset candidates like Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell and New York’s Carl Paladino, you never hear much about the establishment Republicans they beat: Mike Castle and Rick Lazio. Both were viewed by the Tea Party movement as unacceptable candidates because of their support for the 2008 bank bailouts by the federal government. And when Bob Bennett, the incumbent Senator from Utah, was defeated in his party’s primary, representatives of the Tea Party then, too, asserted it was for his support for the bailouts.
Say what you will of the Tea Party — it knows how to clean house. Voters said that they would rather take a boor like Carl Paladino over a bankster toad like Rick Lazio.
The push against bank bailouts stands in stark contrast to that other popular movement, the anti-war movement against the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. The left-dominated anti-war movement dissipated into the sad slogan, “Anybody But Bush.” While the Tea Party movement stuck to its guns and ignored cries that it was nominating the unelectable, anti-war organizers took the pill: they must settle for candidates who “can win.”
Two years into the Democrat-controlled presidency, our foreign policy has not changed. President Barack Obama has reneged on promises of a military drawdown and increased transparency, restoration of civil liberties and an end to the abuse of executive power — the very things he was elected for. Why would that be?
One politician, in an unusual fit of honesty, explained it many years ago. Shortly after the tragedy at Columbine High School in 1999, Colorado’s Republican governor Bill Owens, who has earned the endorsement of the National Rifle Association, signed a major piece of gun control legislation. Asked by a reporter if he was afraid he may have alienated his voter base, Owens quipped: “What are they going to do, vote for the Democrat?”
This is the attitude politicians take toward people whose votes they know they have. And there are a lot of voters who will always vote for their party’s candidate, no matter the issues or the candidate. Politicians call this “the baseline vote.”
So now election day is around the corner. Will you be your party’s “baseline vote”?
Whether your representative is John Dingell or Mark Schauer, both Democrats voted for the bloated military budget and for the $106 billion war supplemental. Both also voted against auditing the Federal Reserve and instead to give it even more control over our economy.
Can any of their votes be considered a reversal of Bush-era policies? Before you say the health care bill, remember that Bush signed the Medicare prescription drug bill. He, too, increased government’s role in medical care.
Ultimately, politicians will never heed the demands of the people unless they are held accountable on election day. Our representatives in Congress are, if you consider their votes, pro-war. If you don’t support our foreign policy — and I should hope you don’t — you must hold them accountable. Accountability is the last thing the political establishment wants, which is why they avoid the subject.
Antiwar.com’s Justin Raimondo identified three major reasons politicians aren’t discussing foreign policy this year. First, typical politicians’ cowardice assures them it’s easier to say nothing. Second, pro-war Democrats don’t want to alienate their anti-war base and pro-war Republicans have no dispute. And third, examination of our foreign policy would reveal painful facts about our domestic policy that would re-shape the political dialogue.
That’s why it’s time to bring this into the political dialogue. It’s time to face reality and do something about it. In fact, just before the election is precisely the right time. Election results teach the politicians to listen — or not. It’s up to us.
For this reason, Raimondo will be speaking at the Michigan League at 7 p.m. tonight to discuss the necessity of a bi-partisan anti-war coalition, determined to hold all politicians accountable for pro-war votes, regardless of party. The event is sponsored by Campaign For Liberty and College Libertarians. Information is at mic4l.com/antiwar/.
Adam de Angeli is a University alum.