I sent a letter to the Tribune today. I do not yet know if they will print it. Brevity is not my strength but it’s essential to have a chance in the paper. Below is my short attempt to recap the election, followed by what I would have liked to include.
There is much to take away from the mid-term election results. Sure this was a rejection of Obama’s agenda and the Democrat party but it is not, as some pundits allege, an empty victory for the GOP. They won in key areas where they embraced candidates who espouse the principles that the tea parties advocate: fiscal responsibility, smaller government and respect for the Constitution. Quality candidates like Rand Paul won by large margins. Marco Rubio is a rising star.
Weak candidates lost. Christine O’Donnell was not ready for prime time but her embrace of tea party ideals was not her undoing. Some solid candidates lost close elections while being abandoned by the GOP organization. Sharron Angle put up a good fight but could not overcome the big union push for Harry Reid and the lack of support from her own party. Joe Miller may lose to write in candidate Lisa Murkowski after she lost the GOP primary. The party should have put a stop to that. They will lose control of their own primary system if they are not careful.
Like California, Illinois is late to the party. Public sector unions got out the vote for their Democrats. They know that the first step toward fiscal sanity is pension reform-so they fought it. They have delayed the inevitable. Chris Christie in New Jersey has noted that these same people will thank him some day. The current cuts may be painful but it is the only way to save the system. Illinois newcomers Joe Walsh and Adam Kinzinger are a great step in the new direction. There will be more.
The unaffiliated grass roots organizations are the driving force that is resulting in a new Republican party. They know that George Bush did not clamp down on spending and gave the Democrats an opening. The new GOP will restore fiscal restraint as a key plank. They know that respect for these core principles is what attracts the independents-not mushy moderation. America needs to take big steps forward. The Gop can lead the way.
If Chicago and greater Illinois voters don’t wrest control of their government from career hacks intent on continued borrowing they will face a certain future of departing businesses, higher unemployment and higher taxes at every turn.
End of letter.
The problems wasn’t / isn’t the tea parties-it’s the mainstream party’s inability to harness their energy and the unwillingness to hear the message.
The GOP organizations have treated the tea parties the way print journalists treat bloggers-like something you stepped in.
On election eve I ran into a neighbor who said she’d been hard at work “getting out the vote.” I told her I’d be attending some victory parties the next few days. She furrowed her brow. When I specified I’d be at the local Tea party post-election meeting she shook her head. “They’re just so extreme.” Her concern was evident. You’d think I’d just announced I was on heroin. There was more. She was insulting. I nipped it in the bud. I told her I didn’t appreciate her tone. “I’ve been there-you haven’t” I said. “What is extreme about stopping the deficits and upholding the Constitution?”
She came back with her talking points: two unfunded wars, TARP, stimulus, “tax cuts to the rich”…all of it verified by factcheck.org and the CBO. Never mind that one is a left wing outlet and the other is a typical government agency abused by politicians who know how to game the system. Their Obamacare math has already been exposed as fiction. I assured her I could produce data that showed lower tax RATES can and have produced increased revenue. Even JFK knew that. I noted that top rates had been 70% to 90% for most of the previous century. LINK
“What gives anyone, anywhere, at any time the right to take 70% of anybody’s anything?”
“Well maybe there’s people who need it more…” OK, I said, that’s socialism. There was no need to continue. In fact I knew it would be a complete waste of my time. That’s why I launched Center Debate, to have discussions among the open minded-not hard core leftists convinced that there is no other truth.
I attended the monthly Chicago tea party meeting last night (November 3). It was a victory party. The guest speaker was Joel Pollack who lost to entrenched, uber liberal Jan Schakowsky in Chicago’s 9th Congressional district. I was SO IMPRESSED by Joel Pollack. He made a short classy speech and then took tough questions for an hour. Smart answers to each. This guy is ready. Now that Pelosi has been dethroned Jan and her flying monkeys can assume a more prominent position in the socialist party.
So what’s next? The various tea parties will continue to meet and work to promote better candidates. They’ll hand out pocket constitutions (an ongoing project here in Chicago). They will continue to influence the reshaping of the GOP.
The GOP needs to put an end to the left wing talking points of “tax cuts to the rich” and “the failed policies of George Bush”. The housing bubble was driven by liberal housing policy and government sponsored agencies like Fannie Mae. This scandal remains unaddressed.
The debate is about tax RATES-not tax cuts. There hasn’t been a tax cut in 7 years. They are not checks handed out. It’s not money that grows on the government tree. It’s OUR money and we get to decide how much we’ll give the government to cover constitutionally-appropriate shared services.
Karl Rove had W’s ear for all those years that he didn’t veto the spending increases, didn’t fight harder for GSE reform and didn’t take on the entitlement mess. We need strategists who can shape a message that these are the issues we need to face now or our very future is at stake.
Chris Christie is the model. Nobody does it better-but it is not un-learnable. Christie may be too early in his job as Governor to take the next step. Rubio hasn’t even been sworn in as Senator-yet and I see him as a future president. Only Obama would be allowed to skip a pay grade.