A thank you – but hopefully not a goodbye – to Rep. @AllenWest


You’ve probably already seen this, but in case you hadn’t, Rep. West conceded to Patrick Murphy today, effectively ending his re-election bid:

For two weeks since Election Day, we have been working to ensure every vote is counted accurately and fairly.  We have made progress towards that goal, thanks to the dedication of our supporters and their unrelenting efforts to protect the integrity of the democratic process.  While many questions remain unanswered, today I am announcing that I will take no further action to contest the outcome of this election.

While there are certainly still inaccuracies in the results, and the actions of the St. Lucie County and Palm Beach County Supervisors of Elections rightly raise questions in my mind and for many voters, after much analysis and this past weekend’s recount in St. Lucie County, our legal team does not believe there are enough over-counted, undercounted or fraudulent votes to change the outcome of the election.

While a contest of the election results might have changed the vote totals, we do not have evidence that the outcome would change.  Given the extremely high evidentiary hurdles involved in a successful challenge, I will not ask my generous supporters to help fund a drawn-out, expensive legal effort with little chance of success. Therefore, we will not contest the certification or challenge the seating of Congressman-elect Murphy.

Serving the people in the House of Representatives has been among the highest honors of my life, but this seat does not belong to me, or for that matter, to any individual.  It belongs to the people.

West has served his country honorably, both on the battlefield and off of it.    There is not a politically correct bone in his body.  I admired his candor and his dedication to telling the truth, no matter how “offensive” it was to the political opposition. I also loved the fact that he refused to falsely play the race card against his opponents, unlike most of his fellow Congressional colleagues in the US House.   He liked to rock the boat, because he know that was one of the few ways he could get people, including his fellow Congressional reps, talking about issues that really matter. He was, frankly, a breath of fresh air in an endless sea of status quo faces.

I hope his concession doesn’t mean this is the last we’ve heard from him. I think he’d have a great future as a commentator, speaker, writer —  a motivator to conservatives.  I remember how he electrified the crowd at CPAC in 2011 when he gave the closing address.  We need more of that, especially as conservatives and the GOP continue to “regroup” after the disappointing 2012 election.

If you have a moment, please take the time to send him a thank you via  his Congressional website, or post a note to him at his Facebook page and/or his Twitter page.

May God bless both him and his family.

Secession? No, try federalism


**Posted by Phineas

In the wake of the presidential election earlier this month, a lot of people expressed their disappointment with the results by submitting petitions for secession at the White House web site. Petitions were received from all 50 states, and there were several counter-petitions from progressives urging the government to let them go.

To be honest, and even though I signed South Carolina’s to support my friend Gay Patriot, I looked at these as just blowing off steam after a disappointing election loss, just as liberals fantasized about secession in 2004. I didn’t and don’t take them seriously.

My mistake, in at least one respect. As Prof. Glenn Reynolds points out in an op-ed in USA Today, petitions such as these and more serious secession movements in Scotland, Catalonia, and elsewhere arise from anger at a central government from which they feel alienated for various reasons. While the petitions themselves may not be serious, the resentment and irritation caused by being forced to obey one-size-fits-all laws you hate is very real. And, if left to fester, it can lead to more serious problems.

What’s the answer, if secession isn’t it? Reynolds looks back to the handiwork of a very smart group of men who came up with a solution suited to a large, diverse republic, and suggests we give federalism a try:

So what’s a solution? Let the central government do the things that only central governments can do — national defense, regulation of trade to keep the provinces from engaging in economic warfare with one another, protection of basic civil rights — and then let the provinces go their own way in most other issues. Don’t like the way things are run where you are? Move to a province that’s more to your taste. Meanwhile, approaches that work in individual provinces can, after some experimentation, be adopted by the central government, thus lowering the risk of adopting untested policies at the national level. You get the benefits of secession without seceding.

Sound good? It should. It’s called federalism (1), and it’s the approach chosen by the United States when it adopted the Constitution in 1789. As James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 45, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.”

