Hillary’s Kennedy-LBJ Paradox: If Elected She’ll (Probably) Accomplish More Liberal Goals Than Obama, But She’ll Never Be Loved Like Him

Political writers love to make comparisons between different politicians in different times. How does X politician compare with FDR? Is the Iraq War comparable to Vietnam? Can we really call the IRS Tea Party targeting McCarthyism? Comparisons abound. And in making these lightly theorized analogies, this writer is no exception.

So here is another consideration from history to throw into the mix: If Hillary Clinton wins, and if Democrats regain Congress (the latter proposition probably won’t happen but bear with me), she will probably be quite successful in passing liberal agenda items like immigration reform, climate change legislation, new pro-Big Labor “card-check” rules, and national protections for gays and lesbians against discrimination.

But even if she isn’t as successful as proposed, we can still do a thought experiment. Suppose she get’s all the the aforementioned Democratic initiatives through (regardless of the fact that besides immigration reform they don’t work and violate constitutional liberties) and liberals still loath her like the did Lyndon Johnson.

LBJ did in two years what it took Franklin Roosevelt to do in four terms and what it would have taken John Kennedy to do in 10. He passed Medicare and Medicaid, the Civil Rights and Voting Rights and Fair Housing Rights Acts, passed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, passed Pell Grants, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and opened many new federal regulatory departments and welfare programs. He also cut taxes quite a bit.

And yet, after all this, the left of his own party despised him. Yes, this was mostly because of the disastrous Vietnam War, but that can’t explain everything because the Obama administration has engaged in many more costly wars in Libya, Yemen, and elsewhere. Whether it’s Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Harry Truman, or Bill Clinton, liberals are usually always willing to elect warmongers to the White House if they’ll agree to reduce economic freedom and property rights protection and increase legal plunder through income redistribution to bride voters.

But there are shining moments when the Left puts it’s government greed aside to pick candidates that are genuinely anti-war, like Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern.

Barack Obama, while many consider him in those latter two molds, is much more like JFK, and that’s not necessarily a compliment. By that comparison I mean to say he is considered to be a dove but is really hawk, but is able to portray himself as a dove and capture the imaginations of the electorate. He also did not accomplish much domestically.

His civil rights bill quickly became stalled in the Congress by segregationist Democrats and Republicans skeptical of expanding federal power.

President Kennedy created the Peace Corps, which symbolically is more important than it is actually. Another policy change, unionizing federal employees, would turn out to be fiscal disaster many decades later as we are now experiencing.

Now, as before, contrast that with the Johnson record: liberal and effective at ramming left-wing social welfare legislation through without much debate.

If elected, Hillary would be a classic warmongering hawk in the old Cold War sense. She believes in war as a “humanitarian” cause, like her failed war in Libya. But if she get’s a climate bill through passing or restricting First Amendment liberties with a campaign finance “reform” bill, that would be a liberal dream.

But she will not be loved like Obama. That does not mean she’ll suffer like LBJ. But it does mean that President Obama will defeat her all over again, only this time in the history books and in the memories of the American people.

Religious Liberty, Right-to-Work Decisions @ SCOTUS

images(photo credit: Time.com)

The US Supreme Court today delivered its rulings in the two cases that ranked among the biggest legal “blockbusters” for this term: Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Harris v. Quinn.

The Hobby Lobby decision involved a particular provision of the ObamaCare law that mandated US employers provide birth control free of charge to their employees. The Green family, which owns the arts and crafts store Hobby Lobby, sued the government arguing that this section of the law violated their religious liberty under the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which states that if the government is going to infringe on core religious expression it must have a “compelling government interest” and act only in the “least restrictive way.”

And while Hobby Lobby doesn’t oppose all contraceptives (their employee insurance plans cover most varieties), the company specifically abstained from covering certain medications that it believes induce abortions, such as Plan B.

On a 5-4 decision, with the four so-called conservative justices plus swing vote Anthony Kennedy, the Court agreed with the Green family and the other plaintiffs in the case that the contraception mandate went too far in burdening closely-held companies with threat of either violating the owners’ religious conscience or violating the law.

Unfortunately, the decision apparently leaves open the opportunity for the Obama administration to create a government program that directly distributes birth control at taxpayer expense.

This and other factors have prompted some Republicans, most recently Colorado Representative and US Senate candidate Cory Gardner, to float the idea of legalizing the sale of contraceptives over-the-counter so as to appease both factions in the debate.

The decision does not grant such religious exemptions to publicly-traded companies. It only applies to “closely-held” corporations like sole and joint proprietorships and nonprofits.

In Harris v. Quinn, an Illinois law that conscripted home health care workers into public sector sector unions, or at least forced them to pay union dues, because, the state argued, all medical providers compensated with Medicaid funds count as “public employees” and thus obligated to be represented exclusively in union collective bargaining agreements.

The court again split 5-4 in a decision which distinctively separated Medicaid reimbursement recipients from actual public state employees, arguing that private patient assistants are responsible solely to their customers, not to the state. In so doing the justices have invalidated about a dozen and a half other similar state laws around the US with similar inclusions of home health care workers.

