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A Republican Showdown? (Thomas Sowell)
Creators Syndicate ^ | January 11, 2011 | Thomas Sowell

Posted on 01/10/2011 9:03:54 PM PST by jazusamo

 

 

They say that, in politics, "overnight is a lifetime." In other words, the journey from triumphant hero to discredited scapegoat can be very brief.

In the wake of the Republicans' triumphs in last November's elections, great hopes are being held out that Republican control of the House of Representatives can slam the brakes on Barack Obama's march toward a completely government-controlled economy and ruinous deficit spending.

The first big step toward that goal could be forcing the Obama administration to cut back on spending, as the price of raising the national debt ceiling, which will be necessary early on in this new Congress, if the federal government is not going to be forced to shut down for lack of money.

Much of the runaway spending in Washington has been a spending of money that the government doesn't have in the till, by borrowing money through the sale of government bonds— in other words, running up a record high national debt.

Because there is a legal limit on how much national debt the government can create, the spending has to be cut back or the debt ceiling increased by Congress. Otherwise, the government is going to have to shut down many of its operations for lack of money.

Some people see this as a golden opportunity for the new Republican majority to gain concessions from the Obama administration, as the price for going along with an increase in the national debt. It sounds logical. But logic is not always the dominant factor in politics.

The last time the government shut down, back during the Clinton administration, the Republicans were riding high as a result of their capture of the House of Representatives— where all spending bills must originate— for the first time in decades.

Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich seemed to hold all the high cards. But the government shutdown ruined Republicans politically.

Congress had increased the amount of money appropriated for the government to spend, though not by as much as President Clinton wanted. So it was Clinton who shut down the government, though it was the Republicans who got blamed.

Sometimes it doesn't matter who holds the high cards, if the other side plays their cards better.

Today, the Republicans don't hold as many high cards as they did back during the Clinton administration. How did they lose then — and what are their chances of losing now, if they try to force serious concessions from the administration, and Obama calls their bluff by daring them to shut down the government?

Often, in politics, it doesn't matter what the facts are. What matters is how well you make your case to the voting public.

Back in 1995, Bill Clinton and the Congressional Democrats, with the aid of the media, pounded away on the theme that the Republicans had "cut" government programs, even where the Republicans had appropriated more money than these programs had ever had before.

What Republicans had cut was the amount that Clinton had asked for. You might think that this was a fairly obvious difference and that this could be explained to the public. But the Republicans failed to do so effectively.

It was painful to watch various Republican spokesmen come on television and talk about discrepancies between Congressional Budget Office statistics and statistics from the Office of Management and Budget. This might have been fascinating stuff in a seminar on accounting, but it was like Greek to many TV viewers.

If the Republicans cannot be bothered to put in the time and the hard work required to develop an effective articulation of their case, then they deserve to lose. But the country does not deserve to have disastrous policies continue.

While the case for having the government play Santa Claus is easier to make, the opposite case is by no means impossible to make. Radio talk show hosts from Rush Limbaugh to Sean Hannity and many others make that case every day, in plain language that anyone can understand.

If Republicans still do not appreciate the enormous importance of articulation, then forcing a shutdown of the government can be another political disaster for them. So can caving in to Obama.



TOPICS: Business/Economy; Editorial; Government
KEYWORDS: debtceiling; sowell; thomassowell

1 posted on 01/10/2011 9:03:59 PM PST by jazusamo
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To: abigail2; Amalie; American Quilter; arthurus; awelliott; Bahbah; bamahead; Battle Axe; ...
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2 posted on 01/10/2011 9:06:47 PM PST by jazusamo (His [Obama's] political base---the young, the left and the thoughtless: Thomas Sowell)
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To: jazusamo

bump for the good Dr


3 posted on 01/10/2011 9:10:52 PM PST by mcenedo (lying liberal media - our most dangerous and powerful enemy)
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To: jazusamo
If the Republicans cannot be bothered to put in the time and the hard work required to develop an effective articulation of their case, then they deserve to lose. But the country does not deserve to have disastrous policies continue.

Well said.

