Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Why vote for the GOP?

I'm not trying to tick off my Republican friends, but I'd like to know something: why should anyone (be they Democrats, Republicans, liberals, conservatives, libertarians, or others) vote for the GOP this year?

Don't tell me why I should not vote for Democrats. I know damned well why I should not vote for them. The reasons are too many to count. However, just as the right slams the left for being reflexively anti-Bush and devoid of an actual message, I'd like to know what message the GOP has, and what rhetoric has not been betrayed by their actions and voting record?

Let's face it: Bush in particular, and the GOP Congress in general, have dropped the ball on a number of issues. Many of their missteps are genuine screw-ups, and many are simply P.R. blunders (the port deal comes to mind). However, I'd really like to know what their agenda is. Does anyone know?

Let's look at a little bit of recent history. In 1994, the Republicans promised to abolish the grotesque and unconstitutional federal Department of Education. Instead, we've been treated to a doubling of this department's appropriations, solidification of federal control, and further plummeting of our educational ranking in the industrialized west. This constitutes (a) abolishing the Ed. Dept., or (b) success? During the revolutionary 1994 election, we heard about the perpetual increases in government spending...only to increase that spending (not counting defense) at geometric rates. Bill Clinton was jarred into committing an act of liberal heresy by saying that "the era of big government is over" in his 1995 State of the Union Speech. Today? We are governed by a "big government conservative" in the White House and a GOP that doesn't even bother pretending anymore that they may be interested in reducing the size of a government that has grown exponentially under their watch.

Aside from tax cuts (which have revived the economy) and the war against Islamic terrorism (that prior administrations, Democrat and Republican, expressed little interest in waging), what incentive does the average American have to keep Republicans in power? Judicial appointments? The average Joe doesn't care about that right now. Prevention of tax increases? Bush would likely veto (stop laughing...it could happen!) any tax increase by a Democrat House. Letting states ban abortion? I don't have to tell you that aside from a couple of states, there's little public groundswell of support for that idea.

Neal Boortz notes that "Republicans are, in fact, looking for a winning agenda for this year's mid-terms. A few weeks ago they had a weekend retreat to discuss the matter, and came away with glowing words about an agenda of fighting terror and trying to make the tax cuts permanent. Not good enough." He is correct.

So I invite my Republican friends to riddle me this: Why should I or anyone else vote for Republicans? Again, I know Democrats suck, especially at national defense and economics. However, I want someone to tell me what the GOP is going to do to excite voters that may actually not be out of whack with their real voting records. In other words, I know why I should not vote for Democrats...but I do not know why I should consider voting for Republicans.