Republicans have a fair story to tell about what they've accomplished over the last two years, but their narrative has been interrupted by the trashy subplot of Mark Foley and his trolling for male House pages.
Democrats are constantly changing their narrative when it fails to match reality. The reason Democrats don't talk about the deficit like they used to is because it has dropped from the $423 billion predicted by President Bush, as recently as last February, to $250 billion, according to projections by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The CBO says the reason for the decline is better than expected tax receipts, especially from corporate profits. There are more tax receipts because individuals and corporations are being taxed at lower rates, giving them increased incentive to earn bigger profits. Bigger profits produce more tax revenue.
Gasoline prices are down sharply from just a few months ago; the Dow Jones Industrials set a new record high last week. The unemployment rate now stands at 4.6 percent - down from 6.3 percent in 2003, lower than the average of the 1970s, 1980s, or the 1990s, and equivalent to the unemployment rate in September 1998. Since August 2003, the economy has created 6.6 million new jobs.
What Republicans did not do is conduct a crusade against new spending, as well as waste, fraud and abuse. Instead, too many of them joined the Democrats at the spending trough, setting earmark records. If Democrats win a congressional majority in next month's election, they would increase spending and raise taxes. This would slow and possibly halt the economic expansion.
The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act is a fine accomplishment. It will create an earmark database that the public can easily access on the Internet. The bill passed largely because of the bipartisan leadership of senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Barack Obama (D-Ill).
The problem for Republicans is that they seem to have run out of ideas. They now ask for votes on two levels, neither of which is appealing. The first is that the Democrats would do a worse job than Republicans, which is like choosing which of two ugly sisters to take on a date. The second is they crave power for its own sake. Republicans have failed to give voters sufficient reason to vote for them, except for one that trumps all the rest - they can better defend the country.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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