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Keeping our representatives beholden to those they represent

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The vast majority of responses to our stance on having individual “platforms” for every candidate and representative has been positive. People like the idea of a party that is willing to hold its own people accountable to the promises they make. With that said, there have been a few concerns that must be addressed.

By far, the biggest concern is that if there is no centralized direction from the national party, we could get an extremely diverse range of perspectives from representatives. As a national party our platform is quite simple. We believe in reining in the federal government by dramatically limiting budgets, bureaucracy, and power. We hold the rights that every American is born with as sacred; the Constitution defends those rights which means our representatives must defend the Constitution. Lastly, we believe in the sanctity of human life.

Based upon the simplicity of this platform, many assume there will be too much room for interpretation. We feel strongly that there will be just the right amount of room for degrees of flexibility, but interpretations will not be skewed by whimsy or creative reckoning. For example, limiting government is as straight-forward as it needs to be. We do not fear a Federalist representative misinterpreting this in a way that makes them act to the contrary. If a bill is on their desk that truly reins in overreach, they’ll be able to recognize that just as easily as anyone else in the party would. The beauty of Federalism is that it isn’t hard to apply even with a basic understanding. We expect the understanding of those representing us to be more than basic.

Here’s the key to our stance: every state, city, community, and individual is different. We all have different needs and priorities. Today, Washington DC has become too detached from the will of the people because our national representatives are compelled to work from a national level. That’s not to say they don’t listen to their constituents, but most are only truly listening around election time and only for the purpose of determining how to win votes. In between elections, they’re willfully insulated from the real world by the partisan politics and inherent corruption of Washington DC itself.

We need our representatives to make and keep promises to their people. In some cases, “their” people may very well be the entirety of the United States. The attempted debacle of an Obamacare repeal bill currently working its way to President Trump’s desk is an example of this. In most cases, the promises made and kept by our representatives in DC should be directly influenced by the people who voted for them. This is why it’s so important for the Federalist Party to hold them accountable for their promises in the form of a clearly outlined personal platform. If a Texas Congressman says he’s going to fight against natural gas regulations to free up businesses and employees in his state, we’ll hold him accountable to that promise. If a California Congresswoman pushes forward legislation to reduce protections for illegal immigrants, it’s because she made that vow to the people in her district. That’s how Federalism works. A Congressman in New Hampshire might not care about either of these promises and likely wouldn’t list them in his platform, but he would almost certainly vote for them since they fall in line with the overarching Federalist mentality.

This works at every level. Just as a state representative has to make some decisions for the state and others for the local district, so too does a city council member often have to make promises and take actions that work on multiple scales. This is the flexibility that we desire for the party. It’s not to make it harder for the party to unify as some have suggested. It’s to allow representatives to act based upon the needs of the people they represent.

For over a century, the nation has been creeping towards more centralization. At times, it’s been lurching towards Statism at an alarming pace. Today is such a time which is why the Federalist Party must rise. We have to push for localization in order to have true accountability. Only when our representatives are beholden to the people they represent will we be able to move the country back in the right direction.

Christian, husband, father. EIC, NOQ Report. Co-Founder, the Federalist Party. Just a normal guy who will no longer sit around while the country heads in the wrong direction.

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Politics

Sen. Dean Heller is a perfect manifestation of the Trump conservative

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As we learned in the aftermath of Rep. Mark Sanford’s (SC) GOP primary loss to Katie Arrington after he was targeted for elimination by Donald Trump for having the audacity to criticize him while being “unhelpful” to his campaign, conservatives are being systematically snuffed out, politically speaking, from the Republican party and are being replaced by a re-branded version of conservatism where unconditional loyalty to Trump has replaced principles.

The fallout from this reality is twofold. First, it severs all ties the GOP once had with Reagan-styled conservatism where it was understood that government can never be the solution to our problems because government is the problem. Second, it opened the door for Trump’s Nationalist Populism to fill the void created when the GOP abandoned the conservative ideals of limited government and free-market capitalism, along with watering down fiscal and social conservatism.

While there are many examples of what this looks like, there is perhaps no greater example of re-branded conservatism than Sen. Dean Heller (NV), the GOP establishment candidate endorsed by Trump.

