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Latest Letter Afforded Peek into GOP Vision

The letter-writer says he values the recent exchange of opinions on politics for a glimpse into rival Republicans' philosophy.

To the editor:

Steve Taylor’s letter (“,” March 14) is helpful to understanding the debate between Left and Right that has been enveloping politics in our country and here in Minnesota’s Senate District 50.

In 2010 the voters of the district overwhelmingly chose Barb Goodwin, Carolyn Laine, and Kate Knuth to represent them in St. Paul. These are fine, intelligent, effective, hard-working women who, in Taylor’s rhetoric, are liberal, socialist, statist.

The voters of the district chose each of them by overwhelming margins over the best the GOP/Tea Party had to offer. The voters chose them because they recognized in the GOP/Tea Party candidates the Tea Party faction that has taken over the GOP of today. The voters of SD 50 evidently either saw what they liked in the policies and positions espoused by Goodwin, Laine, and Knuth, or recognized something they didn’t like in the empty Tea Party rhetoric of the three Republican candidates.

And by empty, I do not mean to be pejorative; I mean the GOP/Tea Party side had nothing to offer. Consider what Taylor has written as the thrust of the GOP/Tea Party policy theory—apparently it’s do nothing to help, and undo whatever is now in place that does help. There’s nuthin' more nuthin' than that!

As for the GOP as we once knew it, we have been let in on how the Tea Party has changed it. We’re being shown what’s to come in 2012. Once upon a time the GOP held that to speak ill of another Republican was a mortal sin. No more. George W. Bush wasn’t conservative enough for the Tea Party. Tim Pawlenty was always in cahoots with us vile liberals. Evidently there is a special Tea Party hell reserved for those Republicans with the temerity to seek any sort of compromise with Democrats. In 2012 we apparently can expect the new, and Tea Party-improved, GOP to eat its own. Bon appétit!

The Tea Party (now GOP) commitment to “limit government to its constitutionally empowered duties and obligations …” has been repeated again and again. The problem is that they don’t care to enumerate those duties and obligations. Those Tea Party members who do, always ignore the charge to provide for the general welfare. That provision carries the duties of government well beyond the narrow interpretation given by the Tea Party.

A simple example is that, according to the last GOP/Tea Party candidate in 50A, since nowhere in the Minnesota or U. S. Constitution does it specifically say that nursing-home care for the elderly is to be provided for, to do so as is the practice today is an example of government overreach. As such it is unconstitutional and must be stopped.

Policies like that that are so unpalatable to most Minnesota and Fridley voters that usually GOP/Tea Party leaders refuse to discuss them in other than meaningless generalities. From his lack of specifics you can see that Taylor is no exception.

Finally, while Taylor professes Christianity, he ignores the Christian tradition of social justice. Perhaps, like Glen Beck, does he feel Christian social justice is actually a bizarre mix of Communism and Nazism? Since earliest Christianity social justice, rather than “me first,” was the order of the day for a thriving society. Even now in contemporary evangelical Christian circles, and even here in the United States, Christian social justice is being emphasized as the Christian value (i.e. The Sojourners).

Taylor is certainly entitled to hold and profess his own brand of Christianity. You can believe what you want, even Me-First Christianity. Me-First Christianity, however, is not grounded in the reality of Christian tradition or history in that it is a contemporary phenomena found only in the most radically right realms of the Christian universe. Of all the flavors of Christian thought, it is likely only the GOP/Tea Party that considers greed-focused Me-Firstism to be Christian.

So, as we in Fridley get willingly or reluctantly dragged into present-day political and social policy debates ,we have a bit clearer view of what the GOP/Tea Party represents and has in store for us. They would apply their interpretation of God’s will, as revealed to them, to undo the social safety net we as a state have struggled since 1858 to establish. They would disinvest in education. While espousing personal freedom and responsibility they would interfere in our right to marry who we please. They would deny our right to healthcare, a right enjoyed in every other developed country in the world and in many second and third world nations. And they would split us, creating a nation and a state without a middle class, one divided into the very rich and those who struggle to care for themselves and their families. Already in the U. S. the 400 wealthiest individuals are richer than over half of all of our households combined. (Actually they are shown to be richer than almost 60% of our households combined!) Does Taylor and the rest of the GOP/Tea Party want the nation’s wealth to be concentrated even more? And do the GOP/Tea Party faithful really think promoting this culture of greed is God’s work?

