Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Time is Now for GOP to Grow a Set

“I will make mistakes.” – Barack Obama, January 17, 2009

“All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree.” – 4th President James Madison

The Time is Now for GOP to Grow a Set
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
January 17, 2009

Truer words could not have been spoken on the day the rhetoric express train pulled out of
30th Street
Station in Philadelphia with stops in Wilmington, DE to pick up the Bidens before stopping in Baltimore prior to the ultimate destination of Washington, DC.

Simply examine the choices Barack Obama has made for his cabinet. “We need to build up this government,” Obama said in the City of Brotherly Love, which demonstrated its nickname with an outpouring for Obama, his wife Michelle, who was celebrating her 45th birthday, and their two daughters.

Well, to paraphrase the greatest president of the 20th Century, Ronald Reagan, message to Obama: “Tear down this government!” Make no mistake, this is not a plea for anarchy, but instead for smaller, sensible, reasonable government.

Consider the words of the third president, Thomas Jefferson, who in a letter to Thomas Cooper in November 1802 wrote “I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.” No doubt the patriarch of the modern Democratic Party is spinning six feet under at the notion of how large this government is 207 years later. During Jefferson’s administration there were but five cabinet departments: State, Treasury, War, Navy and Attorney General.

Today there are three times as many cabinet departments and numerous cabinet-level positions to be filled by people who, so far, have proven Obama’s words, “I will make mistakes,” all too true. Even if the Obama cabinet were of Jeffersonian proportions, objections should be cast on three of the five departments: State, Treasury and Attorney General.

This is where the Republicans in the Senate, regarding confirmation hearings, must heed the words of another Reagan – Nancy, and “just say no.” It is not the least bit obstructionist for the minority party to vote against a cabinet nomination who, for one reason or another, should not be approved. For some reason too many Republicans feel the need to rubber stamp Obama’s nominees, either out of fear or a go along to get along philosophy, which is not why those people were sent to Washington in the first place.

“Spineless,” is the word former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee used on January 17 to describe members of his own party. “We used to stand for something,” he said.

The Republicans would do well to remember the words of Dwight Eisenhower, the 34th president of the United States. “A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.”

For starters, Hillary Clinton (D-NY) should not be confirmed as Secretary of State.  She carries with her too much baggage. Former President Bill Clinton has a multi-billion dollar conflict of interest with the money donated to his foundation by foreign governments, some of which are suspect at best. The now former Senator Clinton said she couldn’t understand why she was questioned about her husband’s dealings making an obtuse statement about how a cabinet nominee’s spouse has never been an issue before. How many cabinet nominee’s spouses have been president of the United States? Not a trick question, Hillary.

It’s probably a fair assumption that Elaine Chao fielded a question or two pertaining to her husband, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), prior to signing on as Labor Secretary. Aside from a minor dust-up over Bill, the remainder of the Hillary hearing featured the committee sycophantically fawning over the one-time presidential hopeful. Hillary Clinton no doubt will become the next Secretary of State, but it should not be handed to her on a silver platter.

For this next nominee of Treasury Secretary designate Timothy Geithner, readers will assume hell has frozen over as I assert conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer is wrong and the New York Times was right – there it is in print boys and girls. Krauthammer calls Geithner’s unpaid taxes a “triviality,” while the Times calls his nomination “tainted.” It is far from trivial when the person nominated to oversee, among other things, the IRS, has tax issues. In this case, Geithner failed to fork over about $43,000 in back Social Security and self-employment taxes, including interest, but no penalties, from his days working for the IMF. If everyone else is subjected to paying their taxes, so should the person picked to be top dog at Treasury.

Additionally, Geithner continued to have a housekeeper whose legal status lapsed in his employ claiming he was unaware of the situation. Ignorance is no excuse. This person worked for Geithner, he should have been on top of things. Too many Republicans want to give Geithner a free pass because he was a Wall Street guy and would probably be a better pick from the GOP perspective than someone else Obama could nominate. But there is a principle at stake here – first the tax issue and then the lapsed legal status of the housekeeper. Do the names Zoe Baird, Linda Chavez and Kimba Wood ring any bells? Geithner will also win confirmation, but shouldn’t.

