Open Letter to the South Carolina GOP – Duncan Hunter is the Only Choice
Guest Editorial - Alexander J. Madison
Dear South Carolinians,
Your state has the opportunity to help shape the election at this historic time in our nation’s history. In fact, you have the opportunity to turn it on its head, for the sake of our shared conservative principles. This year, after many years without the option, South Carolina has a chance to select a rock-ribbed conservative Reaganite in the primary. His name is not McCain, Romney, Thompson or Huckabee. It is Duncan Hunter. And he deserves the support of every serious conservative. Allow me to explain why.
Duncan Hunter represents the Reagan wing of the party. While every candidate likes to bandy about the name of Ronald Reagan, there was one man that stood shoulder to shoulder with Reagan during his monumental presidency. Congressman Duncan Hunter was Reagan’s right hand man in the House. Hunter helped push through the record setting tax cuts, rebuild our demoralized military, fight the communists with unparalleled fervor and confidence, and attack the federal leviathan. None other than a hawkish Jack Kemp credits Hunter with being the guy who strong-armed SDI (also known as Star Wars and missile defense) through congress. Reagan also chose Hunter to lead the delegation to Europe to bring them on board with SDI. And no one was more instrumental than Duncan Hunter in helping Reagan beat back the communist infiltration into Central America.
In addition, one of Reagan’s campaign promises was to attempt to restore the constitutional right to prayer in schools, which the courts had stripped away. Though he failed in his attempts, Hunter led the campaign on this as well, and continues to support overturning this blatant unconstitutionalism. Hunter also formed the Conservative Opportunity Society with Vin Webber and Newt Gingrich in the 1980s to recruit fellow staunch conservatives to run for office to displace RINOs and democrats, leading up to the 1994 GOP sweep.
There is a reason why Peace through Strength is Hunter’s campaign motto. He believes it from his head to his toes. The loudest and sanest voice against the false notion of a ‘peace dividend’ after the collapse of the USSR was Duncan Hunter. The California congressman routinely used his position on the Armed Services Committee to stuff billions more in defense spending into the Bush I and Clinton budgets. It is no exaggeration to say that Hunter was the man most responsible for saving missile defense funding from evisceration during the Clinton years. His foresight has paid off, as the United States now has a series of deployed ground and Sea based missile defense systems; and will soon have the laser based missile destroyers that Reagan and Edward Teller had envisioned.
Duncan Hunter has also been the stalwart in the House when it comes to defending our Judeo-Christian values. He has sponsored legislation numerous times to provide the unborn with constitutional protection, most recently the Right to Life Act of 2007. His 100% lifetime rating from the National Right to Life group attests to his commitment. He has never wavered for a minute in his steadfast opposition to abortion, embryonic stem cell research, cloning, gay ‘marriage’, or the secularists’ agenda. He was and remains the strongest voice arguing against gays in the military, calling it a “liberal social experiment”. He has taken on the ACLU on numerous occasions, and played a pivotal role in saving the Mt. Soledad War Memorial Cross from their attempt to have it torn down.
Hunter is running on his record and leadership. And that record includes exceptional marks from the organizations that make up the Reagan Coalition. The American Conservative Union gives Hunter a 92 lifetime score, which is higher than any other candidate in the race. The Christian Coalition and the Concerned Women of America gave Hunter perfect marks, as have the NRA and Gun Owners of America. Hunter earns an “excellent” rating from every single group that monitors illegal immigration, including FAIR and NumbersUSA. And perhaps most importantly, Hunter scores a 100% from the American Security Council (ASC), the security think tank that Reagan leaned on during his terms in office. Hunter was also selected to be the ASC’s president in 1989 and he chaired the House Armed Services Committee prior to the democrats regaining control in 2006.
So what do the other candidates’ records tell us?
John McCain has rightfully been shunned by conservatives for a multitude of reasons.
1. Shortsighted attempts to drastically slash the Defense Budget. In 1990, President GW Bush and SecDef Dick Cheney proposed modest defense cuts. McCain led the charge to more than double those cuts. According to the April 6, 1990 Washington Post: Sens. William S. Cohen (R-Maine) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) outlined their wide-ranging plan that includes a reduction of U.S. forces in Europe, curtailment of the B-2 "stealth" bomber program and a freeze in spending for the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI).
2. McCain later teamed in 1995 with Russ Feingold, John Kerry and Fred Thompson to kill the B2 bomber program. He also was instrumental in supporting Clinton’s reductions in Army Divisions and became known as a “cheap hawk”. A far cry form Peace through Strength.
3. Taxes. During the debates over the 2001 Bush tax cuts, McCain played the ‘class warfare’ card in his arguments in opposition to them, saying, "I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us at the expense of middle-class Americans who need tax relief." Now, of course, he claims to have resisted the Bush tax cuts because there were no corresponding spending cuts. He is lying.
