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In classic leftist fashion, Clyburn has consistently sought to balance increased federal handouts – that is, for everything other than school vouchers – with ever-escalating taxes levied against the citizens who are forced to bankroll his pet projects. Viewing government spending as the one-size-fits-all solution-of-choice for all manner of economic woes, in January 2009 Clyburn voted in favor of the infamous $825 billion stimulus package whose main achievement has been to saddle future generations with yet another layer of utterly unsustainable, crushing debt. Six months after that, he voted Yes on $192 billion in additional “stimulus” spending – again based on the planted axiom that the government, rather than the private sector, holds the key to economic recovery. As a result of Clyburn’s unbridled tax-and-spend policies, in 2008 and 2009 he received the lowest possible ratings (ranging from 0 to 1 percent) from Citizens Against Government Waste, Americans for Fair Taxation, and the National Taxpayers Union – organizations that seek to eliminate wasteful federal spending and excessive taxation.
Tax cuts, of course, have long been anathema to Rep. Clyburn. In April 1995 he voted against a five-year, $189 billion tax-cut proposal. Six months later he rejected a bill aimed at reducing the federal deficit by lowering taxes and cutting social-welfare spending. In March 2000 he voted against a five-year, $46 billion tax cut for small businesses. Three months after that, he voted down a proposal to phase out estate and gift taxes over a ten-year period. In May 2001 he cast his ballot against President Bush’s $1.35 trillion tax-cut plan. In May 2003 he voted against a $350 billion federal tax cut. In April 2005 and again in June 2006, he voted against proposals to permanently repeal the estate tax (a.k.a. the “death tax”). In November 2005 he voted against a bill calling for a $49.91 billion reduction in federal spending over a five-year period. One month later he rejected a similar five-year proposal for $56.1 billion in federal spending cuts as well as tax reductions on capital gains and dividends. In May 2006 he voted against a four-year, $69.96 billion tax-cut bill.
Most Americans understand that their country’s economy and national security are closely tied to U.S. dependence on foreign oil, much of which is imported from regimes overtly hostile to American interests. Nonetheless, Clyburn – under the rubric of environmental concerns – has consistently opposed measures aimed at increasing the nation’s energy self-sufficiency. In October 1995 he voted against a proposal to open the Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil and gas exploration. In October 2005 and June 2006, he voted against the construction of new oil refineries. In May 2006 he voted against a proposal to provide funds for offshore oil exploration along the Outer Continental Shelf. That same year, he voted in favor of maintaining a quarter-century moratorium on oil and gas drilling in “environmentally sensitive” offshore areas. Then, in 2009 he voted Yes on enforcing cap-and-trade limits on CO2 “global-warming pollution,” even though growing industrial giants like China and India adamantly refused to abide by the same restrictions because of the disastrous economic impact they would have.
One of the left’s more noteworthy traits is its rejection of the notion that America has a right to enforce its immigration laws, defend its borders, and preserve its culture – to say nothing of its obligation to spend taxpayer dollars with at least a modicum of restraint. In these regards, Clyburn has long personified leftism’s ideological core. In July 1994 he voted against barring illegal aliens from receiving benefits and aid under FEMA‘s emergency food and shelter programs. In March 1996 he voted in favor of an amendment designed to permit illegal immigrants to receive public-welfare assistance. Six months later he voted in favor of a bill to increase border-patrol personnel and adopt other measures designed to stem the flow of illegal immigration into the United States. In May 2004 he voted against requiring hospitals to report (to the federal government) illegal aliens who receive emergency medical treatment. In December 2005 and September 2006, he voted against the construction of some 700 miles of fencing along America’s southern border. And in September 2006 he voted against a proposal to grant state and local officials the authority to investigate, identify, and arrest illegal immigrants.
Whenever a national security-related policy decision needs to be made, Clyburn can be firmly relied upon to take a position that compromises the safety of Americans – usually in the interest of “civil liberties” protections. In September 2006, for instance, the congressman voted against the use of military commissions to try enemy combatants captured in the war on terror – preferring instead to grant such defendants all the rights and protections afforded by the American criminal-court system, where the standards that restrict the admissibility of evidence are considerably tighter than the counterpart standards in military tribunals. That same month, Clyburn rejected an amendment authorizing the government to use electronic surveillance to investigate suspected terrorist operatives. In August 2007 he voted against a bill permitting government anti-terrorism investigators to monitor foreign electronic communications which are routed through the United States. He reaffirmed this position in June 2008, when he supported a bill specifically prohibiting this type of surveillance. In another noteworthy vote, in July 2002 – just ten months after the 9/11 hijackings – Clyburn opposed a proposal to permit airline pilots to carry firearms for the purpose of defending their aircraft against acts of violence or terrorism.
Similarly, Clyburn’s approach to the war on terror has reflected not even the barest glimmer of leadership. In June 2006 the congressman voted against a resolution which stated that it was not in America’s national-security interest to set an arbitrary date for the withdrawal of its troops from Iraq. In May 2007 he voted in favor of a proposal to expedite the transfer of all prisoners being held in the Guantanamo Bay detention center. In July 2007 he voted to begin dramatically reducing the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq within the next nine months, regardless of conditions on the ground.
One of Clyburn’s more significant war-related votes was his February 2007 opposition to President Bush’s so-called troop “surge” — the ultimately pivotal and dramatically successful deployment of some 21,500 additional U.S. soldiers to Iraq. Clyburn cast his vote against this measure just two months before Senator Harry Reid, the Democrats’ most recognizable voice of dispirited capitulation, would publicly state “that this war is lost, and this surge is not accomplishing anything.” In an August 2007 interview with the Washington Post, Clyburn was asked what his party would do if General David Petraeus, the commander in charge of the surge, were to issue a report that the new strategy was working effectively. Recognizing that such a report would inevitably impede Democrats’ efforts to garner congressional support for defunding the war, Clyburn said: “Well, that would be a real big problem for us, no question about that.”
James Clyburn – like Pelosi, Reid, and Obama – represents precisely what is wrong with the Democratic Party today. He considers massive government spending – funded by a crushing tax burden – to be the cure for virtually every social and economic ill that plagues America. Moreover, he views the United States as a fundamentally unjust nation where white racism continues to run rampant. This essentially negative vision of the country leads Clyburn, as it by-and-large leads all leftists, to reject the notion that Americans have a right to defend their borders, or to cherish their culture, or to keep most of the money they earn, or to educate their children as they see fit, or to make use of the vast natural resources that exist within the nation’s borders, or to mete out harsh and swift punishment against bloodthirsty terrorists, or to win wars decisively rather than abiding by politically correct rules-of-engagement and issuing constantly updated forecasts of projected troop-withdrawal dates. As such, Clyburn is a perfect fit to serve as a high-ranking leader of a political party that has become thoroughly degraded.
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