Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Conservative Viewpoint
- Just Say “No”

Article by Bob Steinburg
- Edenton, North Carolina: Cradle of the Colony

When First Lady Nancy Reagan visited an elementary school in Oakland, Calif. in 1982, she was asked by a child what she should do if she were offered drugs. The first lady answered, “Just say no.” Those three words were the impetus for the launching of the highly successful White House drug awareness program, “Just say no.”

Parents understand the word “no” is often difficult to use, especially when it pertains to disciplining their child. The kids often believe their folks are just being mean. It’s later in life when the children are grown and begin raising their own families that they begin to understand the power, significance and teaching importance of that one simple two letter word- “no!”

Democrats recently have been trying to label the Republican Party as the “Party of No.” They see this as an opportunity to ridicule the GOP for resisting many of their legislative initiatives. Even some Democrats have failed to escape the invectives from their party’s left- leaning majority.

In the U. S. House of Representatives there are approximately 50 Blue Dog Democrats who often stand with Republicans attempting to rein in out-of-control spending. They unite on other issues that won’t resonate back home, such as blanket amnesty for illegal aliens.

In Washington, anyone opposed to the often overly ambitious, far reaching and irresponsibly expensive agenda of the “progressive” Democrats are banished from meaningful discourse. There is no compromise. They view those who disagree as pesky gnats, a minor annoyance that can be dispensed with the swish of the hand. To be fair, Republicans in the past have been guilty of similar displays of partisanship and exclusion when in the majority.

There are more registered Democrats than Republicans. To win elections, Republicans must offer discernible contrast between themselves and the opposition. They should show willingness to work with Democrats, but without compromising their core principles: low taxes, fiscal restraint on spending, conservative stands on social issues, as well as sustaining the strength of our military. When Republicans deviate from that political matrix, they lose. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., lost the presidency, not because he was too conservative, but because he was the most liberal Republican candidate to ever run for president.

Republicans in Congress justifiably lost the confidence of voters over the last eight years. Their spending proclivities mimicked those of their liberal brethren. When that happened, voters opted for the real deal, not the Republican version of “Democrat-Lite.”

To win elections the GOP needs to show voters they’re standing firm to their core values- compromising where possible, but not caving in on initiatives that jeopardize the fiscal, moral and national security underpinnings that have held this great Republic together for 233 years. Saying “no” isn’t always popular, but as parents will tell you, it’s often necessary to protect the health, welfare and future of those you love.

For those who think the “Party of No” is finished, consider this polling data released by Rasmussen last week. In terms of voter trust on the economy - Republicans and Democrats are now in a virtual tie, an upward trend for the GOP. Republican candidates lead Democrats by a single point for the third week in a row in the Generic Congressional Ballot.

A generic ballot is one pollsters use with no specific candidate names, asking only this: if the election were held today, would you vote for a Republican or a Democrat? This is only the fourth time in five years of Rasmussen polling that the GOP has held such a lead. While President Barack Obama maintains his personal popularity, Republicans appear to be gaining momentum as we move toward the 2010 mid-term elections.

There is a time to say “yes” and a time to say “no.” Republicans and many Blue Dog Democrats fought in vain to restrict the financial outlays including earmarks and pork in the outrageous stimulus and omnibus spending bills; a good first step. Now where do they go from here?

Many Republicans under Bush supported the Troubled Asset and Relief Program (TARP) established to bailout banks and other financial institutions that were bleeding red ink, many seemingly on the verge of collapse. The infusion of tax dollars was mismanaged, with significant money either misused or misappropriated by the benefactors. Republicans should say “no” to any efforts for a TARP II.

Obama said he will close Cuba’s Gitmo by the end of the year. Clearly there is no country that wants the detainees. Most Americans are opposed to relocating them here. Republicans and conservative Democrats should continue saying “no” to closing Gitmo.

Republicans need to push for strengthening border security. Any attempts to weaken it should be met with a resounding “no.”

Republicans should also just say “no” to future corporate buyouts or takeovers and “no” to having the government run more banks.

Legislation to provide blanket amnesty for our estimated 12 million illegal aliens is already under consideration. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N. Y. is leading the charge. Republicans should say “no” to any amnesty bill until there is absolute assurance from the White House that they are committed to fully enforcing our current immigration laws while assuring Americans our borders will be secure.

Republicans and the Blue Dogs should just say “no” to the pending cap-and-trade bill. With no conclusive proof of global warming, why embrace legislation that will drive the price of energy skyward, bringing what’s left of our sputtering economy to a screeching halt.

While the Democrats have become the party of “yes,” with little thought or concern for what their unbridled spending initiatives are going to cost us and our children and grandchildren, someone has got to be there to say “no.” Republicans should compromise when prudent; but in Washington today, prudence is in short supply.

Bob pointed out my main irritation but not directly. Republicans are being blamed for the liberal policies of George W. Bush and for Obama’s rush to spend the same way. The reality is that George W. Bush worked with the 2006 elected Democrat Congress to create the largest deficit in history, $500 billion last year. This would never have happened if there had been a congress that cared about fiscal discipline. It did not happen under 6 years of Republican control of congress when deficits were half this amount. Not that the Republicans exercised the fiscal discipline they should have. However Democrats who championed the increased spending of the last two years are now blaming Republicans for what they and George W. Bush spent. They only blame Bush though and ingnore their own collaboration. The real hypocrisy started when Obama came into office and in the first 100 days Obama and the Democrats quadrupled the deficit over the outrageous amount Bush and the Democrats had spent. Our national deficit is now approaching nearly two trillion dollars. Democrats, totally in control, are still blaming Bush and still claiming that Bush is a conservative. Neither is a sane argument.

George W. Bush is a LIBERAL on domestic issues. Much of the disappointment in Republicans is caused by the public blaming conservatives for what the liberal Bush did. Just because Bush embraces social conservative issues does not mean he is a conservative. His domestic policies, what I sarcastically call “compassionate communism”, are liberal in the extreme. Bush was totally out of touch with Republican fiscal principles and yet Republicans are the ones being punished by the voters for Bush doing things that most Republicans oppose.


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