What I’m Hearing

John Boehner
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Posted: Aug 23, 2007 11:24 AM
What I’m Hearing

There’s no better way to get a beat on what Americans are thinking than to get out of Washington, DC. I’m halfway through an 11 state swing in support of House Republicans that’s taking me to 18 different Congressional Districts throughout the Midwest. So far, the questions I’m hearing most are “who will secure the borders?” “Who has a plan to reduce gas prices and make us less dependent on foreign oil?” “Who will make health care more affordable?” And “who will defend America from the threat of terrorism?”

The voters I’ve met on my road trip want leaders with practical solutions to today’s problems and a commitment to securing America – but that’s not what they’re getting from the Democratic Congress.

America faces the problem of securing our borders and restoring order to our immigration process. But Democrats cut funding for the border fence and put up barriers to its construction. They’ve even said not to expect new border security measures any time soon. In Nebraska, voters couldn’t believe that Democrats had gone so far as to steal a vote won by Republicans that would have prevented taxpayers from funding benefits for illegal immigrants.

America faces the dual problem of a dangerous dependence on foreign energy and sky high energy prices affecting everything from the cost of food to prices at the pump. Democrats’ proposals would only make things worse. In Michigan, I was going on-air to talk with Detroit radio host Frank Beckmann just as Democrats announced a plan to quadruple the gas tax. This after raising taxes on American energy companies and subsidizing “green pork” projects in a “no energy” energy bill. Simply put, the Democratic plan is a roadmap for economic stagnation, higher prices, and greater dependence on hostile foreign governments.

America faces the problem of rising health care costs. Millions of Americans go without health care every year, and Democrats have refused to let small businesses offer high-quality coverage and prevented workers from taking their coverage from job to job. In Ohio, people were asking why Democrats cut free market Medicare Advantage programs to pay for health benefits for illegal immigrants. And they were concerned by Democrats’ plan to expand government-run bureaucratic health care to families making up to $82,000 a year, cleverly billed as an extension of “children’s health insurance.” We need less government and more health care; Democrats just want more government.

America also faces an ongoing threat from radical jihadists. But Democrats have so heavily invested their political fortunes in failure that any positive signs in the fight with al Qaeda poses a “real big problem” for them, as House Democratic Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) recently admitted. Over the last several months they’ve approved legislation undermining General Petraeus and hamstringing our troops, watering down our intelligence capabilities, and handing off critical national security programs to the United Nations.

At the Iowa State Fair I talked to folks who are committed to victory in Iraq and understand the consequences of failure – but they want to see progress. Now that Operation Phantom Thunder is showing irrefutable signs of success, many rank-and-file Democrats are scrambling to distance themselves from the leaders they’ve unanimously supported. Other Democrats, unfortunately, have already said they’ll ignore the report and have openly questioned General Petraeus’ integrity.

At the end of the day, the most important lesson I can share from my time on the road this month isn’t a new one, but one that’s easy to forget: most people don’t care whether they’re represented by a Republican or a Democrat. Most Americans aren’t ideological -- they want leaders who are committed to their values, and who will ensure the freedom and security of their families and communities.

While on my way to Minnesota I called in to The Dennis Miller Show; we talked about how the Democratic majority doesn’t share these priorities. In fact, the last eight months have shown there are devastating consequences for American families and small business owners when Democrats control Congress, and the polls reflect a growing appetite for change. But voters’ distrust of Democrats doesn’t guarantee us victory next year, it merely gives us an opportunity – an opportunity we’ll need to work hard to seize.

If we can once again earn the trust of the voters – if we can show we are committed to delivering a government that is limited, accountable, and capable of providing the security Americans expect – Republicans can earn back the majority next year.