When a politician violates virtually every principle deemed by our Founding Fathers essential to the creation and maintenance of the American republic, we may justly pronounce that person an enemy of the Framers’ Republic. The Senior Senator from Illinois, Richard J. Durbin, the Senate Majority Whip, assistant to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, is precisely that kind of person. Illinois voters should take heed and vote him out of office.
Thomas Jefferson gave us the “sum of good government” in his First Inaugural Address. He defined a good government as one that would “restrain men from injuring one another” but otherwise leave them free to regulate their pursuits of industry and improvement. Jefferson feared “energy” in government, deeming it “always oppressive.” Jefferson, Madison, Adams, and Washington all viewed as central to the American republic the vesting of governing power (legislative, executive, and judicial) in separate constitutional departments and forbad delegation of those powers into any single hands, viewing that delegation as the “very definition of tyranny.” They expected taxation to depend primarily on external taxes of goods and not on internal taxes. They expected government to live within its means, and they very much opposed the notion that government should erect barriers to competition. In reference to government, Jefferson warned against “too many parasites living on the labour of the industrious.” The Founding Fathers expected health, safety, and policing laws to be the province of the states, not the federal government, and viewed an assumption of control by the federal government over health, safety, and policing laws to be beyond the enumerated powers in Article I and contrary to federalism. They expected state power to serve as a bulwark against the usurpation of powers by the federal government.
Richard J. Durbin shares virtually nothing in common with our Founding Fathers. Indeed, his view of “good government” is one that does far more than restrain men from injuring one another. Good government, in Durbin’s view, regulates every important aspect of industry, imposing a vast array of prior restraints to avoid the potential for actions he thinks not in the public interest. He favors energy in government, viewing government inefficiency in regulating the economy as condemnable. He wants far more regulation, far more inspections, far more fines, and far more prosecutions. He supports transferring from the constitutional departments of government ever greater legislative, executive, and judicial powers into the hands of regulators, viewing that not as tyranny but as essential to attain his own regulatory objectives. He believes he knows better than the average American what is in that American’s own best interest and he means to use the power of government to force Americans to live the life he thinks best for them. He favors extensive progressive taxation (believing no repository of wealth deserving of freedom from taxation). He strongly supports measures to increase taxes on the most productive elements of society. He favors far greater federal government involvement and control over health, safety, and policing. He believes that the Article I Commerce and Necessary and Proper Clauses should be construed contrary to the Founding Fathers’ intent, so as to grant the United States Congress virtually unlimited power to regulate every aspect of life. He has antipathy for the Founding Father’s conception of federalism and thinks nothing regulated by the states an exclusive province not also deserving of regulation by the federal government.
Severely criticized by the conservative National Review, he is the darling of the liberal Mother Jones. Mother Jones refers to him as a “top Senate liberal.” While the National Right to Life Committee gives him a 0% rating, NARAL Pro-Choice gives him a 100% rating. While the conservative National Taxpayers Union gives him a 14% rating, the liberal Citizens for Tax Justice gives him a 100% rating.
Opposing privatization of social security and Medicare, opposing balanced budget amendments to the Constitution, opposing eliminating federal bans on domestic oil and gas production, and opposing deregulation, he favors vastly increasing government outlays and government regulation. He voted in favor of the President’s two, failed economic stimulus plans, the $852 billion economic recovery act and the $192 billion additional stimulus bill. He voted in favor of the $2 billion cash for clunkers program and for extension of that program. He also voted in favor of the President’s ill-conceived plan to have taxpayers pay for a national infrastructure of high speed rail and for make-work jobs at a cost of $60 billion. He voted for the Senate jobs bill, and the President’s heavy taxing energy bill. He voted against prohibiting earmarks. He voted in favor of keeping Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He voted against paying down the federal debt by rating the effectiveness of federal programs, and he voted against a bill to reduce federal spending by $40 billion.
He consistently votes in favor of eliminating tax breaks, increasing taxes on the wealthy, against repeal of the Alternative Minimum Tax and against repeal of the marriage penalty. He voted in favor of a bill that would tax government contractors to provide funding for U.S. Senate campaigns. He consistently votes in favor of raising the minimum wage.
Favoring socialized medicine, he consistently votes in favor of increasing funding for Medicare and Medicaid. He voted in favor of Medicare Part D, the Medicare prescription drug benefit. Although he wanted full government funding of a national socialized medicine plan, in the end he voted in favor of the President’s health reform bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Favoring affirmative action, he voted in favor of federal set-asides of highway funds for women and minority owned government contractors. He consistently votes in favor of measures to include same-sex couples in a vast array of federal benefit programs presently restricted to husbands and wives.
