The GOP gets a second chance
by Jeff Jacoby
THE MOST encouraging thing about the Republican triumph in last week's midterm elections is that so many Republicans acknowledge that it wasn't a Republican triumph.
"We make a great mistake if we believe that tonight these results are somehow an embrace of the Republican Party," Florida's impressive senator-elect, Marco Rubio, said in his victory speech Tuesday night. "What they are is a second chance, a second chance for Republicans to be what they said they were going to be not so long ago."
The same sentiment was expressed by the likely next House majority leader, Eric Cantor of Virginia. "There isn't a lot of confidence focused on the Republicans yet," he told CBS the morning after the election. "It isn't necessarily a vote of confidence for Republican leadership."
Outside Congress, too, influential Republican strategists have been warning the victors against hubris and the temptation to gloat. "Republicans must not delude themselves," wrote political mastermind Karl Rove. "The voters didn't throw out the Democrats because they are enraptured with the GOP. . . . Republicans are on probation."
So they are. Voters have been betrayed in the past by Republicans who ran for office vowing to shrink the scope and cost and intrusiveness of government, only to end up presiding over ever-more-bloated budgets, record-setting deficits, increasingly unaffordable entitlements, and disgraceful ethical lapses.
The last time a GOP majority took control of the US House of Representatives -- under Newt Gingrich in January 1995 -- Republicans produced a list of more than 300 unnecessary federal agencies, funds, and programs that they intended to "zero out" as proof of their fiscal responsibility. Yet nearly every item on that list was still alive and well when the Republicans lost their majority 12 years later.
The tidal wave that swept so many Democrats out to sea last week was a repudiation of the extremely liberal Obama-Pelosi agenda of the past two years -- the tax increases, the massive health-care overhaul, the trillion-dollar deficits, the regulatory explosion, and the condescending, we-know-best disdain for anyone who opposed them. As the lesser of two evils, Republicans ended up the big winners on Election Day. But they will not regain the trust they squandered the last time around without proving that they deserve it.
What is it time for, then? First and foremost, it is time to reverse the destructive Obama policies that have alarmed so many voters and made businesses so uneasy. It is essential that Republicans keep tax rates from rising. They must roll back spending decisively. And they must dismantle as much of the misbegotten health-care law as a party in control of just one house of Congress can.
They must also make it clear that they have learned from the failure of the previous GOP majority. That means permanently ending the pork-and-earmark culture that has so corrupted the budgeting process. It means defunding, not perpetuating, the corporate welfare and agriculture subsidies that violate every free-market principle Republicans claim to stand for.
Tea Party Boosted Republicans in 2010
There is no question that the tea party movement has dramatically contributed to the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives and narrowing the margin in the Senate. In addition to providing boosted turnout — it helped raise turnout to an estimated 41.5 percent (some 90 million) — since early 2009, the tea parties and other citizen activists have helped to dramatically shape the debate toward limiting the size and scope of government.
In fact, the American people set the agenda in the midterms. Their staunch opposition to the failed $812 “stimulus”, ObamaCare, the carbon cap-and-tax, bailouts, and government takeovers emboldened, empowered, and encouraged Republicans on Capitol Hill to take strong a stand on their behalf.
Whoever is saying the tea parties were somehow a hindrance to the GOP in 2010 need to get their heads examined. Republicans in the House picked up the most seats of either party since 1948. To argue the tea parties were inconsequential, or an impediment, one has to maintain that such a turnaround in the fortunes of Republicans was somehow inevitable.
It was not. Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson recently wrote that Republican opposition to the Obama statist agenda “gave the American people confidence that they had representation — that they had a voice.” That was a critical development. Republicans were extremely unpopular when they were completely driven out of power in 2008.
Nor was there any guarantee after Obama was elected that the GOP would even unite against his agenda. When they did, that was when the American people responded.
Wilson called the outcome of the election “decisive,” adding that “The American people have spoken, and because of their efforts, House Republicans and a growing number of Senate Republicans have been offered a second chance to bring the nation’s fiscal house into order.”
