No Child Left Behind

Why The Libertarian-Conservative Alliance Can’t Survive Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum, after his recent wins in Minnesota, Colorado, and Missouri; appears to be the GOP frontrunner. If you look at Santorum’s record and rhetoric, he would appear to be the best fit for the Republican Party. Indeed, it is almost hard now not to imagine a scenario where Santorum is not the nominee.

However, if the GOP decides to nominates him, it will put an end to the fiction that the GOP is a limited government party. It will also put an end to what is left of the conservative-libertarian alliance.

Santorum is the only candidate running for president who is openly hostile to libertarianism. Santorum’s record is abysmal on fiscal issues. He voted for the Medicare prescription drug entitlement, No Child Left Behind, numerous earmarks and pork barrel projects, voted against NAFTA and is generally opposed to free trade. His proposals on foreign aid have won praise from Bono, the rest of the Third World poverty pimps, and their allied Tranzi NGOs. The Sweater Vest also wants to maintain a tax code that is riddled full of deductions and loopholes rewarding selected constituencies, instead of proposing a simpler system that is fairer to all. Rick Santorum, far from being the next Reagan, appears to be a compassionate conservative in the mold of George W. Bush. Finally, Rick Santorum last summer in a speech declared war on libertarians.

In a Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon in Harrisburg last summer, Santorum declared, “I am not a libertarian, and I fight very strongly against libertarian influence within the Republican Party and the conservative movement.”

Time to kill No Child Left Behind

So, it seems that 10 states, including my own Georgia, are being given “flexibility” by the White House regarding No Child Left Behind.  That’s just super.  The run down via Fox News:

The first 10 states to receive the waivers are Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Tennessee. The only state that applied for the flexibility and did not get it, New Mexico, is working with the administration to get approval, according to an official.

Meanwhile, 28 other states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, “have indicated their intent to seek flexibility,” the official said.

No Child Left Behind requires all students to be proficient in reading and math by 2014. Obama’s action strips away that fundamental requirement for those approved for flexibility, provided they offer a viable plan instead.

What Now?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010 will be recorded in the history books as one of the most historic and tumultuous in the annals of American politics. Just two short years after a relative political neophyte named Barack Obama swept across the political landscape, winning the presidency, increasing Democrat majorities in the House and Senate, and driving out record numbers of youth and minorities to the polls with his steady mantra of “Hope and Change”, it seems some of the luster has faded.

Indeed, it is precisely because America saw little hope in their smooth-talking but results-deficient president that they turned on him and his party resoundingly. Even up to Election Day he was rallying the Democrat troops, and Speaker Pelosi was proclaiming that Democrats would retain control of the House, yet the rest of America had seen the writing on the wall for months. As it turned out, the American people had placed their hope in changing the balance of power.

With a smattering of races across the country still too close to call and undergoing recounts, here is what we know. The Republican Party has picked up at least 61 seats in the House, giving them their largest majority there since 1946, and five in the Senate, rendering Democrats impotent in any attempts to ram through any more controversial legislation. Republicans have picked up nearly a dozen governorships, including Michigan and Pennsylvania. The state legislatures in North Carolina and Alabama have turned Republican for the first time since the end of the War Between the States. This was part of the 11-state pick-up for Republicans of state legislatures.

This historic Republican wave ended the tenure of some of the longest serving Democrats, including Ike Skelton (elected in 1976), John Spratt (1983), Paul Kanjorski (1982), Rick Boucher (1982) and Russ Feingold (1992).

The Value of Education

I think my head will explode if I have to listen to any more whining or protests about cuts to education budgets. From California to Washington, D.C., and right here in Georgia, students, teachers and various union members are showing up at capitols and at county board meetings, whipped into a fury over the thought that any cuts might be made to the precious education system. Well, here is a news flash. We’re all hurting here. Everybody has to make sacrifices, and everyone will have to make do with a little less. Unemployment in Georgia is almost 10.5%, and no one in the private sector has the luxury of raising prices to keep from laying off workers. Why should the education system, or any government department for that matter, be immune from tightening their belts like the rest of us.

