Untitled, Watercolor, 8.75" x 10.5", Richard J Van Wagoner, Courtesy of Van Wagoner Family Trust**

In a speech during his last try for the senate, the recently declared candidate suggested “establishment Republicans,” whatever those were, opposed him for fear he would bring Alabama values to Washington. A majority of voting Alabamans didn’t send him to Washington, rejecting his claim that he shared enough of their values (or they shared his).

For his rerun, however, candidate Moore personifies many values that fall squarely within those embraced by Individual-1 and whatever became of “establishment Republicans” since his last senate campaign, or at least within the margin of error. I’m not referring (only) to this week’s accusation of rape that credibly falls within Individual-1’s braggadocio and history of serial assaults against women (alleged), an accusation that had a shelf-life of slightly more than a day. (Individual-1 countered with his I rape only women who are my type. She’s not my type defense.) The candidate would bring to Washington a distinguished career and record of (evangelical-charged) racism, obliteration of any distinction between government and his skew on Christianity, religious bigotry, hatred and defiance of the rule of law. (Following god’s law, after all, is imperative even when the laws of mere men come in conflict.) He defied a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the courthouse and likewise refused to follow federal law on same-sex marriage, directing probate judges and their employees not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, disregarding the federal order legalizing same-sex marriage in Alabama. He’s a birther and has ties to neo-confederates and white nationalists. After organizing the non-profit Foundation for Moral Law, which accepted contributions from a neo-Nazi organization/Holocaust denier, he was accused of having raised considerably more money, over $1 million, than what the Foundation for Moral Law declared on its tax returns.

It has become near pointless to call out what once was the GOP by propping it against its former self, including a self-proclaimed historic role as a refuge, defender and exemplar of liberty; as advocate for human and civil rights; as preserver of the U.S. constitutional system of separation of powers and insurer of accountability to the people on whose behalf its elected leaders purport to serve; as defender and espouser of the rule of law; as protector of the integrity of criminal investigative and prosecutorial agencies and institutions; as champion for America’s standing in world affairs and guarantor that the United States continues as the most respected country in the world, a country that seeks, and keeps, the friendship of all peoples from all nations; as a country that stands by and keeps its word; as advocate for shrinking the national debt and living within means; as adherent to the oaths of office its elected officials take to protect and defend the Constitution.

It now carries the distinction as the party of concentration camps and crimes against humanity.

In a prior post I pointed out how tragically far the party has deviated from the lofty claims and positions in its 2016 Republican Platform. I look forward to scrutinizing its 2020 version to assess the extent to which it qualifies as a credible platform or laughable parody. Below are some of those 2016 policy positions.

“We are . . . the party of the Constitution, the greatest political document ever written. It is the solemn compact built upon principles of the Declaration that enshrines our God-given individual rights and ensures that all Americans stand equal before the law, defines the purposes and limits of government, and is the blueprint for ordered liberty that makes the United States the world’s freest and most prosperous nation. We reaffirm the Constitution’s fundamental principles: limited government, separation of powers, individual liberty, and the rule of law. We denounce bigotry, racism, anti-Semitism, ethnic prejudice, and religious intolerance. Therefore, we oppose discrimination based on race, sex, religion, creed, disability, or national origin and support statutes to end such discrimination. As the Party of Abraham Lincoln, we must continue to foster solutions to America’s difficult challenges when it comes to race relations today. . . .”

“Our Constitution is in crisis. . . . The current Administration has exceeded its constitutional authority, brazenly and flagrantly violated the separation of powers, sought to divide America into groups and turn citizen against citizen. The President has refused to defend or enforce laws he does not like, used executive orders to enact national policies in areas constitutionally reserved solely to Congress, made unconstitutional ‘recess’ appointments to Senate-confirmed positions, directed regulatory agencies to overstep their statutory authority, and failed to consult Congress regarding military action overseas. He has changed what John Adams called ‘a government of laws and not of men’ into just the opposite.”

“Democrats in Congress have enabled, supported, and defended each of these breaches. They have applauded the President’s efforts to do an end-run around Congress and stymied Republican efforts to restrain executive lawlessness. . . .”

“Our most urgent task as a Party is to restore the American people’s faith in their government by electing a president who will enforce duly enacted laws, honor constitutional limits on executive authority, and return credibility to the Oval Office. We need a Republican president who will end abuses of power . . . by the White House itself. Safeguarding our liberties requires a president who will respect the Constitution’s separation of powers, including the authority of Congress to write legislation and define agency authority. Americans also deserve a president who will speak for our nation’s history and values, not apologize for them to our enemies. . . .”

“The rule of law is the foundation of our Republic. . . . We believe in the constitutional checks and balances . . . .”

“Our national debt is a burden on our economy and families. The huge increase in the national debt demanded by and incurred during the current Administration has placed a significant burden on future generations. We must impose firm caps on future debt, accelerate the repayment of the trillions we now owe in order to reaffirm our principles of responsible and limited government, and remove the burdens we are placing on future generations. . . .”

“The federal fiscal burden threatens the security, liberty, and independence of our nation. The current Administration’s refusal to work with Republicans took our national debt from $10 trillion to nearly $19 trillion today. Left unchecked, it will hit $30 trillion by 2026. At the same time, the Administration’s policies systematically crippled economic growth and job creation, driving up government costs and driving down revenues. When Congressional Republicans tried to reverse course, the Administration manufactured fiscal crises — phony government shutdowns — to demand excessive spending. The Administration’s demands have focused on significantly expanding government spending and benefits for its preferred groups, paid for through loans that our children and grandchildren will have to pay. This is the path to bankrupting the next generation. The Republican path to fiscal sanity and economic expansion begins with a constitutional requirement for a federal balanced budget. We will fight for Congress to adopt, and for the states to ratify, a Balanced Budget Amendment which imposes a cap limiting spending to the appropriate historical average percentage of our nation’s gross domestic product while requiring a super-majority for any tax increase, with exceptions only for war or legitimate emergencies. Only a constitutional safeguard such as this can prevent deficits from mounting to government default. Republican budgets will prioritize thrift over extravagance and put taxpayers first. We support the following test: Is a particular expenditure within the constitutional scope of the federal government? If not, stop it. Has it been effective in the past and is it still absolutely necessary? If not, end it. Is it so important as to justify borrowing, especially foreign borrowing, to fund it? If not, kill it. . . .”

“Honest elections are the foundation of representative government. We pledge to protect the voting rights of every citizen . . . .We are concerned, however, that some voting procedures may be open to abuse. . . . To guard against foreign involvement in our elections, we call for vigilance regarding online credit card contributions to candidates and campaigns. . . .”

*My brother the very talented fiction writer and novelist, Robert Hodgson Van Wagoner, deserves considerable credit for offering both substantive and technical suggestions to and

**Richard’s list of honors, awards and professional associations is extensive. He was Professor Emeritus (Painting and Drawing), Weber State University, having served three Appointments as Chair of the Department of Visual Arts there. He guest-lectured and instructed at many universities and juried numerous shows and exhibitions. He was invited to submit his work as part of many shows and exhibitions, and his work was exhibited in a number of traveling shows domestically and internationally. My daughter Angela Moore, a professional photographer, photographed more than 500 pieces of my father’s work. On behalf of the Van Wagoner Family Trust, she is in the process of compiling a collection of his art work. The photographs of my father’s art reproduced in and are hers




Criminal defense and First Amendment attorney.

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Criminal defense and First Amendment attorney.

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