4 posted on 01/10/2011 9:11:09 PM PST by Alex Murphy ("Posting news feeds, making eyes bleed, he's hated on seven continents")
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To: jazusamo
Please bump the Freepathon and donate or become a monthly donor!

5 posted on 01/10/2011 9:12:38 PM PST by jazusamo (His [Obama's] political base---the young, the left and the thoughtless: Thomas Sowell)
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To: jazusamo
It was painful to watch various Republican spokesmen come on television and talk about discrepancies between Congressional Budget Office statistics and statistics from the Office of Management and Budget. This might have been fascinating stuff in a seminar on accounting, but it was like Greek to many TV viewers.

This is why they call them the Stupid Party.

Chris Christie has given them the model on how to talk to the public about these things, but they won't use it.

You say "We don't have the money". Democrat babbles something about tax bracket for rich, you reply "We don't have the money." Over and over like a broken record. They say children, Republicans say "We're broke, nothing we can do about that".

People can understand being broke. And to mix it up a little, you say "We don't have the money, we'll have to borrow it from the Chinese". Nobody likes the Chinese, and they sure as hell can understand why being broke, you wouldn't want to borrow from them.

If the Republicans don't do this, then they don't really want to cut (which I suspect is the case).

6 posted on 01/10/2011 9:30:21 PM PST by triumphant values (Never criticize that to your right.)
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To: jazusamo

I never will forget the “Government Shutdown” which was so poorly handled by Gingrich and company. Will the Dem spin work this time?


7 posted on 01/10/2011 9:38:13 PM PST by lawnguy (The function of wisdom is to discriminate between good and evil-Cicero)
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To: jazusamo
forcing the Obama administration to cut back on spending, as the price of raising the national debt ceiling

If the Repubs agree to a debt increase they have cut their own legs out from under themselves. They have just bought the Obama deficits and they will own them.

This is something they must not do at any cost.

Some people see this as a golden opportunity for the new Republican majority to gain concessions from the Obama administration, as the price for going along with an increase in the national debt.

Absolutely not. They must not agree to a debt increase.

Back in 1995, Bill Clinton and the Congressional Democrats, with the aid of the media, pounded away on the theme that the Republicans had "cut" government programs, even where the Republicans had appropriated more money than these programs had ever had before.

Thats because the Repubs were too shy to call a liar a liar.

They had better get over their timidity.

The government shutdown in 1995 was wonderful political theater, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to make the point that most of what government does is not necessary and if it wasn't there you'd never miss it. We've been telling people for decades that we needed to cut government, and they were cutting the government for us. If you'll remember, the government didn't really shut down, they continued to fund the parts that we "really needed". Which meant the other parts we didn't need.

Thats the point we've been trying to make forever and they were making it for us; we just needed to stand up and say it. But those were the days before FR and the other internet news networks, and the "old" bought media were still able to control the debate. That isn't true now. We need to provoke a government shutdown, continue to fund the "necessary" departments and then take a meat axe to the others. We're not likely ever to get another chance. If you can't cut the deficit when you're bankrupt, if you can't cut the size of government when you're bankrupt, you may as well throw in the towell and merge the two parties.

Just admit we're all Obamists now.

8 posted on 01/10/2011 10:12:48 PM PST by marron
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To: triumphant values
Don’t Raise the Debt Limit, Cut Unconstitutional Spending :
9 posted on 01/10/2011 10:19:24 PM PST by EternalVigilance (How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words! -- Samuel Adams)
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To: jazusamo
"This might have been fascinating stuff in a seminar on accounting, but it was like Greek to many TV viewers."

"If the Republicans cannot be bothered to put in the time and the hard work required to develop an effective articulation of their case, then they deserve to lose."

In addition to all the yap, yap, yap, all the Republicans have to do is use flashcards (graphic images):

.

