Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Chris Cannon’s Disconnect Between Beliefs and Actions

One of the more entertaining conservative blogs in Utah belongs to congressman Chris Cannon. At the link below, you can observe what Chris Cannon believes, or atleast perceives he believes. In the spirit of “civility in public discourse”, I will address each of his stated beliefs with why there is a disconnect between those stated beliefs and the actions of Rep. Cannon.


I believe...

- The government that governs least, governs best

I don’t know about anyone else, but I am unaware of Congressman Cannon’s efforts to reduce the size of government and roll back laws on the books. I also have seen a total lack of effort on Chris Cannon’s part to inhibit the Bush Administration from eroding the freedoms American’s have traditionally enjoyed. If anything, I would suggest that Chris Cannon believes in “loyalty” to his party and his President. Though not stated in his beliefs, I perceive based upon observing Chris Cannon for over a decade, that belief in loyalty to party is what drives this man.

- That open government, transparency, and reducing the size of government are the only true cures for corruption

Nice words but exactly what has Chris Cannon done to reduce the size of government? Though elected in 1994, Chris Cannon really found himself in a position of influence after the 2000 election, a point where he had some seniority and represents a time which ushered in a Republican President. Since that time, the scope of governmental intrusion in one’s life has increased, the size of government has increased and so has the deficit.

- The Congress should never spend more than it takes in

Let’s talk statistics Rep. Cannon. In 2000, when seniority and a Republican executive came into power, the U.S. had three years of budget surpluses. Since that time, we have had deficits $158 Billion to a whopping $413 Billion. What proposals have we heard from Chris Cannon to address these deficits? Am I the only one hearing crickets chirp?

- Taking the fight to terrorists is the only way to keep America safe

That is all well and good, but what does supporting an unprovoked war in Iraq have to do with taking the fight to terrorists? It certainly was a nice recruitment tool for Al Qaeda. President Bush and enablers like Chris Cannon have done more for Al Qaeda than Osama bin Ladin has. They have turned virtually an entire region and religion against our government and has made the U.S. less safe now than ever before.

- Technology, innovation, and the market are always preferable to government intervention

I can’t really contest that Chris Cannon doesn’t believe this. But I would contend that “always” is an awfully absolute phrase to use. What if the government intervention uses innovation or new technology? The Center for Disease Control uses both of those things. Does that mean we should rely on the private sector to evaluate our nation’s health risks from infectious diseases? Where is the profit motive? This is one example. A blanket statement like Chris Cannon’s sounds more like a sound-bite than a, ahem, prescription.

- Amnesty means being allowed to stay in America without a penalty - I will NEVER support amnesty

It all depends on your definition of amnesty now doesn’t it. I’m allowed to stay in America without a penalty. Does this mean he wants me to leave? Why the need to state such a strong position here? Is it possible because past positions and votes bring into question Cannon’s opposition to “amnesty”? Would this have been on his blog three years ago? I’m guessing not. Just for the record, I’m not opposed to some sort of amnesty provision. I’m just pointing to the peculiarities of Cannon’s statement.

- Civility in our public discourse is a good lesson for our kids and a lost component of our dialogue

Nice to hear that civility is important to such a partisan Congressman. I’ll just let his record speak for itself on this one. On the other hand, perhaps being in the minority has caused Chris to turn over a new leaf (snicker).

- Federalism sometimes requires the federal government NOT to act, no matter how painful

Federalism is usually in the eye of the beholder. Would Chris Cannon support federal legislation that bans gay marriage? How about banning abortion? How about stem cell research? And to take exception to this notion, I would suggest that hiding behind “federalism” may be a shield for the failure of Congress to take some necessary actions. “Oh, we’d like to help, but federalism is so divinely inspired (atleast when We play that card) that it would be inappropriate to take action.”

So what does Chris Cannon believe? I’ve seen the sound-bites, but I’ve also seen him in action for over a decade. All of us fall short of our beliefs at times. Though some of these beliefs I disagree with, the bigger issue is whether we as citizens can rely upon his statements as being genuine and accurate. Let’s just say, I’m not convinced.


rmwarnick said...

I remember from 1998 that Chris Cannon deeply believed he had a Constitutional Duty to impeach the President of the United States for even the slightest breach of the law. He was true to this belief-- then.

Obi wan liberali said...

Richard, I think you made the point I was trying to make when addressing his first belief, that Cannon's beliefs are "situational" and apply differently depending upon whom you are holding accountable. Loyalty to a Republican President is paramount to Chris Cannon. I've always wondered on what basis would Chris Cannon decide to dissent from his party?

just-commenting said...

Chris Cannon, along with a number of others (think Bush, Bishop, and many others nationally, Buttars, Bramble, Waddoups, and quite a few others at the state level) is a big reason that I have repudiated any association with the Republican Party after many years of feeling that they often represented my views. Although I cannot ever remember having voted a straight-ticket in the past 45+ years, I definitely leaned that way until recent years.

Although I do not feel at home in the Democratic Party either, I usually voted for Gunn McKay, Rampton, and Gov Matheson, and one regret of not living in Cannon's district is that I cannot vote against him. Although many Democrats hold some views with which I do not agree, the extremist positions taken by MOST of the Republicans in the past 15-20 years are thoroughly repugnant in their irrationality and their mean-spirited policies.

I tend to think that even when a Democrat is misguided, he is more likely to be sincere in his beliefs than the hypocritical BS that spews forth from the extreme right wing. It is disingenuous to the extreme for a Republican to criticize the Clintons for their spineless opportunism, even if it may be true that they are unprincipled and choose to support only those positions that enhance their electability. You have pointed out very well that people like Cannon make statements of their "principles" that are totally discordant with what they say and do.

The only unfortunate thing is that all of the efforts to call them on their hypocrisy are probably futile. However, I would encourage you to keep trying.