July 2010

By: Brian Sikma

You’d think that with all the extra, overtime effort at bashing banks and businesses there would be some pay off for Democrats in Congress. Apparently, that is not the case. Released today, Gallup’s annual Confidence in Institutions poll shows Congress ranked dead-last in the list of institutions people have confidence in.  A mere 11% of Americans have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in Congress as a body. Standing well above Congress in the confidence rankings are banks and businesses. Yes, this is after the BP oil fiasco started, after the Wall Street financial crisis, and during a period of very high unemployment.

Business and the private sector are not always right.  Left to themselves, human beings in any area will always tend towards failure. But those who argue that government is always the antidote to whatever wrongs are present in the private sector fundamentally overlook the fact that government is comprised of individuals, and government can  more frequently afford to abdicate its responsibility than any private sector enterprise. Take the BP oil spill for example. BP did violate important and absolutely necessary safety regulations in the day-to-day operation of its Deepwater Horizon rig. But government, when responding to the crisis, compounded an already severe problem by bungling the response, turning down legitimate offers for help from international vessels, and imposing unecessary red tape right at a time when decisive action was necessary.

Government can and must keep the private sector accountable by serving as an impartial enforcer of laws and regulations designed to mandate honesty and transparency. But when government inserts itself into the very operation of a bank or business, and unilaterally limits the ability of business owners, investors, and stockholders to make decisions that will put millions of Americans to work and generate wealth in our economy, it crosses an important boundary. Without government we could not have prosperity, with too much government we will never have prosperity; today we are facing the problem of too much, not too little, government. Members of Congress might see their collective confidence rating rise if they decided to err on the side of liberty while generally regarding government power with mistrust, instead of vice versa.


Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) - Pro-life Democrat now famous for caving in to pro-choice ObamaCare

By: Brian Sikma

Mike Fichter, the executive director of Indiana Right to Life, and the chairman of the IRTL PAC, has made news lately with his PAC’s decision to adopt a no-Democrat endorsement policy. The board of the PAC voted to end the organization’s practice of endorsing Democrat as well as Republican candidates that are pro-life. The American Spectator ran a lengthy editorial highlighting the PAC’s decision and how it relates to the overall debate unfolding in the pro-life community after Rep. Bart Stupak’s (D-MI) flip-flop on ObamaCare.

The Right to Life organizations that form a key part of the broader pro-life movement have, on the whole, worked to stay non-partisan in their approach to politics. Because the pro-life movement rightfully transcends political parties, it has been difficult in recent years for some in the movement to see the need to become more hard-line in their political activities. Although fewer in number, pro-life Democrats have been an important part of state and federal legislative strategies since the pro-life battle began in 1973. Pro-life Republicans often provide the majority of the votes needed to deliver on a pro-life bill or amendment, but even when they are the majority party, the handful of pro-life Democrat votes that are in a chamber can mean the difference between victory and defeat.  

Since the Democrats took control of Congress in 2006, and as control of the Indiana House of Representatives has shifted back and forth over several cycles, it has become increasingly apparent that when Democrats are in the majority, the value of the pro-life members of their party decreases. Because the rank-and-file pro-life Democrats often vote for liberal caucus leadership, or get out voted if they do choose to vote their conscience in leadership elections, an increase of Democrats in any legislative body, even if they are pro-life, spells doom for pro-life legislation.

In adopting a no-Democrat endorsement policy, IRTL PAC has really done the only thing it could have done to maintain a forward-thinking, smart political strategy to advance its values and principles. While it is unfortunate that Democrats, once in power, cannot be relied upon to even bring some pro-life measures up for a vote, let alone pass such legislation, that stark political reality should be acknowledged by pro-life leaders across the country. The Democrat party of today is even more liberal than it was when the pro-life movement began, and its heavy-handed tactics which are evident at both the state and national level justify a complete rejection of the party by a movement defined by principle and not party affiliation.

