NC-13 US House candidates offer voters a choice

NC-13 US House candidates offer voters a choice

By Harlan Brown
July 8, 2010

In this year's general election, voters in North Carolina's 13th Congressional District have a choice between candidates who have contrasting views on a variety of issues. Incumbent Democrat Brad Miller is an advocate of big government, big spending, abortion rights, and other liberal positions. Republican challenger Bill Randall is a personhood pro-lifer who advocates smaller government, less spending, and other conservative positions.

Life at both ends

The contrast is especially sharp on the right-to-life issue. In October 2003, Miller voted against the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, which outlaws a procedure that involves killing a baby that is born except for the top of his or her head. In October 2008, Miller wrote to a constituent, "I agree with the Supreme Court that before viability the decision should be made by the woman facing the pregnancy, not by government."

Randall, on the other hand, takes the position that every human being from the beginning of his or her biological development is a person with a God-given unalienable right to life. He said during the 2010 primary election campaign, "If we cannot protect the life of the innocent in the womb, what does that say for us as a nation? And as far as life is concerned, I believe it should be protected from conception to geriatric care and the elderly."

One of the issues discussed during the debate over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which Brad Miller voted for in March 2010, was whether a federal takeover of the nation's health-care system would mean rationing health care and depriving the elderly of health care. Concern was heightened by the nation's more than $10 trillion debt, which will likely sqeeze the federal health-care budget, and concern continues based on the officials in power and a proposed official:

  • Dr. John Holdren, several years before he was selected as Barack Obama's chief science and technology adviser, co-authored with Paul Ehrlich the book EcoScience, in which he advocated the use of forced abortions and involuntary sterilizations to control population.
  • Dr. Ezekiel Emmanuel, before he was selected as Obama's special adviser for health policy, advocated that the Hippocratic Oath be junked so that health care can be withheld from the elderly, especially the chronically ill.
  • Dr. Donald Berwick, Obama's current nominee to head the Health and Human Services Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), is an advocate of rationing health care to limit the amount of money spent on the elderly, especially the chronically ill.

Bill Randall supports repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Centralization of power

Miller's voting record and Randall's Tea Party campaign highlight their opposing approaches to government. Miller appears to view big government as a provider of solutions to problems and big spending as a means to that end. Randall appears to view big government as a threat to freedom and big debt as a threat to national security.

(At the founding of our nation, distrust of a strong central government was evident. During the Constitutional Convention’s deliberations, the founding fathers used 3,154 quotes, 34% of which were directly from the Bible. One of the quotes used to support the separation of powers was Jeremiah 17:9: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?".)

What do they emphasize?

According to the "On the Issues" website, Miller strongly favors the following issues:

  • Abortion is a woman's right
  • Require hiring more women and minorities
  • Same-sex domestic partnership benefits
  • More federal funding for health coverage
  • Replace coal and oil with alternatives

Randall, based on his website and statements that he made during this year's primary election campaign, strongly favors the five pillars of conservatism:

  • Moral virtue
  • Individual liberty
  • Free enterprise
  • Limited government
  • National security

Miller's and Randall's campaign websites emphasize the following issues (each candidate and issue is hyperlinked):

Brad Miller Bill Randall
Jobs and the economy Economy and jobs
Health care Health care
Education Education
Energy Energy and environment
Immigration Immigration
Iraq Iran and Israel
Veterans Military
Predatory lending
Second Amendment rights
Marriage
Right to life

Summary of positions on issues

The following table compares the candidates' stands on a number of issues:

Candidate Brad Miller Bill Randall
EconomyHow to recover the economyFederal stimulus spendingCut back the federal government;
reduce the corporate tax rate
Increasing the $10,000,000,000,000+ national debtForAgainst
Corporate bailoutsForAgainst
Cap-and-trade, hugely increasing the cost of energyForAgainst
Authorizing construction of new oil refineriesAgainstFor
SocialSocial spendingForChurches should do more, government less
Socialized medicineForAgainst
Requiring Americans to purchase health-care insuranceForAgainst
GunsSecond Amendment rightsWants to limitFully supports
EducationShould the federal government regulate our schools?YesNo1
LifeBanning partial-birth abortionAgainstFor
Preborn right to lifeWoman has a right to choooseProtect innocent life from conception
Taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell researchFor2Against
Allowing adult stem cell researchForFor
MarriageAmending Constitution to define marriage as one-man-one-womanAgainst For
  1. Randall's position: Eliminate the Department of Education; it is a failure.
  2. Miller voted for the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007, which would have funded embryonic stem cell research (ESCR). ESCR involves killing human beings at the embryonic stage of development.

In their own words

In this section, the health-care quotations come from the candidates' websites. Miller's abortion quotation comes from an October 2008 letter to a constituent. Randall's abortion quotation comes from a May 13, 2010 debate during the primary-election campaign.