“But the work is not over with a mere election,” Wilson added. “Now, the American people must hold the new Congress accountable for their pledges to pay down the debt, repeal ObamaCare, create jobs, and end the bailouts once and for all.”
Wilson said the early indications that Republicans are listening are “favorable,” and wrote that Boehner and McConnell “deserve praise for leading the opposition during the first two dark years of the Obama presidency.”
Certainly, it is clear that Republicans have been given a new lease on political life by the American people. This would not have been possible if Republicans were divided on Capitol Hill over whether to support the Obama agenda. That would have had the effect of sucking the energy out of the tea party movement, and would have wrecked their 2010 prospects.
At the press conference, McConnell said that Democrats “may have missed the message” of the elections. “I get the impression that they’re thinking — their view is that [Republicans] have not cooperated enough. I think what the American people were saying yesterday that they appreciated us saying ‘no’ to the things that the American people indicated they were not in favor of.”
In a speech at the Heritage Foundation, McConnell got more specific about what he means, outlining his “primary legislative goals”: “repeal and replace the health spending bill; to end the bailouts; cut spending; and shrink the size and scope of government”.
If they do indeed make good on their pledges to voters, Republicans will find that the tea party movement will be continue to be a valuable ally. Those activists who propelled them back into power will remain vital to shaping the debate and pressuring members of Congress to vote to limit government. If the American people continue to hold Congress accountable for their actions, 2010 will have just been the beginning.
Here's my question: If this week's election returns demonstrate that the vast majority of the country is moving to the right, why do the West Coast and the Northeast continue to embrace liberalism, especially when it has led to economic disaster?
Both California and New York are on the verge of bankruptcy and, according to Forbes magazine, are hostile to business by way of high taxation and strict regulation of commerce. California currently owes $158 billion, and New York is holding $60 billion in debt. But Sen. Barbara Boxer in the Golden State and New York Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, all big spenders, won their respective races easily.
Boxer is a classic tax-and-spend liberal who never met an entitlement program she didn't want to vacation with. So why did she coast on the Coast? The answer has to be that the "where's mine" culture has taken deep root out west; people want stuff from government, and deficits be damned.
In the Atlantic states north of the Mason-Dixon line, it is union power and Democratic machine politics that hold sway. In Philadelphia, for example, it is all liberal, all the time. Even Ben Franklin couldn't move that bunch. New York City politics and Boston politics are similar -- Democrats dominate the union vote and most ballots in the inner city.
So while the rest of the country has thrown the big-spending rascals out, the liberal power structure holds on in select areas no matter how dismal the economy is. In his press conference after the Democrats got hammered, President Obama showed some humility, but he also knows that come 2012, he'll begin with 86 electoral votes courtesy of California and New York no matter what he does.
Thus, the United States is not really united anymore. We are now a nation of coalitions. The tea party movement is largely supported outside the big cities, while the progressive base is mostly urban. If you listen closely to what the two groups are saying, there is no common ground at all. The president says he wants to work with his opponents and find policies that all can embrace. Does that seem likely to you?
Why Palin Petrifies Progressives
Here’s why I believe the dour democratic dames particularly dislike Palin. Check it out:
1. Palin’s hot and can rock a pair of heels, hunting boots, or any garment she dons. And you can tell she knows it and likes it. Most of the ladies on the Left, however, cannot—and we all know how jealous and petty some chicks can be when they’re aesthetically upstaged (cat fight).
2. They hate Sarah because she’s supposedly anti-intellectual. However, I’d love to see Tina Fey, Katie Couric or Joy Behag go mano a mano with her on any given topic and see who comes off looking like Snooki.
3. The feministas don’t dig SP because she’s had five kids (one of whom has Down’s Syndrome) and has never considered offing any of them in her womb.
