In the wake of the Republican Party winning a majority in the House of Representatives, what is the responsibility of the Conservative Citizens who elected them?
Slightly over four years ago, the Republicans began the slide that resulted eventually in the election of a first term Senator from Illinois to the Presidency, along with significant majorities in both chambers. I was making long drives frequently at that time, and remember my violent reactions to whiny-assed Republicans appearing on Sean Hannity's radio program, proclaiming how much worse things would be if we didn't re-elect them. My reaction was that, since they had failed miserably and completely, they couldn't run on a record of accomplishment. Instead of making progress on immigration - an issue of importance to conservatives - they had engaged in internecine fights over which proposal was more like amnesty. Abandoning free market principles, they supported tariffs on Canadian lumber and steel from multiple countries. And, worst of all, they went on an unbridled spending spree, complete with record-setting earmarks. I had no sympathy for their argument that things would be worse. I'd rather have an honest Liberal than someone who can't be relied upon.
As apposed to many of my conservatives friends, I have no rancor with the President. In my view, he is exactly as advertised: we new he was a Liberal when we elected him. Indeed, I think conservatives should be quite surprised that he has prosecuted the war so aggressively.
The remaining Democrats are largely the most Liberal - although not exclusively.
So what is the role now for the Conservative?
It seems to me we must concentrate on watching our own side, and being relentless in raising hell if they slip back into the patter of 2005. Things we must monitor:
First, absolutely no earmarks. (I have great respect for conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt and understand his view that earmarks for the Defense bills are different. Sorry Hugh, I don't trust them that far yet.)
Second, the deficit is around a trillion dollars. The currently discussed $100 bil in cuts isn't even a serious effort. Conservatives should prepare themselves and their representatives for spending reductions of $500 billion. That means everything must be on the table including conservative favorites: defense, Homeland Security (thanks Jesse Ventura for your expose' on waste there on your new Conspiracy Theory TV show) CIA, FBI.
Third, real work could be done to spur economic growth by dealing with the regulatory bureaucracy. It takes 20 years to build a nuclear power plant. Time to exempt nuclear plants from environmental laws and tell the NRC they have 90 days to approve construction plans, or they are automatically approved. And immediately pass a law excluding carbon dioxide from regulation by the EPA. Otherwise, the next wave of economic destruction will be released by the EPA. I believe that massive reduction in the scope of regulatory agencies would be far more stimulative than extending the current tax rates.