Attorney General nominee Eric Holder conjures up thoughts of the Peter Principle. He was a disaster as Deputy Attorney General under Bill Clinton, now he’s up for a promotion, in a way. Staring with Holder the private practice attorney, he represented banana producer Chiquita, who paid boatloads of “protection” money to AUC and FARC terror organizations in Colombia. These organizations were responsible for exports of cocaine and massacres of thousands of people.

As Deputy AG, Holder recommended pardons for tax-evader-fugitive Marc Rich as well as members of FALN, a Puerto Rican terror organization – only one of which Holder claims he regrets. He said he made mistakes as Deputy AG, but mistakes that will help him on the job at the nation’s top lawyer. This from the guy who wrote that there is no definition of terrorists or terrorism. It should be a cold day in Guam before Holder is made Attorney General, but he will be confirmed by the Senate lemmings – Elephant and Jackass alike. With little exception, it’s becoming harder to tell them apart.

Representative Hilda Solis (D-CA) should not be confirmed as Labor Secretary for the simple reason that she has stated publicly on more than one occasion that she is opposed to secret ballots for union workers. In this republic of the United States secret ballots have been used for a couple hundred years with much success, but Solis does not think union workers should be afforded such a “luxury.” She is wrong and her nomination ought to be rejected.

Arne Duncan, the now former head of schools in Chicago, should go back to the Windy City instead of standing to be the next Education Secretary. Only 17 percent of eighth graders are able to read at grade level in Chicago. In addition to being mired in academic hell, as test scores demonstrate, Duncan supported a “gay high school.” This is not 1896 and Plessy v. Ferguson is no longer law of the land. The notion of a gay high school, or any other segregated school, for that matter will not be good for its students who will be sheltered from the real world that they inevitably will have to face. Duncan should get a permanent time-out.

And to be fair, not all nominees to be rejected are Democrats. Former Representative Ray La Hood (R-IL) should be denied the opportunity to be the next Transportation Secretary. In 2008 alone La Hood sent up legislation calling for $60 million in earmarks, ranking him in the top 10 percent of all Congressional porkers. This was partly made possible by sitting on the highly coveted Appropriations Committee and allowed La Hood to funnel larded-up legislation toward some of his more generous political donors.

One specific example is the $330,000 earmarked for the Lakeview Museum in Peoria, IL as part of a project financed by Caterpillar – La Hood’s biggest donor. The project is a museum of the history of the company. Do not misunderstand, museums are good learning experiences. I am a founding member and contributor to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum as well as the National Museum of the American Indian. But if corporate America wants museums to honor themselves, they can also pay for it themselves. Give La Hood a bus ticket back to Illinois.

In addition to the earmarks, wrong in their own right, there are the bailouts – of anyone and any institution that wants one apparently. Bailouts were wrong under George W. Bush and will be just as wrong under Obama. Not just wrong, but unconstitutional to boot. Republicans who voted for the bailout prior to November should have been turned out of office. Those who do so after January 20 should be dismissed in November 2010. Bailouts are not part of core GOP values. Real Republicans ought to be lining up to challenge the RINOs who support bailouts in primaries. Two sets of Democrats in Congress are not necessary.

Republicans should not be afraid to do the right thing. It is not obstructionist to tell potential homeowners to only buy a home they can actually afford. It is not obstructionist to tell businesses to sell what consumers will actually want to buy. If the auto industry is not willing to change itself in order to succeed, the government should not throw good money after a stubborn, insolent group of CEOs who feel entitled simply because their companies have been around for a century or more.

“The power to tax is the power to destroy,” said Chief Justice John Marshall.

The federal government should not be taxing the so-called rich more simply because they earn more money than their less fortunate peers. They key word is “earn.” The federal government should not be giving people who did not pay taxes a tax “rebate.” That is called state-sponsored welfare. This is not France, not yet, anyway; this is still the United States of America.

Couple Ike’s words with those of Mr. Conservative himself, Barry M. Goldwater, who said “We shall return to proven ways – not because they are old, but because they are true.” When the GOP can do that, they will stop wandering the desert in obscurity and irrelevance and return to their former greatness when they were leaders, not followers, this nation will also return to its status as leaders of the free world instead of cow-towing to an allegedly mainstream media that is socialist at best, a Europe that is an economic and moral wasteland and radical left-wing extremists seeking to turn the United States into a government-run, cradle to grave caretaker.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and political consultant living in Alexandria, VA.

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