Michael Steele, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, sent me a letter. And a survey. I'm not sure why he did it; I'm not a member of any political party, and my voting record -- just by virtue of living in a city where most of the politicians are Democrats -- probably includes more Democrats than Republicans. But he did, and if he went to all that trouble, then surely I can spare a few moments to respond to his survey.
Of course, the letter and survey are really nothing more than fund-raising devices, so I'm pretty sure they were meant for actual members of the Republican Party and not just little old me. But I'm going to fill out the survey anyway. I'm not sending the GOP any money, but I think I will send them my opinions, just for the heck of it.
The survey is called the "2009 Obama Agenda Survey." It includes fifteen questions, and I'm supposed to answer each one yes, no, or no opinion. There are no blanks for me to fill out explaining my answers, so the GOP won't know why I'm answering them the way I am, but I would like someone else to know besides me. So I will explain them here.
1. Do you agree with Barack Obama's budget plan that will lead to a $23.1 trillion deficit over the next ten years?
No. I don't like any plan that increases spending or adds or expands programs. The U.S. government spends way too much as it is, and it never does enough to cut spending, if at all.
2. Do you believe the federal government has gone too far in bailing out failing banks, insurance companies, and the auto industry?
Yes. And in all fairness this horrible parade of bailouts began with George W. Bush. The first dollar of any bailout for a bank or insurance company or car company was going too far for me, and all that started before Obama took over. He just picked up the ball and ran like hell with it once he was sworn in.
3. Do you support amnesty for illegal immigrants?
No. Not generally. Specific cases might require some leniency, but blanket amnesty is a bad idea.
4. Should English be the official language of the United States?
No. I assume Steele is talking about a Congressional decree. By default, English already is the official language of our country, and I don't think we need Congress making a law saying that it is. Besides, if you legally acknowledge English as the official language of the U.S., then you're going to have to start making lists of recognized second languages, and if you start down that path you might as well recognize all languages because someone somewhere is going to claim even the most obscure tongue as the language they speak at home. Including Klingon. Or [gasp!] Esparanto!
5. Are you in favor of granting retroactive Social Security eligibility to illegal immigrants who gain U.S. citizenship through an amnesty program?
Yes. I don't agree with amnesty, but, hey, if our government decides to make someone a citizen of the United States, then that person deserves all the rights and privileges that other citizens have, including access to Social Security. I don't know what the "retroactive" term means here, but if you've gone and provided amnesty, and you've provided citizenship, and you've provided Social Security benefits, then making some "retroactive" determination seems like pointless nitpicking.
6. Are you in favor of the expanded welfare benefits and unlimited eligibility (no time, education or work requirements) that Democrats in Congress are pushing to pass?
No. Going back to question 1, I think government should be looking at ways to cut back on programs, not expand them.
7. Do you believe that Barack Obama's nominees for federal courts should be immediately and unquestionably approved for their lifetime appointments by the U.S. Senate?
No. Of course not. Lively debate is good.
8. Do you believe that the best way to increase the quality and effectiveness of public education in the U.S. is to rapidly expand federal funding while eliminating performance standards and accountability?
No. See question 1.
9. Do you support the creation of a national health insurance plan that would be administered by bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.?
No. That's just more federal spending.
10. Do you believe that the quality and availability of healthcare will increase if the federal government dictates pricing to doctors and hospitals?
No. It might, but I don't think it will.
11. Are you confident that new medicines and medical treatments will continue to be developed if the federal government controls prescription drug prices and sets profit margins for research and phamaceutical companies?
Yes. Advancements will be made. They may be government-driven, and they may not be done as well as in the private sector, but I am certain that new medicines and treatments will continue to be developed.
12. Are you in favor of creating a government-funded "Citizen Volunteer Corps" that would pay young people to do work now done by churches and charities, earning Corps Members the same pay and benefits given to military veterans?
No. The charities are doing their jobs, and the members of the military are doing theirs. We don't need another spending program.
13. Are you in favor of reinstituting the military draft, as Democrats in Congress have proposed?
No. The military is working fine as it is. There's no point in a draft.
14. Do you believe that the federal government should allow the unionization of Department of Homeland Security employees who serve in positions critical to the safety and security of our nation?
No. The need for unions is no longer what it once was. We don't need more unionization of our workforce.
15. Do you support Democrats' drive to eliminate workers' right to a private ballot when considering unionization of their place of employment?
No. Open ballots lead to voter intimidation. In almost all circumstances. The secret ballot is a valuable component of a democracy.
That's it. I answered my questions, and I'm sending them to the Republican National Committee, sans contribution. My responses will probably get tossed since I didn't enclose a check, but at least I got a good, long blog post out of it. And I feel as if I've done a little bit of my civic duty.
Do you think that will get me out of my next jury summons?