“Please remember to arm the alarm before you leave, honey,” I told my wife as I left the house yesterday morning. With the rash of car thefts, vandalism, and home burglaries of late in our suburban Baltimore neighborhood, it feels just like it did when I was a kid in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.
Although Baltimore is particularly bad, undoubtedly countless millions of Americans who will be casting ballots next year are feeling the same apprehension. Last year, Americans were victims of 1.17 million violent crimes and 8.3 million property crimes. Who is speaking for this silent majority as Obama busts open the prisons and intimidates state and local law enforcement?
Certainly not House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).
Last month, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the prison break bill (S. 2123), which would accelerate Obama’s agenda to retroactively release tens of thousands of violent criminals from federal prison. With Mitch McConnell, being the best Senate Majority Leader the Democrats ever had, committed to bringing this bill to the Senate floor, Goodlatte is looking to run the ball into the end zone for Obama by passing it in the House. Instead of using the House as the bulwark against this bill, as was the case with the Gang of 8 amnesty bill, Goodlatte is looking to become the best House Judiciary Committee Chairman the Democrats ever had. He plans to mark up his bill, H.R. 3713, next week.
Sensing some blowback from conservatives, Goodlatte is defending his bill as an improvement of the Senate version, claiming that it contains more limitations on retroactive releases, even though his bill retains most provisions, including the retroactive release of heroin dealers. Most egregiously, he is positing an argument reminiscent of those pushed by Senator Rubio (R-FL) during the amnesty debate in 2013 – that we must respond to Obama’s executive prison break… by implementing a legislative prison break!
How about not giving Obama any tailwinds to push his last remaining priority of his presidency, and instead use his leverage to combat and oppose the prison break?
During the Gang of 8 amnesty bill, proponents first denied the most appalling provisions in their bill. Then, when the evidence against them was too compelling, they dropped a few of the worst provisions. But they missed the broader point that we should not head in this direction during the Obama presidency at all.
The same dynamic is playing out with criminal justice “reform,” which by the way, would result in the release of thousands of criminal aliens – something Goodlatte fails to mention. Moreover, just like the original House Gang of 8 on immigration, the goal with a criminal justice bill in the House is to turn a few provisions into shiny objects enough to pass that chamber and go to conference with the Senate, transmogrifying into something much worse.
As Chairman of the committee, Goodlatte has a front row seat watching the train wreck of Obama’s criminal alien release, his general prison break, and his war on law enforcement. As Obama’s own FBI Director, James Comey, warned “something deeply disturbing is happening all across America.” Even liberal Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger, who recently testified in defense of sanctuary cities, noted the danger in release of repeat offenders. “There is a likely chance that they will become our problem again … whether it’s a violent crime, a theft to support a drug habit, or an overdose.”
It truly is a tragedy that there are over 2 million people in prison (although mostly in state prisons). But it’s an even bigger travesty that we have so much violent crime – to the point that only a small percentage of violent crimes result in arrest and incarceration. It’s time to address the root societal problems instead of complaining about the symptoms.
At the core of the social compact and the entire purpose of creating government is the protection of the citizenry against threats to their life and property. Policing domestic violence is primarily the function of local governments, but Obama has violated federalism by intimidating police departments with racially motivated investigations. This is what Goodlatte and the Judiciary Committee should focus on for the remainder of Obama’s presidency. Be part of the solution, not the problem.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.