Sorting out GOP White House hopefuls

In Capitol Review, Notes by Mark Hillman

Rarely does the New York Times hit the nail on the head, but just as "a stopped clock is right twice a day," a recent Times/CBS poll confirmed that most Republicans (76 percent) don’t know what to make of the party’s candidates for president. Count me among them.

In judging among candidates for president, my checklist is short: commitment to low tax rates and balanced budgets, unwavering on national security, and reliable to appoint judges who adhere to the plain language of the constitution. Read More

MUST READS for Nov. 20-30

In Must Reads, Notes by Mark Hillman

Steven Milloy,

Don’t be distracted by the alarmist arm-waving and sideshows about the North Pole melting, polar bears drowning and the myriad other supposed catastrophes mentioned in the same breath as manmade CO2 emissions and global warming. There’s no evidence that manmade CO2 emissions have any created any environmental problem and certainly no scientific justification for handing the keys of the American economy over to the UN.

Robert Novak

There is no doubt about Mike Huckabee’s record during a decade in Little Rock as governor. He was regarded by fellow Republican governors as a compulsive tax increaser and spender. He increased the Arkansas tax burden by 47 percent, boosting the levies on gasoline and cigarettes.

Walter E. Williams

Students living in the University of Delaware’s housing, roughly 7,000, are taught: "A racist: A racist is one who is both privileged and socialized on the basis of race by a white supremacist (racist) system. The term applies to all white people (i.e., people of European descent) living in the United States, regardless of class, gender, religion, culture or sexuality. By this definition, people of color cannot be racists, because as peoples within the U.S. system, they do not have the power to back up their prejudices, hostilities or acts of discrimination. This gem of wisdom suggests that by virtue of birth alone, not conduct, if you’re white, you’re a racist.

Founders’ concept of freedom, faith too often forgotten

In Capitol Review, Notes by Mark Hillman

Just as the Declaration of Independence invoked the Creator as the source of our inalienable rights, the tradition of a National Day of Thanksgiving further confirms that the founding generation found nothing unusual about viewing government through the dual lenses of faith and reason.

Too often the debate over the proper role of religion in government devolves into polarized camps.  One camp argues that the Founders specifically created a Judeo-Christian state; the other counters that, because of their divergent beliefs, they created government as a purely secular institution.

While little factual evidence seems to substantiate the latter view, it seems that the former takes faith a step beyond the Founders’ application. Rather than create a government that was either secular or religious, the Founders assumed a culture that unified around key principles, including reason and faith, that are essential to personal freedom and limited government. Read More

Coloradans deserve health care choice, not mandates

In Capitol Review, Notes by Mark Hillman

"Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody ever does anything about it." — Mark Twain.

You might say the same goes for health care.  Politicians are constantly tinkering, making promises they can’t deliver, and usually creating a bigger mess than the one they promised to fix.

Ironically, despite the abysmal record of lawmakers and bureaucrats to produce lower prices or create greater choice, the public still clamors for government to "do something."  Perhaps the more logical outcry should be: "undo something." Read More

Is our compassion consistent or convenient?

In Capitol Review, Notes by Mark Hillman

Given the special relationship we have with our pets and the tenderness we feel toward animals that rely on us for protection and sustenance, it’s no wonder that so many of us feel disgust and contempt when we read about people who show blatant disregard for animals.

A Denver man accused of twisting the head off a tame duck in the lobby of a St. Paul, Minn., hotel is the most recent grotesque example.  That deadly, drunken trantrum seems mild, however, compared to the pattern of habitual cruelty exhibited by the likes of former football star Michael Vick who train dogs to rip each other apart for profit and amusement then kill them by horrific means when they are no longer useful.

We express our intolerance for such actions — yes, intolerance can be a good thing — through our laws. Read More

No wonder Americans won’t do those jobs

In Capitol Review, Notes by Mark Hillman

Much of our country’s simmering dialogue on immigration sooner or later turns to the question of hiring people to perform certain "jobs Americans won’t do."

Rarely, however, do policymakers address why Americans apparently refuse to do certain jobs while immigrants go to great trouble and expense to come here to perform those very jobs.

Many of the jobs now commonly performed by immigrants were once filled either by students or by adults who saw work as noble and idleness as shameful.

Today, our relative prosperity and appetite for instant gratification is becoming our enemy. Read More

MUST READS for September

In Notes by Mark Hillman

Wrapping my head around Fred
Jonah Goldberg

Trimming the responsibilities of government to a few important and constitutional functions would constitute real reform. Right now, the only bandwagon for a message even remotely like that is the Ron Paul campaign, and unfortunately, that bandwagon long ago barreled past conservatism to swampy territory outside the borders of common sense. Thompson could be different. While all the other candidates have a "can-do" personality, Thompson has a "won’t-do" personality. And that’s something many of us think has long been missing from the White House.

Voters scammed by Ref C ’shuffle’

In Capitol Review, Notes by Mark Hillman

Two years ago, lawmakers asked voters for a "timeout" from the spending restrictions of the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) in order to allow the state budget to rebound from the recession of 2001-2002.

Referendum C, which passed by a narrow 52 to 48 percent margin, erased the TABOR spending limits for five years and permanently increased spending caps thereafter. Voters were promised that K-12 education, colleges and universities, and health care would split the lion’s share of the resources if the measure passed.

Following the 2005 vote Colorado Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald said, “‘We already agreed, if Ref D failed, it would be 33 1/3, 33 1/3 and 33 1/3,’ for schools, colleges and health.”

But a funny thing happened after the election. Spending on programs not associated with Ref C has grown more than twice as fast as spending on education and health care. Now, voters have cause to believe they were sold a bill of goods. Read More

Property: Rights or privileges

In Capitol Review, Notes by Mark Hillman

Anyone who has grown up on a farm or ranch hears this maxim, "Take care of the land, and the land will take care of you." A farmer or rancher who doesn’t take care of the soil will soon find that the soil won’t produce enough to make ends meet.

But you don’t need to be a farmer or rancher to understand the importance of private property rights. What’s more, property isn’t simply a piece of land or a home. Property is anything you own — your clothes, your car, your business. Read More

Rights do not burden others

In Capitol Review, Notes by Mark Hillman

When we consider drastically altering our expectations of government, we risk undermining the principles on which our country was founded and proving Ronald Reagan’s maxim: "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction."

Every expansion of government entitlements masquerading as rights — like a "right to health care" — is a dangerous step along this path, no matter how well-intentioned.

The Founders of our country lived more than two centuries ago in a vastly different era, but they understood that certain principles are timeless, such as the corruptibility of human nature and the danger of unrestrained power. Read More