So, I Can Change My Mind, Can’t I?

One period of American history that is rarely, if ever, taught in our progressive education system is the Jefferson revolution of 1800. The revolution started a few years earlier and involved the struggle against the Monarchists and statists that dominated the Federalist Party during the administration of John Adams. The Federalist Party, like the Democrat Party today, controlled both Houses of Congress and the Presidency. The opposition party at the time was the Democratic-Republican Party founded by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

Jefferson was Vice President and President of the Senate during the Adams administration from 1797 until 1801 when he became President. Looking back on his career of public service, near the end of his life, Jefferson described this period as “the most important in its consequences, of any transaction in any portion of my life”… In a petition to the Virginia Legislature, February 1826, Jefferson explained his efforts in battling to preserve the Constitution against seemingly insurmountable odds.

“Their usurpations and violations of the constitution at that period, and their [Federalist]  majority in both Houses of Congress, were so great, so decided, and so daring, that after combating their aggressions, inch by inch, without being able in the least to check their career, the republican leaders thought it would be best for them to give up their useless efforts there, go home, get into their respective legislatures, embody whatever of resistance they could be formed into, and if ineffectual, to perish there as in the last ditch.

All, therefore, retired, leaving Mr. Gallatin alone in the House of Representatives, and myself in the Senate, where I then presided as Vice-President. Remaining at our posts, and bidding defiance to the brow-beatings and insults by which they endeavored to drive us off also, we kept the mass of republicans in phalanx together, until the legislatures could be brought up to the charge; and nothing on earth is more certain, than that if myself particularly, placed by my office of Vice-President at the head of the republicans, had given way and withdrawn from my post, the republicans throughout the Union would have given up in despair, and the cause would have been lost for ever.

By holding on, we obtained time for the legislatures to come up with their weight; and those of Virginia and Kentucky particularly, but more especially the former, by their celebrated resolutions, saved the constitution, at its last gasp.”
~Thomas Jefferson, “Thoughts on Lotteries”, February, 1826

This incident from Jefferson’s life points up that old adage, “The more things change, the more they stay the same”. It is easy to believe crises in our lifetime have never been faced by others in the past. That is seldom, if ever, true. That’s why a study of history is so important.

There are a number of parallels between Jefferson’s story and our own. Jefferson and the republicans in Congress were in much the same position as the Republicans of today. The Constitution was under attack, and those willing to defend it were in a conspicuous minority. They had to endure personal attacks on their character and on their patriotism because of their opposition to the administration in power. The situation became so untenable that the republican minority abandoned the Capitol and returned to the states to take a stand from there. The states rallied to the defense and eventually won the day.

We have much the same situation today. The Obama administration is waging an all out attack on the Constitution and the Republican minority, in spite of the valiant efforts of the few Constitution loyalists in the Republican Party, seems unable to do more than slow down the Democrat juggernaut. Fortunately, now as then, a number of states are taking up the cause. Jan Brewer of Arizona, Chris Christie of New Jersey, and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, among others are standing up to the progressive statists in Washington and fighting back. A number of state Legislatures are reaffirming their sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment. It is going to be up to us, as voters to send reinforcements next year to put down the attacks on the Constitution in both Washington and the Statehouses around the country. That’s why the November election is so important.

That leads to a dilemma for the Conservative voter. Considering the dearth of Constitution loyalists in the Republican Party, it is tempting to abandon the Party and look elsewhere for support. Two hundred years of history shows that third party candidates, as a general rule, hurts their allies and helps their enemies. Everyone who has followed this site for any period of time knows that I am adamantly opposed to third party candidates. However, recent events have caused me to consider that there may be exceptions.

Are we better off with Republicans who are willing to betray their oath of office and side with the anti-constitutionalists to serve their own ego and attempt to hold on to power, or is it better to concede that seat to a Democrat and adjust our defensive and offensive strategies accordingly? Of what possible benefit can Republicans like, Olympia Snowe, Lindsey Graham, Susan Collins, or even John McCain be to the country when they cannot be counted on in critical situations?

Illinois is going to have to answer that question when we go to the polls in November. Will we vote for Mark Kirk for Senate, or concede that seat to the Democrats? Last Friday Kirk announced his support for Elena Kagan. For me, that was the last straw. Kagan clearly revealed her disdain for constitutional government during her Senate confirmation hearings. Any Republican Senator that votes for her or any would-be Republican Senator that expresses support for her confirmation must be denied a Senate seat in 2010. Right now, we have four Constitution loyalists on the Court and one that occasionally comes to its defense. There is a possibility that another Justice will retire in the next two years. We must have Republican Senators that are willing to take a stand against another progressive on the Supreme Court whatever the cost.

