Dear Mr. Steele
By: J.J. Jackson
Mr. Michael Steele
Chairman, Republican National Committee
Mr. Steele, I am in receipt of your form letter and 2009 State of the Republican Party Survey and as has become customary on my behalf I am going to use this opportunity to address the issues specifically asked within it in a more in-depth manner than such a simple multiple choice survey allows.
For your convenience and mine I have reproduced the questions asked before providing my answers.
â€œA recent national poll reported that nearly 25% of Americans want the government to pass more socialist legislation. Do you agree or disagree?â€
No true American would answer that they agree with this proposed course of action. Likewise no student of history who can clearly see the past and present horrors that socialist government in any of its many forms has suffered upon the people would answer in the affirmative unless they are so blinded by a lust for power for themselves and control over others. This result merely confirms that which I have readily and repeatedly observed to be true; that there is about a quarter of the U.S. population that are hard core leftists that desire a â€œutopiaâ€ they think can be created by the hand of Government Almighty.
The problem however becomes that I must ask the question what has the Republican Party done to stop the slowly creeping hand of unconstitutional state control over the years? What has made them a better keeper of American liberty? Is it merely the fact that they have not been party to as much bad socialist legislation as other political parties? If such is the case, and it surely is, then it is not whether or not I agree but whether or not the Republican Party agrees and is willing to act against members who promote such folly.
â€œWhich do you believe creates more jobs for the American economy: Government Programs and Spending or the American Free Enterprise System?â€
The question should not be which creates more jobs but which creates more liberty and sustainable employment. Both systems have proven capable of creating jobs. But is it good policy to pay one man to dig a hole and then another to simply fill it back up so that it may be dug again as many government make work projects do? Is it good policy to build buildings that will see little use and simply to spend money as government is want to do? Is it good policy to enact legislation that kills one job for an American worker but creates two bureaucratic posts to oversee the remaining ones as government policy often does? Of course it is not.
The American Free Enterprise System naturally creates jobs and does so by allowing individuals to freely enter into contracts with one another for goods and services. It allows them to partake of their liberty and is obviously and by far a better system despite at times that liberty leading to pain and suffering due to people making bad business decisions.
Of course I prefer the latter to the inevitable pain doled out by government bureaucrats.
â€œThe Obama Administration has proposed spending as much as $1.5 trillion to bail out the banking industry. Do you agree or disagree with this proposal?â€
It is not just the Obama Administration that has proposed such. It has also been the Republican Partyâ€™s representatives who have done such and actually helped pass bailouts of lenders who made bad financial decisions with their assets and acted poorly in their fiduciary responsibility to their customers who have invested with them. TARP is the glaring example of this.
Of course such actions are extra-constitutional in scope and should not be undertaken. The problem is that neither major party has shown the ability to lead on such an issue.
â€œDo you oppose so-called â€œcard-checkâ€ legislation, which eliminates secret ballot elections during unionization drives and puts workers at risk of intimidation by labor bosses?â€
The means of balloting is of secondary importance in this question. Of primary importance is the intimidation practices of those that would seek to coerce others into acting against their will. Of course secret ballots are favorable and I believe that in the majority of times they are preferable. But they are not always necessary. The Declaration of Independence was not a secret ballot for example and all those in favor proudly and openly displayed their votes by signing it.
The issue with unionization is deeper than the issue of â€œcard-checkâ€ which I do firmly believe should be opposed. Many industries and businesses have been forced to accept unions simply based on the desire for the employees to unionize. This neglects the private property rights of the business owner if he or she does not wish to accept such an act nor deal with such an entity. The rights of business owners must be as equally protected as those that wish to unionize and I fear that this is often not the case based on the strength and bargaining power of many unions which have been shown to cripple business when they become too large and powerful and are catered to at the expense of reasonable business practices.
â€œShould the Republicans unite to block new federal government bureaucracy and red tape that will crush future economic growth?
The Republican Party should unite to block any new federal government bureaucracy that is unconstitutional in nature. Adopting that general principle would be far more admirable. The question is will the GOP do this?
â€œShould Republicans in Congress oppose the new wasteful government spending programs passed in the recent â€œstimulusâ€ bill by the Pelosi-Reid Democrats designs to â€œspread the wealth?â€
See previous answer concerning unconstitutional government. Adopting that overriding principle would serve the Republican Party well and answer many of the questions you ask of me.
â€œDo you agree that we must secure our borders and stop illegal immigration?â€
Considering that control of immigration is a legitimate function of the federal government and clearly stated in the Constitution as such a role and considering that there are legitimate and non-discriminatory laws that make certain types of immigration illegal at present then the answer to such a question should be obvious.
