Hillary Clinton did it and it worked for her when she ran for the Senate in New York, so now Republicans will give it a go. It's the listening tour, except unlike Hillary, who traveled from town to town, Republicans plan to stay in one place and invite you to come to them.
House Republicans announced on Tuesday a new Website (www.americaspeakingout.com). It invites people to submit their ideas in five categories: American prosperity, fiscal accountability, American values, national security and an "open mic" section on which you can recommend anything not covered by the other four.
I do not wish to discourage anyone from asking for good ideas, but isn't this what we elect our representatives to do? If they have run out of good ideas that work and can improve the country, maybe it's time for them to leave office and allow people with good ideas to serve in their place. Given the toxic nature of our politics, what makes anyone think that a good idea from a Democrat would be accepted by a Republican and vice versa? Would it even be labeled "good" if the idea came from the opposition? I doubt it.
Are we the first generation out of the cave? Has nothing been tried before? We know what works and what doesn't. Is there any doubt that we are under a crushing load of debt because we spend too much on "entitlements" that are really just bribes for votes? Aren't individual liberty and economic independence good ideas?
A surgeon wouldn't ask patients in a hospital for suggestions on how to perform an appendectomy. Why, then, are Republicans asking the public to do their job?
But since they asked, here are some recommendations:
Economy: If Republicans regain power, they should promise to immediately declare a national fiscal emergency during which every federal program and agency, including every "entitlement," will be required to justify its continued existence. If it cannot do so, it should be eliminated. People must be told that the gravy train isn't going to stop at their station any longer so they'd better get about the business of taking care of themselves and their families. This will hurt, at first, like quitting nicotine or caffeine cold turkey, but the end result will be independence.
This might also require us to redefine the "American Dream," which ought to be less about accumulating stuff and more about acquiring character. That worked for previous generations.
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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