Having said all the above, and reflecting on the ongoing tragedy in Japan and its social policies and the type of society it is as compared to our own, I looked online for information as to just how the Japanese people were pulling together to see each other through this crisis—something that we liberal, socialist, statists think we should do here.

I was surprised to find the following on the GOP/Tea Party website Regular Folks United: “There is something noble about a society that chooses to look out for one another before fending for their own selves.”  (You can read the full article here.) The point is that in the minds of at least some GOP/Tea Party types, a society based on community ideals, a society that looks out for one another is admirable in Japan, but it’s an abhorrent policy for us here at home. It’s just another GOP/Tea Party inconsistency.

—John Haluska, Fridley

Editor's note: The letter-writer has served as campaign manager for state Rep. Carolyn Laine (DFL-50A). Fridley Patch welcomes your letters and opinions on topics of local interest. Email me at chris.steller@patch.com.

Steve Taylor March 20, 2011 at 07:44 PM
All societies have producers and takers, and it's pretty clear which category much of the left falls into. Those of us on the right will keep on producing and fighting off clowns like Haluska and the candidates he supports who fail to comprehend what happens when there are more people on the wagon than are pulling it. Religion is a very personal thing, and I find it amusing in a sick sort of way how socialists downplay the importance of religion but are quick to present some very logically contorted references to it to justify the societal damage their beliefs and policies cause. Charity with the money of others is not a virtue. "Thou shalt not steal" applies whether a person steals themselves or commissions someone else to do it for them. In many cases socialism has become the religion of the left and it has unfortunately begun to infect some mainstream religions. Apparently the concept of American Exceptionalism escapes the author. Maybe he should move to Europe where socialism has engrained mediocrity for a long time. Personally, I'd rather fight for a society that reflects the vision of our founders rather than that of the government welfare state.
Tim Utz March 21, 2011 at 08:18 PM
Perhaps Carolyn Laine would do better for the citizens of our district debating public policy, constitutional purpose of government, promoting specific bills she supports to the community, actually complying with laws she promotes and passes into law; stick to PUBLIC RECORD FACTS and install a muzzle on her smear tactic Campaign Manager. In the 2010 election Carolyn Laine lost 839 votes and her quote “Tea Party Republican” gained 976 votes, a 1,815 vote swing over the previous off year election for HD50-A. An overwhelming change yes but not for Carolyn Laine. Additionally the quote “Tea Party Republican” raised $3,330.00 more than Carolyn Laine during 2010 campaign in a heavily voting DFL district.
John Haluska March 22, 2011 at 01:04 AM
Instead of the personal name calling the Right has resorted to, which will no doubt shut down this forum, it would be useful if the radicals speaking for it would be civil and would stick to the facts. I’ll enumerate a few: I write and speak for myself. When that changes I’ll let Utz know. The truth is a fact, not a smear. The Right can and evidently does have its own reality; it can’t have its own facts. The Tea Party promotes a radical right wing political philosophy; controls the GOP in the nation, the state, and in SD50. In 2010 in SD50 the GOP/Tea Party candidates and their message failed miserably. The state GOP/Tea party has yet to present a policy position that will benefit the people of Fridley. Folks in Fridley deserve a fact based policy discussion; perhaps one issue at a time. Let’s start with the GOP/Tea Party position on funding care for the elderly. What is it?
Steve Taylor March 23, 2011 at 12:58 AM
Mr. Haluska's premise that the funding for such care has to come from government is bogus. Maybe the elderly would have access to better and lower cost care if the government weren't so involved in health care which drives up the price and reduces the availability. Private insurance is more than capable in providing coverage, if the government would just get out of the way and let people keep and spend their own money.
John Haluska March 24, 2011 at 05:26 AM
