Saturday, February 28, 2009

Reflections on the Tea Party

The rally was a great sight to behold, with many more people there than anyone anticipated. Kudos to Bill Hennessy and Dana Loesch for being the organizers and inspirational fuel behind the St. Louis Tea Party.

I was very honored to have the opportunity to speak at the rally, and ended up getting much more fired up than I expected. The crowd, like the whole Tea Party movement, was passionate, spontaneous and ready to take action. I look forward to helping keep the momentum going and holding our elected officials accountable for their misdeeds.

What I planned to say (I got the three basic ideas in but not many of the specifics--I had to make it quick and energetic!)

1. My parents and grandparents, like all Americans, struggled to leave a better world to their children
  • My grandparents were sharecroppers in the Missouri Bootheel and for the most part didn't control their own destiny in life
  • My parents were able to move to a great city like St. Louis and go to college, which was more than their parents were able to do; they sacrificed a lot for their kids, sending us to private school when they couldn't really afford it
2. We need to make the world a better place for our children than it is now; making them more dependent on government won't do that
  • Obama's campaign slogan was "Yes, we can!" but the premise behind big government is, "No, you can't!" It robs people of their independence
  • Not many people want to be working when they're 80 or 90 but that's what the debt we're putting on our children and grandchildren will require them to do
3. We are here to fight for a freer society; those who voted against freedom in the form of Porkulus need to be held accountable!
  • Washington politicians like Claire McCaskill love to bash Wall Street and say they need to live within their means, but what about THEM?
  • Obama was supposed to be all about reducing the power of lobbyists, but what do you think happens to the number of lobbyists when gov't is picking winners and losers in the economy? They scurry to DC like rats!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Is Todd Akin is moving to the center?

I was so shocked that it took me two days to react to the news that my Congressman, Todd Akin, plans to introduce legislation mandating that Americans carry health insurance. This is surprising for two reasons:

1. Akin is known primarily for his outspokenness on social issues like abortion and the Pledge of Allegiance, and for his promotion of a muscular foreign policy, which is personally important to him because three of his sons have served in the military. It's unusual to see him shift his focus to a non-"base" issue such as health care.

2. To the extent that Akin has weighed in on economic matters, he has been a very consistent conservative: he was one of a small number of Republicans who voted no on the 2003 Medicare prescription drug expansion and he was the only Missouri legislator to vote against last year's farm bill. His legislation is explicitly patterned after Mitt Romney's Massachusetts plan, which Romney's Republican rivals attacked and many conservatives criticized for its individual mandate more than most other provisions.

Don't get me wrong: nobody's going to mistake Todd Akin for a liberal or even a moderate any time soon. But I believe his plan is yet another data point showing our country's leftward shift on health care over the past few years. Conservatives seem to be conceding to the idea of universal health care coverage and some have even agreed to the idea that health care is a fundamental right. We are moving closer and closer to the liberal dream of socialized medicine, and the prospects of stopping it grow dimmer every day.