Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Bypass Bennet?

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Senator Michael Farrand Bennet of Colorado (shown) is a liberal Democrat seeking reelection in what could be a competitive race in the Centennial State. On March 20, 2016, The Hill listed Colorado as number eight on its list of “10 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2016.” However, a more recent list published by The Hill on June 6, 2016 no longer mentions Colorado or Senator Bennet. Politico’s “Campaign Pro” race ranking, which as of July considers Colorado the ninth most vulnerable Senate seat this year, noted, “Republicans can’t find anyone to take on Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet.” As a result, Bennet no longer appears as vulnerable as he did at the start of the year.

Regardless of the party politics involved, Bennet is not likely to earn the approval of Colorado constitutionalist voters. According to The New American’s “Freedom Index,” which measures the fidelity of congressmen to the Constitution based upon their votes in either the House or Senate, Bennet maintains a dismal cumulative score of eight percent.

Bennet was initially appointed to the Senate by then-Governor Bill Ritter, when then-Senator Ken Salazar resigned to accept the position of secretary of the interior in the newly inaugurated Obama administration. Bennet was sworn in to the Senate on January 21, 2009, the day after Barack Obama’s first presidential inauguration, and he has remained there, a loyal supporter of President Obama’s policies. In 2010, as an incumbent, Bennet faced his first senatorial election.

During the 2010 election, Bennet garnered the endorsement of various radical leftist organizations. The Council for a Livable World, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organization dedicated to total nuclear disarmament of the United States, endorsed Senator Bennet. Founded in 1962 by Hungarian nuclear physicist and longtime ardent Soviet supporter Leó Szilárd, the Council for a Livable World has typically endorsed progressive Democrats who agree with their disarmament objectives. The council’s endorsement of Bennet read in part:

For many years, Bennet has had a strong commitment to national security issues. He supports President Obama’s efforts to negotiate a new treaty with Russia for reciprocal deep cuts in nuclear arsenals as well as ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. He supports the President’s goal of securing and retrieving nuclear weapons-usable materials worldwide and the Kis­singer-Schultz-Nunn-Perry vision of moving toward a world free of nuclear weapons.

Bennet also won the endorsement of the Alliance for Retired Americans, a self-described “progressive retiree organization,” established with the help of the AFL-CIO. Furthermore, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the self-described “advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood,” which is the nation’s largest abortion provider, also endorsed Bennet in 2010. In its endorsement of Bennet, Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said, “The Planned Parenthood Action Fund is proud to endorse Senator Michael Bennet. In the U.S. Senate, Michael Bennet has been a passionate advocate for women and women’s reproductive rights and made it a priority to promote and protect women’s health.”

Abortion

Considering Bennet’s record on abortion, it is hardly surprising that he received the endorsement of Planned Parenthood. In his first week in office, Senator Bennet voted against an amendment offered by Senator Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) to the Children’s Health Insurance bill (H.R. 2) to reinstate the “Mexico City” policy that then-newly inaugurated President Obama overturned on January 23, 2009 via an executive order. Initially enacted by President Ronald Reagan, the “Mexico City” policy prohibited U.S. foreign aid from going to organizations that provide or promote abortions overseas. In voting against Martinez’ amendment, Bennet supported President Obama’s position of allowing U.S. taxpayer dollars in the form of foreign aid, which is in itself unconstitutional, to fund the facilitation of abortions abroad.

On December 8, 2009, during consideration of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590), which became ObamaCare, Bennet voted to table (or kill) an amendment from pro-life Democrat Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska that would have prohibited the use of any funds authorized by the healthcare “reform” bill to directly pay for abortions or any health insurance plans that would cover abortions. Again, in voting against this sensible right-to-life measure, Bennet sided with President Obama’s desire that access to abortions be covered. In 2010, Bennet voted for the unconstitutional ObamaCare legislation, which at the time of its passage did not include protections for the unborn or provisions against federal funding of abortion.

In 2011, Bennet also voted against House Concurrent Resolution 36, which would have directed the clerk of the House of Representatives to make a correction to the enrollment of the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act to bar the use of any funding authorized by the bill for Planned Parenthood.

