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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


GOP actions will shift tide in politics

How quickly the tide turns in American politics. With Republicans so far holding firm on pledges to reign in the federal government’s orgy of spending, and Democrats ironically becoming the “”party of no”” with respect to any fiscal restraint, the American people are beginning to see clearly the choices they have for national leadership in the future. And as President Barack Obama spoke to the National Governors Association on Monday, the stark difference between his ideas for regaining prosperity and a great majority of the governors’ ideas was all too real.

Perhaps it should be refreshing to see that the president is sticking to his guns when it comes to the new federal health care law and his recent budget. But thinking you’re right doesn’t mean anything; and while Democrats seem perfectly fine with keeping the status quo, Republicans, especially those in the governors’ mansions, are moving forward with bold action to bring back financial sanity.

Though, when it comes down to it, the difference in the vision of the two parties is not the point. Because in reality, there is hardly anything visionary in deeming steep spending increases and slightly higher tax hikes as responsible management of the deficit, or claiming that public sector employees’ unions don’t sap states’ resources. But again, policy is not so much the point as is the delivery of the message. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie became a conservative darling for the way he bluntly spoke of the financial woes that public sector unions’ benefits were causing his state. Again, you didn’t have to agree with him to see that he was tackling New Jersey’s problems with a type of candor and unabashed spirit not often seen in politics.

Even so, the states’ problems seem mild when compared with the federal government, which, if it wasn’t already apparent, has no actual requirement to balance its budget. What’s frightening here is the disconnect between Obama’s urgent rhetoric and the actual lack of seriousness in his actions, especially in his newly unveiled budget. Granted, conventional wisdom says that you can’t pull out all of the stops on the first go, but the United States is in a pretty bad place. This is not the time for lukewarm proposals.

But of course, when Republicans put forward bold alternatives, they are immediately vilified. The merits of the individual cuts can certainly be debated, but the point is that the GOP is acting. They will eventually have to make some sort of compromise, to be sure, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in no way helps his party by daring the Republicans to shut down the government. He seems to be making a big gamble with the shutdown, almost as if he is forgetting that his party still owns the Senate. And so, with Speaker of the House John Boehner and other House Republican leaders making it clear that they want resolution before the shutdown date, Reid ends up looking like the partisan. Once again, leadership takes the backseat to some good old political calculating.  

A major tipping point in Democrats sweeping to power in 2006 and 2008 was the fact that Republicans lacked a defining sense of leadership. Even beyond an unpopular war and an unpopular president, Republicans lost their sense of honesty to the likes of Tom DeLay and friends, and suffered greatly because of it. Now that Republicans have surged back into political relevancy, they have another chance at reshaping their image. If they continue to tell the frank truth about the financial problems we face, even as some balk and kick the proverbial can a little farther down the road, they are bound for success.

Tough times call for decisive action. And frankly, fleeing your state to avoid making those decisions, in the case of some Wisconsin and Indiana state lawmakers, does not quite fit the bill. So may this be a warning to the president: the American people are fed up. They were fed up with Republicans then, and are fed up with your party now. As chief executive, you make the call. This is a time for leadership.


— Tanner Weigel is a sophomore studying Spanish and history. He can be reached at



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