Indiana's 5th District Republican Primary – Brose McVey and a Constitutional Convention Should Scare You

The Republican Primary is coming up and there are some interesting candidates in the field who desire to unseat long-serving 5th District Congressman Dan Burton. Certainly, many would say he has served far too long, has a tarnished image and maybe isn’t the kind of leader they would like to see.

Those people may have some points; but, at the end of the day Burton’s voting record is far better than most other members of Congress and he often gets credited with having a pretty decent staff. Perhaps there is room for improvement; but, for those who are looking for another option, there MAY be a good choice in that race but Brose McVey does not appear to be it.

Here are the main things that have led me to have concerns about McVey’s candidacy:

Strike I:

I had the opportunity to meet Brose McVey at a Washington Township GOP Club Meeting and asked him about his stance on restructuring the tax code from one based on income to one based more on consumption like The FairTax would do. I was told that he (Brose) was concerned that the government might not have enough power to tax in that circumstance so he would support keeping some kind of income taxes while ALSO empowering the Federal Government to levy sales taxes. Seriously? Grant the government an additional power of taxation?

The presumption here is that there would be some way to prevent the combination of these from being just as, or more, oppressive as the current system. Think about that, granting the government a power to tax your purchases without ensuring that its power to tax your income was taken away. Brose, a lawyer, feels his idea is better than the one some Ivy League economists and $20 million in research developed leading to the sales to tax reform advocates of millions of books? I believe a sarcastic Dr. Evil, “Riiiiigggghhhhttt…..” is appropriate here.

When pressed, his concern is for the government’s ability to forcibly extract revenue regardless of economic conditions with no consideration for ensuring that people have a right to their property and the fruits of their labors. So in essence, although he might not see it this way, he believes government has a “first claim” on what you trade your life for (wages after all are exchanging the best hours of the best years of your life in exchange for money). We need politicians who are on the side of the people not government.

Strike II:

A friend of mine is at a Carmel, Indiana business gathering and Brose McVey is there shaking hands and campaigning. My friend, who is in the real estate business, is engaged in a serious conversation when McVey interjects himself into their space and discussion to introduce himself while shoving his campaign card at my friend. I’m told the card was immediately handed back with the admonition of, “Hey, I’m having a conversation here buddy!”

My friend was incensed and felt that it was rude and arrogant to not wait until an appropriate stopping point in his conversation to have a business card and handshake shoved at him.

Strike III:

Apparently, Brose supports the idea of a Constitutional Convention. He actually wants each state to pluck political appointees out of their partisan ranks and send them somewhere to open up, alter and re-write our Constitution? We have a process for this. It’s called “amendments” and at least a few of them like the 16th, 17th, 18th and 23rd were really bad ideas.

He posted this on a social networking site for professionals:

“It’s time for a Constitutional Convention, called by THE STATES. Balanced Budget Amendment, Term Limits, reaffirmation of limits on federal” [the message ended there but presume he meant “power”?]

Now, as a member of and participant in numerous political discussion and e-mail groups I can tell you that a lot of people in the conservative and libertarian political community are terrified by that idea. No one believes that very many wise men of great pro-liberty conviction like Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, George Mason or James Madison would be sent to alter our founding documents in appropriate ways. Anyone appropriately plugged in to the pro-liberty movement in any number of libertarian or conservative forums would have already been privy to and able to engage in the arguments for and against this over the past year or two.

A Constitutional Convention does not mean that just people you agree with would be showing up to participate! In Indiana, with the Democrats in charge of the State House what kind of representative do you think would get selected to represent us at such a Convention? In fact, many believe we’d end up with the same kind of circus we currently see in Congress and it would result in something granting the federal government near unlimited power to do whatever it wants. Sure, there are a few things that could be changed in the document (see below*) but for the most part, the document itself is fine – it is the courts, bureaucrats and the politicians that are the problem.

I responded to Mr. McVey that opening up the Constitution to the current crop of big government Democrats and Republicans that stock our halls of government might not be the best idea. He responded with:

“The risk of opening this sacred document to the people is now much less that allowing the tireless march of Washington politicians to continue unchecked. I regret that we may disagree on this critical point, but you can bet that my position will remain firm.”

Instead of engaging in a discussion, instead of asking questions about why or what the concerns are, how he perceives it would really be okay and that our rights would be safe, I got a rather arrogant, “…my position will remain firm.” Really? No new facts, no input from others, no discussion on the subject could possibly alter your position? We may give politicians grief when they do a John Kerry “flip flop” but I don’t know many people who believe the exact same things at 40 that they did at 20. Being open to new ideas, information, wisdom and debate is what shapes and hones our understandings.

The whole idea that a Constitutional Convention would end up with government more securely restrained than it was supposed to be in the original document is unbelievably naive. It’s kind of like folks who are increasingly calling for their state to secede from the Union. I understand where they are coming from; but, to assume that your state legislators and governor would suddenly put together some kind of libertarian government is also a little naive. Doesn’t mean it might not be a whole heck of a lot better than being under the thumb of the Feds (how could it not be better?) but don’t be deluded into thinking you’d get something you’re really probably not gonna.

So, on the whole, in Mr. McVey I see no firm grounding in any kind of ideology that concerns itself with protecting the natural rights of individuals or restoring the rule of law under our current Constitution. Even if his intentions are good, the lack of consideration for the impact, potential harm caused by or likely future abuse of some of the things he would seem to support is frightening. We’ve got enough know-it-all bozos in Washington with bad, short-sighted, misinformed or under-informed opinions – we don’t need more.

Oh, and on this you can bet that my position will remain firm. 😉

*A few things in the Constitution that might be worth altering (by no means an exhaustive list):

The commerce clause could be more specifically defined to meaning only what was originally intended, “making regular the free trade between the states”. (research: 1942 Wickard vs. Filburn Supreme Court case)

We should just nuke the welfare clause out completely to avoid it being construed as an excuse to steal from one group of people on behalf of another. (significant usurpation especially the 1937 Steward Machine Company vs. Davis court decision)

The power to raise armies should be strictly limited to ensure only voluntary induction to the military (as anything else is involuntary servitude and presumes that you are the property of the government to dispose with as they see fit).

A requirement to use zero-based budgeting might not be a bad idea.

Penalties for government agents (elected or otherwise) who pass laws, regulations or act in ways that violate the natural rights of people should be in place – otherwise the document itself has no power over those who would ignore it. The document needs claws. Congress will pass unconstitutional laws and then let the courts sort it out. But, the courts are partisan so what’s the point?

Absolutely we would scratch the phrase, “A well regulated militia,” from the 2nd Amendment since the anti-self defense folks like to try and use that to disarm people.

Congress should be equally subject to all laws, regulations, restrictions and programs that get passed and never allowed to exclude themselves. (this has been previously proposed over the years as one possible 28th Amendment)

So, sure, there are some things that could be adjusted but the document really is not the problem. Politicians, judges and an apathetic population are really the problem when they have no respect for the natural rights of people and will interpret any document to mean whatever they want it to mean to serve their own agendas. Does anyone think if we have Constitutional Convention any of the above listed things are likely to make it through? Doubtful at best.

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