On Twitter, Bennet recently applauded the Supreme Court’s 5-3 decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, in which the court struck down a Texas law requiring abortion providers to meet the same basic health standards as ambulatory surgical centers and to have admitting privileges at a hospital within a 30-mile radius. “#SCOTUS ruling correctly strikes down restrictions on women’s health. Women should be empowered to make choices best for them & family,” Bennet tweeted on June 27, 2016.

Gun Control

Whereas Senator Bennet opposes any restrictions to what he deems as a “woman’s right to choose,” despite the lack of any such “right” to an abortion in the Constitution or any provision empowering the federal government to trump state anti-abortion laws, he is not so lenient when it comes to the legitimate right of law-abiding citizens to purchase or possess the firearm of their choosing, which is protected by the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

Like many liberal Democrats, Senator Bennet does not adhere to a strict interpretation of the Second Amendment. He favors greater government oversight over firearm purchases and the tools necessary for the federal government to develop a national database or registry of law-abiding gun buyers.

In 2011, during consideration of the Patriot Act extension bill (S. 990), Bennet voted for a motion to kill an amendment by Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to prohibit Patriot Act searches of firearm records of American citizens without a warrant and other protections under the Fourth Amendment. Gun Owners of America, which supported Senator Paul’s amendment, warned:

Without Paul’s exemption, it is possible that the BATFE [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] could go to a secret (FISA) court, and, in a one-party (ex parte) proceeding, obtain an order to produce every 4473 [firearms transaction record] in the country, ostensibly because a “terrorism investigation” requires it. If such an action were taken, the government would have a list of every gun buyer in the country going back decades.

On March 23, 2013, during consideration of a budget resolution (S.C.R. 8), Bennet voted against an amendment offered by Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) to “uphold Second Amendment rights and prevent the United States from entering into the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.” The following month, Bennet voted for a high-capacity magazine ban in the form of an amendment (S. Amdt. 714) to the gun-control Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act (S. 649). As we reported in the “Freedom Index” at the time, this amendment would “ban the future manufacture, import, sale, transfer, or possession of ammunition clips holding more than 10 rounds, with exemptions for law-enforcement officials.”

To his credit, however, Senator Bennet did vote against the so-called assault weapons ban amendment to the bill. Offered by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), this onerous unconstitutional amendment would ban the future manufacture, import, sale, transfer, or possession of certain semi-automatic firearms regarded as “assault weapons.” While Senator Bennet may not be the most ardent liberal opponent of firearms in the Senate, his one good constitutional vote against the far-reaching “assault weapons” ban does not take away from the fact that he is still not a constitutionalist when it comes to the Second Amendment.

This mixed record on firearms has earned him a lackluster C+ rating from the NRA. In light of his expected tough reelection bid this year, he may not at the present join lockstep with his liberal colleagues in desecrating the Second Amendment, but if reelected, his commitment against an “assault weapons” ban would likely be doubtful.

Illegal Immigration

While Senator Bennet may attempt to come across as elusive on some issues, there is no doubt as to where he stands relative to illegal immigration. Bennet was one of the original “Gang of Eight” senators, along with Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who sponsored the 2013 “comprehensive immigration reform” (i.e., amnesty) bill. According to the Freedom Index, the Gang of Eight pro-amnesty bill would have provided “a transition to the open borders sought by the advocates of a North American Union and other regional government schemes threatening our national sovereignty.”

“We can no longer afford the status quo. Our broken immigration system is bad for the economy and bad for families,” Bennet said in a press release days before its passage in the Senate. Elaborating on the purported benefits of the bill, Bennet said, “We now have an unprecedented investment in border agents and other border security tools, but we have maintained a real and attainable path to citizenship that allows immigrants to step out of the shadows and start contributing more to our economy.”

The large-scale “path to citizenship,” or amnesty, provisions and new visa programs, coupled with a lack of effective border security in Bennet’s “Gang of Eight” bill, would encourage further illegal immigration in what can already be described as an invasion via mass migration. Under Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution, the federal government is duty bound to “protect against Invasion.”

