The GOP's Credibility Problem

"The key to Republican credibility - on transparency and many other issues - is actual, unilateral leadership," wrote Jon Henke a couple of weeks ago.  He's correct, but I'll add that a major component of leadership is walking the walk before talking the talk.

Right now, millions of Americans are hopping mad about Obama's stimulus packages and for the first time in years the right is "Going Galt," as Michelle Malkin calls it.

Talk radio hosts are suddenly spending their time using libertarian and fiscally conservative rhetoric, but for the last eight years they've only provided token resistance (at best) to bloated Republican budgets. As late as today, I heard a local Republican talk show host defending Bush's spending record to a totally disbelieving caller.

Senator McCain talks a great talk about earmarks, but he (along with Governor Palin) also recently called the bailout of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae "necessary."  At the other side of this spectrum, Senator Shelby has spoken out against the stimulus package, but just took second place in the U.S. Senate pork contest. 

Regarding Alabama's other Republican Senator, Jeff Wartman writes

Jeff Sessions, appearing on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, attempted to explain his opposition to the Obama stimulus plan by stating that, “I don’t think we need to saddle future generations with 1.2 trillion of debt.” 

He’s right.  It’s wrong to saddle future generations with huge amounts of debt.

Yet it was Senator Jeff Sessions who was giving a rubber stamp to the Bush spending bills that added over 5 trillion dollars to the national debt.  Where was Senator Sessions’ outrage when this runway spending was occuring under the Great Spender, George W. Bush?

"The 'Rushification' of the GOP is the natural and inevitable result of the fact that those who are supposed to provide leadership – Republican elected officials and party officers – are doing little to bring the party back," said conservative icon Richard Viguerie yesterday in a press release.

He claims that the Republican Party can't get any traction "because the party leadership is as confused and clueless as the Obama administration."

A recent WSJ/NBC poll illustrates the public perception issue with Republican officials:

The poll had bad news for the Republican opposition. By a margin of more than 2-1, Americans trust the Democratic Party over the Republicans to get the country out of the recession. Views of the GOP are near an all-time low. And more than half of all adults say that Republicans in Congress have opposed Mr. Obama's proposals more to gain political advantage, compared with 30% who say Republicans have done so because they are standing up for their principles.

Why should voters believe Republicans are currently standing up for fiscal principles after taking an eight year vacation from them?

Republicans can regain the trust of the voting public.  They aren't going to do it by compromising core fiscal values, though.  It will require an extraordinary level of consistency on the part of GOP leaders with respect to economic issues in order to atone for recent sins.

Should Republican leaders return to their initial fiscal values, it will take years to regain the trust of the American voter.  Perhaps some gains can be made in the 2010 elections; Alabama voters reelected Governor Riley by the same 2-1 margin that they defeated his major tax increase bill three years prior. Alternately, it could take much longer -- it took 16 years for the Goldwater legacy to turn into a Reagan victory.

Republican leadership once punished Arizona Representative Jeff Flake for being fiscally responsible.

"I was told that I was taken off the Judiciary Committee because of 'bad behavior,'" Flake told The Christian Science Monitor. "I guess to be a team player you only challenge Democratic earmarks. I don't think that's right."

I'll suggest that Republican leaders should not only apologize to Flake, but use him (and good folks like SC Governor Mark Sanford) as a voice for the party.  At the very least, Flake and Sanford could teach Conservatism 101 to a GOP leadership which has forgotten what small government is all about.

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Comments

Chinese proverb: The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago

The next best time is today.

 

Nice proverb n/t

n/t

Sloganeering plants no trees

I agree that the GOP should be planting a lot of trees right now, but the issue of credibility is a real one.

When Sessions says that we should not saddle future generations with debt he is not presenting a policy or plan or solution. He is merely sloganeering. Sloganeering plants no trees.

A Chinese curse for your Chinese proverb: may you live in interesting times. I'm afraid we are all living in interesting times.

I'm worried about fascism

and whether this worldwide depression will be worse than the Great Depression

It is likely to see riots in California over the summer (warn your friends!).

Half the world is in a drought, we are likely to see mass starvation, if not in America.

if things go really to hell

we may see parts of this country taken over by fundamentalist religious militias.

If the fundamentalist religious militias do attack...

...it will be against the fascist, unionized state employees, combined with the power of the state, demanding that everybody else pay for their benefits with their food stamps.

Sign me up!

 ex animo

Photobucket

davidfarrar

 

step one:

move to utah.

step two: convert to kook.

oh, wait... you've already done step two?

Set up a strawman and advocate use of violence against him.

That is what counts as "thought" on the right today.

I hope all my competitors "Go Galt"

I'm a small business owner, I certainly hope all my competitors "Go Galt" - I'll be more than happy to pick up the slack.

Do you suppose the Wall Street crowd will also be reducing their annual incomes to $249,999?

It's called the Cayman Islands

Nope, you're not getting a dime.   

They certainly seem to deserve it

That is, they deserve to lose huge chunks of their income, if they're dumb enough to think they'll save money by making less money.

The "Going Galt" meme is another reason the Republican Party can't get traction with people who think, and ultimately credibility comes from people who are credible. All of the more loudly-voiced ideas voiced by Real Live Republican Senators have been inane, insane, or both.

What I wouldn't do to hear more ideas, not more 24-hour-news-cycle propaganda! But that's the point of this blog, isn't it?

3.5% is not worth cutting your income by millions

If I'm making $20 million per annum and my tax rate goes from 36% to 39.5% my tax bill is increased from $7.2 million to $7.9 million leaving me with $12.1 million. I think I'd prefer that to the $159,999 I'd take home on $249,999 at the 36% rate. Of course, this assumes I have a lousy accountant who can't reduce my tax liabilities at all.

Ah, but it is the principle of the the thing that matters

Quoting the woman "Going Galt" quoted in the Malkin piece:

"We have to find a way out where we can make just what we need to just under the line so we can benefit from Obama’s tax plan," she added. "Why kill yourself working if you’re going to give it all away to people who aren’t working as hard?

You see, having your taxes restored to the level at which they were at in 2001 is such an outrage that it cannot be tolerated, even if you have to cut off your own nose in order to spite this particular face.

Good, patriotic, flag-pin wearing, Lee Greenwood-loving Americans one and all. But pay Clinton-era taxes? No freaking way. I've got a gun, get off my lawn.

 

Call the Galt bluff. They will fold.

We don't have to speculate when we have an example in recent history. In the economically booming 1950's and 1960's the top tax rate was over 70%. More than double what it is today.

We saw no one "Galting" or even moving their assets or themselves overseas. In fact, the Beatles actually immigrated TO the US to take advantage of our LOW tax rates.

Kick up their taxes until they actually put up. I'm betting they will just shut up.

It's echoing this kind of nonsense that looses the GOP tons of credibility with the great masses of American voters. At this point, I wouldn't believe a Republican if he told me ice was cold, because they have lied too me too many times in the past, trying to sell nonsense like this Galt meme.

I loved it when the panel on Fox News Sunday last week repeatedly refered to people making in excess of 250K per year as "them" and "they". Any honest person would have just said "us" and "we." Asshats!

Ever wonder why there are no children in any of Ayn Rand's books? Because the whole GD theory falls apart when you gladly provide for all the needs of someone who contributes nothing to society. According to Rand the rich should just eat their young. At least then the useless skulls full of mush would be providing a source of protein to sustain the supermen.

Randian Sex

Gawd, I read that book in college and thought, "Wow, she's right! I should model my life after egoism."

In the end, for me at least, Atlas and Fountainhead was about the guilt-free sex.

Most kids shrug Annie off by their senior year.