What we have above is a proposal to get rid of government sponsored programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. These programs, along with Social Security (which also tops the new, extremist Right’s hit list), are the sole sources of health care funds for the majority of elderly and disabled citizens of Fridley. The GOP/Tea Party wants to do away with them and with any state level programs that supplement them. We’ve yet to hear why private insurance companies would want to provide medical, prescription, and nursing home care to the old, the sick, and the disabled at anything other than exorbitant premiums. The fact is they wouldn't. The fact is these programs are a response to private insurers failing to provide such coverage at rates the general population can afford. They didn't do it before Medicare and Medicaid plans were instituted and they won't do it now.
Steve Taylor March 24, 2011 at 10:18 PM
This is getting tiresome as it's hard to argue with someone who has no grasp of how the real world works. In a true free market where risk can be pooled and distributed the private sector can provide superior coverage and pricing. Applying Mr. Haluska's illogic, why would any insurance company offer life insurance? If the policy holder keeps paying the premiums the company will eventually have to pay out. Why would they sell fire insurance? If a company insures enough clients they will, just by chance, have to make large payouts. Medical insurance costs did not get out of hand until government got involved and created a couple of generations of a dependency class. Not all recipients of government benefits are in the situation due to their own fault as liberalism has so distorted the marketplace to such a degree that people have no choice to depend on government. Government can't provide this service efficiently as there is no market discipline or incentive to do so. Eventually the money runs out. With very few exceptions (i.e. the true constitutionally spelled out roles of government) government is not capable of competing with free market without the introduction of force. If anyone else wants to respond to Mr. Haluska's intellectually deficient rants be my guest. I'm getting tired and have lots of work to do to help see that the candidates he supports are defeated in the next election.
John Haluska March 25, 2011 at 01:52 AM
Taylor is talking about fragmenting the risk pool by splitting health and elder care into profit making chunks for our benefactors, the big insurance companies (think of handing off the flock to the wolf pack – talk about a death panel!) At the same time he points out the importance of pooling risk - the larger the pool, the more efficiently risk can be managed. This rationale is the basis for a single system approach to national health and elder care - one pool where all can be provided the care they need - the well and the unwell, the young and the old - thus spreading the risk as broadly as possible. There’s an understanding that part and parcel to such a single pool is a single administrator in order to capture all possible efficiencies. One pool, one plan, one provider; it’s a mainstream approach that makes sense to most Minnesotans. Thank you Taylor! The single goal of the Democrats’ plans is to provide health care for virtually everyone. The GOP/Tea Party plans provide insurance, not care. While there is nothing wrong with insurance, there is something wrong with thinking the folks who don’t want to pay when you have a car accident want to see you get the best possible care when you’re sick or injured or too old or too infirm. Here the beginning of fair and universal coverage is called the Minnesota Health Plan providing care for all Minnesotans. Nationally, the beginning of fair and universal coverage is the Affordable Care Act. Both deserve support.
John Anderson March 26, 2011 at 01:00 AM
John, the arguement has never been about whether or not to remove social security and like programs from current or soon to be recipients. It has always been how to reform it for younger citizens such as myself. So that we can set up a more sustainable method of securing our retirement in the private market. Old people such as yourself have never been the target, your generation has done a great job ensuring that the government will take care of you and I know of nobody who has ever suggested that we remove it. My generation simply wants options to secure our own future with our own choices without government interference. Nice try trying to start a fire on this issue but it's rather wet ground.
John Haluska March 26, 2011 at 02:45 AM