Like every other government agency and department, education spending has been rising for years. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2006 (latest statistics available) we spent an average of $9138 per student on education nationally, with Georgia spending $8565 per student. And what exactly have we gotten for such an impressive financial outlay “for the children”? Georgia consistently ranks in the bottom 10% in academic achievement of American students, and America ranks in the lower middle of the pack of industrialized countries. The PISA test (Program for International Student Assessment) ranked American students near the bottom in math (23 of 30 countries ranked ahead, two tied) and science (where American students were 11-points below the average). So maybe I would have sympathy for protecting education budgets if we were producing the top students in the world, but we are not. We are getting our tails kicked by countries like South Korea and Poland (which, according to the 2008 OECD study, spend about half of what we do per student).

A Hot Cup of TEA

Recently, the TEA Party movement celebrated its first anniversary. At first the TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party activists were dismissed as a few grumpy right-wingers upset that America elected a black president. They were given little credence beyond being an amusing political side show. That soon changed. On April 15th hundreds of thousands of average Americans showed up at protest rallies across the nation, outraged at the “stimulus” package of goodies doled out to special interests, liberal activism organizations and Democrat pet projects. CNN reported that a few thousand people showed up at the rally in Atlanta, but I was there and can assure you that it was close to ten-fold that amount. It was shoulder-to-shoulder for about four blocks in one direction, not counting the people on the side streets.

Once they could no longer be dismissed as a fringe element, TEA Party activists were labeled as “Astro-turf” (fake grass roots), accused of being flunkies of Big Corporate America, mindlessly doing the bidding of their masters. They were accused of being a fabrication of FOX News and the Republican Party. They were accused of being everything except what they are…average Americans, generally with traditional conservative values, who were fed up over 20 years of Bush-Clinton-Bush politics, two political parties who paid only lip service to the people they claimed to serve while engaging in a bacchanalian orgy of political perks, who had finally been pushed over the edge by a pork-laden spending bill of almost $800 billion. They were saying “Enough is enough!”, and they were going to make their voices be heard.

Tax Hike Mike Huckabee plans 2016 bid

Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee announced on Friday that he has quit his syndicated radio gig in what some are calling a clear sign that he is planning a bid for Republican presidential nomination in 2016, telling followers on his Facebook page to “[s]tay tuned” for announcements on his “new endeavors.”

Huckabee, who served as Governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007, has been talking like a candidate for some time. Supporters have been pushing polling out of early primary states — Iowa and South Carolina, where social conservatives tend to do well — that shows him ahead of other potential Republican candidates.

But even as Huckabee, an unsuccessful candidate for the GOP nomination in 2008, begins making moves toward a 2016 bid, some conservatives are raising awareness to his record, which is checkered with tax hikes, spending increases, and support for nanny state policies. These policies earned Huckabee the nickname, “Tax Hike Mike.”

The Club for Growth, a conservative group that advances pro-growth economic policies, sent out an email blast to reporters on Friday in which they called attention to a 2007 white paper on Huckabee’s fiscal record.

The white paper (below) outlines how Huckabee repeatedly raised sales and excise taxes and increase spending by 65.3%, triple the rate of inflation. The number of state workers increased by 20% on his watch and Arkansas’ debt obligations rose by $1 billion. He also supported and signed a minimum wage increase into law.

Rick Santorum’s Lame Attack on Rand Paul

Rick Santorum

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is a hot commodity right now in the conservative movement. With his focus on free markets, constitutional foreign policy, and the protection of civil liberty, Paul stands out among potential 2016 Republican presidential contenders. He certainly has a long path to take to the nomination, but the seeds for such an effort have clearly been laid over the past several months.

On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal noted how Paul, who led a 13-hour filibuster last month against CIA nominee John Brennan, is trying to turn the noterity and conversation he’s started into a national movement. The significant platform that he’s been building is one that could propel him to forefront of the Republican Party, shatter conventional wisdom about conservatives in the mainstream media, and attract new voters.

