Jeff Bell on Principles & Values



Judeo-Christian values established our government framework

Question topic: Efforts to bring Islamic law (shariah) to America do not pose a threat to our country and its Constitution.

Bell: Strongly Disagree.

Question topic: Judeo-Christian values established a framework of morality which permitted our system of limited government.

Bell: Strongly Agree.

Question topic: Briefly describe your spiritual beliefs and values.

Bell: I am a devoted Catholic and attend Mass daily.

Source: Faith2Action iVoterGuide on 2014 New Jersey Senate race , Sep 30, 2014

1982: ran for Senate; speechwriter for Ronald Reagan

"Time to go buy 1 million Twitter followers," New Jersey Senate candidate Jeff Bell tweeted Wednesday morning.

He's not wrong. After winning Tuesday night's four-way Republican primary, Bell, a former speechwriter for Ronald Reagan, will now face Democratic Sen. Cory Booker, the former Newark mayor whose rise to national prominence was in part fueled by his high-volume tweeting. Booker has a whopping 1.47 million followers. Bell has 237.

His lower number isn't surprising--Bell, who is 70 years old, has been out of the game for decades. His last Senate campaign was in 1982, when he lost the Republican primary to former Rep. Millicent Fenwick. Prior to that, he ousted then-Sen. Clifford Case in New Jersey's GOP primary but lost the general election to Bill Bradley.

Source: The Wall Street Journal on 2014 New Jersey Senate race , Jun 4, 2014

Wife wept upon hearing he would run for Senate

In January, he announced his plans to run, surprising his family--even his wife, who wept at the news. A month later, Bell, who had lived in the Washington area for more than three decades, packed up his bags and moved to Leonia.

Bell acknowledges that he faces an uphill battle against Booker, in part due to Booker's hefty financial advantage. Booker has $2.9 million in the bank, compared with Bell's $3,976. Still, Bell said, "This was a cause campaign," he said. "So far, at least it's alive."

Source: The Wall Street Journal on 2014 New Jersey Senate race , Jun 4, 2014

Defeated incumbent Senator in GOP primary in 1978

Jeff Bell, who won the primary for the Republican Senate nomination earlier this week, has been there before. He won a Senate primary in his first political campaign. That was in 1978.

But on Tuesday, Bell defeated three other Republican challengers, winning 29.5% of the vote. All Bell, 70, has to do now is defeat Democratic incumbent and social media favorite Cory Booker.

Bell welcomes debates with Booker, saying, "I debated Bill Bradley 21 times in 1978, and I think I would be a good debater. I do have that reputation from the past."

Bell won that 1978 Republican Senate primary by defeating a 4-term incumbent, Clifford Case. Bell won the race by 1.5 percentage points, and called the victory "the major shocker to date of this political year." Almost nobody in politics gave Bell a chance to win, including his fellow Republican conservatives.

Source: NewJerseyNewsroom.com on 2014 New Jersey Senate race , May 5, 2014

Religious freedom is under attack by government

It is dismaying that religious freedom is under attack by government. Whether it's Obamacare's HHS mandate or judges overruling voters on the definition of marriage, it has become harder than ever to be a person of faith in this country without the government abrogating those beliefs. The institution of marriage in particular has been subject to this trend.
Source: 2014 Senate campaign website, Bell2014.com, "Issues" , May 2, 2014

Social conservatism is central reason politics is polarized

Much of the elite Republican and conservative opinion has remained hostile to a political role for social issues, preferring they be paid no more than lip service and removed completely from political debate whenever this can be managed.

Such tension would not be possible in any other affluent democracy, because in those democracies nothing remotely resembling social conservatism exists. Its absence is the main reason the politics of Western Europe and Japan have not become polarized, and the continued presence and strength of social conservatism is the central reason politics is polarized here. Understanding why this is so, and why it is likely to continue well into the future, goes a long way toward explaining why American politics has such a different feel from the politics of other affluent democracies, as well as where our very different politics may lead.

Source: The Case for Polarized Politics, by Jeff Bell, p. 4-5 , Mar 6, 2012

1988: Curbs on public prayer sparked Christian activism

A series of rulings dating back to the 1940s began to set sharp limits on the role of religion in public life. A particular shock was the Supreme Court's near unanimous 1962 decision banning all school-sponsored prayers, including blandly written nonsectarian ones, from America's public schools.

