"I've abandoned free market principles to save the free market system."
- President George W. Bush, Dec. 16, 2008.
It's generally assumed that the Tea Party movement is a response to the fiscal policies of liberal Democrats. That's wrong. The Tea Party movement is a response to the fiscal policies of liberal Democrats and Republicans.
Members of both parties have abandoned free market principles repeatedly, and instead of saving the system, they've gutted it. Thus, today, there are millions and millions of Americans beholden to Washington for just about everything, including food, shelter, clothing and now even health care.
Enter Patrick "Pat" McGeehan and an army of citizens who have had enough. They're usually called Tea Party Conservatives, and they're marching on Washington. Their objective: Freedom.
McGeehan, 34, of Chester in Hancock County, is running to succeed Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., who is retiring after 30 years in office. McGeehan's first hurdle will be the Republican primary in May, and if he clears it, he'll face the Democratic nominee in the fall.
McGeehan is first and foremost a fiscal conservative, and he views high taxes, loose spending and the national deficit ($17.4 trillion) as a witch's brew.
On taxes, he's taken the pledge from Americans for Tax Reform. Bottom line, he promises to oppose new taxes for individuals and businesses.
On spending, he's taken another pledge, this one from the Coalition to Reduce Spending: He will (1) "consider all spending open for reduction and vote only for budgets that present a path to balance," and (2) "vote against any appropriations bill that increases total spending and against the authorization or funding of new programs without offsetting cuts in other programs."
He wants across-the-board budget cuts, back to 2006 levels. Bush's budget that year was $2.7 trillion; President Barack Obama's budget for 2014 is $3.7 trillion.
McGeehan is rock-ribbed. Entitlements programs? Reform 'em. Foreign aid appropriations? Eliminate 'em. Bailouts? Absolutely not. They're "morally and economically wrong in a free-market system." They "reward inefficient and corrupt management while robbing taxpayers and increasing the national debt."
His campaign reaches out to other issues, too:
- Obamacare: Repeal it. It was approved by people with "good hearts but small brains." There are free market solutions out there; we just have to look. He adds that he has signed the "Obamacare Repeal Pledge" sponsored by the Senate Conservatives Fund.
- The Military: We can't afford to be the world's policeman. Deploy troops only to protect our vital national interests. And no military action without a declaration from Congress. Pull the troops out of Afghanistan. Now.
- Gun Control: "The Second Amendment must be kept sacred and protected at all levels."
- Abortion: Life begins at conception. He supports the Life at Conception Act and favors legislation restricting taxpayer support of organizations such as Planned Parenthood. He says "56 million unborn have fallen victim to abortion, and it must be stopped today."
- Immigration: "We must secure our borders first." He also opposes a path to citizenship for people who are in the country illegally.
- The EPA: Dump it. The Obama administration, working through the EPA and around Congress, has declared a war on coal. McGeehan: The agency is "out of control and unconstitutional" and "must be defunded and abolished."
- NSA spying on us and the IRS targeting conservatives: Stop it. "When we, as Americans, permit our federal government to dismiss the Bill of Rights and cast aside Constitutional safeguards, we are setting a stage for the wide scale abuse of power and further corruption."
What makes Patrick run? "I look around and see the special interests, and I'm sick and tired of it. The republic is collapsing. We need to reverse course. I'll uphold the oath of office and support and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Next week: Can Patrick win?