4. Exaggeration and backstabbing. McCain is currently exaggerating about his role in the recent success in Iraq. He brags constantly on the campaign trail that he stood up to Rumsfeld and forced Bush into the ‘surge’ strategy. In fact, General Petraeus and Rumsfeld and Bush were working on new strategies for quelling the insurgency for many months prior to Rumsfeld’s retirement. Bush has always been flexible about changes in tactics, and it was Rumsfeld who tasked Petraeus to draw up a new strategy. Petraeus did so, and requested approximately 21,000 additional troops to theatre. McCain, as he made clear in 2005 to USA Today, was seeking troop increases for Iraq of 80,000 Army and 20,000 – 30,000 Marines. That wasn’t a ‘surge’, it was a near doubling of troop size, without a plan how to utilize them, and rejected by the Generals. To top it off, at Rummy’s retirement, McCain said Rumsfeld, despite disagreements, “deserved the country’s gratitude”….then turned around on the campaign trail and called him the “worst Secretary of Defense” in our country’s history. What a charlatan.
5. McCain-Kennedy. While this convoluted amnesty plan never made it into law, thanks to the American people melting down the Senate phone lines this past spring, to this day John McCain stands by the notion that we are not going to deport the illegal aliens here, but offer them a pathway to citizenship for a nominal fine. And though he now claims to want to seal the border, he was the fiercest opponent of Hunter’s “Enforcement only” immigration plans in 2005 and 2006.
6. McCain Feingold. This was the most egregious swipe at the first amendment in a very long time. Mercifully, the courts have begun to deconstruct this unconstitutional law.
7. World Opinion. McCain is worried about world opinion, and therefore wants to close a Guantanamo facility that has been exceedingly useful for our military, and wants to ban waterboarding. Fortunately, Duncan Hunter led the opposition to these hairbrained ideas, and just as fortunately, President Bush is listening to Hunter.
Mike Huckabee has a different set of issues that distinguish his lack of Reagan conservatism.
1. Fighting Conservatives. Mr Huckabee has a long history in Arkansas of tangling with the conservative wing of the party. To this day, very few of the conservative Arkansas legislators he worked with support his candidacy. He receives next to no support from the Arkansas Republican Assembly, the benchmark conservative organization in the state.
2. The Nanny State. If you want to ban public smoking nationwide, beef up education funding to put more arts and music into the nations public schools, regulate your ‘carbon footprint’, ban fatty foods from the school cafeterias, and duplicate the onerous children’s health insurance plans of Arkansas (called ARKids), then Huckabee is the man to vote for. However, if you see things like mandatory body fat tests for schoolkids and a 92% increase in Health and Human Services (meaning welfare) spending –things he ‘accomplished’ as governor – as the sign of a liberal busybody, perhaps you should reconsider.
3. Illegal Immigration. No one in the race, not even John McCain, has had as abysmal a record when it comes to coddling illegal aliens. Not only did the Huck promote an “open borders” policy, he labeled the conservatives who opposed him as “racists and demagogues”. In 2005, in a speech to the pro-illegal immigrant group LULAC, Huckabee labeled the enforcement only immigration bill proposed by the GOP Conservatives as "un-Christian, un-American, irresponsible and anti-life". Huh??? Huckabee also told the crowd that he "recognizes and cherishes diversity in culture, in language and in population." A politician who uses 'lib-speak' so effortlessly is no conservative.
4. Taxes. As Chris Wallace pointed out in last nights debate, taxes in Arkansas increased significantly during his tenure as governor. Huckabee's response was to list all the good things he spent it on, such as roads, schools, etc. EVERY governor spends money on roads and schools, but conservatives do not raise taxes to do it. Instead they use supply side economics to grow their treasuries, a concept that seems to have eluded Mr. Huckabee.
5. Class warfare. Throughout his career Huck has used two justifications for tax hikes and liberal spending habits: Christian values and class envy. There is nothing Christian about robbing Peter to pay Paul, whether it is proposed by a democrat or a republican. And to show that nothing has changed for the Huck, his newest ads end with this gagger: “I believe that most Americans want their President to remind them of he guy they work with, not the guy who laid them off".
6. Health Care. Just like Mitt Romney, Huckabee has a legacy of lurching his state towards socialized Medicine….and he’s proud of it. The program is called ARKids, designed to give ‘free’ medical insurance to kids under 19 from low and middle class families. As expected, folks who previously had insurance swarmed to the program, whose costs were shared between the fed’s SCHIP program and Arkansas taxpayers. I guess that explains why Huckabee was the only candidate in a recent Republican debate to not support President Bush’s veto of the democrats’ expanded funding for SCHIP.
