Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The New Republican Agenda (or lack thereof)

Today in the Washington Post

OpEd By Harold Meyerson
Wednesday, May 10, 2006; Page A25

The emerging Republican game plan for 2006 is, at bottom, a tautology: If the Democrats retake Congress it will mean, well, that the Democrats retake Congress. (Cue lightning bolt and ominous clap of thunder.) Karl Rove and his minions have plumb run out of issues to campaign on. They can't run on the war. They can't run on the economy, where the positive numbers on growth are offset by the largely stagnant numbers on median incomes and the public's growing dread of outsourcing. Immigration may play in various congressional districts, but it's too dicey an issue to nationalize. Even social conservatives may be growing weary of outlawing gay marriage every other November. Nobody's buying the ownership society. Competence? Ethics? You kidding?

The Republicans' problem is not simply their inability to run their government and wage their war of choice, it is also their bankruptcy of ideas. On taxes, the Republican legislative leaders' top priorities are to make permanent the tax cut on investment income and to repeal the estate tax -- economics, as ever, for our wealthiest 1 percent. (This at a time when the entire theory of trickle-down has been negated by the propensity of U.S. corporations to use their shareholders' investments to expand abroad rather than at home.) On energy, the notions of tougher fuel economy standards and mandating a shift to renewable energy sources are so alien to the Republicans' DNA that they come forth with such proposals as Bill Frist's $100 rebate, the most short-lived legislative initiative in recent memory.


And so, to stave off the specter of Democratic rule, Rove has decided that the only way to rally the Republican base is to invoke the specter of Democratic rule. Democrat John Conyers, who would become chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has spoken of investigating the president for high crimes and misdemeanors. Henry Waxman and Ted Kennedy will get subpoena power if the Democrats win both houses. Unspecified horrors lurk behind every corner if the Democrats take control and hold hearings about the administration's relations with the oil and pharmaceutical industries. A sea of partisan vendetta, Republicans prophesy, stretches to the horizon if the Democrats are allowed to win.

As a strategy, this has its shortcomings. It's not clear how many independents, or even conservatives, will warm to a campaign that focuses on forestalling congressional oversight -- not with gas prices soaring and the American military bogged down in a war with an increasingly undefinable mission. Moreover, the Democrats are now, finally, having some success at defining themselves.

Full article

Now you have to admit that Karl Rove riding through the streets shouting,"The Democrats are coming!" might have some value (albeit mostly comedic since the man looks like a giant baby.) Its probably not the best plan ever. I have an idea! How about this for an agenda:

1: Smaller less intrusive government.

2: Fiscal responsibility.

3: A stronger economy

In other words Get back to the basics!

And here is what BOTH parties should be shooting for in order to gain long term political tenure.

Energy Independence, Growth of Quality American Jobs, Meaningful Ethics and Campaign Finance Reforms, Corporate Tax Reforms (ie removal of tax incentives for job exportation and shoring up tax loopholes), Increased funding for schools (to assure America's competitive advantage in the future), and Common Sense Immigration\Border Security Reform

The party that can deliver that package to voters will have a long and successful future. The question is which party has the balls to piss off its funders and begin winning elections by gaining the respect of the majority of the American people? I think the answer is obvious: