July 3, 2018

The Real Thing We Have To Fear

I was reading a Cal Thomas column from back in May this morning; it's been sitting in my noodling file, the one that holds articles, cartoons, random scraps of paper and the like from which a post may arise.

In the column, tagged as The GOP's never-ending fear factor in my local paper, Thomas laments the Republicans' inability to function as Republicans when it comes to dealing with deficit spending and our debt. He uses Rand Paul's ill-fated balanced budget bill and the House barely holding together  to pass a plan by the Trump administration to cut a few bucks - $15B  of them -  from a variety of programs (to make up for the mess caused by the tax cuts and the massive spending plan that was Trump's budget after legislators got their hands on it).

Noting that some Congressional Republicans seemed more concerned with how it would look in the opposition's campaign ads during this election year, Thomas included a quote from Pennsylvania Rep. Ryan Costello:
I worry about the messaging the Democrats will be able to do off it. Those ads write themselves.
Thomas was scathing in response to that line of thinking.
Are Republicans so stupid they can't see it coming? Are they so inept that they can't devise a strategy to overcome the left's predictable tactics and put them on the defensive for their failed, expensive and unnecessary programs, along with their refusal to reform entitlements, the real driver of debt?
Now, I may disagree to some extent with Thomas on that part -- while we do need reform and we do need to work on our deficit and debt problems, we don't necessarily see eye to eye on how to do it. But the point he's making about the R's not having the courage of their convictions is something I've complained about before (here, here, here, and here, for example).

It's not something that's exclusive to Republicans, either. Much as I liked Barack Obama, he's a perfect example of not having courage to defend his positions, first and foremost with the Affordable Care Act. And there are many other examples, most of them less egregious than this one.

The other point Thomas makes, and makes quite well, is the whole question of whether our elected officials are in it for the principles, or for their own longevity.
If the only motivation for Republicans is the next election, and the one after that, ad infinitum, why have any Republicans in Congress at all?
Again, the same thing could be said about the other party:
If the only motivation for Democrats is the next election, and the one after that, ad infinitum, why have any Democrats in Congress at all? 
It's long past time we stopped allowing our elected officials of any stripe to stay in office forever, and long past time we let them get away with worrying more about their own futures instead of worrying about ours.
  • Whenever a politician talks about not doing something because of how it would look, run.
  • Whenever a politician tells you that re-electing them is important because you need them, run.
  • Whenever a politician tells you that they need to get elected because only they can do XYZ, run.
  • Whenever a politician talks about the what the other side is doing more than they talk about their own intentions, run.

Run as fast as you can, because the real thing we have to fear is not fear itself, it's politicians who don't have the courage of their convictions, and who are more interested in self-preservation than they are in us.