When Heller made his decision to run for re-election last year, he proved to be the epitome of what a Trump conservative looks like when he defended Planned Parenthood during an appearance at a local town hall, saying:

“I will protect Planned Parenthood.”

“I have no problems with federal funding for Planned Parenthood.”

Since his primary victory—a job made easier after Trump conservative Danny Tarkanian dropped out to run for Congress at Trump’s request—Heller has been doubling down on his Trump loyalty pledge. For example: with Trump’s trade war heating up, Heller recently appeared on FOX News Trump TV to declare that he would give Trump “a wide berth” when it comes to imposing tariffs, which means he will put Trump ahead of his Constitutional responsibilities.

In his TV appearance, Heller also pledged to run on Trump’s tax cuts because, according to him, it has meant $2,500 more a year in Nevada paychecks, despite a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report showing that average wages are down since the tax law was passed. The tax cuts have proved to be a windfall for corporations, however, so maybe Heller can run on that as we get closer to November.

As I wrote earlier this week, this embrace of Trump’s faux conservatism has given us casualties outside of the Republican party, and Heller once again proves my point. Despite his current pro-abortion position—I say current because he’s been on both sides of the abortion issue depending on how close he is to an election—Heller recently received the full endorsement of the National Right to Life.

The only “conservative” part of the Trump conservative is the use of the word, proving once again that the GOP is no longer home of the conservative movement.

Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.

 


David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.

Follow the Strident Conservative on Twitter and FacebookSubscribe to receive podcasts of radio commentaries: iTunes | Stitcher | Tune In | RSS

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Culture and Religion

Is Mike Pence too political for church?

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There have been a lot of talk lately about Mike Pence speaking at the SBC. Many complained claiming it was divisive and political. Jonathan Leeman wrote an article for The Gospel Coalition criticizing the very idea of Mike Pence speaking. I will address this article in greater detail on the points that I agree and disagree with. But first, let me answer the very question I posed: Pence isn’t too political to address a congregation, but his speech was.

In short, Mike Pence’s address offered zero substantive theological content. It was merely about his privilege as serving as Vice President. While acknowledging this privilege merited a short section in the beginning, it needed no more continuation. Instead, Mike Pence droned on and on about his experiences and the administration’s accomplishments.

I think there’s only one way you can sum up this administration: It’s been 500 days of action, 500 days of accomplishment. It’s been 500 days of promises made and promises kept. 

Pence’s address followed a pattern of praising Trump with loosely intertwined references to God and praising his hosts as guest speakers often do. The intertwined religious language while praising the accomplishments, not of God, but of the President is the briefest summation of Pence’s speech to the SBC that can be offered. The only biblical passage cited was Psalm 126 in reference to a story that served as praise to the Trump administration. God wasn’t working though Trump in Pence’s speech. Instead, Trump was working. At the end of his speech, Pence did offer a superficial message about praying for America with a quoting scripture.

Mike Pence had an opportunity to address the leaders of many churches. He blew it. But would all politicians do the same?

Politicians Should Be in the Pew, Not the Pulpit?

Jonathan Leeman’s article for The Gospel Coalition draws this conclusion. He has five reasons for not allowing politicians to address a church event.

  1. No reason to give attention to a politician’s words over a plumber’s or an accountant’s, at least not in our assemblies or associations.
  2. Having a political leader address our churches or associations of churches tempts us to misconstrue our mission.
  3. Undermines our evangelistic and prophetic witness.
  4. Hurts the unity of Christ’s body

Reason one is most certainly true. However, I believe we ought to separate the person from the profession. On the basis of spiritual maturity and calling should a politician or any notable guest address an assembly. This first reason is the one I believe to have the most merit in regards to the situation at hand. Inviting a politician to address a Congregation is wrong if the only reason is that they are a politician. However, if the politician is a member of the church, what is wrong with having a fellow member speak?

