The Right Opinion

Don't Go Wobbly, GOP

By Lawrence Kudlow · Nov. 10, 2012

In the fierce headline debate over the so-called fiscal cliff, our newly re-elected president argues that “a majority of Americans agree with (his) approach.” That approach, according to the president, is “to combine spending cuts with revenue – and that means asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more in taxes.”

Well, that's not exactly what the exit polls said.

To the question “Should taxes be raised to help cut the budget deficit?” only 33 percent answered “yes,” while 63 percent responded “no.” Isn't that interesting? But nobody's talking about this exit-poll nugget.

Now, it is true that when the question is asked only about income-tax rates, 13 percent are OK with an increase for all, 47 percent want an increase only on incomes over $250,000, and 35 percent don't want increases for anyone. That's not so surprising. Most people make less than $250,000 a year and would therefore say, “Well, heck, just tax the rich people.”

But even on that point, the margin is only 37 to 45. It's below 50 percent and not a massive mandate. And when you combine that with the earlier question, where nearly two-thirds don't want to raise taxes at all, you have to ask whether the country isn't a whole lot more divided on these and other questions than President Obama would have us believe.

This is why House Speaker John Boehner's tax-reform idea is so good. He's saying don't raise top-end tax rates, because doing so would damage economic growth and investment incentives. That's exactly what you don't want in a weak 2 percent economy.

Instead, Boehner is proposing a compromise with the president, one that would limit various tax loopholes and deductions both for individuals and corporations, providing more revenue at the same low tax rates. The wealthy would pay more revenues. That's the GOP concession. But it's a pro-growth position and a sensible one. It finds common ground on the revenue question without damaging the economy. And if a deal is made before year-end, it could open the door to a much larger agreement on tax, spending and entitlement reform in 2013.

The stock market sure wants a deal that won't crush the economy. Shares fell more than 400 points in the first two post-election days. I think of it as stock market vigilantes hammering Washington.

But I think there's an even deeper economic point here. After losing the presidential election, what will Republicans stand for?

On the question of Hispanic immigration, the GOP has to rediscover its soul. It has to return to the party of Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp, which is inclusive and full of opportunities for everybody. Worker ID cards and a path to citizenship must be included in the Republican thinking. Otherwise, they're not going to win another presidential election in my lifetime.

Get this: A whopping 65 percent of exit-poll respondents believe illegal immigrants working in the U.S. should be offered a chance to apply for legal status. Only 28 percent favor deportation. Can the Republican Party get that through its thick skull?

But on the economy in general, the GOP mustn't go wobbly. It should stick with its free-market economic principles and push to be the party of conservative reform on taxes, spending, entitlements and various other pro-market solutions.

Yes, Mitt Romney lost. But that may have more to do with voters still blaming George W. Bush. By 53 to 38, voters still blame Bush for our economic woes. At least Romney gained a split on handling the economy, 49 to 48 over Obama, in the exits. Romney also had a slight lead on the budget deficit, and the two were about even on unemployment. I call this free-enterprise progress. So at least Romney brought the numbers back to even.

Over time, if the GOP remains the party of free markets, private enterprise, individual initiative and rewarding success, it will triumph over a Democratic Party that favors greater government welfare dependency and income redistribution, and mocks the benefits of successful business.

The past election did not solve this debate. And though he lost, I think Romney helped improve the GOP's economic credibility. But the battle will still be fought.

Again, I say, Republicans must not go wobbly on economic freedom.

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15 Comments

Wayne in Hinesville, GA said:

Our nation has alredy been fundementaly changed by the Democrats. No longer is taking responsibility for your choices a part of our national heritage. Now it is just how much free stuff can I get from the government and not have to work for any of it. I'm too poor and stupid to find a job so I'll just sit back and let someone else foot the bill. I'll have children I can't take care of but the taxpayers will pony up the money so my children I can wear designer shoes, pro team jersies, gold jewelry, live in subsidized housing, get food stamps, EBT card, and a free cell phone. "Obama be us's sugah daddy because our real daddy's don be aroun". I am tired of the stupid politically correct BS. It;s time to tell it like it is and not pull any punches.

Saturday, November 10, 2012 at 12:27 PM

Howard Last in Wyoming said:

It is not in the nature of the Republican Leadership (still an oxymoron) to not go wobbly. Case in point going along with the continuing budget resolution instead of shutting the government down.

Saturday, November 10, 2012 at 1:46 PM

M Rick Timms MD in Georgia said:

I understand the temptation for the few Republicans left in Washington, to step aside and let the Dems do it - so the blame will fall squarely on them. But it will not work that way. The media will still tell those paying attention that is the Republicans fault. Those not paying attention will still wake up in time to vote themselves more stuff at the next election, no matter how bad things are.

I mean really,, the Democrat Senate did not pass a budget in over three years and they gained seats!!!! Even Obama's budget, when submitted to vote by the republicans did not get a single vote - not even from democrats.

No my friends - the Democrats will not be blamed. We must fight these socialist bastards at every bend. Give no quarter because they will never relent. We are in the fight of our lives and must use every ounce of will to fight for the last light of Liberty in the world.

Saturday, November 10, 2012 at 4:59 PM

Tod the tool guy in brooklyn ny said:

Some of US(A) know how to MAKE MONEY, but most of America, just likes to TAKE MONEY. Transfer from public to private arena , and compare the results. You will find that in most things, the private sector can out perform government ,10 to One!

Saturday, November 10, 2012 at 5:19 PM

Wayne in Hinesville, GA replied:

Todd, Good point! When has the government ever ran anything they didn't screw up? I can answer that in just one word: NEVER! The least efficent entity in this counrty is the government.

