The new Harry Potter movie, in theatres across the country, represents more than just the culmination of a great, multi-billion dollar, adventure story. Both Democrats and Republicans can learn from the story of a bold, courageous youth facing a powerful foe, for in Harry Potter’s tale there are some lessons that our leaders in Washington could use right now.
COURAGE: Albus Dumbledore advises Harry to have the courage to “make a choice between what is right, and what is easy”. With a growing federal deficit and public debt at $13.8 trillion spiraling out of control, legislators must make some tough decisions on spending. Like it or not, Congress needs to rein in federal spending and return the federal budget to FY2008 levels. In order to do this, Congress will need to eliminate non-performing and non-essential programs, and eliminate the budget scope-creep that occurred when the Administration allowed $787 billion from the ill-conceived Stimulus spending was absorbed into the baseline of the federal budget.
Reducing the federal budget, eliminating earmarks and perhaps, even, freezing all federal civilian salaries will be unpopular and will be difficult because every federal dollar represents someone’s rice bowl. The GOP, especially, has to be tough about the nimble NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard) in congress, who masquerade as fiscal hawks and talk a good story about “sunlight” and “transparency” until the cuts come to their states’ or districts’ projects.
PREPARATION: Alastor Moody’s mantras--”you’ve got to be prepared” and “constant vigilance”, offer valuable lessons. Congress, during this lame duck session, is much like the eye of a hurricane, seemingly quiet, but much damage still may come. Many Democrats in congress still don’t seem to get it. They do not seem to understand that American voters sent them a message when they voted earlier in November, that many Americans are deeply unhappy with the direction of the country under the leadership of 111th congress, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and President Obama.
PERSEVERANCE: Rubeus Hagrid’s warning to Harry to “stick to your ticket” might be good advice for GOP legislators. If they remember conservative principles and allow the principles of smaller, less intrusive government, strong military defense, lower taxes and a belief in American exceptionalism to guide their decisions, the country will be better off and they’ll do well at the polls come 2012.