Friday, March 03, 2006

The "Patriot's" Take

File under "Couldn't have said it better..." with one exception, noted below.

Alas, Republicans in the White House and Congress have so misspent their majority political capital that they may well lose their party's Beltway triad, and their majority of state executives.

How did the Republican party come to find itself in this sorry and shameful state? While there are many contributing factors, the short answer is this: President George Bush and his congressional majorities have squandered the opportunity to deliver on a conservative domestic agenda—and in the process, have all but completely alienated their conservative base.

Since the President's reelection in 2004, this column has noted that, in the absence of a robust conservative domestic agenda during his second term, the House would be at risk in the '06 midterm elections, and the presidency, likewise, in '08. Yes, President Bush got high marks as Commander in Chief in the Long War against terror. Domestically, with the help of Congress, he has made good on his commitments to nominate constitutional constructionists to the Supreme Court and pass modest tax cuts—but his performance, and that of the Republican Congress, declines precipitously from there.

Conservatives expected President Bush and his congressional majorities to lead the charge on behalf of individual liberty, the restoration of constitutionally-constrained limits on government, and the promotion of free enterprise and traditional American values, as outlined in The Patriot's Statement of Principles. But they have not.

Increasingly, Americans can't distinguish Republicans from Democrats, on key issues. One can still discern the principled ideological differences between the most conservative and liberal members of Congress, but when it comes to domestic policy, the "great middle" of the legislative branch falls into the "distinction without a difference" category.

Under Republican leadership, the size and regulatory role of the central government has grown largely unabated since President Bush took office, and his fiscal budget for 2007 reflects spending increases over his tenure of almost 50 percent more than Bill Clinton's last budget. This is disgraceful.

Republicans have so demoralized their conservative base that even the most staunchly ideological conservatives are suggesting that a Democrat-controlled House may be necessary to remind Republicans why, precisely, we voted them into office.

That is not to say that all Republicans have neglected their conservative base. Some Republicans are conservative, and chief among them is Rep. Mike Pence, who chairs a group of 100 House conservatives who, as "The Republican Study Committee," are charting a course to maintain their majority in '06—and beyond.

The RSC's legislative fiscal priorities are as follows: Make the Tax Cuts Permanent, including the repeal of the marriage-tax penalty and the death tax and pass fundamental tax reform; pass Budget Process Reform, which includes budgeting for emergencies with a rainy day fund, instituting a sunset commission for federal programs, instituting a constitutional line-item veto, and making the budget resolution carry the force of law; pass another Deficit Reduction Bill in the form of budget reconciliation, to rein in autopilot spending, which has risen from 25 percent of all federal spending in 1963 to 54 percent today, and is expected to reach nearly 60 percent in 2014; pass Ethics Reform that requires transparency and earmark reform that permits Members of Congress to strike earmarks on the House floor; pass legislation that stops the raid on the Social Security Trust Fund and allows Americans to own a Personal Social Security Account; pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to put our fiscal house in order; and offset all emergency supplemental spending with other spending reductions, and offset all new programs with simultaneous, equivalent reductions in, or eliminations of, existing programs.

The RSC's legislative social priorities are as follows: Pass the Marriage Protection Amendment, to ensure that marriage, the union of a man and a woman as husband and wife, is not redefined by activist judges; defend the Sanctity of Human Life, which includes banning all human cloning, passing the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act, promoting ethical adult-stem-cell research, and preventing federal funding for destructive embryonic-stem-cell research; and pass Protections for Religious Freedom, such as the Pledge of Allegiance, the Ten Commandments, and religious expression in the public square.

But all the King's Horses cannot make the Wish List happen unless the US regains control of its economic engine, which happens to be manufacturing. There is NO country in history which ceded its manufacturing sector and still maintained its economic power. Taxes are irrelevant if no one remains who can pay them, and a hard look at real earnings from 1970-present is scary.

After-tax/healthcare DISPOSABLE earnings are even worse. Only the massive inflation in real-estate values have allowed Americans to claim gains in "net worth." But in the last four years, the USDollar's "worth" against gold has dropped by almost half; against oil by more than the same.


Todd said...

"But in the last four years, the US Dollar's "worth" against gold has dropped by almost half; against oil by more than the same."

Might that not tell you that Republicans have abandoned conservativism for mere employment by their contributors? (Not that the Dems are significantly different in that respect.)

Dad29 said...

The list of companies who have sent work overseas is extensive.

BTW, as has been mentioned often, I am NOT a Republican. I'm a Conservative.

Conservatism has a peculiar quirk under "patriotism." We don't suffer economic Libertarians very well--they are not Conservatives.

They are merely moneysuckers.