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Moving Forward

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

November 8, 1994, was a monumental day in my life. It was up there with my wedding, the birth of my children, and being selected as the MVP of my Little League championship team. Not since I was a age of one ad the Congress of the United States been in Republican hands. And yet, November 2, 2010, was even more significant than that magnificent day sixteen years before: It was a clear repudiation of the left-wing policies that have been imposed upon the American people by the Democratic Party over the last four years.

It was a pleasant sight to see member after member of the House losing their seat for capitulating to the Obama-Pelosi-Waxman agenda. Which brings up an interesting question: Why would any reasonable person either run or remain as a Democratic member of Congress when they now know that they will used as cannon fodder by the leftist old bulls that only care about their own agenda? That is for Democrats to consider while the Republicans take control of our policies at the federal level. As Republicans adopt a larger and more significant role in our government – not only on the federal level, but in state governments as well – we should remember what our President, Barack Obama, recently stated: “It would be one thing if [Republicans] had gone away and gone off into the desert. They could have meditated and thought about, boy, how did we screw up so bad.” The President was correct, but for all the wrong reasons.

When they first came to power in 1995, the GOP did what everyone expected of them. Led by Congressman John Kasich – the newly-elected Governor of Ohio – they eliminated one hundred bureaus and commissions in their first budget. But then they stopped. And then later they started acting like Democrats, spending excessively and creating earmarks for their local pet projects. Tom Delay created a sordid, underhanded culture that the American people rejected and to which this current crop of Republicans cannot ever return.

Fortunately, there is no sign that will happen. John Boehner, the presumptive new Speaker, has never taken an earmark. Eric Cantor, leader of the Young Guns and the likely Majority Leader, will certainly not resort to the type of behavior that got his predecessors tossed out on their ears. They have a clear objective – to create an economic environment that encourages free enterprise, creates jobs, and secures the future of individual Americans. They will have to confront the massive and invasive federal government, and not only start to rein it in but to dismantle it. In the President’s news conference following the election, he muttered some platitudes that sounded nice. But it’s clear that he does not fully understand the magnitude of this defeat, nor does he realize the scope of the overwhelming rejection of his radical policies. He somehow dismisses the idea that the 5,000 pages of regulations contained within his healthcare and financial system “reforms” – which will promulgate hundreds of commissions that will themselves create thousands of new regulations – had a chilling effect on private industry.

While the election has undoubtedly placed a huge stop sign in front of the leftist agenda of the last two years, Republicans will have to start taking steps to dismantle these policies. A full reversal will not occur during the Obama Presidency, so the Congress will have to take it apart brick by brick, commission by commission, and regulation by regulation. They will have to defund (or leave unfunded) those commissions established only for the purpose of controlling every minor aspect of American lives. They should start by defunding the President’s 496 czars that circumvent the constitutional process. The President has clearly shown that he remains an ideologue. He and his minions will attempt to accomplish his agenda through executive fiat where it cannot be legislated through Congress. That will be the central point of the battle ahead.

The Republicans have been given a clear agenda by the American people. They have been told that they do not want to continue on the path that our federal government has taken for years. While compromise may be necessary because they do not control all elements of the government, it should be done cautiously. When liberals want to expand government by $5 billion, Republicans should not settle for $3 billion and say it is a victory. Regrettably, the creeping growth of government has occurred with the participation and complacency of the GOP. Americans have responded loud and clear: No more creeping unless you’re in reverse.

Tuesday’s message to the governing class was crystal clear. If Republicans do not listen to the message, their heads will soon be rolling just like last week’s losers.

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