Monday, August 04, 2008

Competing Visions

I was fascinated by the difference between a couple of Conservative visions for America’s future that I came across. The two visions are Grover Norquist’s and Judge Andrew Napolitano’s. Norquist lays out a very positive and hopeful vision of an America who is coming around to the conservative way of thinking in his book Leave Us Aloneand Napolitano spreads doom and gloom in The Constitution in Exile (his other book Constituional Chaos is similar).

There are some differences in approach that might explain the difference in vision for America’s future. Norquist takes a shorter historical glance backward. He mainly talks of how far America has come since FDR and LBJ. Napolitano looks all the way back to the Founding Fathers and shows how the Constitution is now universally ignored. Napolitano does also focus more on the Supreme Court. He spends equal time on all three branches in his book, but Norquist says very little about the Supreme Court in his book. Norquist instead focuses on the elected positions. The liberal nature of the Supreme Court and its left leaning decisions could cause one to have a more negative outlook on the future of the country.

The two books are a fascinating glimpse in the Conservative mindset, and current status. Norquist is focused on the endless possibilities if the Republican Party would just preach the message of the ‘Leave Us Alone Coalition’. He has endless numbers and arguments to back up his assertions that the American publc at large would rather be left alone. He does this for guns, family, taxes, education, religion, and a few other things. Norquist is full invested in the two party system and practicalities of winning elections. For him the Leave Us Alone Coalition is the Republican Party and the Takings Coalition is the Democratic Party. He lays out his blueprint for electoral success, which does call for some changes in how the Republican Party runs things, and makes his arguments in favor of it. Napolitano has some figures and numbers, but is not really interested in winning elections, but seem rather to be raising the alarm bell. Rather than quoting numbers all the time, he cites specific examples, usually of court cases. He gives concrete examples of times the Patriot Act has been used to prosecute child pornography and copy write infringement rather than terrorists. Napolitano is short on help and long on misery. He does provide a short chapter at the end suggesting some changes that might stop the ignoring of the Constitution. Sadly, his suggestions were all amendments to the Constitution to clarify it. Of course if the meaning is ignored now, will clarifying it really solve the problem, or will it just continue to be ignored?

In the end, I believe Napolitano has it right. The Republican Party is worthless as it is currently structured. Norquist is so caught up in the Republican Party that he cannot see what is really going on. He criticizes McCain in the early parts of the book, but the book as a whole ends up clearly calling people to stick with the Republicans, even McCain who signed some pledge about taxes. Despite the evidence to the contrary Norquist blindly trusts that the Republican Party will return to their roots of the ‘Leave us Alone Coalition’. What Norquist fails to see is that the Republican Party’s roots are not in the Leave Us Alone Coalition and never have been. With the possible exception of Reagan, there has not been a Leave Us Alone Republican elected to the White House. The Party itself was founded on violating the Constitution and its meaning. This is where the short sighted view of history comes back to hurt him. While I agree with Norquist that if people vote the way they believe about being left alone it would carry the day, I disagree with him that the Republican Party is the tool to do that anymore. He also does not understand the politics of some states. He boasts in the book that the Republicans could have 60 Senators if solidly ‘red’ states like North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana to name a few vote Republican for senators like they do for President. He misses the point that people in the Dakotas are not fully ‘red’ or ‘Leave us Aloners.’ He misses the point that some states prefer Republican Commander-in-Chiefs, but could care less about Republican Senators. He fails to see trends in places like Minnesota. These places like the odd ball outsiders like Jesse Ventura. Or Wisconsin that has a long history of sending people from one extreme or another to the Senate rather than being consistent on which extreme it is. Wisconsin has liberal Senator Russ Fiengold, one of the most liberal. But it was barely 50 years ago that they sent Joe McCarthy to the Senate several times. He, by the way, dethroned the Progressive Party’s leading family the LaFollete’s from the Senate. These fundamental misunderstandings make me have to side with Napolitano.

Also everyone needs to take a look at Napolitano’s book just to see the astunding lies we are told everyday about our government. The chapters on the Patriot Act alone are worth the book. The brief discussion about Natural Law versus Positive Law is good, and having someone lay side by side the founding vision of this country and the current state of things is a shocking eye opener.

The Republican Party had a clear choice in this election. Continue on the path of liberalism with McCain. Focus on financial stability and spending cuts with Romney or follow the Constitution with Paul. They chose liberalism. The direction of the Party is set in stone.

2 Comments:

Andrew said...

Lee,

I agree. I am increasingly of the opinion that our Constitution is little more than a document of historical interest and the vision of our founding fathers is completely dead. We still exist and continue, but only as a ghost, shadow, or echo of the founded State.

Peace to you,

Andy

Andrew said...

Let me add one more thing, if I might, in case anyone wonders at my pessimism. If the dream is not dead, how is it that a state founded on the principles of small, limited, and controlled government has become the largest government this world has ever seen? Also, how is it that this all happened without any recent constitutional amendments?

Peace to you,

Andy