Thursday, October 29, 2015

Future of the GOP lies in being fiscally prudent

There’s this myth being propagated over the past few years that the GOP is the party of fiscal prudence and sanity. In fact, the GOP establishment bears a large chunk of responsibility for the state of the nation today

Face it folks, the Republicans spent like drunken sailors during the early George W. Bush years.

There is a rift in the GOP – what the liberal left has gleefully dubbed a civil war. The “old guard” and those who cleave to it talk about nibbles here and there to the federal budget, offering up reductions in rates of increase as “cuts.”

Those associated with the Liberty and Tea Party movements, on the other hand, are talking real cuts, and that has the establishment seething.

The future of the GOP lies in truly being fiscally prudent. “Democrat-Lite” was tried under the moniker “compassionate conservatism,” and it was and is a loser of a strategy.

However, the old-guard, establishment GOP thinks it can win without adjusting its message. And, I don’t think that the soc-con messages are attributable to the Tea Party as much as they are to the old-school social hardliners in general.

A big part of the Tea Party’s appeal is in the simple message of less government. Unfortunately, there are those that would happily exploit its appeal to achieve their own goals: the establishment GOP, which after 2010 looked to kick the Tea Party freshmen to the back of the bus and attempt to resume “business as usual.”

Lest we forget, the GOP of just a decade ago was a pack of spendthrifts and cronyists that contributed mightily to the mess we have today.

And, even today, despite the losses in ’06, ’08, and ’12, and the message of the ’10 tea-party-fueled victory, the old guard and quite a few who cleave to them are still thinking that the previous decade was the “glory years” era that should be emulated.

If the GOP caves into the lobbies, the Left’s steady bleating that the Right is beholden to special interests will prove true, and voters will find themselves again disappointed by yet another batch of politicians who don’t deliver on the promises that got them elected.

Change is messy and difficult. Breaking loose of old habits and shaking free the various barnacles, lampreys, and remoras that latch onto legislators is tough. But, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Sure there is feuding among Republicans, and unfortunately that could hurt them at the polls, but let’s look at the positive side.

I see differing ideas and points of view, exchange, give and take, dynamism, all with potential for new initiatives that can take the country to exciting new horizons.

Contrast that to Democrats marching obediently in lockstep, with head down to their pied piper(s).

I have talked to many people who remain convinced that the new crop of recently elected Republicans won’t, when push comes to shove, back real entitlement reform and spending cuts.

Many people also believe that the Republicans, if returned to power in the White House, will revert back to the hog-at-the-trough behavior the GOP showed early in the George W. Bush presidency.

They may very well be right on both counts. But, these beliefs do nothing to address the problem.

As I have noted before, the W Republicans spent like liberal Democrats, and lost their jobs. We have a new crop of Republicans who are making at least some of the right noises, but it’s easy to make those noises when you know the other side won’t agree to what you propose.

The real test will come now that Republicans have recaptured the Senate and increased their majority in the House.

Believing at this stage of the game that the GOP won’t do what we feel needs to be done, is throwing in the towel, and if we’re doing that, we might as well just let President Obama do as he wishes from now.

In other words, these beliefs accomplish nothing.

We have to have some hope that the right sorts of Republicans in charge heading into the 2016 presidential election. We have to press for the party to go in the direction of smaller government, not just a rehash of the Bush years.

It is pressure by people like us that gives the nation a chance of getting back on the right track. And, despite whatever we think the odds of Republicans reverting back to old ways are, we cannot give up hope, not yet.

The Republican old guard saw the Tea Party movement and rubbed their hands together in glee. I’m certain they figured that this constituency would push them back into power, where they could resume their Bush-era ways. The old GOP guard, being insulated in their DC cocoons, didn’t count on the conservatives to actually stand strong in favor of the ideas that got them elected. They saw Scott Brown “soften” once elected, they probably figured the 2010 batch would do the same.

I’m very happy with what conservatives are doing in Congress. People are seeing through the liberal smokescreen of “huge spending cuts, vague and undefined, some time in the next decade” as a “payment” for tax increases now.

President Obama and the liberals have offered no real cuts for the balance of this year and the next, and they don’t intend to. They believe that spending cuts will only help Republicans heading into the 2016 election, and they’re right. Never mind that cuts must happen – the nation must get its spending down to 18% or so if it’s to ever recover from this spiral of debt.

For too many politicians, Democrat and Republican alike, the long-term needs of the nation take a back seat to the redistribution of taxpayer dollars in support of their re-elections.

I’m cautiously optimistic, but only because there’s no other alternative than handing my bank accounts over to President Obama. We got a lot of good buzz from the conservative crowd, and it got a lot of people elected on a promise of putting our country back on the road to success.

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