But not everyone is a fan of the role Paul has played recently. In the same Wall Street Journal article, Rick Santorum, a former Republican Senator from Pennsylvania and a 2012 presidential candidate, lashed out at Paul and his views:

“Rand Paul’s brand doesn’t line up with all of what our party stands for—on national security, social values, the economy and the role of government in society,” said former U.S. senator and presidential candidate, Rick Santorum. “His message won’t ultimately lead us to be a more successful party.”

Listen to Rick Santorum: “Vote for Ron Paul”

There isn’t much Rick Santorum says that I agree with. As we’ve noted here before, Santorum’s record is terrible from a perspective of limited government. However, he’s still managed to peel away a lot of voters that identify themselves with the Tea Party. But when recently asked for an explanation for his votes in favor of Medicare expansion, No Child Left Behind, and raising the debt ceiling, Santorum replied, “Vote for Ron Paul, that’s what you should do.”

Santorum is obviously being dismissive about the points being made. But those inconvenient facts (his support for more government) are hard to justify for anyone claiming to be a constitutionalist, Tea Party-minded voters, or some that otherwise believes in limited government.

When it call comes down to it, the “big three” candidates don’t really have much to offer as far as shrinking government. Maybe Santorum is, for once, right about something. Maybe voters that haven’t yet case their ballots should consider Ron Paul since he believes in, you know, actually restraining government, not enabling it.

An Open Letter to GOP Primary Voters From a Libertarian

Dear Republican primary voters and caucusgoers:

Yesterday, some of you in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri delivered stunning victories for former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Penn.) in the race for the GOP presidential nomination. You may have thought in caucusing and voting for Santorum that you were dealing a blow to the big government establishment. Unfortunately, you weren’t. Santorum is and has always been a card-carrying member of the Beltway GOP. Santorum’s record in the U.S. Senate reveals consistent opposition to the principles of limited government, fiscal restraint, and individual liberty. That’s why libertarians can’t support him now or in the general election and why you shouldn’t either.

Rick Santorum has consistently voted in favor of big government, budget-busting programs. He has slammed former Governor Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) for signing RomneyCare into law, but RomneyCare and ObamaCare are hardly the first examples of big government intervention in the health care market. Another recent example was the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 establishing the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit. While libertarians and limited government conservatives were busy arguing for the reduction of government health care entitlements, former President George W. Bush was busy expanding them — and Rick Santorum was happy to vote in favor of Medicare Part D along with other big government establishment Republicans in the U.S. Senate.

FreedomWorks to protest Romney’s tea party speech

As Mitt Romney tries to do more to appeal to the tea party movement, a sizeable and influential voting bloc looking to make its mark on the Republican primary, FreedomWorks is putting a target on his back:

A top tea party organizing group, FreedomWorks, is planning to protest Mitt Romney’s appearance this weekend at a New Hampshire stop of a bus tour intended to encourage tea party sympathizers to participate in the Republican presidential nominating process.

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, is among the leading candidates for the GOP presidential nomination but is viewed warily by tea party activists, who believe him to be insufficiently conservative and particularly blame him for the Massachusetts state health care overhaul he signed into law.

And Romney, for his part, hasn’t focused much energy on appealing to the movement. So it attracted considerable attention — both within the tea party and among the GOP operative class — when it was announced Tuesday that he intended to speak at a Sunday evening rally being staged by the Tea Party Express in Concord, N.H., as part of a cross country bus tour set to culminate in Tampa, Fla., ahead of a Sept. 12 GOP presidential debate co-sponsored by the Tea Party Express and CNN.

FreedomWorks, which had been participating in the Tea Party Express’s tour and had helped turn out activists at rallies during prior stops, decided it could no longer be affiliated with the tour, said Brendan Steinhauser, a lead organizer for FreedomWorks.

 
 


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