Why I Will Not Support Bob Bennett for Senate
I have since received some e-mails and phone calls from voters encouraging me to vote for Bob Bennett in the state convention. I feel I owe it to them to clarify why no amount of persuasion or money in the world will ever influence me to vote for the sitting Senator.
When I expressed in the caucus meeting my desire to be a state delegate in order to vote against Bob Bennett, I received much more than just a smattering of applause. A member of the caucus asked me who I did support and why. I told them that I support Mike Lee for Senate for exactly the same reasons that I cannot support Senator Bennett. Mike Lee has an understanding and devotion to the United States Constitution that is nearly the inverse of our currently sitting senator. I won the office of precinct chair by a vote of 44-17.
In the fervor that occasionally arises, and has arisen now, to "throw the rascals out", a general throwing out of the bathwater might unintentionally include the baby (i.e. good leaders). A handful of caucus members approached me at the end of the meeting, and others have communicated with me that they think Senator Bob Bennett is a good man. Although Bob Bennett is a good man, he has not been a good Senator.
I want to make it clear that I do not dispute that point--I think Bob Bennett to be a very upstanding man. I suspect I would thoroughly enjoy him as a co-worker, as a Sunday School teacher, and even as a next-door neighbor. I have had enough experiences in my life, however, to know that being a good friend does not qualify someone to perform a particular skill.
First let's look at the one way that Bob Bennett has been helpful to the citizens of Utah. Then I'll explain, with several examples, why this is not enough.
Besides the undisputed claim that Senator Bennett is a good man, the only other positive trait I have heard described by Bennett supporters is that he has "gotten a lot of good things for Utah". It is poignant to consider that, because many of the "good things" he has gotten for Utah are violative of the Constitutiton, Mike Lee (or most any of the other candidates for Senate) will likely not bring these same good things to Utah. To take a stance against receiving money handouts from the federal government is difficult, but it is the correct stance. With minimal thought, it becomes clear that attached to the good things brought to Utah by Senator Bennett are the debilitating and devasting strings of long-term debt and legal and cultural malaise.
I now list a series of things, almost any of which to me, if taken by itself, disqualify Senator Bennett from being a Senator.
Declaration of War. In 2002, when the Bush Administration made claims that the United States needed to pre-emptively attack Iraq, Congress voted to Authorize the President to Use Military Force (AUMF) in order to accomplish whatever he deemed necessary to protect us from the ogre Saddam Hussein. Congress, according to the Constitution, (except to repel immediate invasion) must make an official declaration of war before long-term military force can be used. That never happened. Instead, Bob Bennett and a majority of both houses of Congress granted a blank check to George W. Bush to exercise whatever military force his administration desired.
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Prior to the empire building of the Bush Administration, the surveillance of any kind of foreign intelligence required a search warrant obtained from a court. During the manufactured frenzy of the War on Terror, George Bush persuaded Congress to remove the requirement for a warrant, making it possible for law enforcement offficials to eavesdrop on essentially anyone, anywhere, anytime. Telephone companies have since been compelled to turn over entire sets of data for NSA, FBI, and CIA operatives to examine. This violates Americans' constitutional rights to not be subject to illegal searches and seizures, and to not be searched unless a warrant is issued based on probable cause to believe that a crime has been or will soon be committed. Bob Bennett voted to take away this fundamental Constitutional right.
Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Not in the wildest imagination of anyone on earth can the $700 billion dollar bailout of Wall Street in 2008 be considered to be in the general welfare of the United States, another constitutional requirement that Senator Bob Bennett ignored when he voted to pay off the tycoons in the financial sector.
Government Health Care. The United States has had some form of government-controlled health care scheme since 1964, so it does not occur to most Americans that such control is beyond the limits of the federal government's constitutional authority. Although Senator Bennett voted against the recently passed "Obamacare" health care regime, he recently sponsored increased government control of health care in the United States in the form of a bill that was touted as "Obamacare Lite"
Hundreds of Millions in Earmark Spending. During his tenure as Senator, Bennett has voted consistently to apply your tax dollars toward the funding of items that are for the welfare of specific groups of people. The United States Constitution requires that any law or appropriation done or made by Congress must before the general welfare of all Americans.
Because of an irresponsible congress, every man, woman, and child in the United States owes to the government a debt of nearly a half million dollars, money that many of us will never encounter in our entire lifetimes. This is not a per family debt--it is per person. Along with several other profligate spenders and irresonsible shepherds, Senator Robert Bennett is to blame for this debt that has been incurred on your behalf.
Having lived an economically unsustainable lifestyle, America is at an economic and social precipice because of what we have allowed our national government to do to us. If we expect to recover from our malaise, we must start over by rebuilding our national government. In order to recover, members of both houses of Congress, with very few exceptions, must be replaced with men and women who possess fiscal and Constitutional integrity.
Over the course of the last several years, Bob Bennett has consistently displayed to his constituents that he does not have such integrity. To show that we understand the necessity of the principles of good government, it is imperative that Utahns set the example for the rest of the nation and remove Senator Bob Bennett from office.
Because I have faith that Mike Lee will have the wisdom and the courage, where Senator Bennett did not, to vote as the Constitution of the United States requires, I support Mike Lee for Senate.