Continuing his bid to replace U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., businessman and veteran Todd Wilcox warned conservatives over the weekend about an out-of-control executive branch and the expansion of the federal government.
Going after both President Barack Obama and the GOP congressional leadership, Wilcox spoke at the the Republican Liberty Caucus of Central East Florida’s Constitution Day dinner Saturday night. He offered listeners his take on the federal government’s current course. Republican primary rival U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., had been scheduled to speak but canceled his appearance.
“I fear we are on the path to dystopia and I believe our future as a constitutional republic is in serious jeopardy,” Wilcox said. “Our national debt is $18.4 trillion, our unfunded liabilities and future obligations are more than $200 trillion and the number of people receiving entitlements nearly equals those who pay federal income taxes. This continued increase of federal spending was entirely predictable and America has developed a post-constitutional culture in which too many of us have been transformed from independent citizens into weak dependents, fully reliant upon the dispensations and ‘protections’ of government.”
He continued, “The fundamental goal of the Constitution was to ensure liberty; by separating the different powers of government so that no one branch of government would have all the tools to dominate the body politic. And yet over the last 100 years, with the growth in the federal government and entitlement spending, the executive branch has accumulated powers so vast that the entitlement state has killed the separation of powers. The Supreme Court and the Congress are now largely infirm, fatally weakened by the growth of an executive branch that provides ever-expanding entitlements, dispensations and protections.”
Wilcox told a packed crowd of more than 200 Republican activists and leaders that the federal government had overstepped its bounds.
“There is now no area of American life in which the federal government does not claim the role of caretaker,” Wilcox said. “It exists to make college education ‘affordable to all,’ to dispense subsidized health-care, to provide housing and mortgages, to furnish food and, yes, even cell phones. It secures access to ‘free’ birth control for young women and ‘protects’ children against obesity by dictating the menu for school lunches.”
The Senate hopeful slammed “corporate lobbyists” and businesses that rely on federal money.
“Huge sectors of our economy –- insurance, pharmaceuticals, transportation, construction, defense – are government dependents,” Wilcox insisted.
Taking aim at the Obama White House, Wilcox said the current administration is “encroaching on our personal freedom and liberty” and relying heavily on executive actions, undermining the economy and Americans’ privacy.
Wilcox said the other branches of the federal government are being run over by the executive branch.
“The immensity of the executive has transformed the Congress and the judiciary into political irrelevancies who act primarily to grease the skids of the so-called beneficent dispensations, protections and regulations,” Wilcox said. “The legislative branch is largely powerless in the face of an executive branch that is the fountainhead of popular gratifications in the form of entitlements.”
Wilcox also jabbed at the Republican majorities in charge of Capitol Hill. “Legislative leaders with large majorities are unable to utilize their overwhelming power of the purse to fight off the executive,” Wilcox said before turning his fire back to the White House. “The executive branch now stonewalls congressional investigations with impunity, blatantly ignores congressional statutes, enacts ever encroaching executive actions with total disregard for the rule of law.”
Focusing back on the Republicans, Wilcox said U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, should not be afraid to play hardball with the White House even as a federal shutdown looms if an agreement is not reached by the end of the month.
“In the face of these breathtaking encroachments by the executive branch, both Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader McConnell have publicly eschewed a government shutdown,” Wilcox said.
“They know this new post-constitutional culture will not tolerate turning off the spigot of governmental money. Right or wrong, conservatives have surrendered their most powerful tool because they fear the new entitlement culture will jeopardize their reelection. The political unpopularity of government shutdowns should illustrate to all of us that our national culture has now changed.
“Congress is now the weakest branch of government,” Wilcox continued. “More importantly, Congress has intentionally enfeebled itself to get in on the game of spreading government entitlements, subsidies and protection. Congress, in short, is no longer a serious branch of government that grapples with the serious responsibilities it was given under the Constitution.”
Reminding the audience that he never has held elected office while his rivals have, Wilcox called for a restoration of “citizen government” and insisted politicians won’t be able to turn things around.
“Career politicians who called themselves conservatives ‘won’ the Congress and lost the culture,” Wilcox insisted before telling the crowd that the stakes are high.
“The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years,” Wilcox said in conclusion. “All of these failed nations have progressed through this sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith; spiritual faith to great courage; courage to liberty; liberty to abundance; abundance to selfishness; selfishness to apathy; apathy to dependence; and from dependency back again into bondage. America was founded 239 years ago. What stage are we in? Sadly I fear our constitutional republic is now passing over the horizon.
What will replace it is yet to be seen. But I refuse to sit by and watch it happen. That is why I am a candidate for the U.S. Senate.”
Besides Wilcox and DeSantis, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and U.S. Rep. David Jolly, R-Fla., are running for the Republican nomination. Rubio is running for the Republican presidential nomination and has said he will not run for a second term in the Senate.
Reach Kevin Derby at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter: @KevinDerbySSN