Congressional Republicans should look at their party's loss in the presidential election as liberating. They surely now understand that the strategy of soft-pedaling Obama's record and agenda doesn't work. They surely grasp that its fear of calling President Obama out on his real intentions and the disastrous consequences of his destructive policies just plays into his hands and enables the advancement of his agenda.
So, how about some bold, straight language from our side? How about telling the American people exactly what Obama is up to? How about drawing a line in the sand right now -- before the pseudo "fiscal cliff" negotiations even begin -- and announcing there is no point to entering these farcical talks because they don't share the same goals? Republicans want to prevent a national financial collapse, and Obama wants to keep spending and prevent entitlement reform so that he can complete his task of fundamentally transforming America.
Obama is already engaging in doublespeak and deception about his goals in these negotiations, and Republicans, instead of permitting him to control the language and the narrative, should flush his true intentions into the open at the very outset.
Let's start with this fact: Obama doesn't want to raise "revenues." He wants to raise tax rates on the "wealthy," a group that includes tons of people who are not wealthy, and a policy that may well not raise significant revenues anyway. Even if you assume tax hikes on those who provide the lion's share of American jobs won't further suppress economic growth and thus revenues, the amount of money they would generate won't make a dent in our annual deficits, much less our crushing national debt.
So Republicans must assert that Obama's uncompromising demand that we raise taxes on the "wealthy" is not about raising revenue, but redistributing wealth and punishing the rich.
Every honest, informed person knows we cannot bring our budget and debt into balance without major structural entitlement reform and real reductions in discretionary spending.
Here again, Obama has made it very clear he doesn't share the goals of reducing spending and reforming entitlements. He not only refuses to restructure entitlements and seriously reduce discretionary spending (except military), but he's salivating over the prospect of spending (he calls it "investing") any "revenues" the tax hikes generate.
The naked reality is that Obama and his Democratic Party are entering these budget negotiations in bad faith. Republicans must confront Obama, using plainspoken English words as defined in the dictionary. Either he doesn't believe spending and entitlement reforms are essential to balancing the budget and averting a financial collapse, which would make him more obtuse than any president in history, or he doesn't have any intention of addressing our deficit and debt problems. Either way, he has obstructed any serious spending and entitlement reform initiatives for four years and still hasn't put a plan on the table. It's imperative that we conclude he is going to use all his power to prevent such actions going forward.
On those rare occasions when Obama is forced to discuss entitlement reform, he demagogues and lies about alleged reductions in entitlement benefits to the middle class and seniors that would occur under Republican plans. But we have no choice but to institute and manage a reform plan on our own terms, such as Paul Ryan's Path to Prosperity, which does in fact preserve benefits for the most vulnerable groups and causes as little pain to others as possible. Otherwise, our exploding expenditures are going to force reform upon us the hard way, with an ugly Grecian-style financial collapse that will make 2008 look like child's play and show us what real pain is.
If the GOP acts forcefully and boldly, it may still prevent this collapse. But if not, when we are hurtling toward the Earth together, we can do so knowing we did all we could to save this great nation for our children. Or we can reminisce about how the GOP again pulled its punches for fear of looking mean-spirited or because they, too, didn't believe their own rhetoric or possess the courage of their convictions.
Before Republicans reenter this process of what are sure to be futile negotiations, please let them put their case before the American people and force Obama to explain his actual intentions. It's time to have this out and to force a sober national assessment of where we are and where we're going.
Out in the open, perhaps we can discover whether a majority of Americans truly share Obama's goal of obstructing spending and entitlement reform and thus destroying America's future. The rest of us have a right to know.