Surely Reynolds wrote this with a wink and a smile, for federalism is the way were are supposed to operate, and our problems have grown as the federal government has usurped more and more of the states’ proper role, turning gradually from a government of limited powers to Leviathan. Consider it another way: the more the federal government tries to do everything, the less it can do anything well.  The national economy and health care systems are too large and too diverse, and there’s too much information coming in, for them to be directed top-down by a few hundred (or even a few thousand) pols and bureaucrats in D.C. The needs of people differ in various parts of the country, and the resources needed to even try to manage everything nationally wind up being diverted from those things only the federal government can do well, such as national security.

The solution, as Reynolds writes, is to recognize those spheres of competence and respect them, something that’s happened less and less since the progressive era. This isn’t to say that the enumerated powers of Article 1, Section 8 are the end all and be all; the Founders themselves recognized that the Constitution would sometimes need amending (2) –including granting the federal government more power– and put in place procedures for doing just that. It’s through ignoring those limits and procedures that we’ve reached a point whereat so many think, with some justification, that the United States Government is becoming a threat to their liberty and prosperity.

Change won’t be easy, and the genie of the progressive administrative state probably can’t ever be wholly put back in the bottle. But for the health of our body politic we have to keep trying.

(1) Also “states’ rights,” but that term was forever tainted thanks to defenders of slavery and Jim Crow hiding behind it, back in the day.
(2) And I do think several are needed to deal with the progressive-statist tendency to grab more and more power. Professor Randy Barnett’s Bill of Federalism is a great starting point for discussion. Oddly enough, in the wake of their defeat in 2004, progressives themselves were arguing for federalism. Bipartisanship!

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Clyburn: GOP using “racial code words” to criticize @AmbassadorRice


In which the SC Democrat Congressman triples down on the nonsense:

Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said Tuesday that a letter from nearly 100 House Republicans urging President Obama not to appoint Susan Rice as secretary of State employed racially charged “code words” to make its case.

The letter, signed by 97 House Republicans, says Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, “is widely viewed as having either willfully or incompetently misled the American public in the Benghazi matter” — language Clyburn saw as racially loaded.

You know, these are code words,” Clyburn, the third-ranking Democrat in the House, told CNN. “We heard them during the campaign — during this recent campaign we heard Sen. Sununu calling our president lazy, incompetent, these kinds of terms that those of us, especially those of us who were grown and raised in the South, we would hear these little words and phrases all of our lives and we’d get insulted by them.

“Susan Rice is as competent as anybody you will find, and just to paste that word on her causes problems with people like [incoming Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman] Marcia Fudge and certainly causes a big problem with me,” he added.

In a press conference earlier this week, Rep. Fudge (D-Ohio) said she believed criticism of Rice contained “a clear … sexism and racism.”

“It is a shame that anytime something goes wrong, they pick on women and minorities,” Fudge added.

Clyburn described himself as frustrated by the criticism of Rice. While he said it is fair to criticize her for having initially claimed the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was the result of a protest against an anti-Islam video, he objected to the language used by Republican leaders.

“I don’t like those words,” Clyburn said. “Say she was wrong for doing it, but don’t call her incompetent. That is something totally different. A lot of very competent people sometimes make errors, and to say that she erroneously did it, I don’t have a problem with it.”

What a crock. It doesn’t matter if the non-existent “racial code words” had been removed, Clyburn, Fudge, and other race-baiting Democrats would still characterize it as “racism” because the GOP has the sheer nerve to dare criticize a black Democrat – and one who, I should add, would be slammed just the same if she were a he, and/or if she were white and had said what Rice repeatedly did.

It’s really about as un-American as it gets for politicos and other public figures to frame every criticism of a liberal woman and/or black person who is part of this administration or otherwise works on behalf of it as “sexist” and / or “racist.” Dissent is supposed to be patriotic (as the left pretended to “remind” us in the Bush years but forgot the moment Barack Obama was elected President). Not only that, but why fight for equality for your fellow man as Clyburn did in the 50s and 60s if all you’re going to do is to turn around and essentially exclaim that they should be immune from criticism on the basis of their skin color?

Martin Luther King, Jr. wanted us to be judged on the content of our character, not the color of our skin. Too bad Clyburn and other “civil rights leaders” have long forgotten that.