August 26, 2008 | Commentary on Economic Mobility
As Labor Day draws near, so too does the return of Congress,
something every American should fear.
While the House of Representatives is clearly controlled by a majority of Democrats, the Senate is made up of a coalition of 49 Democrats and two independents. One of those independents is the self-proclaimed socialist from Vermont, Bernie Sanders. Because the Democrat alliance with a socialist controls only 51 out of 100 seats in the Senate, Sanders is an integral and necessary member of the governing union of the left and the far left.
Sanders is also the lone elected voice for socialist thought in Congress, which makes it instructive to see the pieces of socialist legislation liberal senators cosponsor and how frequently other senators vote with the socialist party line.
Over the past year and half, his Senate colleagues have shown little hesitation in aligning with Sanders. One senator, Ohio's Sherrod Brown, would receive an A in Socialism 101 by virtue of his voting record and numerous co-sponsorships. Brown voted the socialist party line, with Sanders, 96% of the time and cosponsored a bill to raise taxes on small businesses and another that would mandate banks to make favorable loans to businesses that meet certain left-leaning ideals.
Thirty senators would receive an A-, voting with Sanders more than 90% of the time. Those lefties include household names such as Delaware's Joe Biden, California's Barbara Boxer, Illinois's Richard Durbin and Barack Obama, Massachusetts's John Kerry and Edward Kennedy, and Majority Leader Harry Reid. Seventeen senators, including many perceived moderates, would receive a B in Socialism 101. The saving grace for conservatives, and America, is that 45 senators would miserably fail Socialism 101 because they staunchly oppose the ideals of socialist Sanders.
Another way to look at a senator's support is to review who co-sponsors his bills. Two bills are particularly revealing in their support -- the creation of a nationalized health care system and the strengthening of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate and reform the national economy in the name of global-warming prevention. Co-sponsors of that bill include Biden, Boxer, Brown, Cardin, Clinton, Kerry, Kennedy and Obama.
Next week's column will trumpet the true conservative heroes in the Senate. Who is the next Jesse Helms or Barry Goldwater?
The New Cold War?
America is bracing for two boring weeks of conventions in Denver and Minneapolis, yet the real news is in Warsaw and Tbilisi as the Cold War rises from the dead. The Bush administration has been pushing forward with plans to construct a missile-defense system in Poland, and President Bush is stepping up muscular diplomatic efforts to contain a new Russian empire as the Russians size up the West's will to aid a burgeoning democracy in Georgia. Liberals and the Russian government are outraged by missile defense and tough anti-Russian rhetoric.
A ground-based missile defense system would enable the United States to target and destroy ballistic missiles launched from Iran, North Korea or even a rogue terrorist organization. In the old days, we had the Soviet Empire and the United States in a classic battle of good versus evil. Now we have multiple nations providing different power centers and different international threats.
Last week, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was in Warsaw to sign an agreement to base 10 missile interceptors in that former member of the Soviet bloc. These bases have the potential to stop a rogue nation like Iran from launching nuclear missiles against our European Allies. Russia and liberal Democrats in Congress are, of course, outraged.
Liberal Rep. Ellen Taucher of California told The New York Times that we should "go ahead and move on with research and development" but with regard to actually deploying the technology and putting them in the ground in Poland "we are saying no." Top Russian officials also objected to the move and said Poland could face consequences if the Poles allow the system to be installed.
The presidential candidates have also come down along party lines on this issue. John McCain has stated his strong support for the deployment of a missile-defense system, while Obama urges caution because he feels the system is unproven.
Meanwhile, tensions keep rising between the former Cold Warriors, Russia and the Untied States. The next few months will be critical to see if the superpowers are creeping toward a new Cold War.
Brian Darling is director of U.S. Senate Relations at The Heritage Foundation
First appeared in Human Events