"When they allow a talk show host to play them like a two-dollar banjo, they demonstrate what kind of backbone they'll bring to the job later on, if we elect them. After they get elected will they continue to allow Jeff Crank to put a nickel in them and wind them up every Saturday morning?"

Barry Noreen, former columnist, Colorado Springs Gazette

Monday, April 19, 2010

AND MILES TO GO BEFORE WE SLEEP


By

ROBERT HARKINS

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, 
But I have promises to keep, 
And miles to go before I sleep, 
And miles to go before I sleep.[1]

If Republicans are truly what they claim to be--the party of limited government, constitutional sanctity, individual freedom, and fiscal prudence—why then is America inexorably becoming a social welfare state and her Constitution a religious relic no more able to guarantee unalienable freedoms then is a sliver of the true cross, so called, able to cure lethal disease?

Why do Republicans, when the polls open, celebrate anew their conservative authenticity—cross their dear hearts and hope to die-- praise fiscal prudence and when returned to office engage again with Democrats in a rap, musical shtick, a bump and grind, betrays the principles for which they were once so hot.

Barbara Tuchman, in her history, The March of Folly, coined a new term, Wooden Headedness, a psychic aberration damns a state to utter folly, otherwise avoidable. So the wooden headed Trojans pulled into Priam’s city Troy, from a Greek bearing gifts, a Trojan horse; and a wooden headed Britain imperiously demanded of its “Colonials” a tax on tea not worth the cost of its collection; and a wooden headed, narcissist Kaiser Wilhelm, provoked a world war would kill millions, to no other purpose than glory, power and prestige.

Well then, are Republicans wooden headed? If not, why then do they abandon conservative principles once in office? And why would Republicans build so faithfully, the cause and edifice of their extinction, a welfare state will return Democrats to power as it buries in the grave of failed ideas an American heritage—our conservative philosophy—and oh yes, the Republican party.

Where is the proof?

In a shameful, orgiastic bacchanal, a sixties love-in, Bush Republicans— singing Kum by yar and Blowin in the wind—traded pork with Democrats so as to insure their reelection even as together they pushed the American people to the brink of bankruptcy. The former President Bush joined his fellow Republicans in a fiscal orgy would have raised a florid blush on Theodore Roosevelt’s charming kisser.

While a campaigning President Bush held himself out as a conservative champion of state rights and limited government, he created yet another failed, useless, nearly immortal and obscenely expensive bureaucracy, No Child Left Behind. He then spent more money on social programs then did the late Democrat President Lyndon B. Johnson, whose Great Society pushed America unto ruin as it worked havoc on Detroit and others cities now dependant on corrosive government handouts.

President Bush brass-knuckled through Congress a Medicare Supplement Act less damaging than President O’Bama’s ruinous health care plan, but unfunded and therefore economically lethal. In fact, the Medicare Supplement Act is an irresponsible expansion of the same welfare state will forever maintain Democrats in power. Americans may well ask, from what source, other than the American taxpayer, did the fiscally prudent President Bush and the anti tax conservative Republican Congress suppose they were going to find the trillions of dollars necessary to fund this latest addition to the edifice of a bankrupt welfare state?

The former President signed the thousands of earmarks that his Republican coterie, no less than Democrats, placed on his executive plate. Worse still, he made possible the ascendance of a new, irredeemably leftist President, Senate and House of Representatives dead set on the impoverishment of the American citizen, and the diminishment of his Constitutional freedoms.

In their last eight years of power Republicans increased federal spending by 70 percent,[2] a record barely exceeded by the late President Lyndon Johnson who birthed a “Great Society”—now a heap of expensive rubble this out of a Democrat spending orgy. Republicans have also competed collegially with Democrats to see whose earmarks might take the grander cut of pork. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson, for example, a conservative Republican, so called, was a finalist for the Porker of the Month award. The good Senator defended her pursuit of pork as the quintessence of patriotism. Indeed, she characterized her demand for 1.6 billion of taxpayer’s money as a selfless service to her state of Texas— a request only by coincidence aligned with her failed campaign for Governor.

In naming Sen. Hutchison the October 2009 “Porker of the Month,” CAGW said, “While claiming to be a fiscal conservative, Sen. Hutchison requested 149 projects worth $1.6 billion for authorization and appropriations bills for fiscal year 2010.”[3]

Now, of course, as November approaches, Republicans—cross their dear hearts and hope to die— celebrate again their conservative credentials. But are they preaching virtue out of wooden heads?

…in the GOP, cooler heads always prevail. What these Republican heads want to cool down is the campaign to repeal the health care takeover. Reports the Associated Press: "Top Republicans are increasingly worried that GOP candidates this fall might be burned by a fire that's roaring through the conservative base: demand for the repeal of President Barrack Obama's new health care law."[4]

Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, once wild eyed for repeal now suggests timidly that repeal should be limited “…to the "non-controversial stuff such as the ban on preexisting conditions which is unfortunately exactly what necessitates the "controversial stuff" like the individual mandate.”

