Thursday, April 09, 2009

Change

Change and hope...how I've come to be disgusted by these words.

It isn't that the Democrats turned these powerful words into a cliche. It isn't that we're finding out now that all we're really changing is back to pre-2000 mentalities and that our hope may only be found in the embracing arms of a cold, indifferent government. To me, it is how change came to the Republican party and left us without any kind of real alternative to the ever encroaching role of government.

In the late 1990s the Democrats took a lurch to the left that was fully cemented in the election of George Bush and the War on Terrorism. Since nature abhors a vacuum, the Republicans did what they usually do, the most idiotic thing they can think of. The Republican's became Democrat-lite. The rushed to fill the void of the center with new terms like "Compassionate Conservatism" which was just a cover to abandon fiscal conservatism. The target market became those in the political center. The people in the center spoke loud and clearly but said nothing, and the RNC stopped listening to Rush and the rest of talk radio which act as the pulse of the conservative community.

The Republicans then abandoned fiscal conservatism and occupied their time during Bush's presidency rubber stamping huge spending increases and a continuation of Greenspan's heavy handed FED policies.

The Republicans then abandoned traditional conservative values. They softened on abortion (with several pro-choice candidates running for President). They softened on gun control when Bush said he'd sign an extension of the Assault Weapons Ban (the utter failure it was). They stood firm on national defense but bungled post-invasion Iraq and dropped the ball entirely on Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Rush, Hannity, and the rest spent 2001 - 2006 complaining about how the Mainstream Media (MSM) wasn't giving Bush a chance and how the Democrats talk of bi-partisianship was not allowing the Republicans to lead which was what the people wanted.

Then in 2006 the unthinkable happened. Republicans who'd abandoned their principles and their voter base lost a bunch of elections. Control over the Senate and House went to the most radical of the left (if you think Nancy Pelosi from San Fransisco represents the majority of Democrats, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you). In response, Republicans just stopped showing up to the polls.

This is where the GOP really earns their title of "Stupid Party". After the stinging defeat in 2006, do Republican leaders go back and say "maybe this move to the left hurt us"? No. They go right on with the same song and dance. Talk radio at this point converts to water carriers hiding behind Reagan's admonition that Republicans shouldn't speak ill of one another in public. They do this because the two front runners for the Democrats for 2008 rightfully scare the living daylights out of any conservative. But rather than call the GOP out for its stupid shift to the left, they begin their soft campaigns. GOP officials then start encouraging liberal Republicans like McCain, Guilanni, and Romney to run and let guys like Huckabee run to be a social conservative balance (Huckabee is no fiscal conservative). McCain ends up with the nomination and talk radio and much of the conservative blogosphere conveniently forget that McCain is the reason why we have the term RINO (Republican In Name Only).

McCain accepts the nomination and throws conservatives a bone in his VP choice only to find out that women in Presidential politics tend to inflame passions. People blow hot or cold on Palin and Clinton. Not many are ok with either, they either love them or hate them.

McCain then refuses to do the work that the press won't do. We the People elect a man we know next to nothing about and what we do know should cast a serious pall over his candidacy (his associations with Black Liberation Theology, radical communists, and outright racists). We elect a man who won't even prove his citizenship. We elect a man whose experience at the federal level is three years, one and a half of which was spent campaigning for President. We elect a man who has never run a business, never really lead anything, has not one significant accomplishment to his name. The Democrats and their willing accomplices in the media pushed a message of fear for 8 years. Fear over the rich getting richer while screwing the little guy. Fear over the loss of freedoms (I've yet to hear of a single American citizen whose freedoms have been impinged even a little). Fear that you might get sick and not be able to pay.

Then along comes the political unknown with his "Hope and Change" message. Positive, optimistic, and utterly devoid of substance. We the People, tired of hearing nothing but bad news, sense that good news is right around the corner and the press doesn't fail to deliver.

So now what?

Our government seems bent on spending money that doesn't exist to prop up the credit ponzi schemes for just a few months longer. Got financial trouble? Well, Big Brother is here to bail you out. Spent money you didn't have to buy a house you couldn't begin to afford? No problem, we won't let you get kicked out of your house, that's unfair. Ran your company into the ground cow towing to labor and producing overpriced products not many people really wanted? No sweat, you're too big to let fail. Believed being able to afford the payments was equivalent to owning something? Don't worry your pretty head about that, there's bailout money for that too. Opted for unnecessary luxuries over health insurance? No sweat, we're gonna take over the local hospitals and you won't have to worry because everyone will get health care for free (you'll never get good care because of waiting lists and shortages, but we refuse to be bothered with the petty details).

Paid your bills, were careful with your money, did the responsible things instead of living it up on borrowed money? Sorry, nothing for you. You're one of those who we desperately need now to pay for all the mistakes everyone else has made...and we're going to use the government to put a gun to your head and make you pay for it.

If you paid your bills, didn't go nuts with the credit cards, made smart decisions, drove a 10 year old car even though you wanted that nice new one, etc. you're like the dork in class who spent the semester paying attention. The rest of the class slept, talked, stared out the window, or otherwise goofed off. Now comes the final exam, except the teacher waits until 5 minutes before the end of the exam period and takes the dork's test, copies it, and gives it to the rest of the class before handing the dork, who did all the right things he'd been told to do (e.g. study hard, pay attention, etc.), a blank copy of the final exam and told him to start over.

