MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Tuesday, May 22nd. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from member-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher.
CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: Remember this famous line from President Franklin Roosevelt’s first inaugural address?
ROOSEVELT: The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
Well, FDR clearly could not have foreseen today’s Republican Party.
EICHER: Commentary now from WORLD Radio’s Cal Thomas.
THOMAS: A bill by Senator Rand Paul to require the federal government to balance the budget each year was soundly defeated last week in the Senate.
The senator knew the bill had no chance, but he told The Washington Post his purpose was to point out Republican hypocrisy. Listen to his frustration on the Senate floor:
PAUL: I think there has to be somebody left in the Republican Party who says, enough’s enough: We’re going to not tolerate the waste, the spending, and the debt, and we’re going to say the same things we did to President Obama, that big government spending and debt are wrong, and so I don’t think we should change just because we’re in power. You know when the Republican Party is out of power, they are the conservative party. The problem is when the Republican Party is in power, there is no conservative party. That’s what I’m arguing for today, that we should be who we say we are.
Paul accused his Republican colleagues of engaging in an “unholy alliance” with Democrats to keep increasing spending, adding to the deficit and national debt that now exceeds $21 trillion with no end in sight.
In the House, Republicans pushed back against President Trump’s proposal to cut a measly $15 billion from several programs. For Congress, $15 billion is pocket change, but even this small amount is too much for today’s GOP, which fears fear itself.
Republican Congressman Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania told The Washington Post, quoting here: “I worry about the messaging the Democrats will be able to do off it. Those ads write themselves.”
This is so predictable.
Are Republicans so inept that they can’t devise a strategy to overcome their opponents’ never-changing talking points?
If the only motivation for Republicans is the next election, and the one after that, ad infinitum, as Senator Paul implied, why have any Republicans in Congress?
Why even have a Republican Party, which once was supposedly the party of small government, low taxes, and individual responsibility? Now it seems the GOP has joined the other side and has become part of the problem instead of the solution.
It’s not that Republicans — and Democrats for that matter — don’t know how to balance the budget. The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 would have balanced the budget by 2002. Unfortunately, the law had a lifespan of just two years. By 1999 and 2000, new legislation was introduced and passed that effectively obliterated the previous exercise in fiscal discipline.
Republicans need to stop fearing the fear factor and start winning arguments.
They can start by asking Americans if they want their money to continue to be spent on failed and unnecessary programs and either proposing alternative ones that do work, or promoting the power of the individual, which once was paramount before government became our “keeper.”
Fear is not a policy for Republicans. It is surrender. As John F. Kennedy said in another context, “We can do better.”
For WORLD Radio, I’m Cal Thomas.