For me and other Illinois constitution conservatives, that creates a dilemma. Do we just not vote for the Senate seat and concede it to the Democrat, or do we vote for a third party candidate?  Either way, the end result will probably be the same. However, by leaving the Senate choice blank, no one will know for sure, the reason we did so. In addition, we run the risk of helping to recreate another fiasco like Florida in 2000. For these reasons, I am seriously considering voting for a third party candidate in November.

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16 responses to “So, I Can Change My Mind, Can’t I?

  1. Michael Brown

    I am in agreement. While a Mark Kirk win would provide another GOP seat in the Senate, not much else can be said for Kirk moving to the Senate. I have NEVER voted for a pro-choice candidate. If they can’t get that one right……

    However, I have not been actively seeking to get Kirk defeated either. I am instead, focusing on the quality candidates that will make a difference.

    Kirk will probably win, ignorance is a politicians greatest ally. Nevertheless, Kirk is absolutely the wrong kind of GOP politician we need right now. And his win will hurt the conservative movement for years to come. It will demonstrate the GOP do not need conservatives.

    I was hoping to see a strong 3rd party candidate rise from the ashes of the primaries, but to date, I have not seen that take place.

  2. @ Michael Brown: What is required to consider a candidate as strong?

    The Demoblicans/Republicrats have a stronghold on the entire political/election process and write the rules to favor themselves.

    Instead of campaigning and trying to raise money, I am stuck fighting a legal battle (as are others) just to get on the November ballot.

    I am the real “constitutional conservative” candidate in this race, but I need help from people like you to make the campaign successful. The R & D war machines are poised to distract voters from us.

    The Republican party has failed me too and so I made the move out…This is a terrible time for all of us and extra effort by everyone is required to fix it all – especially before we completely ruin it for our posterity.

    Come join the fight. Tell your family, friends and associates. We can make this happen!

    In Life, In Liberty,
    Mike Labno
    Libertarian Candidate for U.S. Senator

    • Mike Labno,
      National Security is one of my main concerns. On your website you refer to Iraq and Afghanistan as unconstitutional wars. My reading of the Constitution is that any war that Congress approves and funds is a constitutional war. What is the cause of our difference?

      • Jerry,

        Thank you for taking the time to read my website.

        Yours is an interesting comment concerning “War Powers”. Would you please cite your references for my benefit?

        In the meantime:

        The power to declare war is solely vested in Congress, and for purposes of expediency, the Commander-In-Chief role is vested in the Executive Branch. Federalist #45 (amongst others) clearly defines the understanding and continuation of this practice (originated in the Articles of Confederation) and maintains the need for a separation of powers.

        Furthermore, granting letters of Marque and Reprisal (also part of the “War Powers” clause) provides for police action to be conducted as would have been appropriate in this situation; we are not at war with any sovereign nation.

        In addition, 1801 Talbot v. Seeman, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Congress alone had the “whole powers of war,” whether that meant authorizing “general hostilities” or “partial war.” This was reiterated by Justice Thurgood Marshall in 1973 and he declared that no precedence has ever changed that ruling.

        So, where is our declaration of war? Why no Letters of Marque and Reprisal?

        Gladly we can agree that a strong national defense is important to this country, but I question where was our defense the morning of September 11, 2001? The Executive Branch failed us that day through a flawed system of agencies.

        After nine years of abandoning our goals and objectives:

        -we have lost over 5000 of our finest men and women.
        -these wars have cost trillions of dollars (not including borrowed/printed money to be payed back later by our children and grandchildren).
        -we have increased hostilities in the Middle East.
        -we have strengthened terrorist recruiting.
        -hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians are dead – and classified as “collateral damage”.
        -we claim to spread “Democracy” yet ours is slowly eroded by our own Patriot Act.
        -we still have failed to catch Osama bin Laden.

        To me, a strong national defense means a fully equipped, functioning and active Navy. It means the best in missile defense technology. It means an efficient CIA and FBI. It means a well-armed public. It means promoting peace and commerce with all nations, entangling alliances with none.