How much longer will those of us who have tried to do the right thing all our lives wait to cast off the dead weight and let them survive or fail on their own? How much longer will we allow government to insist on equality of outcomes no matter what choices you made? How much longer can we afford government of the government by the government and for the government? How many more of these "abuses and usurpations" at the hands of our unrepresenting representatives must we endure?

Republican, or Democrat, it hardly matters anymore. Obama may not be a fiscal conservative, but Bush wasn't either. The last real fiscal conservative left office in 1989 and was succeeded by a series of Presidents who wouldn't know fiscal conservative principles if they walked up and introduced themselves. Adam Smith? Wasn't he the guy who played Batman in that cheesy 60's TV show? Milton Freidman? Didn't he write Paradise Lost? Modern Democrats are lost to the mirage of Marx and Lenin. Modern Republicans are lost to their own identity crisis.

You want change?

Let's start with over the next six years, 536 people in Washington DC lose their jobs. Not one person currently occupying an elected position should ever run for federal office again. Barney Frank lecturing corporate CEOs on fiscal restraint should paint a clear picture of just how severed from reality modern politicians are. Hey Barney, when was the last time you flew commercially? When was the last time you ever had to look at your family's budget before going out to a 5 star restaurant? Why can't you even answer a simple question about how much responsibility you have in the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac debacle? Let's enact term limits so that elected positions at the federal level can never become a career.

Let's pass a Constitutional amendment barring the federal government from allowing the federal expenditures to exceed some low percentage of the GDP except in a time of declared war. If that can't be done, then a Constitutional amendment demanding that government expenditures may not exceed tax revenues, again except in a time of declared war.

Let's set it up so that a politican's pay increases must be approved by two-thirds majority of his/her constituents. Let's end the gravy train of excesses our politicians enjoy on the backs of their constituents.

Let's remember that the free market, free enterprise, and personal initiative has turned our economy into the global powerhouse that it is, despite the current down turn. It wasn't government bailouts, public assistance, and other hand outs that made this country great. It is a strong work ethic and ambition that has us on top. Let's stop looking to government to solve our problems, roll up our sleeves and work these problems out on our own and stop waiting for a government solution.

Let's reassert the role of the federal government as largely an instrument of the state governments not the other way around.

Let's reassert notions of personal responsibility back into our society. There is way too much irresponsible behavior that is at best ignored and at worst subsidized by taxpayers.

Let's reward those who make good choices, pay their bills, and work hard with a greater percentage of the fruits of their labor. They are the people who have demonstrated their ability to be responsible and to be good stewards of the funds they receive. These are people to be emulated, not demonized.

Let's remind ourselves, through careful study of history, that when the Berlin wall fell in 1989, people ran (didn't walk, ran) away from the principles of socialism and communism and toward freedom and economic liberty. These people knew first hand the brutalities of socialism and communism, why do we think it would be any different here?

Let's put aside our hypersensitivies and realize that sometimes the truth is painful but that ignoring the truth has terrible consequences (as we are now finding out).

Let's stop looking for bogeymen and dark conspiracies around every tragedy. Let's remember that life has its ups and downs and the average person is too busy to actively seek your demise and that your paranoia that X (whitey, CIA black helicopters, etc.) is out to get you just isn't real.

Let's stop using our emotions to rule the day. Emotions are unpredictable and unreliable. How many times do we as individuals fly off the handle over something only to realize later that it really wasn't as big a deal as we thought? Why do we think governance should be run emotively?

Let's start realizing that some solutions to our problems are not expressible in a five second soundbite and might take longer than the next election cycle to fix. Just because our attention spans are measured in seconds doesn't mean the solutions to the problems facing society have to be overly simplistic. Sure, people like John Stewart make their living exploiting the soundbite mentality of our politicians, but John Stewart isn't a real journalist...he's a comedian (when did we forget that?) and really just a sarcastic little man trying to appear witty.

Let's reassert the understanding that our world is a dangerous place and that there are some people in this world who cannot be reasoned with. We couldn't negotiate with Hitler, why do we think we can with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Osama bin Laden? As was said in The Dark Knight, "some men just want to watch the world burn."

Let's get a grip on the fact that for all our focus on diversity, we're now more divided as a nation, less polite, and flat out less tolerant of others regardless of skin color, gender, or whatever identity politics group you're involved in. Instead of focusing on what makes us different, let's try focusing on how we're similar.

Now these are changes that will move us in a direction of prosperity and harmony.

The truth is that Republican party has lost its way. Maybe they can find it again, but in this day and age of people's votes being bought and paid for through the public treasury, my expectation is that the GOP will continue the slide toward liberalism. Remember, Obama's promise of change had nothing to do with Pennsylvania Ave. and everything to do with Main St. USA. While we wait to see all this play out as the 2010 mid-term election gets closer, a genuine voice of opposition to Obama's plan to remake America is absolutely crucial. Part of that opposition needs to be a reassertion of who the GOP is supposed to be.

History will be unkind to us if we fail.

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