By contrast, I and others, as members of the shocked and appalled group, know the senator to be a fine, intelligent and honorable man, usually conservative, but not doctrinaire. In normal times, his commitment to working the interstices of the two parties on behalf of getting something done would be both admirable and useful. But, while sorry for him as a person (he deserves a better career end than this) I was delighted to see him lose because the next Congress is going to need a lot of a certain type of politician -- and Mr. Bennett is not that type.
We need determined men and women who share the view of us shocked and appalled Americans that we are in crisis -- and that we cannot wait until 2013 to stop the madness and start the rollback. Winning a majority of Republicans in November without electing a majority for radical, immediate rollback will be essentially as good as losing. As a Republican Party man for 46 years, I have, until now, always thought it was better to win a majority any way we can.
But not this year. This year it really doesn't matter that good men such as Mr. Bennett get thrown out on their ear. I became radicalized on the matter of the national deficit and debt upon the administration's release of its 10-year budget -- the most irresponsible federal document ever released -- which plans for unsustainable debt and does not even propose a path out.
The Congressional Budget Office reported in the summary of its document, "The Long-Term Budget Outlook": "The federal budget is on an unsustainable path -- meaning that federal debt will continue to grow much faster than the economy over the long run. ... Rising costs for health care and the aging of the U.S. population will cause federal spending to increase rapidly. ...
"... Large budget deficits would reduce national saving, leading to more borrowing from abroad and less domestic investment, which in turn would depress income growth. ... The accumulation of debt would seriously harm the economy. Alternatively, if spending grew as projected and taxes were raised in tandem, tax rates would have to reach levels never seen in the United States (the highest marginal income tax rate so far: 94 percent, in 1944-45). High tax rates would slow the growth of the economy, making the spending burden harder to bear."
In the face of financial ruin of the nation, it was unconscionable to pass a new health entitlement that almost all Americans know will add trillions to the debt. Next year, as Mr. Obama almost certainly will call for a new value-added tax to do the "responsible thing" to reduce the deficits he and Congress have created, it will be equally unconscionable to support such a tax. The only solution to the debt and deficit that will not kill economic growth is to cut spending, not raise taxes. We cannot afford to elect Republicans or Democrats who would be "responsible," and raise taxes.
The difference between us shocked and appalled folks and the David Brookses of the country is that they simply cannot imagine that things can get as bad as quickly as we know they can. Neither did the Greeks.
Our job is to describe as vividly and credibly as we can just how bad "bad" will be if we don't drop almost everything and start cutting entitlements and everything else next January.
If we can induce a sense of urgency in just a few of those not yet shocked and appalled -- we can win in November with politicians ready to cut today to save tomorrow.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.