Senator Bennet also supports President Obama’s illegal executive action granting “deferred action” for an estimated four to five million illegal immigrants in the United States. This unilateral executive action amounts to de facto amnesty legislation by the president, which is a clear violation of the constitutional separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches of the federal government.

Bennet voted against a constitutional point of order raised by Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) against the omnibus bill’s DHS (Department of Homeland Security) funding, which President Obama previously announced he would use to implement his unconstitutional executive amnesty. On June 23, 2016, following the Supreme Court’s deadlock decision in United States v. Texas, blocking the implementation of President Obama’s executive amnesty, Senator Bennet said in part in a press release, “Today’s ruling is so disappointing for millions of families in Colorado and across the country who had hoped to work through this process and fully contribute to their communities and the economy.” Bennet’s interpretation of a prosperous U.S. economy is consistent with that of President Obama’s, not just with immigration but also with trade.

ObamaTrade

Unlike most Democrats, who oppose President Obama’s so-called free trade agenda, Senator Bennet is one of the few who support the president’s “trade” schemes. On May 22, 2015, Bennet voted for Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), acquiescing the Senate’s constitutional power, under Article II, Section 2, Clause 2, to provide “advice and consent” to the president in making treaties completely over to President Obama in order to empower him to continue negotiations on the sovereignty-killing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreements.

Bennet’s vote for TPA also makes it possible for Congress to “fast track” the TPP and TTIP, meaning that when these agreements come up for a vote, debate will be limited, amendments will be prohibited from being attached, and the threshold for passage will be lowered to a simple majority (50 percent plus one) of voting senators.

In promoting the TPP, Secretary of State John F. Kerry referred to the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) to make the case that the TPP will create new jobs in the United States. “Completing the Trans-Pacific Partnership provides the opportunity to open up markets, lower tariffs and, according to the Peterson Institute, increase U.S. exports by $123 billion and help support an additional 650,000 jobs,” Secretary Kerry said. [Emphasis added.]

Run by and named after longtime chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations Peter G. Peterson, the PIIE is a globalist think-tank that has historically promoted regional trade agreements such as NAFTA, CAFTA, FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas), TPP, FTAAP (Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific), and PNTR (Permanent Normal Trade Relations, aka “most favored nation status”) to Communist China.

Each major trade agreement that the United States has entered has always been sold to the American people with the promise that it would create thousands of new jobs, when the reality has been the outsourcing of millions of American jobs overseas to China, Mexico, and other countries. Despite Obama’s, Kerry’s, and the PIIE’s promises that the TPP and TTIP will create thousands of new jobs for American workers, the Obama administration requested that Congress pass a Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) bill. TAA is a form of government financial aid or transfer payments provided to American workers who have lost their jobs as a result of trade.

To summarize and simplify the hypocrisy that is ObamaTrade, its proponents say TPP and TTIP are both needed and good for the economy because they will create jobs, but in order to give the president the TPA he wants to continue with his plans,  TAA must also pass in order to support the many (more) people who will lose their current jobs as a result of the TPP and TTIP! Genius isn’t it?

Nevertheless, Bennet voted for TAA on the same day that he voted for TPA. “The TAA program has served as a lifeline for thousands of Coloradans and has helped them transition into new jobs,” Bennet said in a statement following his vote for TAA. Bennet again voted for TPA and TAA in June 2015.

Bennet has used his votes on TPA and the “Gang of Eight” amnesty bill to tout his bipartisan credentials. However, the problem with Bennet’s bipartisanship isn’t that he occasionally joins or votes with constitutionalist-leaning senators such as Rand Paul (R-Ky.) or Mike Lee (R-Utah), but rather with the so-called moderate Republicans who demonstrate little regard for the Constitution and protecting national sovereignty. With less than one out of every 10 major votes he cast being for the Constitution, when it comes to constitutionalism, Bennet just doesn’t get it.

Photo: AP Images

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