Saturday, April 16, 2011

GOP must think long term

The events of the last few weeks in Washington infuriated the public as both Republicans and Democrats appeared silly to many while negotiating budget cuts.

Actually, these events were not silly. We have been witnessing a classic example of two parties banging heads about the path the federal government should take.

Led by President Barack Obama, Democrats have an approach that believes government can genuinely fix the problems our nation faces. While the government can help, it cannot truly solve the biggest challenges of our time. This is because our nation's biggest problems deal with its morality and no government program can heal that.

Still, I think the Democrats' hearts are in the right place though they are often misguided.

On the other hand, Republicans have been approaching our federal budget with an ax as they try to come to terms with our nation's debt. After all, the nation's debt now exceeds $14 trillion. Call me crazy, but I think that is excessive.

In 2010, voters gave control of the House of Representatives back to the Republicans primarily as a reaction to the spending of the Democrats and the Obama administration.

Republicans have been trying to use that mandate to make aggressive inroads on spending. However, make no mistake: Republicans also embrace the idea of a large federal government. Though it does not seem that way when analyzing the rhetoric they use, the Democrats were not the only party at the wheel as we drove toward the massive federal government we have now.

If Republicans in the House of Representatives are genuinely serious about reducing the size of the federal government, then the party has to change its strategy. The party must stop focusing on issues and legislation that will not be passed by the Democratically-controlled U.S. Senate or signed into law by the president.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee recently said that Republicans should abandon their crusades against organizations like Planned Parenthood and focus on budget proposals that will gain traction with the public.

"As much as I want to see Planned Parenthood defunded...the reality is the president and the Senate are never going to go along with that so win the deal you can win and live to fight another day," Huckabee said.

If the economy continues to falter, financial matters will resonate with voters in 2012 far more than funding for Planned Parenthood and National Public Radio.

When it comes to the economy, our leaders have really set the bar low when defining what is considered progress. Last month, when it was announced that unemployment had dropped below nine percent, it was presented to us as if it was a milestone that should produce cheers.

Ironically, the blueprint for a Republican victory in 2012 was unveiled 20 years ago by then-Democratic candidate Bill Clinton.

As the 1992 race approached, he faced incumbent George Bush who was struggling because of a sputtering economy. His campaign memorably gained momentum by stating: "It's the economy, stupid."

The more the economy struggled, the more the Clinton campaign successfully criticized Bush as a president out of touch with the struggles of the average American. Clinton won the election.

Still, this may all be a moot point. As I wrote several weeks ago, I believe President Obama will be re-elected. The economy was bad when he took over, and the public will likely give him another term to figure it out.

Additionally, if voters keep a majority of Republicans in the House of Representatives, it will increase Obama's likelihood of re-election. Despite how much voters say they hate gridlock, they are also uneasy about giving one party control of both the White House and Congress.

1 comment:

Ten Irish said...

If gas prices keep going up, I think that will have a huge negative effect on the Big O's run in 2012. Of course the Dem mantra of raising taxes on "the rich" is already being heard. But this is like giving a wino money on the street because he tells you he hasn't had a meal in three days or that his wife is in the hospital and his car broke down. You know he's gonna spend it all on alcohol, and you know any money Dems raise is gonna be spent on pie-in-the-sky programs, not to pay down the debt. Never give money to a Democrat--NEVER!