Pollsters such as Larry Sabato and Stuart Rothenberg, guys who have great track records, are predicting a GOP House majority next year. But what kind of majority will it be? I’ve already posted the numerous reasons why the GOP and Tea Party activists should avoid a “tort reform” agenda and instead protect the right enumerated in the 7th Amendment and state constitutions of a jury trial for civil suits.
A GOP lobbyist in Washington, a 35-year-long veteran of politics, has some words of warning for new GOP Congressmen, especially those representing themselves as Tea Partiers. He campaigned for Ronald Reagan, held senior positions in the Reagan Administration and on Capitol Hill, and was a “Bush 43” nominee iced by Senate Democrats. He’s walked in the corridors of power in Washington, financially contributed to Congressmen at closed-door fundraisers and successfully lobbied for legislation in Republican and Democratic-led Congresses. That lobbyist-veteran is… ME (read my bio).
My warning comes in the form of a few questions for the newcomers:
1. Will you include key figures of your campaign staff in your Washington office to remind you and any visitors of the real reasons why you won your constituents’ confidence and votes? Or will you staff your office with “Washington veterans” recommended by the GOP Establishment and retired Republican leaders, who advise you to hire people who “know how the town works” and can “get things done” but have no loyalty to your constituents, your principles or Constitutional conservatism? I recall one hotshot freshman Republican Senator doing that, and he sent mixed signals and failed, leaving Washington with no record of success.
2. To all you Tea Partiers: Are you more afraid of losing your next race or of losing your integrity? What will you do when you get into a discussion at a fundraiser with a lobbyist from an industry or company that heavily supported you? What will you do the first time a corporate lobbyist or business association leader asks you to back up their support for your election with a vote that compromises your principles? I saw one new Republican Congressman, a “tough guy” who won a Democratic-leaning district while campaigning as a conservative, knuckle under in just one meeting to a group of businessmen from his home district, because he was just so afraid of losing their support.
3. Which media outlets will you care about first thing in the morning, the Washington Post, New York Times and major TV networks, or your local media? Will you fret or whine every time the WaPo and NYT call you an “unsophisticated extremist” or will you wear it as a badge of honor?
4. Will you actively seek to protect each and every one of the God-given, unalienable rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights? Are you willing to surrender your participation in one of the top committees in the House or Senate to defend the Constitution and Bill of Rights? Are you willing to actually vote “NO” on a bill pushed by your committee chairman? Will you heed a call to “get on board the team bus,” or refuse and risk retaliation, such as losing funding from the chairman’s leadership PAC?
5. Will you recognize, understand, and protect the 795-year-long history of the right to a jury trial for civil suits, as Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and John Adams supported, or will it blindly accept the business community’s view, which cuts a giant hole out of every edition of the Bill of Rights at the 7th Amendment?
6. Will you realize that federal preemption of state statutory and common law is antithetical to the 7th and 10th Amendments to the Constitution? Will you say that to any of the scores of business-side lobbyists who will seek preemption? Or will you gouge the 7th Amendment by promoting total immunity for the business community from oversight by state Attorney Generals and injured consumers?
7. Will you recognize that the civil justice process can actually be exploited for conservative policy goals, such as protecting the unborn, womens’ health and religious liberty? Or will you join the 25-year war againist the right to a jury trial for civil suits by trashing trial lawyers and civil suits, blindly read talking points prepared by the Chamber of Commerce, and actually call for bigger federal bureaucracies?