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Friday, October 24, 2014

Democrats Are Losing the Voter ID Argument

Photo Credit: U.S. Supreme Court

Over the past few weeks President Obama has made a few statements that I am sure made members of his own party, especially those running for the Senate, wish he would shut up and let Joe Biden do all of the talking. One of the more notable comments about voter ID laws came during a radio interview with the not-so-very Reverend Al Sharpton:

"Most of these laws are not preventing the overwhelming majority of folks who don't vote from voting," Obama told Sharpton. "Most people do have an ID. Most people do have a driver's license. Most people can get to the polls. It may not be as convenient' it may be a little more difficult."

And with that the anti-ID crowd got a close up view of the undercarriage of the Obama bus.

Perhaps the President could pass this bit of wisdom on to Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg who, in a dissent on the Texas voter ID ruling said that “The greatest threat to public confidence in elections in this case is the prospect of enforcing a purposefully discriminatory law, one that likely imposes an unconstitutional poll tax and risks denying the right to vote to hundreds of thousands of eligible voters”.

As is usually the case prior to an election, Democrats try to stir up racial animosity by citing voter ID laws as a racist attempt by the GOP to keep minorities away from the polls. Apparently Democrats want people to believe that minorities are either too lazy or too stupid, or perhaps both, to obtain a picture ID card. Personally I have confidence in my minority neighbors’ ability to find their way into town and get an ID card; you know, the same ID card they will need to successfully complete many business transactions such as buying cigarettes or alcohol, applying for Social Security, food stamps, and jobs, open a bank account, attend an NAACP rally, or the DNC Convention.

If however, the Democrats are going to continue with their blatantly racist argument, a few questions come to mind. First, who are these people who are so lazy and/or stupid that they cannot obtain such an important part of normal life? If these people exist and they know who they are, would it not be an act of kindness and civic charity to help these people get one? If as Justice Ginsburg says, there are “hundreds of thousands”, it should be a simple matter to find them, right?

Democrats proclaim themselves to be the party of the little guy and protector of the downtrodden, so either these people do not exist or the Democrats want to keep them in their present ID-less condition to justify their political position. If that is not the case, they should immediately take one of the busses they use to haul voters to the polls and load the chronically ID-less up and drive them down to the DMV to alleviate their suffering. If the cost of the ID cards is an issue, perhaps we could redirect some of the funds President Obama is planning to use to provide ID cards to the next wave of illegal immigrants. An even better idea would be for those who are concerned about this issue to donate their own money for such a worthy cause. Unless and until they demonstrate a willingness to do so, the Democrats have no credibility with this issue (but when has that ever bothered them?).

I did some checking and found that I have a right to keep and bear arms that is protected by the Constitution, yet I have to provide an ID to purchase a firearm, and submit to a background check. Additionally, if I want to carry that firearm concealed, the law requires me to provide an ID and submit to a background check to obtain a concealed carry permit that I must produce on demand if I exercise that right (and yes, I have a real problem with that requirement, but I’ll go there some other time). If the Democrats really want to make the case that producing an ID is an unreasonable burden for voting rights, they need to be willing to accept that same argument on the subject of gun rights. Are they ready to go there?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Gillespie-Warner: The Clash of the Establishments

November 4th is almost upon us, and unlike some election cycles many of the races this year are not yet won; the race here in Virginia between incumbent Democrat Mark Warner and challenger Ed Gillespie is one of them. For the benefit of those not in Virginia, Warner has been ads that amount to pointing out that Ed Gillespie was one of Washington’s highest paid lobbyists, and accusing him of wanting people to put their Social Security benefits at risk. Gillespie has refrained from responding to those ads, choosing instead to point out that Warner has voted with President Obama 97 percent of the time, and that he supports Obamacare. More recently Gillespie ads have attacked Warner for talking to a Virginia lawmaker about a job for his daughter, a scandal that may be a game changer.
Senator Warner is a former Governor who was very popular in Virginia and has maintained a sizable portion of that popularity since moving to the Senate, largely due to his ability to portray himself as bi-partisan and independent of the party leadership. Unfortunately Warner quickly learned that in Washington you have to go along to get along, and raced up a voting record that does not support that image. Warner toed the party line with the best of them voting with the President 97% of the time, voting for the failed stimulus bill and Obamacare despite his promise that he “would not vote for a health-care plan that doesn’t let you keep health insurance you like." His position on immigration is at odds with the majority of people in the country, supporting amnesty for illegals and despite having an “A” rating with the NRA, Warner changed his position on guns in the wake of the Newtown school shooting.
So here we have an incumbent Democrat who has to run from his voting record rather than on it still leading against a very experienced Republican challenger who has every reason to be in the lead but can’t quite seem to get there. Many pundits have examined this race and offered their take on it, but I have yet to hear anyone offer a convincing argument for why Ed Gillespie has not been able to move ahead. Admittedly Warner is a formidable opponent but the country as a whole, including Virginia, has soured on the political agenda he has championed, which should make him vulnerable to someone with the political experience of Ed Gillespie.

