The columnist as candidate
© by Barbara Anderson

The Salem News
Thursday, January 21 2016


After a week in which I watched President Obama’s final State of the Union address and Republican and Democrat presidential debates, I am ready to declare myself: still candidateless.

I’m not one of those voters who must have the perfect candidate; I’m practical enough to know if that was my requirement, I’d have to run myself. So I’m just looking for the candidate who is most like me, albeit with an electable personality.

I wouldn’t run third party, so I could run as either a Democrat or Republican. I’d start by assuming that the primary voters aren’t what we’ve seen in other years, that angry or anxious citizens may be looking at this election from outside their usual boxes.

First thing, I’d announce that I won’t be pandering to the “religious right” or the socialist left. The only Biblical quote you’ll hear from me is one of the Beatitudes, “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after Justice, for they shall have their fill.” I’m not into blessing the poor in spirit, the meek, or the peacemakers at the moment, if ever. It’s time to get firm with those who create Injustice.

Along with the Second Amendment (“from my cold, dead hands”), I have a clear understanding of the First Amendment. You won’t hear me advocating a religious position on abortion or gay marriage; if asked about these issues, I’ll refuse to discuss them in the context of a political campaign. If asked about litmus tests for the U.S. Supreme Court justices I’d get to appoint, I’ll say there’s just one: “hungering and thirsting after Justice and the American Way, as envisioned by our Founding Fathers.”

(OK, toss in reversal of the court’s Kelo decision: Donald Trump lost my vote with his support for that kind of eminent domain.)

There will be the usual challenge to the Founding Fathers on the slavery issue. I am prepared with my answer: Slavery was abolished 250 years ago, the Civil Rights Act is half a century old. It’s time to honor MLK’s suggestion that we judge everyone by the “content of their character and not the color of their skin,” which is where we were heading before the election of a black president we weren’t allowed to criticize without being called racist. During my presidency, I won’t discuss anyone as part of a racial group, just as an American; I won’t even notice race or color. All American lives are going to matter, or my attorney general will be on the case.

With the support of a majority, I hope, of Congress, the welfare state will be phased out, leaving just a “safety net,” as the debt ceiling will not be raised again to add to the national debt. I won’t be blackmailed into increasing social spending in order to increase military spending: as a former Navy wife, I saw plenty of waste in military budgets, too.

Like Rand Paul, I’ll be noting that we can’t justify getting involved in foreign wars, even when one is a good idea, until we can afford it. In the past, the United States would borrow to carry on a necessary war, then pay down the debt from that war as soon as possible when it was over. This sensible practice ended when we moved immediately from the expenditures of the Vietnam War to the new costs of the Great Society. I’ll be working with the National Taxpayers Union for a federal balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

Unfortunately, cutting welfare spending is more difficult now than it would have been a few decades ago because there aren’t as many jobs as there used to be for beginning workers. I’d hope to get Trump to negotiate some deals that would bring back manufacturing jobs, and give us better trade agreements than the one that is presently on the president’s agenda.

On the other hand, I’d ask Congress for adjustments to unemployment benefits and to take a close look at disability benefits, so that jobs would be filled in this country without resorting to illegal immigrants. Employers will just have to offer pay and benefits that would get crops picked and social services provided, starting to address income inequality by using the marketplace.

Yes, we consumers might have to pay a little more; that’s the price of a society that works. “Buy American If Available” would be a slogan of the Anderson administration.

In the interest of creating jobs, we would need rational tax policy: I’d ask Carly Fiorina to join my Cabinet, to work with the various plans, from the present candidates’ to the Selous Foundation’s “Freedom Tax,” to try to get somewhat closer to the three-page tax code she’s mentioned. Dr. Ben Carson, also in the Cabinet, would be in charge of repealing and replacing ObamaCare – certainly not with Bernie Sanders’ single-payer system.

Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul would still be in the Senate, so I would have fiscal allies there along with Paul Ryan in the House. Admiring as I do Sen. Cruz’ principled position on ethanol subsidies, I too would support phasing them out.

The Republican governors would oversee “laboratories of democracy” that share their ideas with other governors, as Mitt Romney intended with his RomneyCare and Massachusetts’ education reform. I’d ask him to help stop Common Core and return education issues to the states, and work with Trump on that “self-deportation” thing with illegal immigrants as the welfare state ends.

I’d ask Jeb Bush to help create a sensible legal immigration policy, like the one we used to have when most of our own family immigrants came here. However, I would discourage immigrants or refugees from countries with governments hostile to America and its constitutional freedoms until a way is found to adequately vet them.

We can discuss foreign policy after we get our domestic act together and are admired internationally again. Maybe next week.

Barbara Anderson of Marblehead is a weekly columnist for the Salem News and Eagle-Tribune Publishing Company.

The comments made and opinions expressed in her columns are those of Barbara Anderson
and do not necessarily reflect those of Citizens for Limited Taxation.

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