No Child Left Behind didn't win us "soccer moms," but it did cost us our credibility on locally controlled education. Medicare prescription drugs didn't win us a "permanent majority," but it cost us our credibility on entitlement reform. Every year, another Republican quality was tainted: managerial competence, fiscal discipline and personal ethics.
To win back the trust of the American people, we must be a "big tent" party. But big tents need strong poles, and the strongest pole of our party -- the organizing principle and the crucial alternative to the Democrats -- must be freedom. The federal government is too big, takes too much of our money, and makes too many of our decisions. If Republicans can't agree on that, elections are the least of our problems.
If the American people want a European-style social democracy, the Democratic Party will give it to them. We can't win a bidding war with Democrats.
Exactly. Voters couldn't tell a difference between Obama and McCain on taxes and spending. Voters think Democrats will lower their taxes and cut spending just the same as Republicans. The GOP tent is in trouble not because of too few RINOs but because of too many saboteurs like Arlen Specter have tainted the entire tent with poisonous liberal ideas.
The Amarillo paper has a story about the Texas legislature, sort of controlled by Republicans, and their fight to override Rick and take Obama's strings attached... and put Texas on the hook for an expanding Euro-socialist welfare state in the future (link). Excerpt follows...
Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, said he voted against the Senate bill because it would do more harm than good, and also at the urging of the governor and federal officials.
"The governor and all three congressmen who represent my district felt very strongly that the strings attached to the federal money would be very expensive strings for the taxpayers of the state of Texas in the years after the stimulus money is spent," Seliger said.
Perry's communications director, Mark Miner, said the governor has not wavered in his opposition to use the federal money for unemployment benefits.
"The governor has made his position very clear," Miner said. "Down the road it's a $75 million tax increase that the state will be left holding once the program expires. The federal government sent this money with strings attached, and it will leave the taxpayers of Texas holding the bill when the program is gone."
"If you are unemployed in Texas you're going to be covered under existing law," Miner added. "Nobody is looking at the future. Businesses hire the employees, and now is not the time to tax businesses who are out there in this economy trying to grow and hire more employees."
Republicans in the state legislature are shooting themselves in the foot on this issue. A recent poll showed that more than 60% of Texans support rejecting the unemployment insurance strings (link), although I know nothing about the Tower Institute or how credible its poll is. Grassroots groups and think tanks like Empower Texans, Americans for Prosperity, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the Texas Conservative Coalition and others all oppose the bills overriding Rick. NFIB, Texas Association of Business, the Texas Restaurant Association, and other pro business groups also support Rick's decision.
If Texas Republicans want to end up like national Republicans, screwing this up and overriding Rick would give them a huge nudge down that path.