You may have mis-read my response to Taylor's latest comments. We didn’t get into retirement income. We ended at general healthcare vs. insurance and funding care for the aged - Medicare and Medicaid - and government involvement. Taylor argues from the Right there is no constitutional basis for government participation in such programs; and private insurance companies can do a better job (however you want to define better). I argue from Left and Center it is essential to have the state and federal government heavily involved in providing healthcare if you want fair and affordable programs that cover everyone. Private insurance companies have failed miserably in this area. Our people deserve the best healthcare society can provide, along with at least a minimum retirement income (if you want to discuss that). These benefits cannot be rationed on the basis of age, health, wealth, or access. Nor can groups be split out from the overall pool without destroying the programs, but maybe your's is an ideological goal. While Medicare and Medicaid are managed under OASDI (Social Security), most look at Social Security as an insurance program for minimum income in old age, for the disabled, and to protect widows and orphans etc. Most distinguish between that and its healthcare aspect. I've yet to see any rationale for privatizing either the healthcare or Social Security income benefit side of OASDI. The large pool and efficiency arguments of single-payer always win out.
Steve Taylor March 26, 2011 at 12:56 PM
"Our people deserve the best healthcare society can provide, along with at least a minimum retirement income"? "The large pool and efficiency arguments of single-payer always win out"? I'm almost ready to change my views on mandatory drug testing. Comparing voluntary participation in private sector insurance to government entitlements is pure ignorance and sophistry. If you can't understand the difference between voluntary pooled risk and forced participation in a Ponzi scheme you and politicians who you support are beyond hope. And if you think government "insurance" provide "fairness" and eliminates rationing you are delusional. Socialized medicine has been a huge failure everywhere it has been implemented, with liberty and economic prosperity going down along with the quality of health care. We have been engaged in the "War on Poverty" for nearly 50 years and the percentage of people in poverty has not changed appreciably while the dependence on government has grown greatly. With politicians like Goodwin, Laine, and Knuth leading the battle poverty will win. I don't want to become a serf dependent on government to confiscate the wealth of my fellow citizens in order to fund my next benefits check. Besides being morally repugnant socialism can only function until the money of the producers of society runs out, and the next step is yet another move toward totalitarianism. Please move to Europe and take our current state representation with you!
John Haluska March 27, 2011 at 02:35 AM
There are clear distinctions between the GOP/Tea Party and the DFL, as the commentary from the Right shows. The GOP/Tea Party is a collection of radical extremist far Right ideologues eager to sacrifice the best interests of the people of our state in order to advance the narrow, self interests of the highest income Minnesotans. "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country", apparently means nothing to them - they’re in it for themselves. Instead of reasoned argument, they resort to personal attacks. Instead of facts, they offer universally discredited laissez-faire economics. Instead of realistic plans, they offer their meaningless platitudes extolling greed. The DFL represents the rational center of our politics. It’s working to create jobs, defending our middle class working families, standing up for our children and elderly, and working to rebuild Minnesota’s prosperity. The GOP/Tea Party response to the needs of Minnesotan’s in desperate straits is to slash the budget for Health and Human Services and to slash the budget for Education. Their response to the need for revenue is to log off our state parks instead of making the wealthy contribute their fair share in taxes. What’s most despicable is their attitude that those who challenge their Radical Right Extremism should leave the country. It used to be America, Love It or Leave It, and now it’s the GOP/Tea Party Way or the Highway. America belongs to us all!
John Anderson March 28, 2011 at 03:54 AM
The removal of competition only raises prices/costs. Econ 101. Single payer will only lead to rationing and massive inefficiencies. I'm sure you think unemployment payouts is the best way to get the economy going. I'd post longer responses but it's hard when the person I'm talking to doesn't know even the most basic concepts. Taylor is howver, correct, there is no Constitutional authority for the government to provide these programs. This is what charities, mutual benefits societies, churches as well as private insurance is for. By using the power of the government to steal money from the taxpayer to do secure your personal retirement/health care is at its root an evil and greedy practice. On top of that by using the force of the governement you have also stolen the ability for the average person to secure their own retirement (we all know that Carolyn Laine hates financial planners) as well as steal our ability to help our own communities willingly.
John Haluska March 28, 2011 at 02:26 PM
