Pastor Al Swann led the Bible Study portion at Monday’s meeting of CORPS (Christian Organization of Retired Persons).
“Our system of government doesn’t work…our economic system doesn’t work… without the involvement of people in a Christian fashion,” he said.
His words were a good introduction to their guest speaker, Congressman Dave Brat (R-7) who joined the gathering comprised of some 50-60 who meet monthly for a jam packed session which includes a brief Bible Study, lunch, fellowship, usually a guest speaker and study assignments from founder Al Aitken. Many were packing a thick volume titled, “The Making of America.”
A member of the House Budget Committee, Brat, who is also a member of the House Freedom Caucus, stays true to his conservative roots in chastising the current administration for not creating a budget that won’t see country drowning in debt in the foreseeable future. Now standing at some 20 trillion and growing, Brat and his fiscally minded colleagues in Congress warn of the dangers to tomorrow’s children if the problem doesn’t find a solution.
“In 10 years, all federal revenue will only be going to entitlement programs and paying the debt,” stressed Brat, “that’s medicare, social security…there will be no monies for the military, for education.”
“Oh, I think he might be scaring them,” one lady said as she looked at two young men sitting at another table…”they’re very young.”
Brat, not mean-spirited, with two young children of his own, often wants to shake up his audience. He has said before, “we need a wakeup call … we need to act.”
When Brat speaks about the budget, he rarely minces words that if budget reform doesn’t happen and solutions aren’t found, it will be future generations that will pay the price for fruitless efforts to correct gross overspending by the federal government.
Brat broke down for the group his three guiding pillars which form the foundation of his beliefs.
As a former economics professor at Randolph Macon, Brat often takes a scholarly approach.
“When we talk about the Judeo-Christian tradition…it’s the whole tradition,” says Brat. “Look at Plato…St. Augustine…St. Thomas Aquinas.”
Brat underscored that these early philosophers all spoke of the greater good which led into his second pillar – the rule of law.
“We’ve gotten totally hijacked…Congress gave it all away,” Brat said noting that historically all universities had their roots as seminaries…Princeton and Harvard as notable examples.
Brat scoffs at accusations from the left that Republicans are the bad guys when addressing his third pillar – free markets.
“Show me a country that is rich, compassionate and caring and I’ll show you a capitalist country.”
“Show me a country that has clean air and clean water and I’ll show you a capitalist country.”
“Show me a country that respects women and supports civil rights and I’ll show you a capitalist country.”
As Brat spoke, one attendee chirped up. “We’ve just sold 100 Boeing planes to Iran.”
The group sighed.
As Brat finished up he reminded the group that there was “no time to sleep” and to encourage people to vote and support him for his re-election bid in November. “The Hillary voters will come out.”
When asked about the upcoming Presidential election, Brat said that he supports the party’s nominee Donald Trump. Having said that, he clarified that while supportive, he is hopeful that Trump can curb his big mouth.
Now, an author, Brat has written a book “American Underdog: Proof that Principles Matter” scheduled to debut June 28, 2016. It is available in several formats on Amazon.
Looking to November
Running as the Republican nominee, Congressman Brat faces re-election in November to keep his seat in Virginia’s 7th District. His Democratic opponent is Eileen Bidell, a Richmond attorney. Brat, who won in a landslide victory over incumbent Eric Cantor in 2014, will likely win again although it’s possible that Hillary Clinton voters could be a factor.
When asked how that race should turn out Associate Editor Geoffrey Skelley at Sabato’s Crystal Ball weighed in. Long regarded as a good political predictor Skelley, along with Larry Sabato, are anchored at the University of Virginia Center for Politics.
“It’s unlikely that Brat will be in much danger in the 2016 general election. The 7th District is a 56-44 Romney district based on the 2012 presidential vote by congressional district, which makes it a bit of a long shot for Democrats even if things are going very well for them at the top of the ticket,” said Skelley although noting that elections are never exactly uniform.
“A useful way to think about potentially vulnerable House seats is to consider what a uniform wave might look like based on the presidential vote by district,” said Skelley referring to a piece they did which looked at how many districts were won by Barack Obama in 2012 and then looked to see how a uniform wave might influence what seats are in play, i.e. Republican-held seats that become Obama seats as they add percentage points onto the Democratic share and subtract from the GOP share.
“We only went so far as to add three percentage points to Obama’s percentage and subtract three from Romney’s to see how many seats would then be “Obama seats” in such a scenario, and Brat’s seat was far from being in the conversation,”said Skelly concluding, “perhaps Clinton can win by a double-digit margin, but winning enough to bring the 7th into play will be very difficult. Democrats in Virginia are much more likely to view the 2nd and 5th Districts as attainable if a Democratic wave does develop.”