We won a pretty substantial victory on Friday with the override of Gov. Vilsack's eminent domain. Few things threaten the liberty of a free people like the ability to confiscate and condemn private property. This victory could be pretty short lived, however.
Democrats love broad eminent domain powers for government at all levels! The ability to seize property from a citizen is central to the liberal ideology of government control and redistribution of wealth and property. The "New Democrat" also understands the need to weaken the traditional relationship between Republicans and the business community through corporate welfare.
Democrats can cherry pick Republican real estate developers with promises of generous benefits for locating in a given county, state or even municipality. This entire industry becomes increasingly dependent on Democrat promises of more booty at the public expense, kind of like Democrats' view of farm policy, and hence less willing to support the Republican Party and its candidates, also kind of like farmers.
So, broad eminent domain power is the cherry on top for the Democrats, a real win, win, win for them. As a result, Gov. Visack gambled that he could hold the Democrats in the legislature together to support him if the issue could be camaflouged as something other than limiting eminent domain power. He gambled wrong. In a tight election year even the most zealous Rawlsian on the other side won't buck 80% disapproval in the electorate. But, as they say, tomorrow is another day.
Never think for a moment that the Democrats themselves don't recognize these advantages in the campaign to control ever more of economic life in this country. Gov. Vilsack and Attorney General Miller, unopposed in this year's election, have already threatened litigation. Think about that arrogance. The Attorney General will marshal your tax dollars to litigate against the expressed will of 80% of the electorate, kind of like he did as part of Al Gore's attempts to litigate his way into 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. I wonder if he'd do the same were he opposed?
The Democrats plan to tie up the legislation in court until after the election. If we keep the legislature they keep fighting in court. Even if we take Terrace Hill, they keep fighting. If they win either or both branches, they can quietly kill the issue. Does anyone really think that a Gov. Culver with a Democrat legislature wouldn't neutralize if not outright repeal any recent limitation on eminent domain. That will trigger the flight of the housing and development industry from the RPI to the IDP for good.
We need to kill the issue right now before the Democrats can use ever greater economic powers in ways the Republicans would never contemplate when we govern. We need to make limitation of eminent domain a state constitutional amendment. The amendment needs to do two things: (1) Strictly limit the state's, and its subdivisions, ability to use eminent domain. (2) Limit the ability of adversaries to tie it up or circumvent its purpose in court. We then need to take it to the voters.
This is a winner of a political issue. The amendment is a simple bright line issue, you're either for it or against it. The public overwhelmingly supports the idea of limiting eminent domain. The presumption goes to us.
Sure, the Democrats will say we are over reaching. Wouldn't that expose their hypocricy and the plan to pay lip service until election day? Remember, a very strong majority support us on the underlying issue of limiting eminent domain.
I'm as much for economic development as the next Chicago School guy. But are you willing to trust your new development project to a Democrat Board of Supervisors who might decide one of their donors will do a better project and deprive you of some multi-million dollar plan because they can take your real estate for farm or woodlot value instead of development value, then sell it cheap to the Democrat donor to develop your idea?
We have a chance to put this issue down for good, before it can hurt us. A short war helps us and we can use it as a win, win, win for us in November of '06 and the proverbial people every year thereafter. Let's seize the initiative and take it to them on this one.
PROMOTE FREEDOM-VOTE REPUBLICAN!