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Republicans had their chance – and blew it!

By Henry Lamb
web posted February 11, 2008

The Republicans had their chance – and blew it.  Republicans could hardly contain themselves when the Supreme Court issued its ruling that kept Al Gore out of the White House.  Yes, they celebrated Al's defeat much more than George W. Bush's victory.    Across the country, conservatives were especially grateful that Al was unemployed, but only cautiously optimistic about the prospects of a genuine return to Constitutional government.

Conservatives, but not all Republicans, cheered when President Bush rejected the U.N.'s International Criminal Court, that outgoing President Clinton signed during the last hours of his reign.  Conservatives, but not all Republicans, cheered when President Bush rejected the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol.  Then, of all things, the President decided to rejoin UNESCO, a U.N. agency that Ronald Reagan had dumped because of its gross corruption and anti-American attitude.

Rumblings began to stir in the State Department about reintroducing the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, and even the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity.  Both of these treaties had been presented to the Senate during the Clinton era.  Exceptionally hard work by conservative   Republicans forced the treaties to be withdrawn from consideration.  Conservatives, but not all Republicans, were mystified by the Bush administration's desire to reconsider the same treaties Republicans had just defeated.

Surely the Republicans could prevail on important domestic policy issues.  The previous battle to open ANWR, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, ended with a Clinton veto.  With gas prices rising, and up to 16 billion barrels of oil sitting under American soil, conservatives, but not all Republicans,  thought  for sure that at last, this resource would be made available.  But,   no.

Some Republicans, but not all, set out to change the Endangered Species Act.  This law absolutely trashes the idea of private property rights and completely ignores the 5th Amendment.  A bureaucrat in a federal agency can, with the stroke of a pen, declare private property to be "critical habitat," and deny private owners the use of their land.  Finally, with the Republicans in power, this grossly unfair law could be changed.  But no.

During the eight years of Clinton rule, agencies of the federal government went on an unbridled spending spree, buying up private property, development rights, and conservation easements - from one end of the country to the other.  Surely, this reckless abuse of tax dollars, and dangerous expansion of the federal land inventory would end under Republican leadership.  But no.

The second term would be better, conservatives told themselves.  During the first term, the President, and other Republicans had to worry about the next election.  When John Kerry was defeated, conservatives, but not all Republicans, chomped at the bit to finally see conservative, Constitutional principles applied to domestic and foreign policy.

What a shock it was when President Bush invited the leaders of Mexico and Canada to form what was called a "Security and Prosperity Partnership," which was later discovered to be precisely what was prescribed by the Council on Foreign Relation's in "Building a North American Community."  The fog began to clear, however, when President Bush insisted on what he called a "comprehensive immigration" approach to stopping illegal immigration.

The disappointment of conservatives, but not all Republicans, grew into rage.  Conservative legislators  blocked what they called "amnesty" proposed by the President – and many Republicans.

Among the Republicans who championed the "amnesty" approach was Senator John McCain, who is now poised to become the leader of the Republican Party and its nominee for the Presidency.  Apparently, Republicans, but not conservatives, fail to realize that this shift from conservative, Constitutional ideals is the very reason the Democrats regained control of Congress.   

As Republicans, but not conservatives, in state after state, line up to celebrate McCain's victories, they obviously do not care that McCain voted against opening ANWR, that he supported, even sponsored, an "amnesty" approach to the illegal alien problem.  He even voted against tax cuts.  McCain may well claim to be a Republican, but the particular variety of Republican he is, operates on a philosophy that is vastly different from the philosophy that drove Al Gore from the White House.

Consequently, as the presidential selection process continues to weed out the also-rans, the nation is moving ever closer to leadership that seems to have little comprehension or concern about the fundamental principles of freedom that are so clearly set forth in the U.S. Constitution. No Republican can win the presidential election without support from the conservatives.  No conservative can win without the support of the Republican Party.

Without Divine intervention, America is racing toward an era of unprecedented government expansion, accompanied by a directly correlated loss of freedom.   Without Divine intervention, America is most likely to be infected by another dose of Clinton(s), or Obama – or both. ESR

Henry Lamb is the executive vice president of the Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO), and chairman of Sovereignty International.


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