One of Allen West’s great new colleagues in the “freshman class” of the 112th Congress is Tim Huelskamp (KS-1). Like Allen, Tim is a Tea Party patriot and enough of a “true conservative” to have won, as Allen did, the endorsement and financial support of the House Conservatives Fund.
I am spotlighting him today because on January 22, the most depressing day of the year, we need to look for rays of light in the darkness that is our current abortion regime. Today is the 38th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, and its companion case, Doe v. Bolton, that together legalized abortion in all 50 states, through all 9 months of pregnancy. If someone had told us in 1973 that abortion would still be legal nearly four decades later….
Tim Huelskamp is one of my rays of light. Tim was motivated to get into politics for one reason: to fight for the lives of babies in the womb, who are too young to fight for themselves. Once in office — he’s been a state senator for fourteen years — he gained expertise in a host of other issues as well. Now, in the U.S. House of Representatives, he’s been appointed to the Budget Committee, where his commitment to fiscal responsibility will be a big support to House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan. Tim’s also on the Veterans Affairs Committee and the Agriculture Committee — which is a wise appointment, since he is a family farmer, one of the very few in Congress. (Freshman Kristi Noem of South Dakota, who was picked for a House Republican leadership spot early on, is another.)
As important as these issues are, however, Tim constantly stresses that the right to life is the most fundamental issue; after all, what good are any other rights if you’re not alive to enjoy them? (Isn’t it surreal that we have to continually re-state something so obvious?)
Although Congress was sworn in less than three weeks ago, Tim has already attracted national attention. The new issue of World magazine is dedicated to the pro-life theme, and it includes a glowing profile of Tim Huelskamp.
While he was in the state Senate, moderate Republicans accused Huelskamp of recruiting conservative Republicans to run against them in primaries, which he didn’t deny. Legislatively Huelskamp sought to strip Planned Parenthood of its state funding, a measure that finally passed the legislature in 2009 but that the Democratic governor [Kathleen Sebelius — ugh!] vetoed. He wrote the amendment to the state Constitution in 2006 that voters passed overwhelmingly, defining marriage as between a man and a woman, but gay marriage isn’t his only target.
He talks about restoring a “culture of marriage,” so he’s gone after divorce too. He worked on a measure to promote “covenant marriages,” which would limit the grounds for divorce and encourage marital counseling. Under covenant marriages [a strictly voluntary option], the couple would have to be separated for two years before the divorce could be final. He has a beef with the whole welfare system too because he believes it discourages marriage. And he points out that single parenthood, often a result of people “enjoying the fruits of marriage outside of marriage,” is correlated to poverty.
Family is what it all boils down to, in Huelskamp’s view, even as he feels the urgency of the nation’s fiscal crisis. The two are connected. “Fundamentally it’s about what you value,” he said. “We’ve lost our ways on a lot of fronts. You just can’t spend enough to replace the family.”
Daniel Patrick Moynihan, in his landmark report on the state of the Black family — a report that was much berated at the time but has proven prophetically accurate — was saying the same thing 45 years ago, if anyone had cared to listen:
There is one unmistakable lesson in American history…. a community that allows a large number of men to grow up in broken families, dominated by women, never acquiring any stable relationship to male authority, never acquiring rational expectations about the future — that community asks for and gets chaos.
As families disintegrate, emotionally wounded children deal with their pain in many ways, most of which are destructive to themselves and to others, ultimately to the whole society. We can spend all the money in the world on our schools — and we do spend more per pupil than any other country in the world — but what good does it do, when the children are coming into the classroom from chaotic, addiction-addled, dysfunctional households? We just keep spending more and more money for more and more social workers, therapists, law-enforcement officers, etc., to deal with the wreckage.
Rebuilding a “culture of marriage,” as Huelskamp advocates, is the only way we can realistically hope to see things improve.
[Huelskamp] was “worried” in his first days on the Hill when he didn’t hear any discussion of social issues among top Republicans…. So he has appointed himself the watchdog of the class. “I’m not afraid to do that,” he told me. “This is not about having fun. This is about saving our country….” Huelskamp is a rare breed in this freshman class: someone with political experience [14 years in the Kansas Senate]. He’s worried for those new to politics because he said it’s easy to get caught up in the “minutiae” of governing. He tells his colleagues to “wade through all that stuff” and “plant your flag on your principles. Keep an eye on that. This is a place that’s meant to break individuals and break families and break principles.”
We need principled people like Hueslkamp more than ever.
That was brought home this week by the unfolding horror in Philadelphia, which reveals beyond doubt what the abortion industry really is, and always has been, about. The conservative blogosphere is on fire with this story — see, for example, Right Klik and The Other McCain — but Ace of Spades, of all people, has been doing the best coverage of it that I have seen. In case you’ve missed it, here are the posts so far; I’m linking them in order from earliest to most recent. Gabe Malor did the first post; then Ace took it up, and now he is a man on a mission. (Well, you’d have to be some sort of monster — like, say, Barack Obama? — to not be shaken to the depths by what the grand jury lays out in its indictment of “Dr.” Kermitt Gosnell.)
“I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore, choose life, so that you and your descendants may live.”