Health care

  • Miller:

    It is inexcusable that in a country as prosperous as the United States, so many of our citizens are not able to afford health care. More than 45 million Americans lack any health insurance and millions more are underinsured. More than 18,000 Americans die every year who would not have died if they had health insurance.

    Last year I voted to ensure that there was enough funding in the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to cover the more than 120,000 currently in the program. SCHIP covers more than 3.8 million children, including the children of American soldiers, but without reform these children are in danger of losing their health coverage. I voted for legislation that would reform and expand SCHIP, but President Bush vetoed this bill.

    I have supported mental health parity, so that people with mental illness will receive the same health benefits as those with physical illness. I also voted to make sure that doctors who see Medicare patients are adequately reimbursed. However we still have much more to do.

    The next President and the next Congress must address the issue of health care and work towards universal coverage for all Americans. We must do this in a way that leaves major decisions in the hands of patients and their doctors. We can begin to cut costs and improve quality through preventative medicine, improving the quality of health care provided and investing in electronic health information technology, but these are only the first steps.

  • Randall:

    I will work to repeal the recently passed Health Care legislation while concurrently producing legislation that responsibly improves the existing system. Our health care system is the BEST on the planet. It needs fixing, but what was recently done is not REFORM. It is a strong-arm takeover of 1/6 of our nation's economy that is a grave threat to our freedoms and liberties while further expanding runaway government. I would have NOT have supported the bill. My remarks are on this audio clip (at the 31:20 mark): http://stategovernmentradio.com/media/audio/082809_People_In_Politics.mp3

    But it is not enough to say that I would have voted against the bill. Along with my NOT having supported the bill, I would have co-sponsored or supported legislation to improve our health care system by:

    1. Enacting tort reform to eliminate frivolous or excessive lawsuits for injury and yet provide reasonable limits on personal injury and/or pain & suffering.
    2. Encouraging individual Health Savings Accounts (HSA's) that enable families to obtain catastrophic coverage at lower cost. Let the money paid into the HSA accumulate without penalty, time limit or ceiling on the amount saved. Also, allow ALL individual health care plans to be portable, thus enabling them to keep their coverage.
    3. Fair treatment of insurance companies:
      1. Removing burdensome and/or unnecessary insurance regulations.
      2. Rewriting the laws governing health insurance to make the rules more understandable, and thus remove the window for loopholes and abuse. The contractual agreement of insurance must be between the insurer and the insured.
      3. Not making pre-existing conditions insurable in all cases. Consider what would happen if you purchased a DVD player at an electronics store. It malfunctions 11 months later and you return to the store after it malfunctioned. You would then say: "I'd like to buy insurance for my DVD player that I purchased 11 months ago." Using the recently passed health care bill logic, the store owner must sell you an insurance policy that would cover the DVD player. Can we all see that it wouldn't take long before the electronics store would go out of business?
    4. Declaring the Health Care Bill as UNCONSTITUTIONAL. The legislation recently passed will ultimately FORCE private insurance companies out of the free market. The vacuum left would then be filled by the government, which would then offer "Single Payer" government health insurance.
    5. Opening competition across state lines. Let insurance companies compete to provide the best coverage packages in the free market.
    6. Establishing high risk pools that group persons with special medical needs/conditions. Work with health care professionals to determine the best way to address the issue of preexisting conditions. These issues must be dealt with a measure of compassion. Viable alternatives to the recently passed health care bill were recommended and should be reexamined.
    7. Considering Heritage Foundation's recommendation to transform Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP so that individuals and families have a broad choice of health plans and providers. Make those providers directly accountable to patients for their quality of care.
    8. Streamlining the medical industry administrative workload. Doctors, hospitals and health care practitioners have a tremendous administrative burden of government regulation placed upon them. This burden currently requires an administrator-to-physician ratio of 4:1 (four to one). Four such administrators place a cost burden of about $120K or more on the hospital and/or medical practice. These costs are then passed along to the patient or third party provider

Abortion

  • Miller: I share the belief expressed by the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade that a fetus is at least a potential life, and that concern for the fetus as a potential life increases as the pregnancy progresses. I oppose abortion after viability except when the life or health of the pregnant woman is endangered. I also share the belief expressed in Roe v. Wade that the decision to carry a pregnancy to term is an intensely personal decision. I agree with the Supreme Court that before viability the decision should be made by the woman facing the pregnancy, not by government. I would not, therefore, support a constitutional amendment to prohibit abortion.
  • Randall: I think that you need to understand that Ronald Reagan wrote a book called Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation. If we cannot protect the life of the innocent in the womb, what does that say for us as a nation? And as far as life is concerned, I believe it should be protected from conception to geriatric care and the elderly.
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