Republicans must emerge from party of

March 29, 2009
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With the 2008 election season already passed, many begin to look ahead to the 2010 midterms. Democrats are desperate to do a well-enough job to maintain their majorities, while the Republicans are attempting to overthrow their political rivals. Based solely on the work done so far, it appears the Republicans will be sitting on the sidelines for quite a long time. If they have any chance of rebounding nationally as a party, they must first stop being solely the party of "no."

Without a doubt, the biggest priority facing both parties is the ability to rebuild the damaged economy. President Obama's plans are far from perfect, however they are moving in the right direction. The "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009", more widely known as the Stimulus Bill, puts money into the private sector with the intention of creating jobs and it provides direct tax cuts for individuals and companies. The plan, which has received many comparisons to FDR's "New Deal", has the benefit of history on its side. When Roosevelt took office in 1933, the unemployment rate was 24.9%; upon leaving the office, his targeted spending and economic policies had lowered that rate to 1.9%. All of the 176 Republicans in the house, and all but three in the Senate voted against the recent Stimulus Bill using the age-old Republican philosophy of "it (the bill) spends too much." That statement has validity, however there alternative called for simply more tax cuts. The American people have learned from the previous eight years that tax cuts alone cannot spur growth. In early 2008, President Bush and Congress passed the "Economic Stimulus Act of 2008," a bill which focused only on those tax cuts. What resulted did not avert the situation, it only further agitated it. Does the Stimulus Bill spend excessive amounts of money, yes, but the bigger the problem, the bigger the solution is forced to become. Despite not having any Republican support for the bill, which Obama desperately craved, he did not let this slow him down. In a written statement following the passage he wrote, "What we can't do is drag our feet or allow the same partisan differences to get in our way. We must move swiftly and boldly to put Americans back to work, and that is exactly what this plan begins to do."

Another tenant of Obama's plan to fix the economy is to lower the national debt. With the recent unveiling of his 2010 budget, many Republicans saw an opening for attack. They saw a drastic increase in spending and immediately began to salivate at the thought of the political advantage this lent to them. However, they failed to capitalize on what many saw as a moment for their party. Obama publicly declared that he was ready to debate the tenants of the budget with the Republican minority, but that they had not revealed any real plan. When they finally did put forth their proposal, it was a measly 19 pages long compared to Obama's more substantive 134. Obama's Press Secretary Robert Gibbs seemed to poke fun at the alternative in a press conference on March 26 when he said that the budget "took me several minutes to read it." The alternative proposed by the Republicans did not contain one single number or figure in it. Gibbs went on to say that, "I think the administration is glad that the Republicans heard the President's call to submit an alternative. We just hope that next time it will contain actual numbers so somebody can evaluate what it means." On Fox News Sunday, on the 29th of March, prominent Republican and former George W. Bush aide Karl Rove admitted to host Chris Wallace that this was a missed opportunity for the Republican party. The Republicans have blasted Obama's budget, claiming it will only grow the national debt. They are up against the Congressional Budget office which revealed the current plan would cut the deficit in half, to $533 billion by 2013.

It is natural for the party in the minority to feel left out or not listened to, but the Republicans must begin to legitimately debate the Democrats and put forth their own solutions. Come 2010, it will be hard for their party to regain national momentum if they have spent the last two years sitting on the sidelines being only the Monday Morning Quarterback.





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hootiepippin said...
Apr. 20, 2009 at 11:25 pm
That was an amazing article. It had really good facts. I like that point you made about how the republicans criticized obama, but were just doing it as a political oppurtunity. when obama asked them to come up with something, they couldn't. i'd also like to add that the republicans are constantly complaining about obama, yet who got us into this mess--them!
 
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