Independence Hall

By: Brian Sikma

As Americans gather with family and friends across our great nation to celebrate the greatest of our national holidays, it is a good time to reflect on where we as a people have come from, and where we are going. Nothing will stifle the possibility of our future success as a nation as much as a careless ignorance of our past. Similarly, a knowledge of our heroic and vivid history will inspire us to dream bigger dreams and tackle still greater challenges. History is not created in a vacuum.

Perhaps the greatest dream that we can have is to preserve this liberty that we enjoy so much today. The process of preserving and perpetuating liberty is not passive, but active. It demands a consistent series of actions on the part of individuals and local communities. It is a trust that should obligate every man, woman, and child in our country. It has been often said, and it cannot be said too often, that freedom is only one generation away from extinction. If anything, recent political and social developments remind us of just how fragile our experiment is.

When our founding fathers solemnly covenanted with one another and the millions of people looking to them to expend their “lives, fortunes, and sacred honor” in the defense of independence, they were standing for something far greater than themselves. Personal comfort and economic expedience all argued staunchly against independence. But deep in the soul of each man who, in effect, signed his own death warrant by signing the Declaration of Independence, was an unwavering commitment to a higher law. This higher law was referred to as “the laws of nature” and it declares that rights flow from the Creator, not a king, Parliament, or charter.

As Americans survey the landscape around them today, and see an ever expansive government attempting to become a social safety net for every individual, organization, and business, they should be skeptical about the direction of the country. Our present leaders have wondered from the path trod by our founders, and by the millions of everyday Americans who followed in their footsteps and forged our land. By simply returning to that path, that course of liberty lighted by freedom’s unfailing flame, we can once again return to a better day.

Just as our founders declared independence from England in 1776, we in our day must declare a new independence from the all-encompassing grasp of big government. This second declaration of independence must be preceded, or at least accompanied, by a great spiritual reawakening. Setting the stage for the political revolution of our founding was a nationwide awakening towards private virtue and deep spiritual values. A return to first principles in the public sphere must be paralleled by a return to individual virtue and personal responsibility.

Unless we understand the moral questions of what is right, what is wrong, why absolutes matter and why our rights are not universally true because an international body happens to say so, a return to first principles will be a futile exercise. We must commit now to building not a facade, but a strong structure with a sure moral foundation. The construction of this foundation is preeminently a personal, and not public, endeavor. To preserve liberty in our day, we must return to political first principles and personal responsibility coupled with individual virtue.

Editor’s Note: This was originally published in this morning’s edition of the Muncie Indiana Star-Press.
By Rep. Mike Pence

The Fourth of July is a time of great tradition across Indiana. It means watermelon passed around the family picnic table, communities gathered together at parades and blankets laid out on freshly cut grass to enjoy fireworks displays.

And so it should be. As President John Adams wrote of the first Independence Day, “It ought to be commemorated as a day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other…”

We would be remiss if we did not take time, as individuals, as families and as a nation, to commemorate and reflect on our independence. Today we celebrate that day over two centuries ago, when America stepped out from the shadow of tyranny, and founded a government “of the people, by the people and for the people.”

We remember the courage of our founders, who took this stand in the face of the most powerful empire in the world. And we pay tribute to the sacrifices made in places near and far by the men and women who have worn the uniform to defend the freedoms we enjoy.

America’s love of freedom is deeply ingrained in our nation’s history. We live and breathe the cause of liberty. Freedom is at the very core of an American spirit that is alive and well today.

We have seen it at tea parties, town hall meetings and gatherings across America. It is a force in America great enough to redeem our national government and reaffirm our revolutionary ideals.

This Independence Day, let us take to heart the decree of our second president. Let us celebrate our great gift of freedom with pomp and parade and the joy that befits a free people. Let us also commemorate this day with thanksgiving to God for the liberty and blessings we enjoy in our great nation.

Mike Pence represents Indiana’s Sixth District in Congress.

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