Monday, March 20, 2006

Springtime in the GOP

Here’s a brief synopsis from none other than Fred Barnes of the Republican platform in the weeks and months leading up to the 2006 Congressional election.

House Republicans, for their part, intend to seek votes on measures such as the Bush-backed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, a bill allowing more public expression of religion, another requiring parental consent for women under 18 to get an abortion, legislation to bar all federal courts except the Supreme Court from ruling on the constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance, a bill to outlaw human cloning, and another that would require doctors to
consider fetal pain before performing an abortion.

As Barnes pointed out in his Weekly Standard column this is an attempt by the GOP to deflect attention away from the Bush administration’s failures in Iraq, the failed domestic agenda, and the supposedly stagnant economy. It’s a classic political bob & weave. Divert attention away from Jr’s all out assault on the Constitution in a well-honed scheme to retain power. It’s a time honored political tradition that Clinton, Reagan, and Nixon pulled off beautifully.

But where this season’s ploy falls or leans toward Bolshevism is the blatant attempt to legislate on a national level that which should be privately sacrosanct. Let’s pick apart the upcoming Republican agenda piece by piece.

The proposed Amendment to officially recognize the concept of marriage being between a man and woman is not necessary and is another blatant power grab by Jr and his minions. The debate over same sex marriage has reached a fever pitch and the Republicans are exploiting the issue du jour. First off, a Constitutional Amendment protecting the institution of heterosexual marriage is superfluous. The sacrament of marriage is and should only be between the couple and their church. Second, many have bemoaned the litigious nature of marriage/divorce law but the consternation is just hand wringing. If the government is stripped of the authority to govern in any way an institution that has existed without government support or recognition for ten thousand years the chance for exploiting the system are eliminated. Third, if homosexual unions are indeed an abomination shouldn’t we let the damned do as they may, after all, they’ll meet their maker eventually and will have to atone for ALL their sins. Fourth and lastly, isn’t such an amendment the ultimate in intrusive paternalism?

Why is a bill allowing more public expression of religion necessary? Ostensibly the Repubs will cite the recent appeals court decisions barring posting of the Ten Commandments, the Cross, and a number of other public displays of faith. But these are red herrings. No law currently exists that prevents the private exercise of religion or the public acknowledgement of the deity of choice. There are limitations placed on expressing religious beliefs in government funded facilities and on the government’s dime. As it should be. Allowing exercise of religion on government property is a tacit endorsement of that particular faith, a big no no in Constitutional law. Limiting the exercise of religion in predominantly governmental facilities is far from an all out public ban on free exercise. Ergo, such a law is once again unnecessary.

As for the proposed abortion law, I cannot, in theory, disagree. Abortion is a surgical procedure and those who have yet to reach the age of adulthood have to obtain parental permission to get a cavity filled let alone an invasive operation. I can already hear the feminists caterwauling about “What if the girl was raped or molested?” Relax, it’s fairly simple to build in safe guards that can accommodate such a tragic set of circumstances. Judicial fast tracking, child protective services intervention, etc. are all possible avenues to avoid injustice.

The proffered limitation on federal appellate jurisdiction is an absolute power Congress has, so, in theory, once again, I cannot disagree. But it seems a bit disingenuous to limit jurisdiction of such a limited area of law and it speaks of political opportunism at its most hypocritical. If the Republicans cared so much about the trappings of America why not limit jurisdiction on a whole host of political speech. Why not, because they know it would be a tough sell.

The cloning ban seems like a sound idea, in theory. To abolish state funded cloning research is reasonable and a Constitutional application of Congress’ tax and spend powers. However, eliminating privately funded cloning research is again paternalistic and invasive. The Pandora’s Box that is cloning runs afoul of evolution and creation but if a private benefactor wants to usher in the dawn of freeze dried babies who am I to say he can’t.

Making doctors contemplate fetal pain is both sophomoric and unenforceable. How long must the doc dwell on the alleged pain of the fetus/zygote? Must such a contemplation be verbal or introspective? How do you enforce this law? If there’s no intent to enforce you’ve enacted hollow legislation, for what purpose. What a waste of legislative resources.

Now, let’s get back to Barnes for a tick. Few republican apologists can equal the tenacity displayed by Barnes as he continually defends the President. Even fewer still are so blinded by ideology that they’d rather man the wheel of a sinking ship even while the rats from steerage are heading for what ever buoyant object they can find. Congressional Republicans are distancing themselves from the current administration in droves. Even the conservative commentariat have seen through the smoke & mirrors. Such luminaries as William F. Buckley, George Will, and Jonah Goldberg are questioning their allegiance to Jr. Even Barnes himself has recognized that the Bush administration has finally ushered in the death of limited government.

The reaction was predictable. Bush’s inner sanctum has warned Republicans against distancing themselves from the President, saying a show of disunity would be a sign of weakness come November. And you know what, they’re right. But the disloyalty has been cultivated by one political screw up after another and the clumsy job of manning the pumps on the sinking ship.

To this I say true conservatives, i.e. those who truly favor smaller government, would be wise to abandon President Bush for he and his lackeys have already abandoned you.