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Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to continue
funding of the National Endowment of the Arts, against delaying
implementation of a national ID number to track the way Americans access
medical care, and to continue preferential trade practices with Red
China.

There were many other bad votes in Congress last week. But these were
prime examples of how Washington just doesn’t get it — that it is out
of touch with grass-roots America and, more importantly, with
fundamental constitutional principles and basic concepts of American
freedom.

There are many explanations for the failures of the 104th and 105th
Congress, which came to power with promises of revolutionary change and
a reversal of 40 years of bigger and more centralized government. The
new leadership bears the brunt of the responsibility. After all, they
were the ones who promised things would be different on their watch.
They either fooled us about their intentions in the first place, or they
failed miserably.

Yet, it is impossible to ignore one other important contributing
factor seldom addressed by the press and pundit class.

I’m talking about the seemingly permanent cadre of hard-core leftists
in Congress — people who know what they believe, know what they want
and fight for it relentlessly, unlike most of the mushy-headed,
unprincipled, compromise-at-any-cost, middle-of-the-road “Demorats” and
“Republicons.”

Let’s call this caucus what it is — Congress’ very own Red Army.
They are card-carrying members of the so-called ‘Progressive Caucus,’
marching the nation inevitably toward its self-proclaimed socialist
ideal.

The names and faces change occasionally, but you can see a pretty
current roster on the Web site of the Democratic Socialists of America.
The caucus is led by avowed Socialist Rep. Bernard Sanders of Vermont,
Rep. Cynthia McKinney of Georgia, Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon, Rep.
Maurice Hinchey of New York, Rep. Major Owens of New York, Rep. Nydia
Velazquez of New York, Rep. Lane Evans of Illinois and Rep. Maxine
Waters of California. Retired Rep. Ron Dellums was a long-time member of
the executive committee and a leading DSA member. His replacement and
political protege, Rep. Barbara Lee of California, proudly joins the
club in his footsteps.

Unlike most members of Congress, the Progressive Caucus has a
purpose, an objective, a goal. It is “organized around the principles of
social and economic justice, a non-discriminatory society and national
priorities which represent the interests of all people, not just the
wealthy and the powerful.”

“Our purpose is to present thoughtful, practical solutions to the
economic and social problems facing America,” says its statement of
purpose. “Our people-based agenda extends from job creation to job
training, to economic conversion, to single payer health-care reform, to
adequate funding for the AIDS crisis, to environmental reform and to
women’s rights. “Now that the Cold War is over, this nation’s budget and
overall priorities must reflect that reality. We support further cuts in
outdated and unnecessary military spending, a more progressive tax
system in which wealthy taxpayers and corporations contribute their fair
share, and a substantial increase in social programs designed to meet
the needs of low-and-middle-income American families. We believe that
these goals fit within an overall commitment to deficit reduction.”

To the untrained ear, that may not sound very radical. In fact, I
suggest the majority of members of Congress would have little objection
to such a mission statement — which is how and why the Progressive
Caucus is able to accomplish so much of its agenda. A politician with no
principles is hardly a match for one who does — even if those
principles are bad ones that lead, history shows, to loss of freedom.

Congress’ hard-core Red Army Caucus may only number about 60 members.
But recent events and votes show there are probably no more than 60
members of Congress truly dedicated uncompromisingly and unswervingly to
the principles upon which this nation was founded — individual rights,
limited government, free enterprise and the rule of law under the
greatest Constitution ever devised by man.

Next time you wonder why our nation is tumbling down the slippery
slope toward socialism, dictatorship and repression, don’t forget the
active role played by this group of dedicated, professional malcontents
and the support they receive from most of the nation’s powerful cultural
institutions — the government schools, the government-media complex and
the pro-government foundation lobby, not to mention the current White
House and much of the judicial branch of government.

The socialists are in this battle for the long haul. They never give
up. Can the same be said of elected leaders who pay lip service to
freedom?

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