        I am a Constitutional purist (except for the Slave Trade Clause – which is a disgusting compromise for a Representative Republic). I have found the Constitution, though extremely important, to be inadequately written. To understand the Founders intentions of the Constitution completely, the Federalist Papers, the Anti-Federalist Papers, and the Debates of the State Ratifying Conventions are the best sources of information. These three references are absolute and clear regarding what the people expected. I have long since ignored the “progressive” thinking of Democrats and Republicans trying to tell us otherwise.

        In Life, In Liberty,
        Mike Labno
        Libertarian Candidate for U.S. Senator

        • Mike,
          My reference to the war powers clause, is Article I, Section 8, Clause 11, the same as yours. We just read it differently. The Constitution does not give a specific procedure for the declaration of war. The President as the Commander In Chief, has the responsibility for carrying out the war following authorization by Congress. Congress also has regulatory power over the armed forces and to establish rules for dealing with prisoners.

          Whenever Congress authorizes the President to use military force against another nation, that is a “declaration of war”. An engraved document written in legalese and suitable for framing, is not required by the Constitution, a simple majority vote will do.

          The key is in the funding. The House of Representatives carries the primary responsibility for all wars since it is they who controls the purse strings. Furthermore they are required to renew their commitment every two years by Clause 12.

          As to Letters of Marque, they were outlawed by the 1856 Treaty of Paris. Reprisals are governed by the Geneva Conventions.

          I share your appreciation of the the ratifying debates, the Federalist and Anti-Federalists papers. I would also add Madison’s notes on the Philadelphia Convention. I would also add a caution when reading the Federalists. Remember, their purpose was to “sell” the Constitution more than to “explain”.

          I disagree that the Constitution was poorly written. It is the second most remarkable document ever written since the Apostle John finished the Book of Revelation; the first is the Declaration of Independence. The Constitution’s 4,494 words contain complete rules for governing a nation of 300,000,000 people that have worked for over 200 years—whenever tried.

  3. Michael Brown

    Mike is correct, Congress never declared war. What really peeves me is their motive. They wrote Bush a blank check. If the war went well, they could pat themselves on the back, if it went south…..well you know what they did.

    Truth is, they never considered our soldiers, it was purely a political vote, without ever declaring war on a Sovereign nation.

    And now Mike, you asked me what is necessary for a candidate to be considered strong. Well for one, EXPOSURE!!! 70% of the electorate remains political ignorant while they strive to make ends meet, not realizing it is their government that has them in such bad circumstances to begin with. As such, it’s quite necessary to get a great deal of exposure. To date, I have not seen that in your campaign.

    I am well aware how hard the GOP/Dems have made it for 3rd party candidates to get on the ballots, and I’m not opposed to voting libertarian, I’ve got a solid streak of libertarian running through me.

    When your name is mentioned even half as much as Kirk and Giannolious in the MSM, then I’d say you’re a strong contender.

    • Michael, I agree with your indictment of Congress. However that does not negate the fact that all wars are the responsibility of Congress according to Article 1.8.11-12. To refer to the current wars as “Bush’s war” or “Obama’s war” is factually incorrect. All wars are “our wars” by virtue of our elected representatives. Whether they constitute good or bad policy is another matter.

  4. To Mike Labno,
    With your permission, let’s move on to another subject. You suggest that since the Constitution is silent on the matter of abortion, it should be left up to the states. The life expectancy of a “zygote” from the time of conception is roughly 78 years, barring outside forces such as disease, accident or violence. Is a baby any less dead when killed under state law than when killed under federal law?

    You also mention the possibility of a Constitution Amendment, I believe, on another matter. There is ample justification for a “Right to Life” amendment in our founding principles, since that is the first unalienable, God given right given in the Declaration of Independence that lays out the principles on which the Constitution is written.

    Do you support a right to life amendment?

  5. Michael Brown

    That’s why I have never blamed anyone but Congress for Iraq. They are the ones that tried to turn it into Bush’s war.

    So what you’re saying is, Congress did abide by the Constitutional mandate regarding Iraq? I never saw it like that simply because it was never a declaration of war. I guess authorizing the action was enough.

    On another note, I support a right to life amendment. It is certainly considered a self-evident truth in the Declaration of Independance. I’m also sure our Founding Fathers never fathomed perspective moms willingly killing their babies.

    From the moment of conception that is a life. A life that the Government has a right to protect as is discharged in the Constitution. If we are all CREATED (not born) equal, that protection must reach to the moment of conception.

  6. Michael,
    I do consider the actions against Iraq and Afghanistan to be Constitutional. While traditionally Congress issues a formal declaration, “Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,” etc., etc., the Constitution does not require such wording.

