There is nothing wrong with Republicans sticking to their principles and thwarting Democrats attempts to grow government, increase taxes, socialize health care, and burden generations with deficit spending.
The American people spoke last November when they went to the polls. They used their power at the ballot box to hand over control of both houses of Congress and the executive branch of our government to the Democrats. In fact, their votes gave the party high majorities in both the House and Senate. The reality of the 2008 election is that Republicans have no power to implement a agenda through legislation. In 2009 Democrats are setting the political agenda in both the House and Senate. The leadership of those legislative bodies unilaterally decides what bills make it to committee and thus what bills make it to the floor.
The Republican's job is to try, as best they can, to influence legislation and to point out the deficiencies of the bills Democrats are trying to muscle through the House and the Senate with little or no transparency.
Without the Republicans rising up against the “my way or the highway” governing by the Democrats, we would most certainly would have had a socialized health care system in place by now as well as a cap-and-trade bill that would slap a tax on every American with increased energy costs.
The fact is that Republicans are gaining some real traction with the American people by standing up to Democrats. They have educated the American people by telling the truth about the failed “stimulus.” They have raised awareness about the hidden tax Americans will be on the hook for with the Democrats' cap-and-trade bill. They have warned about the dangers of a national health care system that will greatly increase our federal budget and add billions to our already unconscionable deficit. But most importantly, the America people are incensed by the lack of transparency coming from the Democrats. It's outrageous that legislators do not have a clue about the legislation they are voting on because the bills are not even for them (or any of us) to read before they're voted on!
Republicans should not be afraid to just say no to the Democrats. In fact they are the only ones who can prevent Democrats from doing generational harm to the entire country with the legislation they seek to pass.
Republicans need to set their sights on 2010. The American people are getting fed up with the “change” that this president and his Congress seeks to bring. The focus for Republicans now should be how they are different from the Democrats and what they would do if they were in power. My advice? They should bring a laser-like focus to turning around the economy and creating more jobs. -- Returning to the core principles that have made the Republican Party attractive to the electorate in the past will bring them great rewards in the 2010 mid-term elections.
As we look ahead to 2010, the American people also need to be reminded of the value of checks and balances and the need for divided government. In this case, no is a good thing.
Bradley A. Blakeman is a professor of public policy at Georgetown University. He was deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04.