/>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
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
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.
Democrats have no plan for keeping America safe, or winning the war against
the fanatics. They have opposed most of the Bush administration's domestic
surveillance methods. They have opposed aggressive interrogation tactics
designed to get information to protect us, including opposition to the
detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where detainees are treated better
than they could expect if they were detained in their homelands.
This election isn't about House pages; it's about survival. In his new book,
"America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It," columnist Mark Steyn
states this irrefutable fact about the importance of winning in Iraq: "Being
seen not to run - or, if you prefer, being seen to show Œresolve' - should
be the indispensable objective of U.S. foreign policy. Were these colors to
run from Iraq, it would be the end of the American era - for why would
Russia, China, or even Belgium ever again take seriously a superpower that
runs screaming for home at the first pinprick."
For all of their promises to do a better job of fighting this war, Democrats
have no plan, other than retreat. That is the plan the terrorists have for
us. Retreat is not in their playbook. The terrorists in Iraq and elsewhere
don't speak of timetables for withdrawal or bringing their fighters home in
time for Ramadan. They're in it for the long haul. They believe we are not.
A victory by Democrats next month will validate their view and encourage
them to fight harder.
Republicans have been far from perfect in this war. They have barely
approached mediocrity in their handling of domestic issues. But to change
horses and leaders mid-war is a prescription for a longer engagement,
because this is a confrontation that will end only in victory or defeat for
one side or the other. That's why the Republicans need to keep their
majority and conservatives need to keep the pressure on them to get back to
the original GOP principles that brought them that majority. That's a better
strategy than Republicans acting like Democrat-lite.