4. She believes in the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, and they hate Christians.
5. She’s a conservative, and they hate conservatives.
6. She’s insanely successful, and she did it without curtsying to their wacked weltanschauung.
7. Her husband’s not some prissy, manicured metrosexual man-child but an ass kicking Alaskan.
8. She hunts and fishes. Her motto: Shoot it. Stuff it. Hang it on a wall, baby.
9. She’s unapologetic to all of the above.
10. And finally, they know that if she ever makes it to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue that she’s going to hand the Dems their shriveled BB-sized cojones on a free market platter while the majority of the USA gives her a standing ovation.
And that, my children, is why Palin petrifies the paranormal progressives.
Will Obama Triangulate?
Now that President Obama has experienced the same baptism of fire as Bill Clinton did in the midterm elections, the obvious question is whether he will move to the center in a bid to save his presidency and win re-election. The move worked well for President Clinton, as he sought to combine the best aspects of each party's program in a third approach that came to be known as triangulation. Will Obama follow suit?
He won't because -- even if he wanted to -- he can't.
The issues today are very different from those that separated the parties in 1994 and do not lend themselves to common ground. Obama's programs during his first two years in office have been so radical, far reaching and fundamental that any compromise leaves the nation so far to the left of where it has always been and wants to be as to make it unacceptable to the American people.
When Obama took office, the federal, state and local governments controlled 35 percent of the American economy. We ranked 15th among the two dozen advanced countries. Now it controls 44.7 percent, ranking us seventh, ahead of Germany and Britain. So where is the compromise? Are we to raise taxes and cut spending so that government is only, say, 40 percent of our economy?
To raise taxes to cover even a part of that increase would be to lock in a level of big government that is anathema to our free enterprise system. You cannot have a free market economy with a government that big sitting in the middle of your economy, hoarding capital, pouncing on all available credit, taking away such a major portion of your national income.
While negotiation is always possible on spending cuts, raising or lowering them or redirecting their focus, the bottom line of sharp deficit reduction is not up for discussion. Both parties are locked into the need to bring down the debt before it strangles our economy. With this imperative in mind, a zero tax increase policy will require budget cuts that Obama and the left will find unacceptable. For them, the slashes in social spending will also preclude a search for middle ground.
Informal production of pro-social behavior: "My view has always been that what really holds a society together is not the body of law enacted by a legislature or handed down by a king, but peer pressure, social opprobrium, and moral approbation. When somebody breaks a society’s rules, a trial of some type ensues, to determine who’s right, what harm has been done, who should be compensated, and so forth. Juries are one way people have developed for helping to determine these things. But I would argue that the state is not a necessary part of any of this.”
Prince Andrew criticizes British defence chiefs: "The Duke of York has attacked the “hopeless” Ministry of Defence for failing to order armoured vehicles that could save soldiers’ lives. He accused defence chiefs of sitting on their “fat backsides” and stalling on bringing in British-built Rangers, which are said to have three times the blast resistance of troop carriers currently in use. His comments are likely to embarrass David Cameron, who has insisted that defence cuts will not compromise the safety of those serving in Afghanistan. They also amounted to a breach of protocol, which dictates that members of the Royal family should avoid expressing political views. The Duke was applauded by relatives of fallen soldiers. The 50-year-old Duke, a former Royal Navy helicopter pilot and colonel-in-chief of five Army regiments, has regularly visited Afghanistan to see the challenges faced by British service personnel."
Anglican bishops set to resign over the ordination of women: "Britain's Archbishop of Canterbury is expected to announce the resignation of two bishops on Monday, in the first of what is feared will be a wave of departures from the Church of England by traditionalists converting to Roman Catholicism. The Bishop of Richborough, the Right Rev Keith Newton, 58, is expected to become leader or the Anglican Ordinariate, set up to provide Catholic refuge to Anglicans who leave the Church of England over the issue of women bishops. The Bishop of Ebbsfleet, the Right Rev Andrew Burnham, 63, is also expected to join the Ordinariate, along with the Bishop of Fulham, the Right Rev John Broadhurst, who announced last month that he will be resigning at the end of the year."
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)