Saturday, March 8, 2014

'Republicans Should Stand For Principle'-Ted Cruz

'Give me a workhorse over a showhorse anytime'
Ted Cruz found himself in the spotlight once again for saying something his Princeton and Harvard Law-trained brain might have and should have prevented him from doing.

He mockingly said 'Presidents' Dole, McCain and Romney should have stood for 'principle' and the American people would have voted them into the White House instead of Clinton for a second term and Obama for 2 terms.

Senator McCain perhaps had the best zinger back to the freshman Senator from Texas when he said: 'I wonder if he thinks that Bob Dole stood for principle on that hilltop in Italy, when he was so gravely wounded and left part of his body there fighting for our country?”

Apparently, like so many people in this nation, Senator Cruz never served in the armed forces where he might have learned a thing or two about real bravery, as in being fired upon by hostile enemies or liberating villages in Iraq from a monster such as Saddam Hussein.

Bob Dole is an honorable man. He served his country with distinction in World War II and then did the dirty work of legislating and leading over close to a half century while others went about working and living in the representative democracy leaders such as Senator Dole were working to preserve for them.

If you have never run for political office, or even thought about it one nanosecond, you might want to put your critique gun back in its holster for awhile until you do. Show us how to do it any better; stop talking about it or complaining about everyone else why doncha?

That being said, we came not to destroy Ted Cruz. Nor did we come to praise him either.

The point he was trying to make gave us the opening to talk about 'true principles' in American politics and the source of those principles, The US Constitution.

We think there are 2 over-riding, over-arching 'principles' that exist in America today and have been in existence ever since before the Constitution was written or contemplated:
  1. The US Constitution mandates 'compromise'.
  2. You either want a stronger,  more centralized government operating out of Washington...or you don't.
Everything else seems to come a distant 10th or below when it comes to discerning what political philosophy you are going to follow and believe and fight for to the bitter end.

First of all, if you have ever read the 4-page Constitution to begin with, you will know very clearly that the Founders were terrified of concentrated power in the hands of one sovereign person (the King of England, of course, but also the President of the United States) or in any one faction of political party or the other.

They took extreme measures in that document to make sure that no one, no party and certainly no President ever got 100% of what they want once elected and handed the keys to power in America. President Obama and the Democrats came as close as anytime in modern history to being able to shove through whatever they wanted to when they passed Obamacare 'without even reading it' according to then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Subsequent Congresses are slamming the brakes on it now and the courts are having their say as dozens of states challenge its scope in the court system astutely set up in the Constitution by our Founders.

We don't have time to enunciate all of the checks and balances in the Constitution here today. However, suffice it to say that when you see President Obama bemoan the fact that 'I can't get everything done that I want to get done for the American people', everyone should breathe a sigh of relief whether you agree with Obama or not on most political issues.

Because if a US President that you agree with could ever get 'everything' done, then the next US President with whom you don't agree could get 100% of what he/she wants to get done as well.

Think about it.

Takeaway Point #1 today is this: Many people such as Senator Ted Cruz and leaders of the Tea Party forget that the US Constitution is synonymous with the word 'compromise'. Call it what you will if you hate the non-four letter word 'compromise': call it 'negotiation', 'deal-making', 'log-rolling'...'jambalaya', we don't care.

The bottom line is that we will cease to have a working functioning government if every elected official won't back off their utopian dreams of a world built 100% on THEIR principles instead of realizing that Principle #1 in the Constitution is that we have compromises and come to a 50%+1 consensus to get things done.

We have had a good 14 years now of seeing what it is like when both parties kowtow to the extreme fringes of their parties. We have also seen about 30% of the people nationwide leave both the Democrat and Republican Party as a result of this stalemate and register Independent or Unaffiliated (in the states where you can do so).

North Carolina is expected to have 41% registered Independents by the 2016 Presidential election. Do the math: Who will be the major party in terms of registration then, huh?

