Right Opinion

More Lessons for 2020

Bill Wagner · Feb. 11, 2019

My football coach used to say that if you are up by two touchdowns on a team that’s playing badly, the last thing you should do is sit back and hope they continue to self-destruct. Instead, you should put the hammer down and crush them, not give them a chance to luck their way back into the game. The GOP should take heed.

Democrats are rapidly becoming the extremist wacko party with a platform built on such narrow constituent winners as open borders, single-payer health care, late-term abortion (with “late” defined as post birth), 70-90% tax rates, a wealth tax property confiscation, free college, guaranteed income, and a Green New Deal that would eliminate fossil fuels in 10 years, stop all airplane flights, force everyone to rebuild their homes, and prevent cows from farting.

It is all too tempting to look at this head-scratching list of highly unpopular proposals and either mock it or simply stay mum while (it is hoped) voters reject it. By all means, call it the radical agenda that it is. But that’s not enough. The GOP needs to contrast these positions with positive, conservatively based alternatives.

That may seem to some as being unnecessary and possibly risky, since it gives the other side something to shoot at. But that underestimates the extent to which even these radical Democrat positions could get traction if unanswered. Take the “Green New Deal.” for example. Once again, the main GOP complaint seems to be that we can’t afford it, and that makes my hair hurt because it concedes the negotiating plateau to a discussion of whether it can be done, not if it should be done. The real issue is not whether it will add an unacceptable amount to the national debt but whether this is the kind of country we want. A country in which the government controls literally everything.

It may be hard to believe, but there are significant numbers of Millennials and Gen Xers that actually believe this stuff. You can thank the U.S. education system for that. The premise for the “Green New Deal” is that the planet is doomed in 10 years if these programs aren’t implemented. So debate the premise. There is zero scientific evidence that man-made climate change will inevitably destroy the planet, let alone in 10 years. If there were, count me all in.

Further, even if we adopted the entire platform, it wouldn’t make a dent in the environmental impact because other countries wouldn’t do the same. The kids have also come of age in a country that has been recovering from a capitalist blip for 10 years that has put a crimp in their career aspirations. They are also burdened with so much college debt that they can’t get out of their parents’ basement. Why not try government control?

As for affordability, the Democrat answer to that is: Who cares? We’ll just print more money and have the Federal Reserve lend it to those in need. What’s so wrong with that? Haven’t we been doing something like that for the past 10 years? And we’re still here, no? Sadly, there is a market for this drivel.

And don’t count on the media to help. When an inquiring reporter asked a Democrat if this looked like a “massive government intrusion” in our lives, the first answer was, sure, of course it is, but that’s OK if it gets us to our goals. The next day, when the same Democrat was asked the same question, the response was, well, the GOP is just saying it’s a massive government intrusion to get people against it. The inquiring reporter shrugged.

My point is that the GOP needs to fight back before this stuff gets traction. Crush the Democrats and don’t let them back in the game. Debate the science, point out the consequences and perils of government control, the loss of freedom in addition to the inevitable debt bomb, and sky-high taxes.

I like the guaranteed-income-for-those-unwilling-to-work part. Where was that idea 40 years ago? I could have skipped the 24/7/365 years on Wall Street and jumped straight to a government-supported condo on Maui.

Another Democrat rationale for the “Green New Deal” is that it would help unemployment by providing new high paying jobs for those involved in building all the alternative-energy sources, high-speed trains, and retrofit housing contractors, all courtesy of the government. But what would Americans rather have — the full employment we currently have thanks to less government and a booming private sector, or more dependency on government programs at the whim of bureaucrats? Make the case. Base it on freedom and choice, and show how private-sector solutions are better.

Ditto for open borders. It’s not enough to just say Democrats are against securing our borders. The debate needs to be couched in terms of sovereignty. Do we have a country or not? if so, then job one is to have zero illegal immigration, whatever that takes. Getting mired in a discussion of whether we should have a “wall” is silly. We need whatever mix of assets is needed to stop all illegal immigration.

But even that isn’t a sufficient argument. The entire legal-immigration system needs to be revamped as well. It would be a sure-fire winner for the GOP to make the first move here. Once the border is secure, clean up the legal process, set positive criteria, redefine the asylum rules, get citizenship for Dreamers, make it prohibitively expensive for U.S. employers to hire illegals, and set the 20 million so law-abiding illegals currently here on a path to legal status.

That’s a program that even the vast majority of minority immigrants would go for. It’s also fair and would take every whiff of wind out of the Democrat sails.

I could go on, but unfortunately the GOP seems to be underestimating the potential for the extreme Democrat agenda to resonate with enough demographic groups to matter. The Democrat 2020 wannabes may be extreme, but they are not stupid. They are buying into these programs and would not be doing so if their polling didn’t indicate that they played well enough not just with single-issue donors but also with Millennials and Gen Xers.

Counting on them coming to their senses on their own or staying home 20 months from now is a risk the GOP doesn’t need to take. Trump gets it, with his State of the Union Address as the best evidence. Its 76% approval crosses party lines. Everyone else in the GOP should take note.

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