By Stan Welch
Earlier this week, at the meeting of a non-partisan political group called First Monday (the day they meet each month) I had the opportunity to hear State Senator Lee Bright speak. He is one of three candidates running against Lindsay Graham in the Republican primary next June. The other two candidates, Nancy Mace and Richard Cash, have also spoken to this group.
Of the three Bright is by far the most experienced, having served in the state Senate for the last five years. Like the other two, he is adamantly opposed to the Democratic agenda, and also very unhappy with the Republican approach. In fact, he seems closer to the Tea Party than he does the Republican party.
Don’t get me wrong now. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. As Bright so succinctly put it, the Republicans in the U.S. Congress think they can do big government better than the Democrats and they just want a chance to try. His point, as well as that of the Tea (Taxed Enough Already) Party, is that big government is the problem, not who is running it at any given time.
As the government shutdown was grinding along in recent weeks, and as the debacle that is Obamacare continues to flop and wallow like a sow in a mudhole, I saw one thing happening over and over. The Democrats did it, the Republican establishment did it, and the media did it. Men like Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Rand Paul and others were consistently ridiculed and labeled as radicals.
As this pattern became clearly established and impossible to ignore, I began to look carefully at what these radicals were espousing. First, they had the temerity to demand that some effort to return to fiscal responsibly policies be made. Among their ideas is the separation of the massive and fraudulent food stamp program from the political protection of the Farm Bill.
And what was their purpose in such a radical suggestion? To make the program easier to oversee and therefore reduce the fraud that makes it so expensive. Cruz, whose educational and judicial qualifications dwarf those of most of the Congress, and all of the Justice Department, has also been the guidon bearer in the battle against Obamacare.
He has persistently pointed out the flaws and inequities and detriments of this boondoggle, and he has been assailed by the left, by the media and by his own party’s leadership for being such a pain in the collective butt of the political system. He has consistently called out his party’s leadership, and when they cannot argue the facts, they condemn him for his tactics.
What is radical about demanding that everyone – Congress, the President, the unions – be required to abide by the law? How have we come to the point as a nation that such a demand even be necessary, much less considered radical?
What is radical about members of the Congress executing their duties as defined by the separation of powers in our Constitution. The Democrats and the media, and even some of the Republican leadership, act as if these members are employing some sort of guerilla tactics, some sort of dishonorable or sneaky tricks. The rules and procedures they invoke in their efforts to oppose policies they don’t like are established by the Constitution and by the rules of the Congress.
Again and again, issue after issue, Cruz, Paul, Lee and others, including our local Congressmen, Trey Gowdy and Jeff Duncan, look to the Constitution as the guide. Again and again, they are ridiculed and taken to task for their beliefs and their tactics.
It seems to me that those who attack so reflexively do so for the same reason such attacks have always occurred. They fear the ideas they are hearing; they fear the loss of their own power.
It seems to me that they have wet their finger and held it to the wind; a wind of change that they may be badly misreading. And it seems to me that they have forgotten one salient fact. This country was the most radical notion mankind had ever had when it was formed by the greatest band of radicals ever known – Jefferson – Adams – Payne – Franklin – Washington.
Perhaps the time of the radicals has come again to America.