“Enlightened” Republican Leadership?

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, speaking to a group of business leaders in Dallas last week, called for a more “enlightened” Republican leadership in Texas.

“It is in all of our best interest that we have a Republican Party that’s worthy of governing in Texas and also having the message go out to American that the biggest state that is still reliably Republican is a state that has enlightened Republicans in leadership.”

That is an obvious reference to herself and her differences with Governor Perry. She disagrees with his comments in April to TEA parties around the state in which he focused on the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and said he understands why people might talk about secession. She refers to such talk as “silly.” Many Texans see opposition to unrestrained federal power as dangerous to our freedom, not silly. She also has blasted Perry for refusing to take federal stimulus money for unemployment benefits, while she voted for the federal bailout plans before Congress last year, which many Texans did not find “enlightened.”

A good example of Perry’s “unenlightened” leadership is last year when three Democrat members of the U.S. House Judiciary committee, international courts and then President George W. Bush called on Texas to postpone the execution of a Mexican national who had been convicted of the brutal rape and murder of two teen age girls. Perry could have postponed the execution for thirty days in an act of “enlightenment” but chose not to do so. Judge Cathy Cochran of the Texas Court of Appeals expressed the sentiments of most Texans when she said, “Some societies may judge our death penalty barbaric,” she noted. “Most Texans, however, consider death a just penalty in certain rare circumstances. Many Europeans disagree. So be it.”

While Senator Hutchison takes the “enlightened” approach that the right of abortion is enshrined in federal law and has joined liberal Democrats in the U.S. Senate in supporting Roe v. Wade, Governor Perry takes a conservative, pro-life position.

It seems to me that what Senator Hutchison really means is she wants to provide moderate leadership rather than conservative leadership, and I don’t know that most Texans would agree with that.

Double Jeopardy for CIA Interrogators

A column today by Gary Bauer talks about the political decision by President Obama’s Attorney General to appoint a special investigator to examine the CIA interrogators who were responsible for questioning terrorists and obtaining information to prevent the death of Americans in future terrorist attacks in this country similar to the attacks on 9/11/2001.

Liberals have made continued allegations of torture, and Bush administration officials admitted to using “enhanced interrogation techniques”; the whole debate comes down to what is and is not torture. Sleep deprivation and loud music is certainly a far cry from the beatings and physical maiming that many have suffered in Cuba’s prisons. Recently released documents by the CIA show that the techniques used were very effective in gaining information that prevented terrorist attacks.

President Obama seemed to be pretty clear when he said that we should move forward and not look backward when asked about the possibility of criminal investigations of CIA officials months ago. That position would seem to be supported by the investigation of the Justice Department by career prosecutors of all these interrogators and their decision to prosecute only one person based on the facts.

It is indeed interesting that the President has now decided to reverse his position on this issue just as the liberal base of his own party has become more and more upset over the administration’s failure to enact “health care reform.” Some political observers believe that investigating CIA interrogators is a way to mollify his base at the expense of those defenders of our country who were doing thier jobs.

This is especially interesting in light of the fact that Obama administration officials in the Justice Department overruled career officials in May by requiring that charges brought against Black Panther members for voter intimidation during the last election be dismissed. A civil rights activist who saw the incident described it as “the most blatant form of voter intimidation that he had seen, even during the voting rights crisis in Mississippi a half-century ago.”

The “Best Interest” of the Child

One of the concerns that many parents have about CPS workers coming to their doors is that often these caseworkers are young, have no children, and have unrealistic views of what is and is not appropriate for children. These young caseworkers often assume a house that is not clean is a sign of abuse or neglect, whereas a parent of several children will know that it is often only a sign of a mother of several children who is overwhelmed.

In addition to that, many of these case workers hold a secular worldview and often believe that those who profess to be Christian, believe the Bible, and practice spanking as a form of discipline must be guilty of child abuse. In my view, this is one explanation for the fact that CPS goes after many families aggressively with little evidence and refuses to pursue other cases which seem to have more evidence that the children are in danger.

