Tipton Wants Economic Liberty, Social Controls

The following article originally was published August 20 by Grand Junction Free Press.

August 27 note: Linn and I had asked for Congressman John Salazar, against whom Scott Tipton is running in Colorado’s Third Congressional district, to answer comparable questions before our article about Tipton was published on August 20. We sent our questions via email to Salazar’s office on August 12 and followed up with multiple contacts by phone and email. Finally on August 25 we received word from Salazar’s office that our initial email was received. Originally we had asked for Salazar’s answers by August 18. We still await his reply. -Ari Armstrong

Tipton wants economic liberty, social controls

by Linn and Ari Armstrong

Now that Scott Tipton has won the Republican primary for the Third Congressional race, we expect he’ll offer a tough challenge to incumbent John Salazar. Obviously many voters are sick of the Democrats impeding economic recovery with wealth transfers, takeovers, and controls.

But the real question is whether Tipton deserves to win, and mostly that comes down to the ideas and policies he advocates. That’s why we gave him a call. (We’ll write about Salazar, too.)

Tipton emphasized economics: “We need to be dealing with economic issues; we need to be focused on creating jobs.”

Tipton said, “Right now the issues that I think Congress needs to be addressing [concern] getting Americans back to work. We’ve got to be reducing the size and the expenditures of government. We simply cannot afford the spending coming out of Washington right now.”

As some first steps, Tipton suggested reducing discretionary spending by ten percent (except for defense) and “unleashing entrepreneurial investment” by moving to a flat, lower corporate tax rate.

“We need to make American business competitive;” bad federal policies have “been driving jobs out of America,” Tipton warned.

Tipton looks to policies “geared toward empowering free enterprise.” He said his interest is supporting “people looking out for their families, trying to put a roof over their heads… rather than just paying to sustain government.”

Unfortunately, like many Colorado Republicans these days, Tipton wants to reduce liberty in the personal sphere.

Let us preface our criticism with praise for Tipton’s openness and accessibility. Tipton’s campaign staff immediately put us in contact with the candidate, and Tipton answered his phone right away and agreed to address some tough questions.

Tipton suggested that, when candidates speak plainly and get attacked for it by narrow-minded interest groups that pull quotes out of context, that creates the incentive for candidates to avoid the tough issues. Despite the dangers of going on the record, Tipton answered our questions candidly, and he deserves credit for that.

Yet Tipton worries us with some of his views on social issues.

Tipton expressed an overly narrow view of the significance of the separation of church and state, saying it “keeps the state from annointing one particular religion or one particular church.” That’s part of the meaning of the separation of church and state, but the broader purpose is to protect government policies from religious dogmas as much as to protect religious worship from the government.

“I do support faith-based initiatives,” Tipton said of welfare programs involving churches. What about the teaching of “intelligent design” in tax-funded schools? “I’m a faith-based person. Faith plays a very important part in my life, and I don’t think that should be excluded from the school.”

Tipton opposes gay marriage, though he added: “I think if somebody wants to have a contractual relationship, we have that opportunity already.”

However, Tipton does not support adoption by gay couples; “I would not be supportive of adoption outside a traditional family.” Our question for social conservatives is this: would you rather a woman abort a fetus or give birth and let a gay couple adopt the child?

On his web page, Tipton states, “Abortion should be limited to cases that involve rape, incest, or threat to the life of the mother.” His view is at least more sensible than that of Ken Buck, who said, “I don’t believe in the exceptions of rape or incest.”

On his web page, Tipton says he wants “a 24-hour waiting period for women seeking an abortion.” That prompted us to ask whether he also favors a waiting period for women seeking to buy a gun. While Tipton claimed that’s “not a fair comparison,” we think it’s as ludicrous to require a waiting period for either one.

“I would support a constitutional amendment to protect the unborn human life,” Tipton states on his web page. What about Amendment 62, the so-called “personhood” measure? He replied, “I’m going to take a look at those. I’ve not looked at all the ballot initiatives that we’re going to have.”

Tipton struggled a bit over the question of what criminal penalties would be imposed on women who get abortions and doctors who facilitate them. The question is “worthy of further discussion,” he said. It certainly is. Many abortion banners call for lengthy prison sentences or even execution for those women and doctors, which is pure Taliban-style insanity.

If fully implemented, Amendment 62 would ban forms of birth control (including the pill) and fertility treatments that may harm a fertilized egg. But Tipton emphasized, “I think that we need to take advantage of birth control.”

We sympathize with Tipton’s goal to “not look at abortion as a means of birth control,” but his concern does not justify abortion bans.

We like Tipton’s pro-liberty stance on economics. We only ask that he more carefully consider why liberty is the right answer when it comes to personal decisions, too.