The answer is yes. However the Republican Party has proven somewhat ineffective in this pursuit with high profile members of the party even pushing the concept of amnesty for current offenders over harsh enforcement and the legitimate rule of law.
â€œShould we do everything we can to block Democrats who are trying to shut down conservative talk radio with the so-called â€œfairness doctrine?â€
The issue of government control over the media and radio goes far beyond the attempts by some to mandate the practices and standards of private enterprise through the â€œfairness doctrineâ€ or some other such hideous thing in an attempt to regulate the dispersion of ideas and opinions that the government and those in charge of it may not like. Respected members of the federal government must stand against such thuggish acts naturally. However the problem is that the government is too far down a treacherous path by over regulating entities such as radio stations based on fallacious claims regarding their right to regulate the â€œpublicâ€ airwaves under the guise that they are â€œpublicâ€ and only on that assumption.
However there is no difference between the so-called â€œpublicâ€ airwaves being used by radio stations and a two citizens communicating on the street corner. Both sets of words travel through the same air and if one can be regulated then so too may the other. Of course, neither should be under the precept of Freedom of Speech. The regulation of the â€œpublicâ€ airwaves is a slippery slope that can only lead to further infringements of the first amendment by government officials unkind to liberty and their actions should be seriously looked at and paired back to only Constitutional roles clearly defined in the federal constitution. Unfortunately for the federal government this would mean for them the complete dismantling of the bureaucracy they have created for such a purpose over the years as there is no constitutional authority for such.
â€œShould we resist Barak Obamaâ€™s proposal to spend billions of federal taxpayer dollars to pay â€œvolunteersâ€ who perform his chosen tasks?â€
The federal government should be outlaying not a single fraction of a penny of taxpayer dollars except to pay for powers specifically granted to it in the Constitution.
â€œShould Republicans unite in opposition to judicial nominees who bring a personal, left-wing agenda on social issues to their jobs as judges?â€
The advise and consent role of the Senate in the nomination process has always been to prevent the President from appointing wholly unqualified jurists to the bench whether they be personal relatives, political cronies or persons that would not uphold the basic principles of America and our Constitution. The integrity of the Judiciary was of high importance in the past but has since been dimmed.
If a judge being nominated is not willing to prevent the taking of life without due process of law (except in the instance of defense from harm) and uphold a conviction of such a person found guilty for such an offense punishable by the constitutionally qualified fate of death then that judge should be utterly disqualified and opposed. If the judge being nominated is not able to clearly read and is unwilling to apply to Second Amendmentâ€™s unequivocal right of the people to keep and bear arms to all applicable cases before her then rightfully she should be barred from ascending to any position on the federal bench.
â€œDo you want Republicans to vigorously defend the recently passed partial-birth abortion ban from attacks by the Democrat majority?â€
I wholly expect the Republicans to vigorously defend the right to life of all persons, including the unborn who meet every biological and ethical standard of human life, as proclaimed that we are all entitled to by our own Declaration of Independence and our federal Constitution.
â€œShould bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. be in charge of making your health care choices instead of you and your doctor?â€
Such a question should never even need to be asked. The Republican Party should of course be standing against unconstitutional power which any such control from Washington D.C. over health care would clearly be.
â€œIf Barack Obama tries to gut the USA PATRIOT Act and other important laws that promote the safety and security of all Americans, should Republicans in Congress fight back?â€
President Obama is, of course, not capable of such acts because it is Congress that makes and, by correlation, repeals laws. However he may attempt to lead members of his party in Congress to take such actions. But more to the point of this question is that the Republicans should, I stress again, stand against any unconstitutional power the government attempts to seize. If there are unconstitutional provisions in any law, including the USA PATRIOT Act, they should be fought against.
As such I will not give you carte blache authority to simply keep something just because it exists and you proclaim it as good without knowing more detail exactly what specificities you desire to speak on.
â€œShould we stop Democrat leaders from cutting funding from our intelligence agencies or bringing back Clinton-era restrictions on inter-agency communications?â€
I am certain that there are cost savings to be had in all government programs including our intelligence agencies. Therefore speaking out against reducing funding for them would not be prudent. If you mean to ask me the question of whether or not the Republicans should stand against Democrats who may seek to castrate the intelligence community and make them ineffective by reducing funding without rhyme or reason just to find money to pay for other plans they might have then the answer is most assuredly yes.
