Given the widespread angst over Newt’s apparent betrayals of conservative principles, I’ve begun the process of researching for myself Newt’s current and past policy positions and voting record.
Yes, I have lingering concerns about the consistency of his conservative record, but I also understand that being an evolving and very much engaged politician–a political practitioner who was often in the rough and tumble front lines of legislation–doesn’t always easily lend itself to achieving the appearance of absolute philosophical purity. There are times when, as a practical politician, one must bend to achieve one’s core legislative agenda. Thus the likely misleading appearance of apostasy.
As for some of the more questionable positions he’s taken in the past, these items beg for an explanation. Do they really represent hidden Progressive, aka neo-Marxist, inclinations, or, more realistically, were they merely political expediencies. Here are some of those troubling positions into which we must all do some objective delving:
1. Co-sponsored the Fairness Doctrine which was mercifully vetoed by Pres. Reagan in 1987. (So far, I cannot determine if he actually voted for it.)
2. Supported the GATT Treaty thereby granting increased sovereignty to the UN. (11/94)
3. Voted for the single largest increase in federal education spending–$3.5B. (04/96) (Question: will he actually eliminate the Dept. of Education?)
4. Supported fed taxdollars for abortions. (04/95)
5. Supported Bush’s proposal for mandatory carbon caps. (02/07)
6. LIke other conservatives, said he would have reluctantly voted for the $700B TARP bailout. (09/08)
7. Lobbied for ethanol subsidies. (01/11)
8. Suggested that flex-fuel vehicles be mandated for Americans. (01/11)
9. Wrote book saying he believes in man-made climate change. (02/11)
If Newt is able to explain these positions within the context of political expediency, misrepresentation, misstatement, or momentary addlepation then his conservative credentials would appear to be intact. I emailed these concerns to Newt’s campaign and am hopeful of a timely reply. I am also exploring how best to channel these items of concern to upcoming debate moderators.
The question is were those inconsistencies and/or faux pas and/or political expediencies indicative of Newt’s foundational philosophical bearings. At this juncture and pending further research, I think not.
At this point, I’ve tentatively concluded that Newt is, in all likelihood, a bonafide conservative with clearly defined and very aggressive conservative solutions. I am especially heartened by his “21st Century Contract with America” and am especially impressed by the 9th and 10th points of that Contract which, respectively, call for effectively clipping the wings of our runaway, activist judiciary and for beginning an orderly transfer of power and responsibility back to the States. For me, these two initiatives are at the heart of any real solution which seriously aims to restore constitutional order.
So, yes, I will be sending another donation to his campaign today. But, I will also continue to research and to keep my eyes and my options wide open.