And while the Court’s decision has liberated many thousands of PAs from compulsory union representation, many had wished, or feared, that the it would have gone farther and invalidated all mandated collective bargaining schemes as unconstitutional infringements on First Amendment-protected rights to free association and expression. However, the highest judicial body in the land may be gearing up for such a case in the coming term(s) and plenty of pro-Right-to-Work litigants are eager to test how far they can push the justices in that direction.

Dept. of Homeland Security grants German homeschooling family asylum

In a victory for homeschooling and educational freedom, the Department of Homeland Security today, reacting from yesterday’s Supreme Court’s denial to hear their case, has granted asylum to the Romeike family, a German family that fled persecution from a Nazi-era compulsory school law that bans homeschooling.

This dramatic decision reverses the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the family’s plea for asylum, granting the family “indefinite preferred status,” meaning that they can stay in the US permanently.

The decision comes at a time when the German school system’s rigid ban on homeschooling has been coming under fire in the international community.

In November of 2012, the first annual holding of the Global Home Education Conference to place in Berlin to affirm the natural human right for parents to educate their children independent of the state. Among the documents cited supporting this right was Article 26, Section 3 of the 1948 UN Declaration of Human Rights, which says that “parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.”

Unfortunately, however, the same article also declares that education shall education, in at least the “elementary and fundamental states” (whatever that means), must be “free” and “compulsory.”

Three cheers for Citizens United v. FEC and free speech!

Today marks the four year anniversary of arguably the most controversial Supreme Court ruling of the last decade. On January 22nd 2010, in a 5 to 4 decision, the Court struck down a provision of 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, popularly known as McCain-Feingold after its two principal Senate co-sponsors, which mandated the carte blanche prohibition on corporations and unions financing independent political advertising 30 days before primary and general elections.

Right after the ruling was announced, it’s fairly safe to say that the left in America went bat shit crazy. They turned a decision that should have been praised as the greatest pro-free speech decision since New York Times v. Sullivan into “our Dred Scott,” as Keith Olbermann infamously put it, referring to the 1850’s Supreme Court decision that held upheld the forced returning of a runaway slave (that’s right, Citizens United is akin to slavery!).

In reality, Citizens United held that every American has the exact same rights as super wealthy individuals and multinational media corporations to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money for the purpose of independent political speech and association.

Pre-Citizens United, a billionaire like T. Boone Pickens could take out a multi-million dollar ad buy to promote his energy plan, but any group of citizens who lacked such resources were banned from coming together to pool resources to express themselves under one banner.

Opponents of spending money on First Amendment-protected speech shrieked that now our elections would be “bought” by “the highest bidder” and mocked those who said “money is speech.” First of all, let’s never forget that voters, not contributors, determine who wins elections. Ideally, the candidate as well as independent backers should have full freedoms to raise and spend as much as they want to on trying to persuade (not “buy”) support among the voters (and his opponents are equally free to do the same), and then they vote. Period.

Second, while, true, money itself isn’t “speech,” it cannot be denied that money enables speech and by restricting the amount of money citizens can either raise and spend themselves, or give to others, for the purposes of speaking, you are engaging in de facto censorship.

Super PACs, which resulted from a later DC Court ruling that allowed for corporations and unions to raise unlimited amounts as well as spend, and activist nonprofits, have allowed for more speech and more competitive elections by allowing for more sources of money to go to more sources of speech, leading to a more informed electorate and a freer society over all.

So three cheers for Citizens United! Three cheers for free speech!

(P.S. Here is a fantastic short little video put out by the pro-First Amendment Center for Competitive Politics about all the things the anti-free speech media and activists don’t want you to know about Citizens United v. FEC)

Is statism empathetic?

The political prognosticator and congressional race-counter Charlie Cook writes how both the Democrats and Republicans have chosen their prevailing messages going into the 2014 midterm elections. For the D’s, it’s income inequality. For the GOP, it’s job growth and repealing Obamacare:

Republicans are obviously trying to cast the midterm election as a referendum on the Affordable Care Act, hardly a surprise given the broadly negative views that a plurality of Americans hold toward it and its disastrous launch.

Democrats want to change the subject to income inequality, hoping to buy time for the Affordable Care Act to work out its problems and for a constituency to grow among those who like and use it. 

Far be it for me to give Republicans advice (I loathe the thought) but I believe they would do well to point out that Democrats are railing against income inequality at time when we have the biggest and most powerful government in all of American history. Governments at all levels now consume 40 cents of dollar that is generated in wealth. They have nationalized or severely cartelized formerly private industries like health care, banking, automobiles, and the student loan industry.

The government taxes more, regulates more, and controls more than ever before. This is damning inditement of both Progressivism as well as “compassionate conservatism.”

Real empathy, which is what I would say if I ever had the displeasure of running for public office, is wanting to fight to give people back as much of the tax dollars and their liberty as possible. Real empathy is the belief that citizens, not the state, should be able to decide how they want to work, where to send their kids to school, what foreign workers to bring in to work, who to marry, where they want to live, how they want to build their house, decide how much in taxes they want to pay for the services they receive,  what kind of light bulbs they want to buy, whether or not they want to cover their workers birth control, what kind of health insurance they want to buy, whether they want to donate more to a political campaign then the State dictates, what substances they want to put in their body, and whether they can download a song and not have the feds break down their door.

That is empathy. That is liberty.