by Sher Zieve
The following is an email interview, which I conducted with
conservative Massachusetts 6th Congressional District Candidate Rick Barton.
Barton is running against incumbent Rep. John Tierney and the powerful
Massachusetts liberal Democrat machine. However, Barton�s credentials are
Included in his Bio is service to the US as a Navy pilot, which
included Mission Commander, Patrol Plane Commander, Instructor Pilot and
NATOPS Pilot. Barton also grew up in Massachusetts, graduated from Needham
Senior High School in June 1971 and from Boston University in January
1980. He is a member of multiple Massachusetts� civic, political and
service organizations, including Manchester Republican Town Committee, Life
Endowment Member of the National Rifle Association, the Club for
National Federation of Independent Business, American Legion Post 113
Manchester, MA, Naval Aviation Foundation and the Military Officers
Association of America. Barton is also a proponent of strong Border
Sher: �How would you characterize your opponent�s views, in comparison
Rick: �I would characterize my opponent�s view as virtually opposite of
mine. He is a member of the Congressional progressive Caucus and as
such, stands to the extreme left of his own party. I believe that the
responsibilities and duties of the federal government lie in the following
�Is it the governments business?
�Washington should only concern itself with those things that cannot be
handled at the state, community, or individual level. Federal action
must remain within the limits of constitutional authority.
�Does this measure promote self-reliance?
�Programs should help individuals stand on their own. The objective of
any government program should be equality of opportunity. Too many
government programs punish individual initiative and condemn their clients
to permanent dependence.
�Is it responsible?
�Programs must be able to stand on their own and withstand the scrutiny
of citizens and legislators. Our federal government has become so
bloated from pork and wasteful spending it has trouble getting off the couch
to act in times of genuine need.
�Does it make us more prosperous?
�Excessive government regulation, high taxes, and trade barriers all
stifle our economic freedom and national prosperity.
�Does it make us safer?
�Government policy should protect our country and make for a better
future. Washington must take seriously the perils we face at home and
abroad. They must commit to the kind of strength, courage, and resolution
demonstrated by President Ronald Reagan in leading us to victory in the
�Does it unify us?
�The government should serve to bind us together with our shared
national values, not exaggerate our differences and undermine our national
identity, principles and purpose. Government policies and programs must
encourage patriotism, American values, a common language, a unified
national identity, and a level playing field, without fear or favor.�
Sher: �Which of the issues do you view as differing the most, between
you and your opponent?�
Rick: �Border security and immigration reform. I favor the House
version which places border security as the immediate necessity, enforces our
existing immigration laws, and looks at immigration reform as a
long-term goal after the borders are secure. My opponent favors the Senate
version which includes the amnesty provisions, which according to the
Heritage Foundation, increases the number of immigrants from south of the
border by an estimated 120 million over the next 20 years.
�National defense. My opponent believes that the United Nations should
be the body that determines how we react to threats to our national
security. He believes that more public disclosure of intelligence
operation is required for oversight purposes. Prior to September 11, 2001 he
routinely voted to cut the defense and intelligence budgets. Since
September 11, 2001, he has routinely voted against defense, intelligence and
homeland security appropriations. As a former Naval Aviator, I support
maintaining an adequately funded military, intelligence community, and
homeland security department at all times. Having entered military
service at the end of the Carter administration, I have seen firsthand the
foolhardy mindset of under funding our military and intelligence
communities when we are enjoying times of relative peace.
�Taxes. He is a big government tax and spend liberal who has never
embraced a tax cut, and refuses to acknowledge the demonstrated economic
benefits of lower taxes. I feel that there is room for a great deal more
tax reform and back scrapping the IRS and implementing a national sales
tax as proposed by H.R. 25 The Fair Tax. I also believe that my own
party must return to the Ronald Reagan fiscal discipline necessary to
ensure a sound economic future.
�Social Security. He says there is no crisis, I believe we must make
the reforms that are required if Social Security is to remain viable. I
strongly favor the reforms that have been put forth by the Cato
Sher: �Do you consider yourself a moderate or a conservative
Rick: �I consider myself a conservative on nearly all issues. The one
issue that some may say that I lean towards a moderate position is the
pro-life issue. When addressing this I try to address all of the
pro-life issues from abortion to euthanasia. The following may be helpful for
you to understand my position:
�I am providing you with background information about me that I hope
will let you understand my position on abortion. My mother was a first
generation Italian-American who became pregnant with me while in her
junior year of high school. She had a compassionate family that gave her
the support she needed to deal with the situation. Had she not been
provided with this support and had abortion on demand been available then,
perhaps I would not be corresponding with you now. I am pro life, but I
realize that there may be situations such as rape, incest, or the
physical condition of the mother that may lead some to consider abortion. In
dealing with rape or incest, I would hope that adoption would be the
first option chosen by the mother. I also believe that throughout history
it has been shown that you cannot legislate morality or common sense;
parents and families must nurture those qualities. Any legislation that
would expand access further, provide for late term abortions, or remove
parental notification for minors seeking an abortion, would not receive
my support. As parents, we have the duty of teaching personal
responsibility and accountability to our children. Too often today this duty is
passed to some form of government entity that seeks to impose its
philosophy on these parental duties.
