Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Poor Choice in TX 18 CD

John Faulk is a republican seeking to unseat incumbent democrat Sheila Jackson Lee in the 18th congressional district in Texas. Ms. Lee is a sponsor of H.R. 676. Below is my response to his comments regarding my post of August 18, 2008.

Mr. Faulk’s latest comments sound more promising, as they indicate that he understands the stakes involved in H.R. 676 as well as in the upcoming election. He seems to understand that the GOP leadership is essentially intellectually bankrupt, and in need of new blood. I also respect the fact that he is willing to run against an entrenched socialist congresswoman.

But his comments mask an agenda that is every bit as dangerous as that of his opponent, Sheila Jackson Lee. In examining his platform, I find an unprincipled hodgepodge of pragmatic, contradictory, middle-of-the-road positions, which is far worse than ineffectual, considering the stakes involved in this year’s election. Up against an openly collectivist/socialist opponent, no principled defense of free-market capitalism or individual rights is to be found. For example:

*On education, he is fully committed to the public schools, simply wanting to reduce federal intrusion into local schools. What’s needed is to break the government’s public school monopoly with such ideas as tax credits (but not vouchers) which enable parents to use their education tax dollars to educate their own children with their own money before it goes to the public school system. It’s probably too much to ask any modern politician to endorse what is really needed…the complete privatization of American education. But tax credits are a good start in the direction of an education free market, because they break the government’s guaranteed tax take for its schools, while enabling parents to exercise their rights to control their own children’s education.

*On energy, taxes, and Social Security, he is weak and vague. Under Social Security, Mr. Faulk states that “We have to learn to not depend on the Government for our welfare, happiness, or our retirement.” Then where is the call for, at the very least, personal self-directed accounts within S.S., let alone making it voluntary or phasing it out? Where is the call for an end to the graduated income tax? Of Medicare? He opposes eminent domaine “abuse,” but not eminent domaine…an untenable position. And strangely, despite it being perhaps the most pressing domestic issue in the coming election, there is no position presented in his platform concerning least that I could find.

Mr. Faulk would fight “a National Health Care Plan and all of the other socialist plans to destroy the United States of America.” What about the existing socialist plans that are slowly destroying the United States of America? Mr. Faulk’s platform is a hodgepodge of weak, inconsistent and ineffectual generalities that is worse than no opposition at all.

But the real danger lies in the following:

*On judicial appointments, Mr. Faulk clearly doesn’t respect the American doctrine of church-state separation, our crucial protection of religious liberty (which includes the right to hold no religious beliefs at all). He states that he supports “people with good judgment, proven values, a belief in God.” Who’s proven values? Those who have “a belief in God?” Mr. Faulk states that “it is important that those sitting on the bench understand that they have a responsibility to strictly interpret our nation’s laws and not legislate from the bench with their own political or social agenda (emphasis added).” A “strict interpretation” of the U.S. Constitution clearly forbids a religious test “as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States” (Article VI, Section 3). A belief In God is clearly a religious test. He also indicates that he supports a legal ban on abortion. As a father of two and grandfather of six, I can certainly identify with the statement that “the unborn are precious.” But they do not and cannot have rights, for that would negate the rights of the mother to decide if her fetus “should be protected.” America was founded on the revolutionary principle of unalienable individual rights. If a woman’s right to abortion…i.e., to control her own body…is violated, then rights are not unalienable, and America’s ideals go up in smoke. Much as I abhor abortion in most circumstances, the bid to outlaw abortion is an attempt to impose a religious position on the entire country.

*Mr. Faulk is for the marriage amendment. I am not exactly for gay marriage. But neither would I forbid gays their individual rights. A marriage is a legal contract that no one should be forbidden to enter into, based on the principle of inalienable individual rights, possessed by all people at all times. No religious organization should ever be compelled to sanction practices (such as gay marriage) that violate its doctrines. But neither does it have the right to impose its doctrines on the nation. The marriage amendment in fact inverts the purpose of our constitution as well as the proper function of government, which is to protect the rights of the individual…all individuals. It would use the constitution to impose the social agenda of some on others, something Mr. Faulk claims to oppose when it comes to judges (see above). It would set a dangerous precedent of turning the constitution into an instrument for violating, rather than protecting, individual rights.