Reasons two and three are certainly tied together in there logic. I believe these reasons hold merit for Pence’s sacrelidgious speech but are not inherently true of all politicians who accept such similar offers. Reasons two and three open a multitude of separate issues both independent and dependent on the circumstances. Meaning, yes this could happen, but the degree in which we can mitigate the temptation are limited for Satan is the tempter. In the case of Pence, reason three was definitely true. Many would see that the SBC tied itself to Trump. But that is not the fault of the SBC per se. But that is Pence’s fault for giving a campaign rally speech instead of a message. If Pence gave a theologically sound speech there should be little temptation to misconstrue the mission. The third reason is inevitable. Since the beginning, Christians witness has been undermined by the lies of Satan. The original Christians were thought to be cannibal and even atheists. We can’t always prevent these lies, but it would be good not to validate them which Pence did.

Now hurting the unity of the body of Christ is a weak point. Leeman’s fourth point is basically saying that Pence is too polarizing, because Trump is… Trump, on a National level to address a church. Pence is polarizing, but he was polarizing before Trump. The polarizing premise is true but, assuming Pence is indeed a follower off Christ, this would be the result of living a Christian life. Here’s another polarizing figure: Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cake Shop. Would polarity disqualify him from speaking? If we are to apply national likability to our church speakers, we’re going to end up with a lot of TV personalities who don’t comprehend dyophysitism.

Like Jack Philips, Pence has taken a lot of flak for being a devout Christian. Isn’t this the kind of person who may have a good message to the assembly? Seemingly so. Again Pence under-delivered. To be fair, Leeman clearly states he doesn’t blanket outlaw politicians from speaking.

I can envision a few circumstances where there is some measure of mission overlap that could justify it. Maybe a group of Christian college presidents asks the secretary of education to address them. Or a Christian conference on work asks a Christian congressman to talk about working as a Christian on the Hill, so that attendees can apply the principles to their own settings.

But while it’s not an outlaw, such an unwritten policy places constraints on the church that are not inherently necessary. Leeman supposes some similar justification was used when The Gospel Coalition had Ben Sasse speak. In 2017, Ben Sasse addressed The Gospel Coalition and gave a theological speech. He was noted for sounding more like a pastor than a politician.

To me only two things matter:

  1. Theological substance
  2. Correct theological substance

On these two requirements I think the body of Christ would remain unified with a clear picture of its mission.

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Democrats

Family separation battle will save DACA and lead to citizenship for illegals

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The latest outrage du jour by the Washington Establishment comes from the news that children are being temporarily separated from their parents as they try to enter the country illegally.

In her latest presentation of the gospel according to Nancy Pelosi, the part-time Catholic and full-time idiot, blasted “all people of faith in our country” for depriving DREAMers of the “respect they deserve” and for “taking babies away from mothers and fathers.” Meanwhile, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Steve Stivers (R-OH) issued his call for an end to family separations at the border.

In the Senate, GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski (AK) called for an end to the “zero tolerance” immigration policies. On the other side of the aisle, Democrats rushed to the border to grab a handful of election-year photo ops to document what former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro called “state-sponsored child abuse.”

Melania Trump, in addition to four former first ladies, shared how they “hated” to see families separated and called on America to “govern with heart.”

The outrage over family separation is coming from both sides, but it’s fake. These reactions are nothing more than election-year grandstanding by politicians in both parties who have no interest at all at fixing the immigration problem.

As I wrote last week, the GOP-controlled House is already working on an immigration bill that makes DACA permanent and provides a pathway to citizenship for approximately 1.8 million DREAMers. House Speaker Paul Ryan made sure to point out that this legislation also includes a provision ending family separation.

Yesterday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) announced that he will introduce a bill that ends family separations at the border, which in an amazing bit of coincidence comes at a time when his Democrat opponent for the US Senate, Beto O’Rourke, also called for the separation policy to end. Cruz’s proposal enjoys the unanimous support of Senate Democrats.

For the record, this “for the children” approach to illegal immigration is how we ended up with DACA in the first place. Also note, as this article shows, that Trump is lying when he blames Democrats for the family separation fiasco.

The family separation issue is being used as a primer for the eventual surrender on immigration. And for those who believe that Trump won’t support this surrender, consider this: he allowed Melania to openly oppose his immigration policy, and he recently announced that he’s open to anything that Congress puts on his desk, even if it means doing the opposite of what he promised to get elected.

Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.

 


David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.

Follow the Strident Conservative on Twitter and FacebookSubscribe to receive podcasts of radio commentaries: iTunes | Stitcher | Tune In | RSS

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