    A declaration of war, I believe, is any act of Congress authorizing the use of military force against the military forces of another nation. Congress cannot avoid the issue by simply calling it a “police action” (Korea) or “an authorization to use all necessary means,” (Iraq)

    I go further than you, on abortion. I believe the government not only has the “right” to protect life, I believe it has the “duty” to do so.

  7. Michael Brown

    Yes, I agree, duty is a better word, and certainly one of the Constitutional mandates.

  8. Jerry,

    My declaration of moving “abortion” back to the states is a last resort knowing that some states will ban it (albeit a minor success)…I do not favor that move however because it is not a complete accomplishment…but I will take small steps towards a bigger picture if that is all we can get.

    Do I support a “Right To Life” Amendment? 110% I do! Please also see: H.R. 2533: Sanctity of Life Act of 2009.

    Here is my latest official statement regarding abortion:

    “For every person ever in existence there has never been an event more monumental in their lives than the time when 23 chromosomes of the father combined with 23 chromosomes of the mother to create a 46-chromosome, unique and gendered individual. At that moment, conception, Life was Created and concurrently endowed with certain unalienable Rights. All persons are Created, not simply born, equal; and they shall not be deprived of their Rights to Life, Liberty and Property without due process of the law. Preborn individuals, by their nature, are innocent and no process of law can rightfully infringe on their Right to Life.”

    Also, yes…government has the duty to protect Life…that is one part of their limited functions.

    Finally, @ Michael Brown: abortions DID indeed take place during the time of our founders…the history of abortion procedures goes back over 3000 years.

    The Declaration of Independence…now that is a Supreme document filled with rhetorical genius…I wish Jefferson had a much greater hand in the Constitution other than his occasional consultation.

    Back to “War Powers”…I couldn’t give a damn about Treaties or the Geneva Convention as they relate to granting Letters of Marque and Reprisal…we are a sovereign nation and the authority of this country lies in our Constitution…no treaty can supersede or eliminate our pre-established Law…it can only amend or add to it. The “America’s” Treaty to ban weapons sales (signed by Clinton but never approved by the Senate) is an example of a Treaty superseding our Constitution and threatening our rights as enumerated in the 2nd Amendment…the thought of debating it has been back on the table for the past 1-1/2 years.

    I appreciate this discussion. Are there any other topics you would like to discuss further? Would you like me to elaborate more on present conversations? I love getting my word out to those that are truly interested in changing our current state of affairs.

    In Life, In Liberty,
    Mike Labno
    Libertarian Candidate for U.S. Senator

  9. Mike Labno,

    You might want to rethink your statement, “I couldn’t give a damn about treaties”, since under Article VI, treaties become a part of the Constitution. The treaty of 1856 was properly ratified and does not violate the Constitution therefore it is constitutional. But then, I do not like the concept of letters of marque. I have never been comfortable with the idea of mercenaries.

    I agree with your statement on abortion. Your explanation is essentially the same as the one I usually use.

  10. Mike Labano, since I am not running for office I can be more rigid in my beliefs than you. I recognize that and make allowances for it.

    Just a couple of final issues you can clear up that are not mentioned on your site. The Preamble to the Constitution lists one of the purposes for it as, “to insure domestic tranquility”. My impression of the Libertarian Party is that it consideres the best way to insure domestic tranquility is to allow everyone to stay “stoned”.

    What are your views on legalizing recreational drugs?

    What is your views on the current fad, “National Popular Vote” for President and Vice President, bypassing the Electoral College?

    What is your opinion of the Constitution Party’s proposal of having our Elected Representatives tele-commute to Washington from offices in State Capitols? If you are not familiar with it you can find links on Randall Sufflebeam’s website.

    • Jerry,

      Have you read “Good to be King” by Michael Badnarik?

      I would disagree about the rigidity of beliefs. Maybe you are rigid, and that is fine. But as a potential representative, swaying back and forth on issues is unacceptable; I hold steadfast, and without shame, on all of my principles.

      I am comfortable with the “Electoral College” process of choosing our Executive Branch representatives.

      Yes it would be nice if our elected representatives stayed at home more often…allowing for more contact time with constituents and slowing down the process of letting Congress further destroy this country. According to the Constitution, we are required to only meet, in person, once per year. Initially though we must work on throwing out the bad laws (most of them) and getting back to our Constitutional roots. Surely though, even if we “tele-commute” the same old scoundrels will still find a way to screw us over.

