The Bonfire on the Hill

by Bob Turner

I didn’t run for Congress because of sex scandals.

After 40 years of building and running companies, my retirement was focused on my family and well-earned quiet. My wife, Peggy; lots of grandkids; some golf and tennis; the occasional trip; and managing my business interests were all I needed. My retirement was interrupted when a runaway Congress and an ideological president began “radically transforming America.” Within two years, we saw wealth devalued, the dollar weakened, housing and stocks crumbled, manufacturing crippled, and economic growth suffocated by a series of decisions that never should have left the faculty lounge. Running for Congress was not just a choice but a duty.

No decent person rejoices in the hardships and humiliations of others. Watching Congressman Weiner’s press conference, I didn’t rejoice in his shame. It was a sad moment for him, for his wife, for Congress. Another congressman dragged down by a scandal. It’s an old tale, and I think the American people are kind of tired of it.

I was reminded of the ending of Animal Farm, when the comrades outside the house looked through the window and were unable to differentiate the men from the pigs. Those same pigs once crafted the rule of law, codifying it with great solemnity on the side of the barn. Yet they changed the laws for personal gain, and one by one the formerly sacrosanct law morphed into nebulous “regulation” with exemptions and exceptions.

Obamacare waivers number in the thousands; Congress exempted itself right from the beginning. Faceless bureaucrats you didn’t vote for decide whether or not we can drill for oil, where Boeing can build its plant, what light bulbs we can buy. The man responsible for the IRS is a tax cheat — as is the man who once headed Ways and Means. The woman who heads HHS has no medical training and is a pro-abortion activist. A congressman with a bill about Internet regulation sends unsolicited sexual photos to college coeds.

Congress has journeyed through Animal Farm to become a Tom Wolfe novel.

One thing is telling: Scandals, no matter their nature, are not the problem. They are a symptom, representing something more dangerous: liberalism. Many liberals in Congress feed off of power. They feel entitled to dictate society’s rules, yet selectively exempt themselves from the enforcement. They live in a parallel universe where their own laws do not apply. I’m more disgusted by a congressman’s unpaid parking tickets than I am by his sexual fetishes. It’s the pigs rewriting the laws all over again.

So, I ran for Congress. And I lost. Now, in the seven months since my political career ended, I’ve enjoyed the return to retirement despite the mounting political frustration. The situation in America is worse now than it was in November 2010. The political climate in my district is now very favorable for a repeat run. But that’s not why I did it then, and not why I’d consider a return. My desire to go to Congress was to fix what’s broken and go home. End subsidies. End government dependencies. Dramatically cut the budget by 30 or 35 percent. Slash capital-gains taxes down to zero. Cut taxes across the board. The rest of America’s economic healing will happen naturally as a consequence. I suffered through Carter’s administration and saw what Reagan did to restore American prosperity. It can happen again. Congress knows what to do. Anthony Weiner knows what to do. They just don’t do it. Call it incompetence or arrogance. It’s a matter of political will, and giving up control is something few in Congress are willing to do.

America is tired of standing outside, looking in. It’s time to oust the remaining dead-weight from the House — and bring the change America so desperately needs.

— Bob Turner was Anthony Weiner’s Republican challenger in 2010.

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