Liberal-backed judicial curbs on public prayer and other symbols and expressions of faith were making believers more and more uneasy. The year 1988 television evangelist Pat Robertson's ability to mobilize previously uninvolved Christian activists began a new era in GOP presidential politics.

Source: The Case for Polarized Politics, by Jeff Bell, p. 21 , Mar 6, 2012

Founders saw all humans as equal because God created that

The founders of the US all saw themselves as men of the Enlightenment. Most of them saw self-evident truths as flowing from a God-centered universe--from "Nature and Nature's God." Moreover, they envisioned God not as an archaic holdover deity from rule by blood elites. That is, the only way to justify ending millennia of domination by kings and nobles was by facing the implications of what they saw as a simple, self-evident fact: Humans are innately equal because God created us that way.
Source: The Case for Polarized Politics, by Jeff Bell, p.128 , Mar 6, 2012

In 1948, affluence determined party; now, religiosity does

In 1944 and 1948, the more affluent you were, the more likely you were to vote for the Republican presidential nominee. This was the pattern of the previous presidential elections since 1932.

Now, affluence is no longer the main predictor. Rather, the more frequently you attended religious services, the more likely you were to vote for Republican George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. The centrality of economic issues in 2008 and the overall decline in Republican support did not make a significant dent in this pattern.

The transition from one political framework to a very different one took decades, and vestiges of the old alignment are still detectable today (e.g., union members remain heavily Democratic). But the earlier affluence-based politics, broadly prevalent from 1932 to 1964, was marked by Democratic dominance (7 of 9 presidential elections) and the rise of social issues, which began in 1968, has been marked by a shift toward Republican preeminence (7 of the past 11 presidential elections)

Source: The Case for Polarized Politics, by Jeff Bell, p. 9-10 , Mar 6, 2012

1700s America had several states with established churches

The term "established church," which today connotes an image of a single sect with a leg up on its competition, was at the time of its invention a clear subordination of the church to a newly dominant state. Several Calvinist churches were established state churches in New England at the time of the American Revolution, and they remained so for several decades after independence.

In the 20th century, aggressive secularism achieved a political breakthrough: Believers faced the prospect of a systematic campaign against public religion--or, as their legal adversaries preferred to define it, a wall of separation between public life and religious symbols and language.

For a nation that from its beginning appropriated public funds for congressional & military chaplains, that puts "In God We Trust" on its money, that in the 1950s added (by a near unanimous act of Congress) the words "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance, this was a huge and unexpected shift in elite opinion.

Source: The Case for Polarized Politics, by Jeff Bell, p.151-4 , Mar 6, 2012

1900 era defined by conservatism versus Progressivism

In 1990, Britain and the US were wealthy, effectively governed adherents of the conservative enlightenment. The socialist left rose in Britain at least in part because it opposed blood elites more vociferously than did conservative advocates of innate equality.

In the US, the country most influenced by the ideas of the conservative enlightenment, the left's emergence took a different form. While some of the early American left did bring monopolies or "trusts," the more important challenge came from within the broad national movement that came to be known as Progressivism.

Progressivism was particularly successful in enacting such political reforms as direct election of US senators, state-level initiative and referendum, and the party primary as a new means of nominating political candidates.

Source: The Case for Polarized Politics, by Jeff Bell, p.199-200 , Mar 6, 2012

Human rights are given by the Creator

It's useful to attempt a brief analysis of the first sentences of the Declaration: "When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary...to assume...the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them... We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."
  1. Only one authority is cited for the colonists' right to break away from Great Britain and found a republic: "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God."
  2. "Truths" that are "self-evident" could only follow from a belief in universal natural law.
  3. Human rights are given by the Creator, together with human existence. This is why it is immoral for the state to try to take them away: They are "unalienable."
  4. The first self-evident truth mentioned is that we are "created equal." It comes first because the idea of innate equality is the irreplaceable principle, the starting point of politics.
Source: The Case for Polarized Politics, by Jeff Bell, p.160-1 , Mar 6, 2012

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Cory Booker
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