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More thoughts on "campaign finance reform"

Scott Tibbs, 12-17-2003

My latest column (on "campaign finance reform") has been posted at Hoosier Review. I'm quite critical of President Bush here, and some of my fellow Republicans may think I am wrong to attack the President's decisions on this matter. Therefore, I would like to submit a few questions to the more partisan supporters of President Bush.

First, which is worse, a President signing legislation that damages conservative principles and limits freedom, or a conservative calling him on it? Are we Republicans because we believe in a core set of conservative values, or are we Republicans only because we want to see our party in power and not the Democrats? As Republicans, are we principled conservatives or lemmings? As I asked in my column, at what point do we tell a Republican President that he must subscribe to certain core values in exchange for our support?

I am sure many people would strongly object to my statement about McCain-Feingold doing more damage to the Constitution than the September 11th Terrorist attacks. I stand by this statement. September 11 inflicted great harm to this nation and caused the loss of 3000 innocent lives. It was truly an act of war. However, the monsters who took down the World Trade Center did not take away any freedoms from the American people with this evil act. We are not more restricted in the exercise of our Constitutional rights because of what Osama bin Laden's henchmen did.

The President and the Congress (with the blessing of the Supreme Court) did take away Constitutionally protected liberties with McCain-Feingold. Nearly two years after this travesty was passed, I am still stunned that some people actually defend the ban on "issue ads" that mention a candidate's name 60 days before the general election, when the people are paying the closest attention. The Congress literally passed a law making it illegal for some groups to criticize them close to an election. September 11 was an attack on our people and our country, but McCain-Feingold was an attack on the core principle the United States was founded on: freedom.

That said, perhaps I have been a little too harsh in my reaction of the President's stance on "CFR". While the President's support for "CFR" certainly is inexcusable, the President has done many other things that mitigate this betrayal of conservative values.

The immediate issue that comes to mind is the President's leadership in the War on Terror. Bush took a proactive step in removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq, recognizing the threat Saddam represents to our national security interests and putting the world (especially Iran and Syria) on notice that the United States will not tolerate state sponsorship of terrorism.

President Bush has given the American people the first significant tax cuts since the Reagan Administration. Bush understands that taxes collected are the people's money, not the government's. After the previous President passed the second-largest tax increase in American history, it is a welcome change to have a President who is easing the tax burden.

President Bush has supported protecting the traditional definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

Most importantly, President Bush is solidly pro-life, and with a pro-cloning bill before the New Jersey legislature, it is becoming more and more apparent that we need a national ban on cloning. President Bush has promised to sign just such a bill, but it has been stalled in the Senate. Bush has provided needed leadership on cloning issues.

Bush's signature on the horrific McCain-Feingold "campaign finance reform" law will definitely make it more difficult for me to vote for him in 2004, and I am quite disappointed with his signature on expanding the Medicare program. However, I cannot yet say that I will not be voting for Bush in 2004.