Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.”     John Adams

June 14, 2007

Mitt Romney And Liberty: Friends Or Foes ?

by Doug Mataconis

I’ve been fairly critical in many posts here at The Liberty Papers of both Rudy Giuliani and John McCain. But what of Mitt Romney, the other declared candidate considered to be among the top contenders for the Republican nomination ?

Unfortunately, he’s not much better than Rudy or John:

“Mitt Romney’s ignorance of the Constitution’s checks and balances and protections against government abuses would have alarmed the Founding Fathers and their conservative philosophy,” said Bruce Fein, one of the group’s co founders and a Reagan administration attorney, in a press release last month attacking Romney for not signing the pledge.

The American Freedom Agenda, which intends to put all candidates in both parties to the same test, is aiming to revive a strand of conservatism that they say has been drowned out since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The conservative principle of limited government, they say, means not just cutting the budget, but imposing checks and balances on those who wield power.

“Conservatives have to go back to the basics,” said co founder Richard Viguerie , a veteran direct-mail strategist and author of “Conservatives Betrayed: How George W. Bush and Other Big Government Republicans Hijacked the Conservative Cause.” “We have to go back and re launch the conservative movement. And for traditional conservatives, it’s part of our nature to believe in the separation of powers.”

The other two co founders are Bob Barr, a former Republican congressman from Georgia, and David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union .

I’ve written before, favorably, about the  American Freedom Agenda, and that was way back in April when the only Presidential candidate who had signed on to their recommendations was Ron Paul. Two months later, it’s not much different:

One presidential candidate — Representative Ron Paul of Texas, the libertarian-minded Republican who trails far behind GOP front – runners Rudy Giuliani , John McCain , and Romney — has signed the pledge. Paul called up the American Freedom Agenda and signed its pledge after it announced its existence in March, Fein said.

The silence from the rest of the Republican field has been deafening.

But the focus here is Mitt Romney and whether anyone who believes in individual liberty should support him in his run for President.

So far, given his public record and his record as Governor of Massachusetts. the answer can only be no.

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10 Comments

  1. When I recently learned of the American Freedom Agenda, I went straight to their website to see who had signed. I was dismayed to see that they do not even list the signatories on their web site. I emailed them to ask them why. I’m still waiting for a response.

    The American Freedom Agenda should prominently display the names of those who have signed, even if Ron Paul is the only presidential candidate who values the Constitution.

    Comment by John Campbell — June 15, 2007 @ 12:10 am
  2. Mitt Romney is a warmonger – an enemy of liberty.

    Comment by William — June 15, 2007 @ 7:33 am
  3. I’ve got one word for anyone questioning Romney’s attitude toward liberty:

    RomneyCare

    The man is a corporatist at heart.

    Comment by tarran — June 15, 2007 @ 9:06 am
  4. Doug;

    I had read Mitt as a bit of an opportunistic blank slate as he doesn’t really represent any interests the way McCain, Guiliani, Thompson represent the Beltway elites.

    I was rather surprised he did not jump on the chance to separate himself from the DC-regime with the opportunity professional Conservatives from the Beltway presented him with, in the pledge above.

    That tells me his campaign isn’t ready for prime-time and there is no defensible reason to offer even nuanced support as he has offered nothing and as tarran notes, his record is awful on legislative matters.

    Comment by C Bowen — June 15, 2007 @ 9:43 am
  5. Issues of broad executive power and “enemy combatant” status of American citizens represent the problem with most conservatives I see these days: they’d rather sacrifice rights as enshrined in the Constitution for “freedom” and security. However, the bottom line is this: what is freedom without basic rights? In my opinion, while conservatives tout “freedom!,” they’re throwing away the constitution they say they want to protect. How does that help the advance of freedom in our world?

    This issue drives me insane. I’d consider myself a conservative with classic liberal tendencies, but these days, I find that conservatives are willing to throw away and subvert the constitution for the sake of security, just as liberals and socialists would subvert the constitution for their domestic agenda. When it comes to honoring true constitutional law, Democrats and Republicans are no different.

    Comment by Adam — June 15, 2007 @ 2:28 pm
  6. >> I find that conservatives are willing to throw away and subvert the constitution for the sake of security

    You are living in a fantasy world of your own making. You have one standard for today’s conservatives, and a completely different one for every previous president of these United States. When the president goes into the attorney general’s office, he is constrained by the bill of rights. When he goes into the national security side of the admin (military, cia, nsa), he certainly is not so constrained, just like every previous president and every other goverment. Warrants are only for a court of law. No warrant has ever been required for national security matters.

    If they can kill terrorists, they can certainly eaves drop on them. When has anyone stood up in horror while watching Bond 007?

    Comment by Gunnar — June 15, 2007 @ 3:16 pm
  7. [...] Chronicle, says Mitt understands the need to fight “radical secularism”.   Liberty Papers’ Doug Mataconis declares Mitt to be a “foe” to “individual liberty” because he didn’t sign the American [...]

    Pingback by Blogs for Mitt » Blog Archive » Friday News Roundup — June 15, 2007 @ 4:09 pm
  8. >> You are living in a fantasy world of your own making.

    >>When he goes into the national security side of the admin (military, cia, nsa), he certainly is not so constrained, just like every previous president and every other goverment.

    I don’t really think you’re seeing where I’m coming from and the fantasy is up to you.

    Obviously, the President has inherent powers in being commander-in-chief, and as leader of the executive branch, his responsibility also stems to the duties of the CIA, DHS, NSA, etc. What I’m concerned about that makes me say that conservatives are willing to throw away the constitution for the sake of security is this: the status of American citizens or residents being locked up indefinitely for being called “enemy combatant” by the executive.

    IMO, since American citizens and residents would be considered under the 14th amendment, they would require habeas corpus and due process (meaning they can’t be held indefinitely or not knowing what they’ve been accused of). I’ve talked to so many conservatives willing to throw the 14th amendment away because someone named “enemy combatant” by the executive, American citizens no less, were not given basic habeas corpus protections as enshrined in the constitution. And they can’t give me this “well, it’s a time of war” crap because the constitution also applies in time of war unless Congress suspends habeas corpus and the president declares martial law because of revolution or insurrection. Yeah, that hasn’t happened.

    I don’t care what happens to terrorists who are killed and captured overseas who are not “under the jurisdiction of the United States” or who aren’t American citizens. What I am concerned about is the erosion of basic constitutional rights of American citizens after they’ve been captured.

    Comment by Adam — June 15, 2007 @ 6:43 pm
  9. …or who aren’t American citizens. What I am concerned about is the erosion of basic constitutional rights of American citizens after they’ve been captured.

    The Constitution doesn’t apply to only citizens… 14th Admendment, Section 1:

    Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    Comment by js290 — June 16, 2007 @ 12:32 am
  10. [...] Thelibertypapers.org [...]

    Pingback by Liberty, Power, and the Constitution « Veronica’s Lore — June 16, 2007 @ 3:46 am

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