The worldview issue can also be seen in custody cases in which judges make decisions regarding what is “in the best interest of the child” in custody disputes between divorced parents regarding decisions for their children. Back in March we talked about a case in North Carolina in which a judge ruled that a home school child had to be placed in a public school because of his concerns about the religious beliefs of the mother.

Today we read of a similar case, this time in New Hampshire, in which a judge ruled that a child being homeschooled (who all agreed was doing very well academically and socially) should be placed in public school. According to a counselor, the child lacked some “youthful characteristics,” and she “reflected her mother’s rigidity on questions of faith.”

The court appointed guardian ad litem concluded the child’s “interests, and particularly her intellectual and emotional development, would … be best served by exposure to different points of view at a time in her life when she must begin to critically evaluate multiple systems of belief and behavior.” The judge therefore ruled she would be required to attend a public school.

The Alliance Defense Fund attorney in the case states that the child’s and mother’s religious beliefs should never have been at issue in the case. The standard should have been the academic status of the child. I wholeheartedly agree. The attorney has filed a motion to reconsider. I wish him great success!

Perry Leading the Texas Way

Governor Perry continues to use his bully pulpit to promote his conservative fiscal approach to leading Texas. The latest platform for that message is an article in the Wall Street Journal aptly titled “Fiscal Conservatism and the Soul of the GOP.” He defends the fiscal approach that he and the Republican majority in Texas have taken in leading the state since he took office.

In spite of a $10 billion shortfall in 2003 and the clamoring for an income tax and additional spending by Democrats, Governor Perry held the line on taxes and cut spending. The result of such an approach is that in 2008 Texas created more jobs than the rest of the states combined, and while people are fleeing California (which took the opposite approach) at the rate of over a million between 2000 and 2007, Texas had an increase of 500,000 people in the same period of time.

While the federal approach to Health Insurance Reform conspicuously avoids tort reform, Perry led the charge on that issue with legislation which resulted in lower insurance premiums for doctors, a huge influx of doctors to Texas, and overall more affordable health care.

Sarah Palin gives her opinion on health care reform on a facebook message comparing Governor Perry’s approach to her own. “Many states, including my own state of Alaska, have enacted caps on lawsuit awards against health care providers. Texas enacted caps and found that one county’s medical malpractice claims dropped 41 percent, and another study found a ’55 percent decline’ after reform measures were passed. That’s one step in health care reform. Limiting lawyer contingency fees, as is done under the Federal Tort Claims Act, is another step. The State of Alaska pioneered the ‘loser pays’ rule in the United States, which deters frivolous civil law suits by making the loser partially pay the winner’s legal bills. Preventing quack doctors from giving ‘expert’ testimony in court against real doctors is another reform.”

And again, “Texas Gov. Rick Perry noted that, after his state enacted tort reform measures, the number of doctors applying to practice medicine in Texas ‘skyrocketed by 57 percent’ and that the tort reforms ‘brought critical specialties to underserved areas.’ These are real reforms that actually improve access to health care.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Health Care Reform and CPS

Many Texas families continue to deal with unreasonable CPS workers. Last year the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in the Gates case that CPS had to change its policy of removing children from a home based solely on the opinion of a case worker or supervisor, requiring a court order before doing so.

In June parents all over Texas lobbied the Governor to veto SB 1440, which I discussed at great length in this blog because it undermined parents’ right to protect their children, by giving sweeping new powers to CPS. Over 17,000 e-mails, phone calls, and letters were received by the Governor’s office asking him to veto the bill, and only 455 asking him to sign the bill into law. The Governor stood up for parents in Texas and vetoed the bill.

Now we learn that the federal proposal for Health Care Reform could lead to problems of a similar nature. Section 440 and Section 1904 of the HR 3200 (page 838) under the heading: “Home visitation programs for families with young children and families expecting children,” which would provide grants to states for home visitation programs to educate parents on child behavior and parenting skills. The language states that government agents will “provide parents with knowledge of age-appropriate child development in cognitive language, social, emotional and motor domains … modeling, consulting, and coaching on parenting practices, skills to interact with their child to enhance age-appropriate development.” In addition, it says, ‘‘… the State will promote coordination and collaboration with other home visitation programs including … other child and family services, health services …”

Parents in Texas worked hard to kill or modify legislation last spring to keep our state from adopting legislation that would allow agencies to share information with each other, including CPS, about “at risk” children. Parents were rightly concerned that some bureaucrat would turn their family over to CPS for an investigation that would traumatize their children for no reason. All of the bills that had such language were killed or changed to require parents’ authorization to share information with another agency. Now it appears that the Health Insurance Reform measures could accomplish this with HR 3200.