â€œDo you support the use of air strikes against any country that offers safe harbor or aid to individuals or organizations committed to further attacks on America?â€
I believe that the defense of America is a clearly defined role of the federal government thus the answer is absolutely. However I would go further in saying that any country taking such action would be committing a de facto act of war against this country and should be dealt with by more forceful means other than simply bombings from several tens of thousands of feet in the sky.
â€œShould Republicans unite in support of full funding for border and port security when Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid try to make cuts in their areas?â€
Are you honestly asking me if Republicans should take seriously their oaths to uphold and defend the Constitution upon being elected to public office? Of course they should.
â€œDo you think U.S. Troops should have to serve under United Nationâ€™s commanders?â€
I think this question begets another. Should the United States even be a member of the United Nations; an organization that allows tin horned dictators and grotesque thugs to enter our country and act as though they are legitimate statesmen? The answer to that question is no and it also applies to the specific question you asked as well.
â€œDo you agree that our top military priority should be fighting terrorists?â€
Our top military priority should be the defense of America and our allies around the world. If that includes at the moment in question the fighting of terrorists then yes.
â€œShould we fight military-cutting efforts in Congress such as the proposal from liberal Barney Frank to slash Pentagon spending by 25%?â€
The military and defense of America are some of only a few functions that the federal government partakes in which are actually constitutional. This is not to say however, such as with intelligence programs which I previously addressed, that there is not waste and abuse that cannot be weeded out. However to simply hack and slash in an effort to find money to fund other government programs, constitutional or not, should never be endorsed.
â€œEven though Barack Obama pledged to meet personally with the likes of Raul Castro, Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, should Republicans continue to focus on supporting democratic movements in oppressive states like Cuba, Venezuela and Iran?â€
It is not that we should be supporting â€œdemocraticâ€ movements so much as we should be supporting the actions of those either seeking or seeking to maintain liberty. â€œDemocraticâ€ movements have often times lead to bad things such as in Germany prior to World War II, France, Venezuela, etc. It is the goal of the movement, not the nature of the movement itself that must ultimately be considered.
As such the United States should stand shoulder to shoulder with all freedom loving people and aid them as we can. If we do not hold dear the liberty of the man in Africa because of his proximity then we, by our very inaction, do not abide by our own founding documents proclaiming that all men are created equal and possess the right of liberty.
â€œWhy did the Republicans lose the White House and congressional seats in the 2008 elections?â€
Because Republicans, as a whole, have not adhered closely to our founding principles and they have not defended our Constitution. Instead they have allowed any and all to join their leadership ranks and run amok as candidates even when they are not of the quality and caliber that should be rightfully sought. When you look like those that you are running against, you give no reason for people to vote for you over those that you are running against.
â€œWhat are the key strengths and beliefs of the Republican Party that we can build on?â€
The precepts of our founding documents and nothing more. But also nothing less. However in recent memory I have come to question if these are truly things that the Republican Party believes in.
â€œWhat are the weaknesses of the Republican Party?â€
Let me answer this question with questions of my own for you. When was the last time the Republican Party forcibly stood up against the welfare culture of America where the productive are made slaves to the lazy and those that believe that they are entitled to something or other because of their age or situation in life? When was the last time the Republican Party forcibly attacked the wrongness of the myriad of unconstitutional spending programs gushing forth from Washington and paid them any attention other than lip service? I mean standing up and actually calling them unconstitutional! Not just skirting that important topic and pointing out the symptoms of the programs which are high and unmanageable debt for our children, loss of jobs, the destruction of families and so on? When was the last time the Republicans had the courage as a political party to firmly grab hold of the third rails of politics and take them with firm hands and stand on principle without caring what those that benefit unconstitutionally from such programs may falsely say to try and keep their own hands in the cookie jar?
Answer those questions and you will have your answer to your own question.
â€œWhat is the best way to encourage and register new voters in your community?â€
I believe the option of personal appearances by Republican Leaders who can articulate the concepts and importance of personal liberty and the need to shed ourselves of the bloated government that currently is crushing our children is best. But again I turn to the thought of thinking that there are few, if any, Republican Leaders capable of such a task.
â€œWhat technological innovations should the RNC employ to grow our Party?â€
It will not be technological innovations that grow the Republican Party. Only a strong message of liberty and a repeated show that the Republican Party believes in that message will do this. How the message is delivered is secondary and should not be the greatest concern of the Party. To put the cart before the horse will only doom the GOP to failure after failure. The GOP must correct its own house and get its message straight before it can grow the party.
