The other major Democrat line of attack accuses the Republicans of fiscal irresponsibility. This is their strongest and most persuasive argument. For it is true that this president, with the approval of the Republican-run legislature, ran up bills at a rate faster than any president since Lyndon Baines Johnson. Even if we exclude the cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, homeland security and Katrina relief, the Republican Party turned its back on their alleged "limited government" philosophy.
But the Democrats' primary criticism is to call Republicans too stingy. About the monstrous expansion of Medicare with the prescription bill for seniors, Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., said, "Because the administration and the Republican leadership refused to provide the funds needed for an adequate drug benefit, more and more seniors are facing the ridiculous 'donut hole.' That's the huge gap which leaves enrollees with major out-of-pocket costs."
About No Child Left Behind, another unwarranted expansion of the federal government in education, Democrats, along with the National Education Association, call it insufficiently funded. "The law requires Washington to pay for it," said NEA President Reg Weaver, "and the fact is that Washington is not keeping that promise. As a result, our parents' tax dollars are getting steered away from the classroom and going towards boosting the profits of testing companies, instead of going towards their children's education."
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and other House Democrats recently released a six-pronged "New Direction for America" agenda for change: Real security and immediate phased pullout in Iraq; higher minimum wage; more affordable college; energy independence and lower gas prices; affordable health care; and something called "Retirement Security and Dignity," which calls for shoring up private pensions.
Notice anything missing? Not one word about North Korea. Not one word about Iran. And virtually every one of the six Democrat initiatives requires greater federal government intrusion, higher taxes and contempt for the private sector to compete and innovate. In short, "fiscal irresponsibility."
Americans, despite our uneasiness with the war in Iraq, nevertheless realize the consequences -- in the war against Islamofascism -- of an abrupt abandonment. And the next time you hear a Democrat attack Republicans for "reckless spending," ask the following question: "Aside from defense, where should government cut back?"
The silence will be deafening.
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