2010 elections no tea party for the GOP
By Lance Dickie
The Seattle Times
March 4, 2010
FOR ALL THE brave, fanciful talk of a Republican rout in the 2010 congressional elections, the GOP knows it is in deep trouble.
Kentucky Sen. Jim Bunning is only the latest example of the out-of-touch Republican brand in voters' eyes. If he wanted to be such a tough guy, he might have taken on someone other than the unemployed.
Bunning showed off his conservative skepticism of big government by delaying financial life support to people out of work. He is not running for re-election, but do not fret about him. He has a secure federal pension and full health care. Taxpayers have him covered.
Republicans might be clueless about ordinary lives, but their survival instincts are on red alert. A year ago, the usual suspects formed the National Council for a New America. Seen much of this churning urn of burning political renewal? Me neither.
The GOP is out of ideas and not trying. The party got lazy, as Democrats did in the late 1980s. Sure, an obscure congressman will conjure up a balanced budget over the weekend. Another will bemoan foreign wars. No one even bothers with eye rolls.
President Barack Obama gave Republicans a fig leaf of self-esteem with a hug for their ideas to reduce waste, fraud and abuse in health care. They will still vote against any bill, and they could have acted on their changes any time in the past dozen years. You get the idea.
Republicans loudly proclaim they are fiscally conservative, against big government and skeptical of foreign entanglements. No, really.
Instead they have embraced big government since the Reagan administration, aided and abetted monster deficits as their corporate constituents tapped into the money to be made with federal contracts, and they did not say a peep as the nation plunged into two wars. This expensive, lethal record fuels the alienation of the tea-party movement which last week celebrated its anniversary. Republicans understandably are petrified.
The godfather of modern political fundraising, Richard Viguerie, noted the moment with a salute and cautionary advice. Right off top, "The tea-party movement should avoid the temptation of forming a third party. It would be a disaster for the cause of freedom and limited government." A disaster for the GOP to be sure. The tea-party movement is a political anagram of Ross Perot, who drained votes away from President George H.W. Bush and elected Democrat Bill Clinton with less than 50 percent of the vote.
Voter anger and rebellion embodied in the tea-party movement is vulnerable to being subverted by misdirection. Powerful interests in this country will happily bankroll a change of subject. Instead of motivated people demanding Congress look at laws, regulations and business practices that directly impact employment, homeownership, education, medical care and economic security, a big fight is brewing over handguns. It was virtually predictable.
This is the same sleight of hand used by President George W. Bush. He got everyone riled up over guns, God and gays, and plunged the nation into two off-budget wars and sat by as the financial system was looted.
We need to return to basics. Public outrage needs to provoke congressional action that looks at antitrust regulations, and oversight and division of commercial and investment banking. Financial activities need transparency and boundaries.
Taxpayers provided hundreds of billions of dollars to cover the cruel joke of discipline in the marketplace. Those laughing the loudest cashed the biggest bonus checks.
Classic conservative Republicans would be part of the solution. The current version only taunts the unemployed."
Copyright © 2010 The Seattle Times Company
Lance Dickie's column appears regularly on editorial pages of The Times. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org"
It used to be that people could safely ignore the Democratic Party because the Republicans were the "good hands people". That is not true in 2010. If you look at the neverending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the runaway budget deficit, the runaway unemployment, and the runaway mortgage foreclosure problems, you know IT'S TIME FOR HAL ROGERS TO GO! Elect More Democrats! Elect Kenneth Stepp to the U.S. House KY-05!