Richard John Neuhaus had a great quote when it came to religious people talking about their various religious denominational differences: 'It is the will of God that we not kill each other fighting over what the will of God is'

In a similar vein, Americans of all political persuasions would be well-advised to remember this concept from our Founders:

'It is the will of the American Framers of the Constitition that we not kill each other fighting over what the will of the Framers of the Constitution is. And...that you get something good and constructive done each and every session of Congress with 50%+1 of the vote for the good of the people as a whole and not just your puny little insignificant political career, such as it will wind up being if you don't remember this principle'.
Takeaway Point #2 for today is this: 'What is the overriding principle for each political party nowadays anyway?'

  • Is it not raising taxes for the GOP?
  • Is it preventing any improvements and reforms in Social Security and Medicare for the Democrats?
  • Is it abolishing abortion for the GOP?
  • Is it moving towards abortion-on-demand for the Democrats?
  • Is it taking a more proactive stance on the world stage such as in the Ukraine for the Republicans?
  • Is it retreating from the world stage by pulling out troops from everywhere for the Democrats?
We think the eternal debate in American politics from the beginning has been, and probably always will be, over the size and scope of federal government control of our lives out of Washington, DC. That was at the core of the debate over slavery at the Constitutional Convention in 1787; that was at the core of the debate over Obamacare in 2009-2010.

We think if the debate could get re-centered over this main over-arching issue, the role of the federal government in our daily lives, then we might have some productive arguments in the public square once again. We have hundreds, if not thousands of prudential decisions we have to make as a nation right now if we are to secure the blessings of freedom and prosperity for decades to come for our children and their children.

They are not all 'black and white'; 'great versus terrible'; 'stupendous versus just plain out-and-out insanely stupid'. Most of the time, political decisions are between 2 bad decisions, just one is not as 'bad' as the other.

For example, we believe the whole Tax Pledge movement has completely distorted the real debate which should be focused on the size of the government and how much it costs to run it including the accumulation of federal debt which is about the only thing that can truly crush a government.

We don't like taxes any more than anyone else who pays them but...we don't like the accumulation of federal debt and irresponsible federal spending even more than we hate raising taxes!

Put yourself to the test of sanity and rational man thought:

Suppose you could negotiate a deal in Congress as a Congressperson or Senator where you would be guaranteed $10 trillion of bonafide scored CBO savings over the next 10 years (which is possible to do if you raise the retirement age of SS/Medicare to 70 overnight plus about 50 other necessary reforms to all entitlement programs).

In return, because the Other Side wanted and demanded a tax increase in order to get the bill passed in both the House and the Senate, and since you and your party don't control both Houses of Congress or the White House, you had to accept a $1/head tax hike for the next 10 years on every single taxpayer and worker, including those who do not pay any income tax today (but they do pay massive amounts of their income in payroll taxes to support current retirees, including billionaires, as they draw their SS and Medicare benefits).

That is the negotiated deal: $10 trillion of savings for you so-called 'conservatives who stand on principle' out there in return for a $1 tax hike on everyone.

Would. You. Take . It?

If you say yes, then you would be the first self-proclaimed 'TRUE conservative' we have talked to since leaving the employ of the US Senate in 2004 to have done so.

'I can't take that deal because I signed Grover Norquist's 'Tax Pledge' saying I would not raise any taxes while in Congress!' such people say.

Well, here are two questions:
  1. Who the heck is Grover Norquist anyway and what elective office has he ever been elected to?
  2. Are you going to risk being labeled a complete idiot for the rest of your life and have this engraved on your tombstone: 'He/she could have saved America from fiscal ruin...but turned it down because of a $1 tax hike?'
Are you serious?  What kind of leader would you be anyway if you took the easy way out, even if it was dead-wrong for the United States of America and future generations to come?

Here's where you will know when politicians such as Ted Cruz 'stand on principle or not': when they introduce bills or proposals that actually do what they purport to do. And then they work their rear ends off to get them through the legislative landmines and obstacle course that Madison, Hamilton, Adams set up in 1787 to make it as difficult as possible to get things done in a legislative constitutional government.

If all you see a politician do is give speeches to rile up the red-meat eaters who are already in your choir singing from the same hymnal, then he/she is just a show horse, not a work horse.

Give us a workhorse anytime over a thoroughbred race horse who looks great in the stable but can't win on the track. At least over time, something will get pulled over the goal line.

So when Senator Cruz says 'Republicans should stand on principle!', just which principle is he alluding to anyway? Ask him for some details.

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