Democratic leaders and liberal commentators declaim against the Tea Party members of the Republican House and Grover Norquist for the no-new-taxes pledge to which many Republican Senators and House members have subscribed and have promised their constituents in return for their vote. They are lambasted for their "extremism" in the debt ceiling debate. How convenient for the Democrats to be able to point to specific targets of their wrath. Would that conservatives and Republicans could point to a particular group of Democrats or a particular pledge Democrats take as evidence of their extremism. The reason conservatives and Republicans cannot point to such a group or pledge is because extremism on the Left infects the entire Democratic Party.
• It's extremism, the Democrats say, to oppose new taxes. It's not extremism, they say, to support new taxes.
• It's extremism to oppose "fair" taxes on "the rich." It's not extremism to continue allowing 50% of the population to pay no income taxes while "the rich" pay over 70% of individual federal income taxes.
• It's extremism to cut back on entitlements. It's not extremism to retain, or enlarge, entitlements until they can no longer be paid for and threaten the economy of the United States and the freedom of all Americans.
• It's extremism to reduce the size (dollars, employees, footprint) of the Federal government. It's not extremism to constantly and consistently seek to expand its size, ever increasing the percentage of GDP obtained in taxes and spent. It's simply never extremism to support more federal spending.
• It's extremism to plan to debate the budget frequently (with Continuing Resolutions and debt ceilings) so as to interfere with other business of Congress (so said Senate Majority Leader Reid on Friday, July 29). It's not extremism for the Democratic Senate not to pass a budget or appropriations bills. It's not extremism for the Democratic President to submit a budget that is rejected by the Senate in a 97-0 vote.
• It's extremism to work assiduously and seriously to reduce the deficit. It's not extremism to retain the deficit and borrow 40% of every dollar spent by the Federal government -- borrowing much of it from Communist China and the oil cartel.
But this issue of what is extremism does not exist only in the debate on budgets and spending. Consider immigration:
• It's extremism to install a fence (calling it the American version of the Berlin Wall!) at the southern border to prevent illegal immigration and illegal trafficking in drugs and weapons. And it's racist to boot. It's not extremism to let persons cross the southern border illegally on foot to obtain jobs in the United States while persons of other ethnicities and races in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East wait their lawful turn.
• It's extremism to disrupt families by deporting some members while allowing other members, often American-citizen children, to remain in the United States. It's not extremism to let family members remain separated for decades from their immediate family members who are citizens and lawful permanent residents.
• It's extremism for a state (Arizona) to defend its borders (à la Arizona), an extremism which must be attacked by the Federal Government. It's not extremism for a state (Utah) and cities to provide "sanctuary" to illegal immigrants and let the Federal Government give this violation of the rule of law a pass. It's not extremism to allow illegal immigrants to build up a kind of equity so that the longer they're here, the more "right" they have to stay -- including reduced tuition at taxpayer-funded universities.
And consider campaign finance:
• It's extremism to allow corporations to help finance political campaigns. It's not extremism to violate the clear language of the First Amendment by barring, regulating, and restricting money in political campaigns.
We could continue with issue after issue: same-sex marriage, home ownership and banking, the environment. Tea Party members, Republicans, a host of independents, support the principles of the American Constitution. Their extremism, if such it be called, is like that proclaimed by Senator Goldwater when he accepted the 1964 nomination for president: "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice!" It is simply not true that, under this Constitution, every manner of national problem should be considered for some form of a federal solution. To think otherwise, as do the Democrats, is a violation of our American liberties which we are called to defend.
In announcing his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president in 2012, former Governor Jon Huntsman said about President Obama: "[T]he question each of us wants the voters to answer is who will be the better President; not who's the better American." Maybe a presidential candidate needs to be gracious to his prospective opponent, particularly one who nominated him as ambassador to China. Standing in the same spot in 1980, Ronald Reagan was not as kind to President Carter.
No, Governor Huntsman, the American people do want as president the candidate who is "the better American," the one who will better support the U.S. Constitution as it is written, the one who will promote and defend American freedoms over the statism and European style of government of the Democratic Party. American values are found, in the first instance, in the U.S. Constitution; they are not the amorphous, flexible, platitudinous "American values" espoused by President Obama and the Democratic Party. It is not enough to be born in America, to be educated here even by the most elite institutions, or to serve in the Congress, to be an American. Americans adhere to the Constitution.