The closest thing to eternal life on earth is a government program. Coming in a close second is the congressional incumbent.
He or she could be a complete nincompoop but, once in office, a member of the House of Representatives or the Senate has a staff that is tasked with carving out pork barrel projects to send back home so their member of Congress can say to the voters, “Look what I’ve done for you!”
These staffers cater to the rich in order to entice these folks to give until it hurts to keep their guy or gal in office. They also write speeches, shine shoes and do whatever it takes to keep Mr. or Ms. Incumbent winning elections so that they can keep their day jobs.
When their congressman gets too old to stand on his own, they prop him up. I offer 92-year-old Robert Byrd of West Virginia as a case in point. He can barely read the super-sized bold print on his floor speeches and often rambles incoherently. He is a caricature of his former self.
How do these moribund lawmakers keep their seats?
• name recognition
• party affiliation
• reluctance of voters to fire anyone
• all of the above
In 1994, the GOP managed to wrest control of Congress from the Democrats after 40 years in the congressional wilderness. But, alas, in 12 short years these new Republican leaders lost their way and turned their backs on the voters who had handed them the keys to Washington along with a mandate to shrink government, reduce taxes and balance the federal budget. By the time Republicans were unceremoniously dumped by the voters, the deficit was higher than when they came to power and most had abandoned their core principles.
With buyers remorse catching up with Barack Obama, the GOP is now salivating over the possibility of riding voters’ discontent back into power. Not so fast!
The big question for voters is, “Can we now trust the Republicans?” Their answer is, “Why should we? We don’t trust anyone!”
Studies show that the percentage of voters who fall into the “independent” category has remained largely unchanged for decades. However, more and more voters are beginning to question their party affiliation. If asked, many now say they are “independent” simply because they are too embarrassed to admit that they are affiliated with either of the major political parties. Many voters now view both major parties with disdain.
“Baby, Come Back” should be the new theme song of the GOP. It would be far more effective than the we-are-a-lot-better-than-the-other-party approach it has tried thus far. Frankly, what we voters seek is a little contrition.
A recent fund-raising letter from GOP Chairman Michael Steele is a classic example of Republican arrogance. In this letter, Steele holds up Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander as a paragon of virtue and uses an Alexander quote to rail against Democrats. What was Steele thinking? In March, Alexander was one of only eight Republicans who voted for the outrageous $410 billion omnibus budget deal that contained over 9,000 pork barrel projects simply because Alexander wanted the “pork” that was carved out for his state. Does Steele think we are brain dead?
Steele rightfully criticized Obama’s plan to nationalize health care. Let us not forget that when Republicans controlled Congress, they let this camel’s nose under the tent by passing the SCHIP program that began putting the children of middle-class working families into government-run healthcare.
Liberal media pundits have been telling Republicans that they must “moderate their stand” in order to “rebuild the party.” In other words, they are trying to get the GOP to throw out its core values, again, and come their way. It’s a siren song!
Another big reason Republicans were dumped by voters was outrage over the fact that George W. Bush tried to ram amnesty for illegal aliens down our throats. Yes, it was the Republicans in Congress who stood against their own president to keep this from happening but voters weren’t paying attention to that little detail. Bush wasn’t running in the next election so voters took their anger out on anyone with an “R” by his or her name.
Most of the country is conservative and conservative voters feel that they have been used, abused and scorned.
Republicans, take your cue from the cheating spouse: Don’t pretend that all is well and nothing has transpired. Get down on your knees and beg forgiveness. Tell us how you’ve learned from your past mistakes and how you plan to fix this sordid mess.
Yes, we want you to grovel.
Then, and only then, will we consider your most recent advances.