      You’re impression regarding “being stoned” is unfortunate. I was once a conservative republican, so I can understand where you are coming from. But I have cleared my mind and see things in a different light. Looking at the surface of problems and chasing solutions is an endless cycle of failure…and so now I approach things a bit differently. Although in my personal life, my “conservative” principles and moral system remain.

      The Preamble is just that…an introductory statement to explain a general purpose. Nowhere in the Constitution is there authorization for oversight of proper moral behavior. To this day, federal drug laws are only “possible” because of a skewed abuse of the “Commerce Clause”. NEVER has domestic tranquility been considered as legitimate.

      But I must ask as to which times of “domestic tranquility” you refer? Would it be during the period of Prohibition when Al Capone and others gangsters ruled the streets through fear while bringing alcohol to their customers? Or is it modern day Chicago where the Latin Kings and Satan Disciples engage in violent turf wars to protect their black market?

      I lived on the West Side…I KNOW what is happening in our urban environments. Thanks to the “War On Drugs”:
      • I have been caught in the cross-fire of gang warfare
      • I have lost acquaintances to gang violence
      • I have physically defended my life and well-being on several occasions
      • I have seen friends turn to gangs for corporeal and financial support
      • I have seen friends go to prison for violent crimes
      • My home was robbed
      • My vehicle was damaged, several times, by gunfire
      • I cannot take my daughter to visit family in the old neighborhood because I fear for her life

      The fact of the matter is that you cannot stop the movement, production, sales or use of drugs in this country. Islam is very strict when it comes to drugs, yet Iran is fighting their own “Drug War” which is, per capita, probably worse than ours…and theirs is apparently a tyrannical government that rules with an iron fist, stripping freedom at any cost.

      Besides ending the horrendous violence caused by the prohibition, which all too often claims innocent lives and most definitely destroys entire communities, I also oppose the government’s “War On Drugs” because it has brought worse products to our streets. Up until the early 80s, cocaine was a simple drug; many users and a handful of abusers. When the WOD was escalated, it had the minor success of slowing down (temporarily) the importation of cocaine. But, the “free (black) market” prevailed once again (as it always will)…unfortunately it gave us “crack”. Since small amounts of cocaine can be “cut” to make large quantities of “crack”, profits remained. Except now we have an enduring epidemic because “crack” is infinitely worse than “standard” cocaine. Fast forward only a few years and we are stuck with crystal meth; once again, a product that can be made easily out of plain view countering heavy enforcement policies. Whatever is coming next scares the hell out of me…and I am sure the WOD will expedite its existence.

      But maybe you are leaning towards “moral” standards. Well in that case, why don’t we ban alcohol again? My siblings and I were the victims of alcoholic parents, and alcoholism has destroyed far more families (including my own) than drug addiction. Of course, this is preposterous…and so is the “War On Drugs”.

      FACT: prior to the “War On Drugs” about 1.5% of Americans were afflicted with drug addiction problems (not including alcohol and nicotine). Currently, about 1.5% of Americans are afflicted with drug addiction problems (alcohol and nicotine excluded).

      • Now, if recreational drugs are re-legalized, will YOU begin using because it is “permitted”? Of course not…and that will remain true for most Americans. And it is proven time and again that legalization has brought decreased violence and use in many other parts of the world.
      • Free market sales will reduce prices…people won’t have to steal for their habit…just like alcohol (and nicotine).
      • Furthermore, drugs can be regulated the same as alcohol: purity, potency, cleanliness, etc.
      • Retailers would have age-based sales restrictions. What “drug store” is going to risk selling to a 15-year old kid…I guarantee that most won’t. Modern drug dealers (gangbangers) will sell to anyone…and that will never stop…guaranteed.
      • Put drugs on the “drug store” shelf…99% of gang-bangin’ has little reason to continue existing. I never heard of any Barley and Hops cartels.
      • Get rid of gangs…communities can stop living in perpetual fear.
      • Safe communities will become productive communities.
      • Productive communities don’t need welfare.
      • Corporations that rely on welfare services for their business will lose lobbying power with the government and will be forced to legitimately compete in the market rather than getting over-priced freebies from their government friends (Dept of HUD for example).

      This failed “War on Drugs” amounts to nothing more than a tyrannical approach to solving a social medical problem. I am not saying we should end the war on drugs, I just endorse that it be fought by families, churches and communities that are compassionate about helping addicts.

      In Life, In Liberty,
      Mike Labno
      Libertarian Candidate for U.S. Senator