â€œWhat can the Republican Party do to earn your trust?â€
Sadly this is not a simple answer. The Republican Party has so much to do that trust cannot be given easily. The party has betrayed American and our first principles so many times that it becomes a massive task in and of itself to just reach a point of modest trust much less competent action. A recurring theme is that many members of the Party are far too liberal and do far too much harm to America with their actions upon being elected to office. These folks should not be members of the Party and while it may be untenable to sever ties with these individuals due to a fear of loss in power and numbers within the current House and Senate we see that they cannot be trusted anyway. Please reference the case of the dishonorable Arlen Specter from my own state of Pennsylvania who, upon realizing that his political career may be over and that he would likely not win the Partyâ€™s primary, jumped ship to the party he was more in line with from the start.
Specter should never have been given the chance to run as a Republican by the Party, but in a lust for power he was readily retained in cycle after cycle because of his electability in a state that regularly cannot bring themselves to vote for anyone other than liberal Democrats. Other members of the Party, Senator John McCain for example, have introduced blatant legislation within the chambers of Congress that directly opposes the Constitution and attempts to circumvent it. I speak of course of McCain-Feingold. There is absolutely no excuse for any man or woman representing the GOP to even think for a second that such was anything less than an unconstitutional infringement upon our God given liberties.
Yet he and many others are allowed to remain in the Partyâ€™s good graces. And I do not believe that I need to even point out the heinousness of TARP which was supported by many members of the Republican Party and yet another clearly unconstitutional overreach.
Far be it from me to imply that there should not be disagreements between members of the Party over issues. But when the issues in question are so clearly in violation of the federal Constitution yet still supported by Party members a serious look must be taken to see if they are worthy of being called Republicans. If not they should be thanked for their service and sent on their way to run either as Democrats, Independents or with some other third party that would accept their actions.
It has become clear that over the years the Republican Party is far to willing to remove principle from its process when selecting candidates in exchange for the candidates ability to increase the Partyâ€™s numbers and power in not just Washington but also the State and local level as well. The Republican Party must correct this to gain the trust of Americans who still believe in liberty and the Party must be willing to part company with those that do not in fact hold our Constitution and the principles of limited government most dear. The example most clear to me is that of the 2004 Senatorial elections involving Mr. Arlen Specter. The Republican Party disregarded a clearly superior candidate in terms of Republican ideals in Mr. Pat Toomey to openly support the incumbent. And today he has repaid that effort how? I believe you see my obvious point.
To be frank Mr. Steele, I am not so certain that you are indeed the man who can help achieve the goal of regaining either my trust or the trust of many other Americans which the GOP so desperately needs. You have not yet earned my trust and while I will gladly give you the opportunity to do so I remain skeptical. I am not intending to besmirch your character by saying this, only that I am pointing out that while I know some of you, I know not enough to trust you enough and that the actions of the Party and its members will dictate my future direction on this important issue. I believe that you can understand this skepticism based on the current state of the Party and the remarkably poor candidates that were placed before us as witnessed by the options in the 2008 Presidential election cycle alone. It was for the most part an assortment of moderate to center left candidates whose histories of Constitutional infringements, big government excesses, general lunacy and promotion of failed socialist programs were well known but often ignored.
The Party has a great history. But it has a dim future if such are the best leaders we are capable of finding and putting forth. Earn my trust, and the trust of millions, by pulling the weeds from the lawn and cultivating the growth of a firm and dense grass upon which all can tread without worry of thorns and other nuisances. Take those weeds and cast them to compost and allow them to rot so that they may fertilize the growing of the good.
â€œWill you help the Republican National Committee implement your ideas and help keep our party-building programs for the 2009-2010 election moving forward by making a contribution today?â€
While I have understood from the start that you are seeking monetary aid for your efforts please consider this letter to you as my contribution. My time is valuable and I do command a decent hourly salary for my time and as this letter has taken the better part of ten hours to fully compile to a state where I feel comfortable in submitting it to your attention I believe that you should accept this as my contribution and do with it as you see fit to help your efforts.
Jeffrey J. (J.J.) Jackson, President
Land of the Free Studios, Inc.
J.J. Jackson is a libertarian conservative author from Pittsburgh, PA who has been writing and promoting individual liberty since 1993. His weekly commentary along with exclusives not available anywhere else can be found at Liberty Reborn.
J.J. Jackson is a libertarian conservative author from Pittsburgh, PA who has been writing and promoting individual liberty since 1993 and is President of Land of the Free Studios, Inc. He is the Pittsburgh Conservative Examiner for Examiner.com. He is also the owner of The Right Things - Conservative T-shirts & Gifts The Right Things. His weekly commentary along with exclusives not available anywhere else can be found at Liberty Reborn.