Favoring federal funding for abortion and virtually no limits on the provision of abortion services, he voted against a ban on partial birth abortions. He voted in favor of a bill to ensure that military personnel received access to abortion services in military hospitals. He voted against a bill that would prohibit federal funds from being distributed to organizations that support the practices of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization. He voted against a bill that made it illegal for a person other than a child’s parents to transport a child across state lines to obtain an abortion.
He strongly opposes prayer in public schools. He strongly opposes school vouchers to permit parents to opt out of public school in favor of private school education.
He favors giving illegal aliens the benefits of legal citizenship. He voted for the ill-fated Immigration Reform Bill and for establishing an alien guest worker program that would lead to citizenship. He voted in favor of a bill that would allow illegal aliens to participate in Social Security and one that would allow illegal alien minors to become lawful residents of the United States.
He voted in favor of the Patriot Act, finding civil rights violations permitted by the law unobjectionable, and in favor of codifying the Fairness Doctrine, finding government evaluation and second guessing of the editorial discretion of broadcasters preferable to freedom of speech.
In short, Richard J. Durbin is an enemy of the Founding Fathers’ republic. He favors every political action the Founding Fathers’ opposed, and he opposes every political restraint the Founding Fathers’ favored. Unlike our Founding Fathers, Durbin trusts government. Unlike them, he distrusts the American people. Unlike them, he views private industry and improvement with a jaundiced eye, thinking the only good company a heavily regulated one. His favoritism for government is so extreme that he is willing to risk destroying the private sector to maintain his ideal of an ever expanding regulatory state. He is grossly short-sighted in that regard, of course, because to create his mega-state would require destroying the engine of finance for it, yet he brazenly forges ahead in creating it without regard to the destruction of business and jobs that occurs in the wake of those efforts.
At a time when government spending already exceeds the gross domestic product and is unsustainable at those levels according to virtually every economist, Durbin wants far more of it. He views government not as a parasite sucking the life’s blood out of the economy, threatening to render it so anemic as to cause its collapse, but as the goal to be achieved. If the economy is crushed by a government so taxing, Durbin will find that outcome largely unobjectionable because, in his view, government takeover of all that which is private would be a good thing.
Durbin does not simply dissent from the Founding Fathers’ conception of good government, he opposes that conception. In his view, the Founding Fathers got it all wrong. They were wrong to view government as evil. They were wrong to put restraints on federal power. They were wrong to oppose high taxation. They were wrong to disfavor placing legislative, executive, and judicial power in single hands. They were wrong to oppose federal policing, health and safety regulation. They were wrong to oppose making the states mere functionaries of the federal government.
Durbin has been instrumental in the destruction of the Founding Fathers’ core principles and in the erection of a bureaucratic oligarchy where everything private becomes subject to public scrutiny and direction and where everything public proceeds with little if any restraint on the exercise of power.
We may see this same pattern continuing in his recent introduction of the “Dietary Supplement Labeling Act of 2011.” Like his Food Safety Modernization Act, which vastly increases government inspections, creates new costly government fees for inspections, and forces every food company in the United States to register with the federal government and be subject to summary registration revocations and prosecution before administrative courts, his latest bill requires dietary supplement companies to register, list all of their products and product ingredients with the government, provide all of their labels to the government, and requires the FDA to evaluate all supplement ingredients and declare ingredients potential risks, inviting their removal from the market. If you think Richard J. Durbin has a visceral dislike for free enterprise, you are quite right. His every action is against freedom in the marketplace. He views with arrogant disdain the sellers of goods and services, not unlike the view held by Chinese Emperors before the Twentieth Century.
If Durbin gets his way, the cost of operating a small and medium sized business, already extraordinary, will rise even more. He has no sympathy for the argument that in the midst of this recession, we must deregulate and reduce the costs to small and medium sized businesses to permit economic recovery. To the contrary, he forges ahead, inventing at every turn new justifications for shackling free enterprise, imposing new costs upon it, and provoking greater unemployment. He is to the free market what Lizzie Borden was to her parents.
His legislative resume summarized here, his antipathy to every core principle that defines the American Republic, and his unending quest to expand costly, burdensome regulation make him one of the most important candidates to defeat in the United States Senate. If we ever hope to restore the American Republic, restore economic prosperity, cut unemployment, and ensure the survival and success of liberty, we must vote out of office enemies of the Founding Fathers’ Republic like Richard J. Durbin.