09.30.2010 0

Self Interest or National Interest?

  • On: 10/12/2010 10:30:49
  • In: Congressional Earmarks
  • By David Bozeman

    North Carolina’s Seventh congressional district poses a dilemma for conservative voters. Incumbent Democrat Mike McIntyre belongs to the Blue Dog coalition, and is one of the few in his party to have voted no on Obama-care. Republican opponent Ilario Pantano, on the other hand, brings youth, vitality and a hefty resume to the race (the former Marine gave up a swank position on Wall Street for a tour of Iraq — his second stint in the corps).

    Southeastern North Carolina has not been badly served by McIntyre, but Pantano, according to polls, could easily win. A glowing profile in National Review, among other national outlets, has surely propelled his candidacy.

    This quandary, faced by voters everywhere every election, is what if the candidate who best advances the interests of their district is their opposite, if not ideologically, then politically? During a recent debate, McIntyre informed Pantano that a congressman is not a mere mouthpiece on national issues and touted his own fourteen-year record in supporting tobacco and other farm subsidies, industrial jobs and veteran’s benefits. According to conventional wisdom, once the fervor has died down, voters ultimately think locally when deciding congressional races.

    Even Jesse Helms once conceded that if he didn’t support farm subsidies he could never win re-election — such is the confusing state of at once loathing big government while depending upon it for sustenance and perks. Was it to induce an addiction to government largess that our founders risked their lives and liberty?

    Granted, there is nothing new in factions competing for public spoils, but that truth only illustrates the fine line between the proverbial government big enough to grant everything you want and the one powerful enough to take everything you’ve got. Government rarely promotes the general welfare but invariably favors one segment of society at the expense of another.

    The federal bureaucracy has grown itself, pitting group against group, exploiting disunity and discord, diminishing the meanings of individual identity and initiative.

    If we are to carry on as a free people, we must proclaim ourselves Americans and not merely subjects of needy congressional districts. Not to say that state and local interests should not matter, but neither should they dilute our founding concept of the free, self-sustaining individual.

    Voters in November hold the power to stall the Obama agenda, at least from their positions of life-altering power. Mike McIntyre thus far has shown no willingness to repeal ObamaCare, and he would almost surely vote to retain Pelosi as speaker, leaving North Carolinians and all voting Americans the opportunity to affirm that in choosing between self-interest and national interest, at least this time, there is no difference.

    David Bozeman, former Libertarian Party Chairman, is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer for Americans for Limited Government.

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