America needs Federalism. No, we don’t need the common perception of 18th-century Federalism that is often misconstrued as a push for complete centralization of government. That would be statism and neither the original Federalist Party nor our current manifestation supports this notion. Today, we need the small-government Federalism that the founders (both Federalists and anti-Federalists alike) wanted – a system of proper checks and balances between the states and federal governments that empowers the people and protects them from oppression regardless of which government entity brings it forth.
On the surface, the reasons we need it are quite clear. Washington DC has been accumulating power since the 19th century with a major spike started by FDR that has been in a constant state of expansion ever since. The heart of the 10th Amendment has been ripped to shreds; the concept of enumerated powers for Congress has been shoved beyond the wayside and into a ditch.
It isn’t just the legislature. The judiciary has been redefining their scope and utilizing unsound logic to justify the politicization of their rulings. As a whole, they’re less interested in keeping laws within the boundaries of the Constitution and more interested in determining how they can supersede it. There is a minority of judges who do their job properly, but their numbers are dwindling. Activism from the bench is alive and thriving in today’s America.
Then, there’s the executive branch. The powers of the President have been expanding for a century and a half, but that’s not even the biggest problem. A layer of bureaucracy has grown so thick we could operate the nation entirely with unelected “officials.” This more than anything else has exploded the direct and indirect reach of the executive branch while establishing a self-perpetuating expansion of overreach. Moreover, it’s forcing citizens and private organizations to work within constraints that are neither Constitutional nor practical. This is where the bulk of corruption is bred and harvested. It’s a governmental pestilence that has spread to nearly every facet of Americans’ lives.
It’s when we dig below the surface that we see the most disturbing trend happening in this nation. The vast majority of Americans accept the overreach as a fact of life. In fact, there are many who live their lives in accordance with the government to the point of dysfunction if ever DC was brought back to a state that fell properly within Constitutional boundaries. Too many are so dependent on government that it would cause chaos if any of a plethora of programs were eliminated.
This is, of course, by design. The push for social and support programs has nothing to do with the actual long-term welfare of the nation or its people. The artificial dependence that has exploded in recent decades is a direct result of election-based mentality among our representatives. The bulk of politicians have learned they need to promise more in order to get in and give more in order to stay in. They’ve dismissed fiscal responsibility so thoroughly that budgets (all of which are already way too high) have become mere recommendations rather than actual cutoff points for spending.
We need Federalism on multiple levels. We need it understood by the people so we can all start taking responsibility for our own lives again. We need it embraced by our representatives in order to stop the fiscal death spiral we’re in. We need it supported by the electorate so the hard but necessary choices can be made; supporting promise-too-much-and-punt-the-consequences politicians can no longer be an option.
It’s daunting, but it can happen. Here’s how…
Building a Federalist future
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be going into more details about the plans in place to put the Federalist Party on the map. We’ve seen great successes and unfortunate setbacks since we launched at the beginning of the year. Thankfully, the former has outnumbered the latter.
Today, we have three major challenges: the understanding gap, suspension of disbelief, and magnification of our voice to the national stage. There will be more challenges that arise as we grow in prominence, but we’ll prepare for and tackle those as they come. In the meantime, it’s imperative that we all work towards facing the initial challenges.
I’ve covered the understanding gap in the past. We called it the “knowledge gap” before, but that’s not necessarily the best way to look at it. There are those who are fully knowledgeable about Federalism or who have read the Federalist Papers but who still perceive us as a centralized-government party. We are the opposite of what some perceive. We want to decentralize the bulk of government power that has been accumulating in DC for decades. At our core is a requirement to localize as many decisions as we can whenever it makes sense to do so (which is most of the time). The easiest way people can help is to share articles such as this one with friends, family, and on social media.
Suspension of disbelief has been and will continue to be a need. There are millions of Americans who are sick of the two-party system, who’ve grown disenchanted with their current party, but who cannot imagine supporting a third party because they feel it would be futile or even counterproductive. Our strategy of starting with local elections and working our way to the national stage is one of the biggest differences between us and every other third party that has made a play since the middle of the 19th century. It’s imperative that those who are tired of what the status quo has yielded for them can put aside their bias against third parties and give us their support.
Lastly, we must expand our voice. This will come in the form of talking to more people, going to more events, and getting interviewed by more journalists. We’re building a nice bench of people who will help to spread the Federalist message (more on that coming soon!) and we’re ready to get them on the airwaves and into publications. If you know (or are) a journalist, it’s time to talk to me, Joel Kurtinitis, Pat Nicklaus, or any of our early-adopters who are ready and willing to let the world know who we are and why we’re here.
America needs a government that sees the Constitution as its boundary as well as its guide. We don’t need them continuing to come up with creative ways to circumvent it. True small-government Federalism is the answer. It’s time to educate the people, rally the grassroots, and bring our nation’s representatives to an understanding that they cannot continue down they path they’re taking us.
Sen. Dean Heller is a perfect manifestation of the Trump conservative
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.
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.
Is Mike Pence too political for church?
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.
- 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.
- Having a political leader address our churches or associations of churches tempts us to misconstrue our mission.
- Undermines our evangelistic and prophetic witness.
- 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:
- Theological substance
- Correct theological substance
On these two requirements I think the body of Christ would remain unified with a clear picture of its mission.
Family separation battle will save DACA and lead to citizenship for illegals
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.”
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.