In the 2006 election cycle, Democrats campaigned on the promise of "A New Direction," a platform that expectedly has no compass and little content. Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) recently told Fox News that Democrats will focus the next two years on raising the minimum wage, providing cheaper drug coverage for seniors and increasing spending on college tuition. Now Congressman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) wants to reinstate the military draft, yet fellow Democratic Congressman Gregory Meeks (D-NY) says Rangel does not really want a draft, and that we should "read between the lines" of his proposal.
This is what will pass for leadership for the next two years under Democratic control of Congress: empty slogans, read - between - the - lines sound bites, and a continued disregard for the failed and crumbling Social Security and Medicare structures. Let me help you read between the lines on the Democrats' governing strategy. They will seek, and likely achieve, small victories on seemingly innocuous issues like raising the minimum wage and securing more taxpayer dollars for college students. Their unstated goal is to grow their base by pandering to selected groups with government handouts, retain control of Congress in 2008 and, most important, win back control of the White House.
Minimum wage increases and college tuition handouts are merely means to the liberals’ desired end of massive tax increases and socialized health care. A higher minimum wage and increased federal spending on college tuition are not policies. They are blatant examples of political pandering that will have little effect on the lives of most citizens.
Liberal read - between - the - lines leadership will also include tried - and - true class warfare rhetoric. For those who are deceived by the rhetoric that our vibrant economy only benefits the wealthiest Americans, ask the nearly 7 million people who are working because the unemployment rate is a historic low of 4.5 percent, instead of the European standard of 8 percent or more.
What can we expect from the New Direction Democrats on the most important issues of immigration reform, tax reform and restructuring Social Security and Medicare with free market solutions? Reading between the lines, we can expect absolutely nothing. The best we can hope for is that the few real conservative Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats can keep the incremental damage to a minimum.
Let us not be fooled by another frequently used code word for empty political promises used by both Democrats and Republicans – comprehensive. Congress passed a so - called comprehensive solution in 1965 called the Medicare program. Mandatory entitlement spending on Medicare alone is now projected in the tens of trillions, which has destined that program for bankruptcy. The same fate awaits Social Security, another comprehensive program.
Comprehensive – read, mandatory – health care coverage will forever break the economy's back. For those who are swallowing the rhetoric that Congressman Pete Stark's (D-CA) Americare plan is a health care panacea, it is little more than 1993’s HillaryCare debacle dressed up with lipstick and a ribbon.
Many citizens are so understandably frustrated with both political parties that they want change, even if they do not know what that change will bring. I hope the voting public snaps out of this irrational exuberance before it is too late. If the common sense conservative members of Congress and the public fail to prevent the Democratic leadership from tampering with our robust free -market economy and creating even bigger government, we will cross the threshold from a proud republic to a socialist society.
In 1787 at the close of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, a woman asked Benjamin Franklin, "Well Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?" Franklin responded, "A republic, if you can keep it."
We will not keep and maintain our proud republic if control of Congress and the presidency is ceded to a political party whose ideology is nationalization of our economic structures, based on contempt for individual freedoms and liberties. That ideology is fundamentally no different than that of the monarchs, fascists, socialists and communists we have fought in order to protect the vision of our constitution's framers.
Whenever a liberal speaks, read between the lines of his or her rhetoric. You will not hear a common sense solution or a new direction. You will find a road map back to the dark ages.
Herman Cain is the National Chairman of the Media Research Center’s Business & Media Institute. He is the former president and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, Inc., and currently is CEO and president of T.H.E. New Voice, Inc., a business and leadership consulting company.
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