Gillespie has taken Warner to task on some important issues such as healthcare, jobs, etc., all of which should be safe topics. Unfortunately Gillespie cannot tackle the issue of immigration, probably the one issue that could quickly propel him into the lead, because on that issue he and Mark Warner are on the same page. The American people have shown time and again that they oppose any discussion of amnesty until the border is secure, yet neither of these candidates’ positions reflect that reality.

The problem for both candidates lies with where they place their loyalties. Warner’s popularity existed because despite his affiliation with the Democrat Party he did not come across as a far left moonbat like so many of his Democrat counter-parts. Once he arrived in Washington however, in an effort to win favor with the moonbats in the Democrat leadership he chose to vote according to their wishes rather than the wishes of the people who sent him there. The recent revelation about his involvement in the Puckett resignation scandal makes it clear that he is in fact just another hyper-partisan political hack.

Gillespie is a skilled politician who should have been able to pounce on Warner’s record, but he too is beholden to the leadership of the Republican Party who are almost as batty as some of the Democrats. In short, both candidates are being hurt because of their ties with the establishment politicians in their respective parties. Like other Democrats, Warner has to avoid being linked to Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi. Gillespie has to run against Warner with his hands tied in order to maintain the favor of the GOP leadership and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Perhaps Gillespie would do well to take a close look at how well that worked out for Eric Cantor.

Would it be too much to ask to have at least one candidate willing to represent us?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Let’s end the marriage of convenience between Church and State

Lost among all of the Ebola related headlines are many other issues which should be addressed. One in particular is the current controversy in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho over two Christian pastors who have been threatened with fines and jail time for refusing to perform same-sex marriages. Of course, this attack on religious liberty is something many of us have seen coming for quite some time and I assure you more will soon follow. The fault here lies not with proponents of same-sex marriage, but with churches who have allowed themselves to become government agencies with respect to marriage.

Christians define marriage as a union between one man and one woman in obedience to God, while government sees marriage as a union between two consenting adults to create a legal status. For generations churches have been conducting wedding ceremonies to create their definition of a marriage, and at the same time have acted as an agency of the government in creating the legal union. Until now that has not posed a problem because the definition of marriage had not been called into question, and it was a convenient way to kill two birds with one stone. The fact is however, this tradition blurred the line of separation between church and state that should never have been allowed to exist.

By allowing pastors to become “marriage officials”, churches have unwittingly turned control of their definition of marriage over to the government. Regardless of the religious beliefs of a particular church, by acting as a party to the legal definition of marriage they put themselves in a position to be sanctioned for discriminatory practices. Churches are allowed to hold positions against same-sex marriage, but in most states now governments are not. The only way to resolve this issue is to make a clean break between the religion based institution of marriage created by a church and the legal status of marriage established by the government.

If Larry and Mary want to be married and have their marriage blessed by their church in front of their family and friends, they should be able to do so as long as their church is willing to perform the ceremony. If the couple wishes to have their union blessed by the government in the form of a legal status, they need only stop by the local courthouse and file the necessary paperwork to demonstrate they can be legally married according to the laws of their state, and have a local government official such as the Justice of the Peace make it official. If Ron and John want to do the same thing, they should be able to go through the same process, and as long as they find a church that is willing to perform the ceremony and a state where the law allows them to do so, they can be married.

This process would work fine if pastors of Christian churches were not acting as a legal representative of the government, in effect creating a ‘marriage of convenience’ between church and state. As far as I can tell, the only purpose in this arrangement is to simplify the marriage process so that a couple only has to be married once in order to obtain the benefits of each definition of marriage. I am all about convenience and simplifying a process when possible, but this particular simplification seems to have complicated things a little more than people expected.

This marriage of convenience between church and state was good while it lasted, but the two parties have grown apart. Undoubtedly it is time for them to divorce because of irreconcilable differences.