Saturday, November 10, 2012 at 5:25 PM

Gregory in Yakima said:

The election of 2008 especially and 2012 in part are reflective of voters putting the blame for our economic problems on G.W. Bush and his sycophantic Republicans. That era has probably ended considering the fickle nature of most voters.

Racism, sexism, chauvinism, favoritism, the cold war, anti-drug foolishness and more were once a reliable Republican path to victory. No more.

Republicans have lost on many levels. The old politics are dead. The party must now shed those who cling to outmoded politics the way a snake sheds it's skin. Barry Goldwater warned about mixing religion with politics and he has been shown right.

You kids remind me of the radio play where old anarchists gather for their re-union. They meet in a smoke free hotel. Their fire is gone and in the real world so is yours. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Saturday, November 10, 2012 at 5:35 PM

Kevin from Arkansas in USA replied:

Make sure you keep them on the welfare/entitlement plantation, Greg. That's where all your support is. Democrats can't have upwardly mobile citizens as they will lose votes.

Saturday, November 10, 2012 at 7:56 PM

M Rick Timms MD in Georgia replied:

They will keep them on the plantation as long as they can steal our hard earned wages to pay for it. The takers don't really want the "job", they just want the "check". The job is to go to the mailbox - they don't actually have to apply for work or go to the unemployment office to get the check --- that would be humiliating -- don't ya' know.

Saturday, November 10, 2012 at 9:09 PM

Kevin from Arkansas in USA replied:

"Racism, sexism, chauvinism, favoritism, the cold war, anti-drug foolishness and more were once a reliable Republican path to victory. No more."

Democrats have always been fear mongers. More so this election than any one I remember. Obama couldn't run on this pitiful record so he demonized everyone he could and stoked class hatred.

* “Here’s the problem: It’s almost like they’ve got — they’ve got a bomb strapped to them and they’ve got their hand on the trigger. You don’t want them to blow up. But you’ve got to kind of talk them, ease that finger off the trigger.” Barack Obama on banks, March 2009

* “A Republican majority in Congress would mean ‘hand-to-hand combat’ on Capitol Hill for the next two years, threatening policies Democrats have enacted to stabilize the economy.” Barack Obama, October 6, 2010

* “We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us.” Barack Obama to Latinos, October 2010

Just in case you missed it you ought to do some research on the racist history of the Democrat Party;

http://hnn.us/blogs/entries/3554.html

Sunday, November 11, 2012 at 8:35 AM

Gregory in Yakima said:

I don't know why you folks allow pundits like Kudlow, Prelutsky and Will to waste your time. Look back over their pre-election columns to see they have no clue about what is happening in politics. Kudlow's a gasser...here's his Oct. 25 prediction "I think this view surfaced during the three debates. And because Mitt Romney calmly, coolly and presidentially set forth his contrasting agenda of smaller government, lower debt and deficits, pro-growth tax reform and an entitlement fix, he is now riding a popular polling wave toward victory."

What a chump."Popular wave toward victory"? If you haven't figured it out, you've been played by the kids who belonged to the chess club.

These would be mystic diviners of politics would be better off hanging around cafe's and state employment offices instead of cocktail parties. Their parents would be justified in demanding a refund from the oh-so prestigious schools they went to.

They've done you a dis-service, wasted your time and allowed you to look foolish. Then they come around with a mouthful of this column's b.s. and you put up with it. You deserve what you settle for.

Sunday, November 11, 2012 at 6:20 PM

India in GA said:

"On the question of Hispanic immigration, the GOP has to rediscover its soul.... Worker ID cards and a path to citizenship must be included in the Republican thinking. Otherwise, they're not going to win another presidential election in my lifetime."

Horse sh**.

The last time I checked, it was the Democrat party that debases itself with shameless race/class/gender pandering, not us.

Latinos who vote for Obama do so for the same reasons that any other "voting block" does. They are either ignorant, or takers, or both.

Sunday, November 11, 2012 at 10:15 PM

Tapdaddy in Indiana said:

"But I think there's an even deeper economic point here. After losing the presidential election, what will Republicans stand for?"
I am a conservative before I'm a Republican and I will continue to stand for a strong national defense, taking personal responsibility for my actions, making our government fiscally responsible and the buck does stop with the President.

Monday, November 12, 2012 at 11:02 AM

Jim in Alabama said:

Lawrence,
Republicans left the barn door open on economic freedom long ago, and you're afraid they're going to START going wobbly? Why has this Democratic mantra that Republicans caused the financial melt-down of 2008 been accepted as a basis of every discussion? "By 53 to 38, voters still blame Bush for our economic woes." This how they work, straight from the Communist Manifesto. First, "Heighten the contradictions of Capitalism to raise the consciousness of the Proletariat" That means intentionally screw things up and blame them on the Capitalists. The economy headed south when the Dems took both houses under Bush.
The Republican Party failed to make the case and let the Dems re-write history. And look what they got for getting along!

Monday, November 12, 2012 at 3:00 PM

enemaofthestatistquo in Monroe, GA said:

I want Free stuff, too. Especially that Free Dom stuff.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at 12:21 AM

enemaofthestatistquo in Monroe, GA replied:

You do realize were we to stand aside and let Obama have it, Let him work his will in all things & in every way. It would assuredly all go badly. But the MSM -(Media Sado-Masochist) would still blame the Republicans, Capitalist, Conservatives, & Libertarians: for Non-participatory cooperation, for Oppositional pacificity, for Non-complient acquiesence, etc, ad naseum. NO, I predict these results no matter what we should do, or not do in regards to his agenda. It will be Orwellian, Newspeak is spoken here, Winston will be proud.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at 12:36 AM