Democrats Mislead, Republicans Fail to Lead

Frank Turek
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Posted: Aug 20, 2009 12:00 AM

As more Americans learn that “hope and change” really means more government and less liberty, support for President Obama is falling dramatically. That should be no surprise. Despite the 2008 election, liberalism is a minority view in the United States. The non-partisan Battleground Poll taken more than a dozen times since 2002, shows that conservatives consistently outnumber liberals by more than 20 percentage points, most recently 60% to 36%. And Gallup just found that conservatives outnumber liberals in all fifty states (yes, even in Taxachusettes)!

This means that Obama and the liberal wing of the Democrat party are trying to take the country in a direction it does not want to go. Unfortunately, when Republicans are in power, they’re too afraid to take the country in the direction it does want to go. In other words, Democrats mislead while Republicans fail to lead.

Today’s leading Democrats don’t just mislead by going in the wrong direction; they often mislead by failing to tell the truth about that direction (which is the only chance they have of legislating their unpopular and failed ideas). For example:

• President Obama says he’s not for a single-payer healthcare system, but then video from the presidential campaign and his earlier state senate campaign remind us that he actually is for a single-payer system.

• Conflating healthcare with health insurance, the President says that the millions of uninsured require us to pass health reform NOW! Then we learn that the legislation is not intended to go into effect until 2013. So why all the urgency now if those desperate uninsured must wait for “hope and change” until after President Obama runs for reelection? Is it because the President knows that most people will hate government healthcare once they’re forced to stand in line for it?

• Nancy Pelosi tells us that the “mob” (formerly called “the American people”) is misinformed. Despite chapter and verse citations by this misinformed mob—whom unlike their representatives have actually read the healthcare bill—Pelosi and Obama tell us there’s nothing in the bill that will encourage rationing or euthanasia. Now the U.S. Senate tells us that “end of life counseling” provisions are being removed because they could be “misinterpreted or implemented incorrectly” (like for rationing and euthanasia?).

• The President repeatedly says that you can keep your private insurance and doctor if you want to. But at a recent townhall meeting he couldn’t explain to a college student how private insurance companies would not be put out of business by a public option. Moreover, an independent analysis by the Lewin Group shows that in the first year of implementation, more than 88 million Americans would lose their private insurance without their consent due to employers switching to the public option. Again, the President’s rhetoric is misleading.

• The President also has said that he wants to “reduce the number of abortions.” Then we learn from members of that same misinformed mob that elastic language in the healthcare bill (such as “essential benefits”) will allow abortion to be paid for with your tax dollars. Democrats deny that the bill covers abortion, but they have defeated every amendment aimed at clarifying that abortion is not an “essential benefit.” Misleading, eh? Oh, and there’s no “end of life counseling” necessary for such an “essential benefit.” If someone wants an abortion—which is anything but “healthcare” for the mother and especially the baby—the taxpayers will be forced to pay for it. So much for the promise to reduce abortions.

• In concert with the vast majority of Americans who recognize the importance of natural marriage to civilization, the President says he does not support same-sex marriage. But now we learn that his administration quietly seeks to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act which is the only firewall preventing one state, like Massachusetts, from imposing same-sex marriage on every other state. By asking a court to invalidate DOMA, the president wants to invalidate the will of the people and then hide behind the decision of the court. Misleading can be a lot easier and safer than telling the truth.

Such examples of misleading are normally all that’s necessary to get a complacent public on board, especially when an adoring media ignore or repeat the lies of the administration. Thankfully, the issue of healthcare has shaken a majority of Americans out of their comfort-induced complacency. That’s because most people only pay attention when something becomes personal. And there’s nothing more personal than life and death being decided by faceless bureaucrats.

(By the way, if you think socialized medicine is bad in the U.K. and Canada, imagine how much worse it would be without the U.S. capitalist system providing most of the innovation. Socialist systems are parasites on our capitalist system. We lead the world in research, drug development, and medical breakthroughs. Who is going to do it if we don't? If we kill the profit motive that has made our system the best in the world, we'll kill the golden goose of innovation that improves healthcare all over the world.)

As much as the current administration has misled, Republicans failed to lead when they had the chance. Many of them ran on smaller government, moral values, and fiscal responsibility. But when they got into power they governed much like Democrats. They said they were going to change Washington, but Washington changed them.

Mark Levin in his great book Liberty and Tyranny puts it well. Calling liberals “statists,” Levin writes, “Republican administrations—with the exception of a brief eight-year respite under Ronald Reagan—more or less remain on the glide path set by Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal. ... Republicans seem clueless on how to slow, contain, and reverse the Statist’s agenda. They seem to fear returning to first principles, lest they be rejected by the electorate, and so prefer to tinker ineffectively and timidly on the edges. As such, are they not abandoning what they claim to support?”

Yes, many Republicans have abandoned what they claim to support—the very conservative principles that when properly articulated would not only get them elected, but save the country from the harmful statist policies now being imposed. A sizable majority in this nation wants conservative solutions including a tort-reformed free-market healthcare system, fiscal responsibility, restrictions on abortion, and the protection of natural marriage, which is the bedrock of civilization.

But since too many Republicans have failed to lead, the leaders and heroes of the conservative movement are now private citizens. They realize that the stakes are too high to allow the Obama administration to mislead this country into further statism. It remains to be seen if enough Republican politicians will follow their inspiring lead beyond just defense to offense.