The case for maintaining GOP majority

October 11, 2006|By Cal Thomas

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Republicans have a fair story to tell about what they've accomplished over the last two years, but their narrative has been interrupted by the trashy subplot of Mark Foley and his trolling for male House pages.

Democrats are constantly changing their narrative when it fails to match reality. The reason Democrats don't talk about the deficit like they used to is that it has dropped from the $423 billion predicted by President Bush, as recently as last February, to $250 billion, according to projections by the Congressional Budget Office. The CBO says the reason for the decline is better-than-expected tax receipts, especially from corporate profits.

Gasoline prices are down sharply from just a few months ago; the Dow Jones Industrial Average set a new record high last week. The unemployment rate stands at 4.6 percent - down from 6.3 percent in 2003, lower than the average of the 1970s, 1980s or 1990s. Since August 2003, the economy has created 6.6 million jobs.

What Republicans did not do is conduct a crusade against new spending, as well as waste, fraud and abuse. Instead, too many of them joined the Democrats at the spending trough, setting earmark records. If Democrats win a congressional majority in next month's elections, they will increase spending and raise taxes. This will slow and possibly halt the economic expansion.

The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act is a fine accomplishment. It will create an earmark database that the public can easily access on the Internet.

The problem for Republicans is that they seem to have run out of ideas. They now ask for votes on two levels, neither of which is appealing. The first is that the Democrats would do a worse job than Republicans. The second is that they crave power for its own sake. Republicans have failed to give voters sufficient reason to vote for them, except for one that trumps all the rest - they can better defend the country.

Democrats have no plan for keeping America safe or winning the war against the fanatics. They have opposed most of the Bush administration's domestic surveillance methods. They have opposed aggressive interrogation tactics designed to get information to protect us.

This election isn't about House pages; it's about survival. In his new book, America Alone, Mark Steyn states this fact about the importance of winning in Iraq: "Being seen not to run - or, if you prefer, being seen to show `resolve' - should be the indispensable objective of U.S. foreign policy. Were these colors to run from Iraq, it would be the end of the American era - for why would Russia, China, or even Belgium ever again take seriously a superpower that runs screaming for home at the first pinprick?"

For all of their promises to do a better job of fighting this war, Democrats have no plan other than retreat. That is the plan the terrorists have for us. They're in it for the long haul. They believe we are not. A victory by Democrats next month would validate their view and encourage them to fight harder.

Republicans have been far from perfect in this war. They have barely approached mediocrity in their handling of domestic issues. But to change leaders midwar is a prescription for a longer engagement, because this is a confrontation that will end only in victory or defeat for one side or the other. That's why the Republicans need to keep their majority, and conservatives need to keep the pressure on them to get back to the original GOP principles that brought them that majority.

Cal Thomas' syndicated column appears Wednesdays in The Sun. His e-mail is calthomas@tribune.com.

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