�The following questions were put to me by an individual who had asked
me to be more specific about my position on abortion and other related
issues. My answer follows each question. The notes with the questions
were those of the person posing the question.
1) �Would you vote for a constitutional amendment to overturn Roe v.
Wade allowing the states to prohibit abortions? Would you allow them to
do so as they see fit or would you insist on some exemptions?
Note: before Roe v Wade abortion was legal in many states for many
reasons. In all states that I am aware of, abortion was legal if necessary
to save the life of the mother. With current technology, an abortion is
not necessary to save the life of the mother. However, there are
medical procedures -- not abortion � that have a side effect of threatening
the life of the mother, such as some chemotherapy. In such cases it is
not necessary to perform an abortion to save the mother�s life but an
abortion would occur as a secondary, unintended result of medical
treatment. This is not surgical abortion.
�No. I believe that an exemption for rape, incest, or a physical
condition that may cause the death of the mother should be included.
2) �When you say that you will allow abortions depending upon "the
medical condition of the mother", what do you mean? Do you support Doe v.
Bolton's definition of "health" which is expansive and includes
"familial" and "financial" health? Who should determine that the health is
under threat, the abortionist or a neutral third party?
�Conditions that presents a life-threatening situation to the mother if
continuing the pregnancy. I do not support the Doe v. Bolton
definition. The attending physician and patient should make the determination.
3) �Regarding rape and incest, who would determine that rape and incest
occurred? Would you require, as some laws have, that the rape and
incest be reported to the authorities?
�Note: Medicaid pays for abortions in the cases of rape and incest. The
Clinton administration struck down any requirement that those crimes be
reported to the police before the procedure is paid for.
�I can accept the legal definitions, however I feel that victims of
rape and incest, especially involving young victims, may not always
immediately report these incidents because of social stigma.
4) �Do you support the Hyde Amendment, restricting federal funding of
5) �Do you support the Mexico City Policy of Ronald Reagan, which
prohibits funding of overseas and international organizations that advocate
for legal abortion?
6) Do you oppose cloning in all its forms, as Pres. Bush did in his
recent State of the Union? Do you oppose so-called "Clone and kill bills",
which would allow cloning but only if the embryos are destroyed before
growing into a fetus or an infant? This is often done to harvest the
Note: Adult stem cells are the only stem cells demonstrated to cure any
disease. Despite much talk, embryonic stem cells have not done so.
Yes. Yes. I am not opposed to harvesting stem cells from embryos that
may be discarded by fertility clinics after invitro fertilization
procedures, if offered by the donors.
7) When does life begin? What is your definition of a human being?
Does that include all stages of human life including embryonic?
I believe it begins at conception.
8) Do you think that doctors should kill their patients if the patients
request it? Do you think that they should just help their patients, for
instance by subscribing legal drugs, but let the patients kill
themselves? What about patients too incompetent to kill themselves?
I do not support assisted suicide in any form
9) Do you think that food and water are "medical treatments" and can
be, and should be, denied to those in a "persistent vegetative state"?
Unless the patient had expressed in a living will that no extraordinary
means should be used to maintain them in a condition from which there
is no chance of recovery, as I have for myself, nutrition and water
should be continued to be provided as they are necessities of life not
10) Do you support the death penalty?
Sher: �What do you believe is the most important and salient issue
facing Americans today and how do you plan to assist in solving it?�
Rick: �I believe it is border security and immigration reform. You have
my position in a previous question. I believe this issue has so many
far-reaching implications on the future of our nation that it cannot be
ignored or delayed. National security, the economic future of our
nation, and the very core of our identity as the USA are all at stake.
Sher: �If elected, how do you plan to assist your district in ways your
opponent has not?�
Rick: �I will continue to work on tax reforms and other pro growth
policies that foster the development of small business opportunities. Here,
as in many other parts of our nation health care costs that employers
must bear must be addressed. My opponent has voted against associated
health plans and other measures that lower the cost of health care
coverage for employers. He is an advocate for universal health care, and yet
he stands against measures such as malpractice reform, health savings
accounts, and many other measures that would lower the cost of health
care and transform the health care industry into the 21st century.
�He prefers to attempt to modify a system that is antiquated, grossly
bureaucratic, and is akin to placing a band aid on a hemorrhaging
patient. I will also work towards eliminating wasteful spending and pork
barrel politics that are draining our resources. If we can rid our
government of these wasteful policies, then fully funding proven successful
programs such as No Child Left Behind and reducing the deficit will be
Sher: �Thank you, Rick. I appreciate both your time and your
comprehensive manner in addressing and answering my questions.�
Rick�s website: http://www.rickbarton.us/