7. Pardons. Wayne Durmond may be the most infamous case of a Huckabee pardon gone awry, but considering he had more than 1000 pardons and commutations for criminals during his tenure, the law of averages was bound to catch up to him. Apparently, it did not take much more than a criminal finding Jesus in prison for this bleeding heart governor to take pity. His number of pardons exceeded the pardons of all Arkansas’ neighboring states…combined.
While Fred Thompson has been doing his best to brandish credentials as a Reagan Revolutionary, especially in the last debate (kudos to Fred for taking on Mr. Huckabee), the real story is a bit less impressive.
1. 1980 primary Reagan versus Baker. After Reagan’s significant run for the nomination in 1976, there was no doubt in 1980 which candidate was going to take the country in a new, conservative direction. And the RINOs hated him for it. One very liberal Howard Baker was one of the establishment heavyweights running against the Gipper. Baker’s liberalism was well known, including his support for the execrable Equal Rights Amendment, gun control, abortion on demand, and the détente policy with the USSR, not to mention his prominent role in helping Carter give away the Panama Canal. And guess who Fred supported. Hint: It was not Reagan.
2. McCain. To make sure he picked a questionable candidate in more than one decade, Fred decided to co-chair McCain’s 2000 run for the presidency. Of course, they were strong allies on CFR and the efforts to kill the B2 bomber. Siding with McCain, Feingold and John Kerry to kill the B2 program instead of siding with Hunter, Dick Cheney, and Cap Weinberger, might have its uses in some circles, but it was not the circles generally occupied by Reaganites. And of course, McCain was and remains the favorite republican of folks like Chris Matthews, Russ Feingold and John Kerry.
3. Centrist. Not sure that Reagan ever called himself a centrist. I do know that Reagan was a strong ally of staunch conservatives ranging from Duncan Hunter to Jerry Falwell to Jesse Helms to Phyllis Schlafly. But Fred spent his entire career in the Senate’s Centrist Coalition, a coalition that included such folks as John Edwards, Olympia Snowe, Jim Jeffords and Diane Feinstein.
4. Global Warming. Fred cosponsored the most egregious global warming legislation to date, in 2002. It is called Title X – National Climate Change Policy. It is a $5 billion dollar plus behemoth of Gore-ish liberalism. Item 10 in the ‘findings’ section of the legislation includes this: Future international efforts in this regard should focus on recognizing the equitable responsibilities for addressing climate change by all nations, including commitments by the largest developing country emitters in a future, binding climate change treaty. Egads, where is the Bullshit Repellent when you need it!?
5. Dissembling. While Mitt Romney has given his explanation for how & when he switched from pro-choice to pro-life, you will not find a similar explanation from Mr. Thompson. In fact, he falsely says he was always pro-life. That is patently untrue, as all of his public statements and survey answers showed he was indeed pro-choice at least through the late1990s. Granted, he always supported certain restrictions, at least after the first trimester. But his direct quotes such as “The ultimate decision must be made by the woman. Government should treat its citizens as adults capable of making moral decisions on their own” are proof positive he was pro-choice. And his answers about his role in McCain Feingold have been equally evasive and disingenuous at best. CFR is every bit as much his baby as it is McCain’s or Feingold’s, with the worst part – the prohibition of independent issue ads before an election – receiving his full sponsorship and support. It appears that his ‘straight talk’ is similar to that of McCain’s.
6. Liberal Institutions. That Fred carved out pork spending is no surprise. Every single senator and congressman does so, whether through amendments to a bill or earmarks. But what that money is spent on is indicative of their values. Hunter has been blasted for defense related pork. Thompson, on the other hand, should have to answer why he sponsored and spent millions of dollars on a continuing basis for ‘educational’ Institutes for liberal ex-senators and hacks. Examples include an Institute for his mentor Howard Baker at the University of Tennessee, gay rights proponent Robert Stafford’s Public Policy Institute, and racist former NAACP chairman Benjamin Hooks’ Institute for Social Change at the University of Memphis, to name a few.
There may be a ‘federalist’ and a ‘maverick’ and a ‘constitutionalist’ in the race, but none surpass the record of Hunter on states rights, property rights, or the 2nd Amendment; and none even come remotely close to matching Hunter in his attempts to re-establish our sovereign borders and currency of our immigration laws.
There may be a preacher, a bishop, a federalist, a maverick, a constitutionalist, and a celebrity mayor in the race; but there is only one Reagan conservative.
It is time to ditch the ‘Kennedy Wing’ of the Republican Party and re-awaken the Reagan Wing. That, my friends, is a legacy we can proudly leave to our children.
Update, Jan. 18, 2007. Huck was favored by S. C......What are you people thinking?