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Republicans lost mantle of ‘fiscal responsibility’

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POSTED March 14, 2009 5:44 a.m.
Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
It has been very obvious that the Republican Party is in self-destruct mode lately. They are short of any real leadership, or the ability to define what they stand for. The real issue facing the Republican Party is credibility. Since their defeat in the last 2 elections they have tried to resurrect the mantras of the 1980s and 90s of tax cuts, fiscal responsibility, and deregulation. These were effective stances to take at the time considering the environment that we were coming out of from the 1960s and 70s, but these issues are from 30 – 40 years ago, and have little significance to the world we live in now.  To further harm their credibility is the fact that they were given the opportunity to show America that their way was better only to do more harm than good.

We are watching the Republican Party further destroy their credibility by acting like teenage children who have had the keys to their parents’ car taken away from them. We see them throwing tantrums, blaming others, and basically holding their breath until they get their way. It seems like all of the adults have left the party, or are in the process of being pushed out as witnessed by Senator Arlen Specter contemplating switching parties because of his more moderate stance. Their adolescent behavior is obvious in their becoming the party of “NO,” and their continued need to try and convince us that they were not responsible for the last 15 years of leadership.

We see this in the letters posted in this paper by “Don Quixote” McComas, and his faithful and loyal sidekick “Pancho” Simoni as they continue to fight windmills. As the rest of the country is looking to fix the damage done by the last 28 years of a failed experiment, these two old warriors still scream the battle cries of “Liberals!” and “the Democrats are at fault!” all the while not realizing the harm they are doing to their credibility.

For the Republicans to start to rebuild their credibility they need to do a number of things. To start, take the advice of Ross Perot, and admit to the failures of their leadership, apologize for them, and get it over with. The longer they deny the failings, the longer they will be talked about, and the longer their credibility will suffer. Next, drop the “tax cut” and “deregulation” mantras; it didn’t work to stimulate the economy, only to increase our debt. For the last 28 years of tax cutting and deregulating we have added $10 trillion to our debt, and we have a collapsed economy. The generations that have followed the Boomers are not familiar with the “tax and spend” ways of the 60s and 70s so it doesn’t ring as supreme with them. Good luck persuading those new inhabitants to the tent cities that are popping up across the country that cutting estate taxes and capital gains taxes for the rich will help them.

The Republicans have lost the mantle of “fiscally responsible” due to their extreme spending practices that generated the $10 trillion debt. By simply stating that you are fiscally responsible, and saying no to any spending that is required at this time does not generate credibility. This is something that is going to take time to reestablish, and it will take actions, not words. Let me suggest that you become the “Efficiency Party” by looking for spending cuts. I am not talking about cuts in welfare, which only accounts for 12% of our budget, or earmarks that only account for 1% of our spending. Look for big items like the waste in the recent Medicaid bill that does not call for negotiating the lowest prices for prescription medicine. If Wal-Mart can do it, your party should be able to do at least as well, saving our budget millions, if not billions of dollars.  Take on the granddaddy of all spending waste, and go through the defense budget and eliminate all of the waste there. The Republican Party proudly claims that President Reagan won the Cold War, but yet we are still building weapons systems to fight that war. We build billion dollar bombers that look like a bird on radar, and the people we are fighting now get their weapons systems from Radio Shack, and we are still fighting them after all of these years. The defense budget is now at $500 billion, while China and Russia spends $80 billion a piece. Surly the Republicans can find $200-300 billion in waste to cut.

The constitution doesn’t call for a 2 party system, and the Democrats have a big tent, which has conservatives, moderates and liberals. There is also the Modern Whig Party, which is vying for moderate conservatives. The GOP may soon become irrelevant if they don’t start rebuilding their credibility with actions, not words.
Scott Sadlowski
Manteca
March 11, 2009
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