On Friday, during a fundraiser with former Presidential candidate Governor Mitt Romney, State Senator and Congressional hopeful Andy Harris announced that it was time for a new campaign slogan, at least according to this PolitickerMD story by Danny Reiter. Andy’s new tagline is “Freedom, Opportunity, Change.”
I’m not quite sure I agree with this decision. While I’m certain there’s been focus group testing on the new slogan, they didn’t come and ask me what I thought. And I think that “change” has been so overused in this political era that the word has all but lost its appeal. After all, everyone wants change but too often that phrase is just lip service to what would need to be a renewal. (Actually, “Renewing Freedom and Opportunity” sounds pretty good and hopefully is a more accurate description of what Andy would accomplish.) Remember, I’m the guy who came up with the 50 year plan for change?
Unfortunately, Andy is not the guy who’s going to be hiring new blood or firing an entrenched bureaucracy, that’s going to be up to President McCain. (I have no hope that Barack Obama will make any sort of positive change in the role of Fedzilla.) But there is one item I think Andy could sell as bringing freedom and opportunity (it goes without saying business as usual would end.) And it’s easily attainable within a two-year term.
Repeal those mandates which withhold federal money if state law doesn’t conform with an item Washington wants. Believe it or not, there is a Tenth Amendment to the Constitution. And while this practice conforms to the letter of that law, it certainly bends the intent well beyond anything the Founding Fathers dreamed up. This is the hammer that the federal government uses to intrude on the rights states have to dictate their own affairs, and getting rid of it will give the bureaucrats a little less to do.
And maybe that will call attention to the sheer amount of our tax burden that simply makes it into Washington just to be turned around and sent back out to a state capital. Being in state government Andy would be much more well-versed about this than I but I believe about half of our state budget is comprised of money received from the federal government. A goal of the Republicans in Congress should be to divest the federal government out of as many areas as possible – that’s not to say that services wouldn’t be provided but the money should be garnered from local sources. It would bring about a debate in each state capital (and in turn each county or parish seat) about what services are truly priorities if they knew that Uncle Sam wasn’t going to be the ultimate backstop to foot the bill. (We’ve already seen the mortgage industry screwed up and put on the backs of taxpayers, including the 95-plus percent who pay their mortgages on time. Thanks a lot.)
Americans crave change but fear the unknown. And in a world that is filled with those who would do us harm, the time has come to reevaluate the priorities of our federal government – hell, it’s long past time to do this at all levels of government. This election, though, shouldn’t be just about change as a concept – it should be about a renewal of Constitutional principles in a nation that for too long has ignored most of them.