P. J. O’Rourke said it best, “This is not just about an election - It's going to be a RESTRAINING ORDER!” Just what does the Republican landslide mean to America, to Washington politics, and to you?
Elections have consequences. Voters make choices. But a campaign is like dating—it’s the sales phase of the relationship. Once an election is over, citizens are watching to see how candidates live up to the promises they’ve made. Will the “love” and “trust” be earned and re-earned month after month?
This vote was more a rejection of President Obama’s changes and failure to right the economy than it was an endorsement of the Republican Party. The last time Republicans were in control of Congress, they spent more than the Democrats in the previous administration. America will be watching to see if Republicans have learned their lesson and have the backbone to live the principles they so frequently espouse.
The media will harp on the importance of “getting along” and working together to find “non-partisan” solutions. President Obama will call for compromise, but you’ve promised those who voted for you smaller government, lower taxes and a return to the Constitutional principles. Compromise on these promises is not what America needs or voters expect.
The solutions that President Obama brought to Washington involved more government stimulus spending, more expensive entitlements, more intrusive regulations and an exploding deficit. Conservative solutions come from decreasing the size and cost of government so that citizens have the capital and the incentives necessary to unleash the innovation and entrepreneurial strength of this great country.
Conservatives want government to stop punishing producers who have played by the rules and succeeded. America won’t have economic private sector growth and the jobs that creates until investors know that such investment and hard work will pay off. Instead of punishing success by raising their taxes; the investors, entrepreneurs and workers need to be honored, supported, championed and encouraged. Other countries are bouncing back from the recession because they’re cutting entitlements and incentivizing business growth. We must do the same. That involves change, not compromise.
Republicans don’t need the Senate or President Obama to make an impact now. The House, alone, is given the Constitutional power of the purse. Article I, Section 7 of our Constitution clearly reads: “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives . . .” And Section 9 states, “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.” Republicans should use the power they’ve earned.
There’ll be costs. You can’t cut government spending without cutting some government agencies, some government jobs, and some government benefits. That involves real people losing jobs at a time jobs are hard to find. You can’t cut or reduce benefits to people who have learned to be dependent on government and expect everybody to applaud. Conservatives will be called “mean-spirited” by every government addict cut off.
Call on Americans to help their neighbors. Tough times are part of the cure on the way to much better times. With the right incentives, there’s private sector money waiting to be unleashed, but jobs will remain scarce until new companies find their markets. It’s a hand up over a handout.
Republicans must lead. That means facing difficult early choices like refusing to extend the debt ceiling and fighting the Fed’s efforts to monetize our debt which devalues the dollar and triggers inflation. Will they take spending back to 2008 levels and initiate zero-based budgeting for the next budget cycle? Will they actually lower the bar on what constitutes poverty so that only the truly poor receive government funds? They must call on communities and charities to once again be the first line of support instead of creating further government dependency. They must become the party of NO to excessive big-government spending and the party of YES to free market solutions and individual responsibility.
While talking about landslides, California voters gave total control to the Democrats. With no viable Republican opposition, California will put liberal solutions to the test while remaining disconnected from the center-right country in which they reside. But if they look to Washington for their “too big to fail” bailout, expect no blank checks with Republicans now holding the purse strings in the House.
Take heart; solutions can be found. The fast-rising GOP star, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, has shown that fiscal responsibility and true budget-cutting can be popular. He recently warned his own party, “If Republicans win the Congress we’ve got to put up or shut up.” Voters are watching. Give us a party with a backbone that we can be proud to support for years to come.