We've now confirmed that instead of policy, the GOP/Tea Party leadership in SD 50 offers poverty and charity. Taylor, Anderson, Utz, and King - the four GOP/Tea Party stalwarts who have offered comments here, want the people of our communities, those who are in need of real solutions to the crises they face, to be beggars in the streets or at the doors of churches. Instead of dignified health care and retirement they want Dickensian poor houses to be the norm. In support of this dire future the GOP/Tea Party longs for, instead of rational argument of which they evidently are bereft, they offer but irrelevancies and gratuitous insults. And if we dare to disagree with them, they tell us to leave America. Minnesotans simply will not accept that. The people of Minnesota expect real dialog and the mainstream policies the DFL is offering. It's sad to see these GOP/Tea Party folks so fearful of reality and so unequipped to engage in a meaningful discussion. Perhaps the host of this site can recruit some other local spokes people for the SD50 GOP/Tea Party, some who have something substantial to offer in a rational and civil dialog.
John Anderson March 30, 2011 at 01:58 PM
I prefer charity to theft.
John Haluska March 30, 2011 at 08:03 PM
Delete John Haluska 2:52pm on Wednesday, March 30, 2011 Fair levels of taxation, equitably applied, that's what the DFL is proposing and it's hardly theft. What is theft are the various pieces of extremist legislation coming from the GOP/Tea Party controlled legislature where they're budgeting by bible and bumper sticker, stealing our childrens' future - the future of Minnesota is clearly on the GOP/Tea Party's list of plunder. This theivery from the Radical Right stepped up several notches this week when they mugged the U of M and MNSCU. If the Minnesota GOP/Tea Party succeds, a college education will be way out of reach for Minnesota's children, and our elderly will be reduced to beggars. All simply to serve the cause of the GOP/Tea Party's radical ideology. According GOP/Tea Party proponents Anderson, Taylor, and Utz, it's preferable to see our children have third world educations; and those who need medical care, or a decent place to live in retirement, begging for alms than it is to ask the wealthiest among us to pay their fair share of taxes. Pathetic. Reply
Steve Taylor March 30, 2011 at 10:24 PM
Why do you think education and health care is so expensive in the first place? The blame should rightly be placed on over-reaching government and nanny state statists. This is obvious to anyone with a modicum of understanding of basic economics and the vision of the founders. I think this is the end of my commentary. It's pointless to further argue high school level concepts of economics and liberty with someone who has at best a pre-school level grasp of the subject matter. Take the time and responsibility to educate yourself and maybe we can have an intelligent and civil conversation. If you want to be a subject or a serf, or to continue to envy the wealth of others who have actually worked to attain it, be my guest. We who live in the real world will continue to produce wealth and work to elect representation who will clean up the mess people of your ilk have created. It's tough in this district because of the huge government dependency class liberal policies have created, but conservatism will eventually prevail because socialism always collapses when it consumes too much of the wealth of those who produce.
John Haluska March 31, 2011 at 12:05 AM
Calling out the GOP/Tea Party for its failure to propose a single job creating bill so far this legislative session, and pointing out its seemingly complete lack of concern for the future of our state, our children and our elderly, seems to have irritated our local GOP/Tea Party leadership. Dealing with inconvenient truths obviously made these exchanges difficult for them, and so it looks like they are dropping out of the discussion. Though I hate to see them leave this forum, I wish them well; I have to admit they've made clear their true character and that of the GOP/Tea Party. For that I thank them, and I offer that it's been a pleasure witnessing them demonstrate that they are everything we've come to expect from that side of the aisle. Amen.
John Anderson March 31, 2011 at 05:03 AM
SD 50 DFL: Supports mob rule, theft of private property and the reduction personal liberty. HD50A: Supports the republic, the constitution and the protection of life, liberty & the pursuit of wealth. It's up to each citizen to make the decision of what they support.
Chris Steller (Editor) March 31, 2011 at 03:47 PM
Folks, please look for a new how-to post soon on opportunities for expressing opinions here at Fridley Patch--guidelines on comments, letters, opinions and so on. Send me suggestions at chris.steller@patch.com.

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