The Right Opinion

Leadership Jobs Open

By Mona Charen · Dec. 28, 2012

Who wants a fantastic job? Unemployment is high, so there ought to be many candidates. The job is leader of the Republican Party.

As leader, you will be the spokesman for a philosophy of smaller government, more individual liberty, fiscal responsibility, free markets and budget cuts. You will speak up for the traditional family and strong community organizations.

On one hand, you stand for keeping taxes low on the very richest Americans. On the other, you’re for cutting programs that are broadly popular. Congratulations. What are you for that Americans support? That’s what is so great about this job. It requires creativity.

A sizable percentage of your caucus will balk at any increases in taxes ever on anyone – even on those earning more than $1 million per year – as John Boehner just discovered. So you’ll have to seek balanced budgets exclusively by cutting spending. This will further confirm the public image of you as Scrooge.

Your job is to worry not just about the fiscal cliff, but about the $71.7 trillion in unfunded liabilities the federal government has amassed, the unchecked expansion of entitlements, such as Medicare, Medicaid, and now Obamacare, the waning percentage of Americans in the workforce (it’s down to 63.6 now, compared with 67.2 in 2001), and the decline of traditional families which is, in turn, creating more and more Americans who become dependent on government programs.

Your opponents are the Democrats, who tell voters that they care and simply want to give them more and more. P. J. O'Rourke memorably described the difference between the parties this way in “Parliament of Whores”: “God is a Republican and Santa Claus is a Democrat.”

God is an elderly or, at any rate, middle-aged mate, a stern fellow, patriarchal rather than paternal, and a great believer in rules and regulations. He holds men strictly accountable for their actions … God is unsentimental. It is very hard to get into God’s heavenly country club.

Santa Claus is another matter. He’s cute. He’s nonthreatening. He’s always cheerful. He may know who’s been naughty and who’s been nice, but he never does anything about it. He gives everyone everything they want without thought of a quid pro quo. Santa Claus is preferable to God in every way but one: There is no such thing as Santa Claus.

Why, you may ask, don’t the Democrats have to worry about the structural problem of a ballooning public sector and a declining private sector that must pay for it? It’s simple: Democrats engage in denial and the press lets them get away with it. President Obama ignored his deficit commission and paid no price. The only time you will hear a Democrat declare that we cannot afford something is when it’s 1) a military expenditure or 2) a tax cut.

Do they deny the debt? Not in so many words. They pay it lip service and imply that increasing taxes on the top 2 percent of earners will solve the problem. So long as Republicans fight on this terrain – protecting the top earners from a tax rate increase – Democrats are handed a winning formula. Tax the rich guy – it doesn’t hurt me, and it represents some kind of cosmic justice.

The spending cuts Republicans favor are hardly more popular. A Pew poll in October found that 75 percent of respondents oppose cutting federal support for education, 61 percent oppose cutting funding for college loans (inflating that higher ed bubble even further), 57 percent reject asking Medicare beneficiaries to pay a larger percentage of their costs, 56 percent oppose gradually raising the age of Social Security eligibility and 50 percent oppose reducing programs that help low income Americans. Fifty-eight percent, by contrast, favor limiting tax deductions for large corporations.

The fiscal cliff will come and go. It’s a no win for the Republican Party. Longer term, the next generation of Republican leaders will have to consider some radical, image altering reforms. James Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute recommends breaking up the big banks. It’s simultaneously a blow against the too-big-to-fail folly that helped create the financial crisis and a rebuke of the Obama Administration’s embrace of crony capitalism in Dodd/Frank.

Someone, sometime soon, is going to have to level with the American people that they’ve been getting more government than they’ve been willing to pay for. The Republicans have called for spending cuts and seen their approval ratings sink. Maybe they should just leave the unpalatable task to Santa Claus.



Howard Last in Wyoming said:

The only way to end the insanity is to follow the Constitution. That means abolishing all departments, agencies, bureaus, rules, regulations, Laws, etc. not specifically authorized by the Constitution. This would cut the budget by 90% or better. Article 1, Section 8, Clause 5 gives Congress the authority to regulate currency. There is no authorization to give this power away to an un-elected group that meets in secret. So abolish the Federal Reserve Board and put us back on the Gold Standard. Get us out of the ultimate foreign entanglement (UN). To do this the Democraps, RINO's and CFR members will have to go. Did anyone say when pigs fly. And I know I sound like a broken record. BTW, only 30% of the population approved of the Revolution so all is not lost.

Friday, December 28, 2012 at 12:25 AM

Tod the tool guy in brooklyn ny said:

I'm with you again, Howard Last! "Giving money and power to government, is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys." P.J. O'rourke quote. STEP TWO-Reform the unjust TAX CODE, and to do that repeal the 16th Amendment of SOCIALIST KOOK- Woodrow Wilson!

Friday, December 28, 2012 at 7:02 AM

Howard Last in Wyoming replied:

Tod, the sad part of the quote is that teenage boys compared to Congress are responsible. What most people are not aware of is the second clause of the 16th Amendment. It voids Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3. It allows Congress to spend OUR MONEY any way they want, "without regard to any census or enumeration." It allows the crooks and/or mental midgets in Washington to bribe the citizens with their own money. It allows "Earmarks". And please don't insult Kooks by listing wilson with them.

Friday, December 28, 2012 at 10:36 AM

Ct-Tom in NC said:

Home run, Mona. Thanks!

Friday, December 28, 2012 at 9:17 AM

Cal in SoCal said:

Mona Charen; Brains and beauty. What a combination. I don't mind ugly in Congress, but lack of brains or refusal to follow others who have them is a perfect formula for decline, which is what we now have here in the good ol' U S of A. Pity Mona and others like her can't or won't take on that job. We sure could use the help. As a wise one once said: When you keep taking from the ones who work and give to those who don't, ya soon run
out. We are running outl

Friday, December 28, 2012 at 11:05 AM

Richard J. Abbate of CT in Cheshire, CT said:

I'd apply for this job, but of course they would never 'award' it to me. To much common sense, to much integrity!!

Remember when those were positive things?

As impossible as it sounds, I would take it, and run with it. Hell, I don't care about popularity anymore, and I only need to work for a few more years anyway. Kick ass, take names, turn over the coffee table, and just say what is so!! If they boot me out in three or four years I figured I'd be ahead of the game. Heck, I'd even take a cut in pay more then likely.
But would it really ever happen? Naahh!! If they couldn't get me the Secretary Of The State job (NB: Not Secretary OF State (federal cabinet level job) but SOTS [state of CT job]) the RepubliCrat party wouldn't even think of me for this one! Too bad! Could have been fun and maybe even effective!! Ya just never know!! RJA

Friday, December 28, 2012 at 2:15 PM

India in GA said:

"Santa Claus is preferable to God in every way but one: There is no such thing as Santa Claus."

LOL... That was great!

Friday, December 28, 2012 at 2:57 PM