*The same goes for the Right to Life Amendment, which would obliterate America’s primary founding principle of unalienable individual rights, as I stated in regards to abortion. The Right to Life Amendment, the Marriage Amendment, the religious test for judges…all represent the imposition by law of a religious agenda…a profoundly un-American platform.

I get the feeling that you would like to debate the Health Care Plan in the committee rooms of the House. I want to defeat Sheila Jackson Lee and National Health Care in the BALLOT booth.

Debating "in the committee rooms of the House" would be an exercise in futility. The politicians in that committee room were put there by their constituents, and are beyond debate on the fundamental issues. My purpose is to fight on the battleground of ideas in order to change the minds of the people who put those politicians into that committee room.

I think the demographics of TX 18 CD have changed enough for me to win. Will you help me defeat Sheila Jackson Lee? Why not?

I don’t expect any modern politician to present a platform that I could fully agree with. But I look for certain principles embodied in a candidate’s overall views…those being individual rights, limited government that defends those rights, and free market capitalism. Advocating a consistent platform based on those principles would require a willingness to risk losing elections in the short term. It means challenging the sacred cows of the status quo but, more importantly, presenting dynamic, positive new ideas as an alternative. It takes time to educate people and build support, but that kind of long-term investment in ideas is what is required to reverse the current statist, anti-capitalist tide in America. Mr. Faulk is not that politician.

Tyranny by any other name is still tyranny. Mr. Faulk is no advocate of individual rights. In fact, he is a poster child for the modern GOP…a “moderate” owned by the religious right. Defeating Ms. Lee would simply replace a socialist with a theocrat. I support individual liberty. Therefor, I cannot support Mr. Faulk or any like-minded Republican.


John said...

What can I say in response?
Perhaps your way of thinking is why ~84% of the Americans do not have confidence in Congress. But you will not help anyone defeat the incumbents.
I will just have to go find 2 votes one to cancel your vote for Sheila Jackson Lee and one to move me ahead.
The "Poor Choice Candidate"
John Faulk

Mike Zemack said...


What can I say in response?

What you can say, and what I was hoping for, are responses to my concerns on the issues I raised.

Perhaps your way of thinking is why ~84% of the Americans do not have confidence in Congress.
Exactly what is it that you assume is my way of thinking? With no disrespect intended, perhaps the reason why “84% of the Americans do not have confidence in Congress” has more to do with your way of thinking. Evading issues raised by members of your own party’s grass roots is no way to build a campaign.

But you will not help anyone defeat the incumbents.

Defeating incumbents is not my goal, nor should it be yours and the GOP’s. I want to elect principled politicians who stand for America’s founding ideals, with a platform to back it up. That is why I am a 59 year old life-long republican. Unfortunately, the mindset embodied in the above quote is all too typical of today’s GOP.

Do not expect to defeat incumbents without a positive and inspiring agenda based on the principles the Republican Party should stand for…free-market capitalism, individual rights, and secular government that protects those rights. Instead of trying to tear down the wall of separation between religion and state, the GOP should be trying to erect a new wall…between economics and state. In other words, begin reducing government’s intrusions into our lives. This requires a consistent, long-term strategy that includes looking well beyond the next election…and the defeat of any one incumbent.

I will just have to go find 2 votes one to cancel your vote for Sheila Jackson Lee and one to move me ahead.

If you think I would vote for someone like Sheila Jackson Lee and her ilk, then you haven’t read a word I’ve said. Anyway, I live in New Jersey, so don’t worry about canceling out my vote. So why, then, did I engage you in a discussion? Because I want to spread the kinds of ideas that will result in good candidates getting elected. It’s ideas, not electoral strategies, that move the world.