Conservative commentary: Are we potted plants?

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— "We won" seems to be the incessant mantra of President Barack Obama and U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi whenever someone appears startled at their moves to enact their extreme agenda. In other words, the 53 percent plurality they won should give them license to dismiss the other 47 percent out of hand. Don't think their goals are radical? Consider:

- Granted, Bush and the Republicans allowed spending to get out of line, no doubt about that. But they will be small change in the history books compared to this administration, even if it never put out another dime. Bush's deficit this past year was about $400 billion; Obama's weighs in at $1.7 trillion so far.

- Increasing the Capital Gains tax definitely is on the wish list despite the objective fact that doing so will raise less money than lowering it. They also adhere to the outdated notion that only the infamous "rich" will be adversely affected by this, ignoring the fact that more than 50 percent of Americans now own stock. Also ignored is how lowering this tax will unleash much economic activity in multiple areas of our economy having nothing to do with the super wealthy.

- We are pro-life; they are pro-choice. Fair enough. And they did win. But how far they want to push their views against the majority of Americans who want some restrictions on abortion - such as parental notification, waiting periods, informed consent and a ban on the grisly partial birth abortion - shows little regard for anyone other than abortion-on-demand advocates.

- Similarly, the decision to approve taxpayer funding for embryonic stem cell research is a poke in the eye to those who think this is destroying nascent human life. The fact that not one cure or medicine has been found thus far using embryos while adult stem cells have been responsible for numerous patents and life-changing treatments means nothing. This is exacerbated by the lie that Bush put personal morals before science when the opposite is true. Bush only denied federal funding for this controversial research but did nothing to impede privately funded research.

- Moves already are being made to force doctors and nurses to abandon their strongly held beliefs about life by removing the conscience exemption to opt out of performing abortions. Catholic bishops have hinted at closing all Catholic hospitals in the country (30 percent) should they attempt to force these professionals to be complicit in what they consider morally abhorrent.

- Polls show more than three-quarters of Americans strongly object to denying men and women the secret ballot for deciding union representation, including presidential nominee George McGovern. Yet the Obama administration has proclaimed its support for this abomination misnamed the "Employee Free Choice Act." George Orwell lives.

- The "cap and trade" bill will be an enormous tax on every American not living in caves because it taxes virtually all energy we now use. Simultaneously it hands over even more power to the government to control our lives.

The ultimate question is whether we still factor freedom into our decisions of the people and policies we choose to govern us. Objectively, a candidate's looks and personality should mean absolutely nothing in making voting decisions. I value liberty above all and am chagrined at the number of citizens I see who willingly give away their money and thus their decision-making to their rulers. Every dollar going to the government means less individual freedom for you. Is that a radical notion these days?

Old Ben Franklin said it best: "Those who would surrender their freedom and liberty for some temporary security deserve neither liberty nor security."

Gary Hofmeister is owner and operator of Hofmeister Personal Jewelers in downtown Steamboat Springs, a company he founded in 1973. He is a director of the Conservative Leadership Council of Northwest Colorado and a former Republican nominee for Congress in the 10th District of Indiana. He made 18 trips to the former USSR to teach democratic capitalism during the 1990s.

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