Just last week a mom responded to this blog telling about CPS coming to her home a week after she gave birth to her baby and demanding she get intensive therapy or lose her 2-month-old child, in spite of not having drug or alcohol problems. This is an example of the results such “voluntary” home visits proposed by Pelosi’s Health Insurance Reform could have – another reason to reject Health Insurance Reform federal legislation.

Texas Continues to Leads the Way

More data has been released showing that Texas and its approach of limited government and more freedom for business and individuals is the right approach in encouraging economic development and the prosperity of the people. See Tom Pauken’s comments.

Texas’ population continues to grow, and the state will gain another couple of congressional seats in the next census. As some have rightly commented, the influx of people from other states can have an impact on the political makeup of the legislature and could change the direction the state is moving.

Ultimately, there is never a guarantee for the future. It depends on the people who choose to participate in the governmental process. Those who participate will decide the direction and the policies, and we will all live with the consequences. I’m proud that Texas is leading the way in our own state policies, and I’m glad we have a governor who is willing to challenge the federal government in defending our freedom.

August will no doubt prove to be the turning point in the national debate over government takeover of health care – one way or the other. I encourage you to participate in and be part of the process.

Texas vs California or Red States vs. Blue States

A recent opinion piece in the New York Times highlights a comparison being made more and more often between Texas and California. It highlights the difference between a conservative and liberal approach to governance.

California has become the icon for liberal approach of high government regulation, taxes, and government spending, which has resulted in businesses and individuals fleeing the state in rising numbers and lower state revenues. The state is controlled by Democrats who have resisted cutting state spending and services; the state, therefore, has been forced to issue IOUs instead of checks to its employees and vendors. In fact, in recent referendum, the people of liberal California voted against every request to raise taxes and spending by a 60% margin, which has finally forced the state to dramatically slash state spending and services to solve its historic economic crisis.

Texas on the other hand has been called the “New California” as people from all over the country flock to our state to find jobs. Our rate of unemployment and foreclosures are well below the national averages, and economists predict that when the recovery comes, states like Texas will see better times first and states like California will be the last to join the recovery.

In fact, Joel Kotkin calls this phenomena “The Blue State Meltdown.” And they wonder why people are resisting the liberal “California style” agenda of the current administration.

Governor Calls on Christians to Get Involved

There is no question that evangelical Christians are a key element of the Republican Party’s coalition that leads to electoral success. Today a report in the San Antonio Express-News is almost breathless in describing Governor Perry’s comments to a church in that city yesterday. He articulated, quite rightly in my view, that freedom of religion should not be confused with freedom from religion. The mainstream media will have a field day with this and will call Perry extreme and a right-winger – just as they have when he has talked about taking on the federal government in defense of our freedom in Texas. However, this resonates with the vast majority of Texans.

The Governor also challenges Christians to get involved in the electoral process and choose leaders that will defend traditional values – or we might say “biblical” positions. He is exactly right. As I have told home schoolers for many years, if we don’t participate, we will allow those with a different worldview to make public policy that will impact all of us.

Last fall I heard many people defend their decision not to vote or participate by saying it didn’t matter and things couldn’t get any worse. I think we can all see where that has gotten us. “The Change We Can Believe In” is turning out to be a lot different than what many people expected. Today The Washington Times reports that White House officials would not rule out a middle-class tax hike to pay for health care reform.

On Saturday Texas Congressman Lloyd Doggett faced an angry crowd in Austin, protesting his support of the Health Care Reform in Congress. (Don’t miss the video.) More of that is probably in store for congressmen during their August break.

I hope so. That may be the only chance of stopping Obamacare.