Star Parker

Mudslinging by leading Democrats, usually taking form these days as trying to brand Republicans as racists, confirms what I have been writing about for a number of years: the Democratic Party is running on an empty tank. Bankrupt of ideas, the only thing they have to offer is slamming the opposition and playing the race card.

The latest case in point is Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's Martin Luther King Day pandering to a black audience in Harlem, telling them that Republicans run the House of Representatives "like a plantation and you know what I am talking about."

According to Mrs. Clinton, Republicans have been managing the House "in a way that nobody with a contrary view has had a chance to present legislation, to make an argument, to be heard."

Have Republicans really cornered the political market in Washington, as Mrs. Clinton claims here, and beaten their poor opposition into impotence?

If this is indeed the case, how is it that the first major initiative advanced by a confident and freshly re-elected President Bush, reform of Social Security, has disappeared into a mist of memories? The answer, of course, is that the initiative hit a Democratic wall of opposition.

How about the first major domestic initiative advanced in the first Bush term, No Child Left Behind? The act underwent major surgery in Congress as result of compromise with Democrats. A key, perhaps the most important, aspect of education reform that the act contained, school choice, was amputated.

How about the President's faith-based initiative program? As result of not being able to pass the thing in Congress, the president proceeded administratively and just started setting up offices in the various government departments.

What about the marriage amendment? Where did that disappear to?

Mrs. Clinton's portrait of the Republican stranglehold on the Congress is obviously a smokescreen for the fact that the Democrats do indeed wield a lot of power. The issue isn't whether they have it, but rather how they choose to use it.

I challenge anyone reading these words to identify a single idea or initiative addressing any serious problems like health care, education, retirement or anything else, that any Democrat has put forward.

There's a reason you're drawing a blank. There are none. Every new and creative initiative, the kind of innovations that would overwhelming help blacks and the poor _ private retirement accounts, health savings accounts, school choice _ have been Republican initiatives. Democrats have used power for obstruction and to preserve big government status quo.

This gets around to the question of Hillary's "plantation" accusation.

Star Parker

Star Parker is founder and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, a 501c3 think tank which explores and promotes market based public policy to fight poverty, as well as author of the newly revised Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can do About It.