Cornyn was later seen pouring cold water on the idea entirely. Asked by the AP whether he was going to advise Republican senatorial nominees to run on repeal, he said, "Candidates are going to test the winds in their own states... In some places, the health care bill is more popular than others." Meanwhile, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee doesn't need a weatherman to tell him where the wind blows: "It's just not going to happen."

Former Presidential candidate George Romney demands REPEAL, and sub voce constrains repeal only to sections of the President’s health care plan that may be to him inappropriate. Will other Republicans betray an American majority who demand repeal? The journalist James Antle III concurs.

…this appears to be the working definition of conservatism embraced by most GOP politicians. Republicans campaign on canceling spending programs, shutting down government agencies, and overturning Roe v. Wade. But once safely in office, they tend to leave most liberal handiwork alone, failing to repeal even Bill Clinton's tax increases. Occasionally they add a few big-government flourishes of their own -- a new entitlement to enlarge Medicare's unfunded liabilities here, a record increase in federal education spending there.

If Republicans cannot repeal an unpopular bill where many of the costs are front-loaded, many of the benefits are yet to come, and where the creation of another entitlement is as detrimental to their own partisan self-interest as it is to the nation's finances, then conservatives cannot count on Republicans to undo very much of what they routinely denounce and campaign against.

Are there other Republicans will ignore the ascendance of a welfare state, who will like the wooden headed men of Troy take unto an American “Shining City on the Hill, a Presidential Trojan Horse?

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker said Wednesday that Republican efforts to repeal sweeping health care reform are futile, and instead promoted incremental fixes in a wide-ranging talk in Nashville…."The fact is that's not going to happen, OK?" Corker told dozens of people at Vanderbilt University. Corker’s remarks come on the heels of Sen. Richard Burr's (R-N.C.) comments that he doesn't see a full repeal as a realistic option, either. "It may not be total repeal at the end of the day," Burr said in a radio interview. "It may be a series of fixes over the course of this bill getting enacted that allow us to change and possibly bend that cost curve down.” This continues to be a real problem for Republicans, most of whom know they're not going to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but a few too many of whom want to maintain the fiction to exploit gullible right-wing donors and manipulate easily-confused GOP voters.[5]

Where have all the Republicans gone, as the sixties folk song goes, long time passing? Well, as November approaches Republicans, again “conservative” plight their troth to conservatives in ravishing prose. Repeal! Cross my heart and hope to die! Then too, there are races to be won, and business done, deals cut, campaign coffers filled and ambition served.

What then is the solution to Republican “wooden heads?” I believe we may see it in the conservative Tea Partier who will simply not accept the Democrat/Republican imposition of a welfare state will cripple America, impoverish and demean her citizens, immolate Republicans, Democracy, an American Constitution and its Republic.

Barbara Tuchman quotes the Greek and Roman Stoics. They were committed to the practice of virtue celebrates a true and courageous heart above all else just as they condemned moral and intellectual vice. Barbara Tuchman gives this advice—or perhaps now, this late in the American day, I should better call it a most solemn admonition.

“Aware of the controlling power of ambition, corruption and emotion, it may be that in the search for wiser government we should look for the test of character first. And the test should be moral courage. Montaigne adds, ‘Resolution and valor, not that which is sharpened by ambition but that which wisdom and reason may implant in a well-ordered soul.’[6]

Robert Frost’s immortal poem, Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening, captures in solemn, quiet words the American of weary mind and heart who cannot stop and rest awhile in nature lovely, deep and dark for all the miles he must walk and promises he must keep before he rests.

Americans are weary. In just over a year we have watched as a new President and his party push our country to the edge of a financial abyss. We have heard too many speeches work us cynically with empty talking points. We have witnessed solemn pledges broken. We are offended by politicians pitch us pap and call it truth.

Nevertheless, we await November 2010 with joyful anticipation. This is, after all, our country. So we will work hard to see it prevail.

For we too have promises to keep. And miles to go before we sleep. And miles to go before we sleep.



[1] Robert Frost, Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening.

[3] Washington Kay Bailey Hutchinson. Finalist For Porker of the Year. Submitted by watchingkay on Thu. 12/31, 2009.

[4] Repeal By W. James Antle, III on 4.8.10 @ 6:10AM

[5] Political Animal, Steve Benson. April 1, 2010GOP SENATOR: REPEAL 'NOT GOING TO HAPPEN'.... The Republican message gets a little more muddled.

[6] Barbara Tuchman, The March of Folly, From Troy to Vietnam. (Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1984).

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