Heading toward November’s midterm elections, Republicans are gaining strength as the party shouting “Enough!” while Democrats look more like the real “Party of No.”
On April 19, 2009 on ABC’s “This Week,” White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel slapped a label on Republicans that stuck when he said, “…when you're the party of 'no'; when you're the party of never; when you're the party of no new ideas, that's not constructive.”
But Emanuel’s invective has boomeranged. He’s leaving his job to run (run away from President Obama’s sinking administration?) for mayor of Chicago. Meantime, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds that the Tea Party movement’s “push to cut spending and oppose the Democratic agenda” is shaking up the images and positions of both parties in a protest of “business as usual.” The Journal writes, “The most popular issue motivating [the Tea Party movement] is cutting government spending and debt, followed by reducing the size of government.”
On these and other issues, the Democrats are showing themselves to be the real “Party of No” for five reasons:
1. No end to out-of-control spending. The president and Democrats continue on an unsustainable spender bender. They’re driving under the influence of spendaholic lawmakers like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, labor unions, AIG, green extremists, and a variety of other protected and paid off special interest groups eagerly feeding from the big government trough. The $13.4-trillion debt bomb the Democrats have strapped on the country threatens to blow up, putting America at the mercy of its foreign creditors and risking our national solvency.
2. No tax relief. Americans don’t know what tax burden they’ll face in 2011. Democrats in the House and Senate pushed off until after the November 2 elections a vote on extending across-the-board Bush tax cuts, which are set to expire at year-end. By punting the question of the size and scope of taxes until a “lame duck” session after the midterm elections, Democrats add to the uncertainty bedeviling the stalled economy.
Upper income small business owners (who employ 25% of the U.S. workforce), and investors are sitting on trillions in cash. They don’t want to hire, expand, finance or spend with a tax Sword of Damocles hanging over them.
Tax uncertainty is also hurting spending and planning by consumers in lower tax brackets. Many voters will resent that Democrats are playing political games in a futile attempt to avoid looking like tax and spenders going into Election Day. Democratic dithering also means that several members of Congress who lose will still cast a vote on a key tax matter after the elections but before they formally leave office.
3. No recovery. The Democrats’ “summer of recovery” has become the voters’ “autumn of outrage.” Voters are exhausted, frustrated and irate about a stimulus that didn’t stimulate, millions of jobs “saved or created” only in Vice President Biden’s imagination, and an economy that draws this blunt assessment from legendary investor Warren Buffet: “We’re still in a recession."
4. No credibility on health care reform. All the early indications on Obamacare are that it increases costs, insurance premiums, mandates, burdens on small businesses, restrictions on treatments, bureaucratic controls, and limitations on doctor-patient choices. It decreases competition and innovation such as the development of breakthrough medicines and new, cutting edge medical procedures and practices.
5. No security rewards from appeasing enemies and squeezing allies. Iran, terrorists who are at large or apprehended, Russia, North Korea and America’s many other adversaries worldwide are becoming more defiant. They’re emboldened by President Obama’s unrequited apologies, concessions, slap-on-the-wrist gestures, legal softness and “diplomatic overtures” to those seeking to kill U.S. citizens generally and, in particular, Jews.
Obama’s weakness in standing up to hostile powers that use or develop lethal weapons against America and its allies (including nuclear build-ups and terrorist acts) threatens American forces, civilians at home, and U.S. friends, including Israel, Poland and the Czech Republic.
And why stop at five? Add Democratic “no” lapses on issues such as illegal immigration, corruption by elected and appointed officials, school choice, and entitlement reform into the mix. -- This gives Republicans the opportunity to embrace an identity as the “party of enough!” going into the midterm elections and to disgrace Democrats as the “party of no,” and one which is seriously undermining economic and national security.
Whatever happens on Election Day, voters are already signaling a message of “no”: no more excuses, just results, from whoever wins.
Communications consultant Jon Kraushar is at www.jonkraushar.net.