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10 posted on 01/10/2011 10:50:47 PM PST by Cobra64
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To: Alex Murphy

If the Republicans cannot be bothered to put in the time and the hard work required to develop an effective articulation of their case,
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Well the R’s haven’t ‘learned’ much throughout the ages...back in the day when the D’s would start off as dog catcher and work their way up the ladder either state or national, the R’s would want to start as a Mayor or Congressman.
See where Trump is contemplating running - probably as an R but he will basically be like Forbes from NJ...they want to start at the top and then complain about no ‘name’ recognition.
Used to be you would make your ‘mark’ then try to rise, while most people recognize the Trump name (after all he does have a ‘reality’ show????) while in Forbes’ case, not much of the ‘Joe six pack’ crowd had any idea who he was.

The average Dem probably has no idea who Dr Sowell or W Williams are, much less that they are Black and have no clue as to the admiration ‘WE’ (meaning us Conservative racists - sarc) have for both gentlemen.

But, like Clarence Thomas, once ‘they’ find out we ‘like’ them, they are banished forever....

Rush used to say the worst thing in the world a Lib wanted was for Rush to ‘praise’ them for anything....


11 posted on 01/10/2011 11:11:41 PM PST by xrmusn ((6/98))
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To: jazusamo

Geez, you don’t shut the government down over the debt ceiling. You fund the parts of government that are truly needed up to the level necessary based on projected tax receipts.

All the rest that we can’t afford gets shut down. And when the Democraps scream about ‘shutting the government down’, Republicans can respond with ‘what government shutdown?’

Which then forces the Democraps to focus on specifics, like why the Department of Education is unfunded... or why Obamacare is unfunded.

And that forces them to focus on the TEA parties election talking points... such as *WHY* it’s even the governments responsibility to fund these things.

While, yes, the MSM will automatically support the Democrap viewpoint... they’ll be forced to talk about *OUR* agenda. Handing us half the victory with the first soundbite.


12 posted on 01/11/2011 2:24:06 AM PST by gogogodzilla (Live free or die!)
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To: jazusamo

>> If the Republicans cannot be bothered to put in the time and the hard work required to develop an effective articulation of their case, then they deserve to lose

Sowell’s not one to hyperbolize, so to say “they deserve to lose” is a signal to the same frustration we all have about the GOP’s PR incompetence. To be fair, this handicap is deeply entrenched in the culture of Conservatism.


13 posted on 01/11/2011 2:38:54 AM PST by Gene Eric (Your Hope has been redistributed. Here's your Change.)
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To: jazusamo

Right on the mark Dr. Sowell. Thanks for the ping jaz.


14 posted on 01/11/2011 3:32:14 AM PST by rockinqsranch (Dems, Libs, Socialists, call 'em what you will, they ALL have fairies livin' in their trees.)
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To: Cobra64

Excellent graphical depictions of Democrat Party destruction of our ecomomy.


15 posted on 01/11/2011 4:24:24 AM PST by XHogPilot
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To: jazusamo; All

16 posted on 01/11/2011 4:59:33 AM PST by Diana in Wisconsin (I don't have 'hobbies.' I'm developing a robust post-Apocalyptic skill set.)
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To: jazusamo; P-Marlowe

Effective communication says what will happen. It doesn’t argue against someone else’s vision of what will happen:

“Obama is running your company out of business. He’s going to cost you your job.”

JMHO.

After you get your vision out is the time also to explain why the other guy is wrong. If all you do is argue that the other guy is wrong, then you’ve really just got one vision under discussion...the other guy’s.

Males are the defenders. Liberals want emasculated males.


17 posted on 01/11/2011 5:36:14 AM PST by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain & proud of it: Truly Supporting the Troops means praying for their Victory!)
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To: jazusamo; Cobra64
In the past, the key to who wins a "Govt Shutdown Showdown" lies in the hands of whoever controls the MSM. So of course this means the Dems always win this type of showdown.

In Reagan's first term, when he and the Dem Congress had a showdown over a budget bill and the government had to shut down due to a lack of $$ (except of course, for Life & Death matters like the military, FAA, workers in Congress's gym & spa & cafeteria, etc), the MSM shrieked it was the end of the world, and blamed it 100% on Reagan, because he vetoed the budget Congress sent him. Most Americans believed the MSM and blamed Reagan, who had to eat crow and give in.

Fast forward to 1995 or 96. Exact same scenario, except the parties are reversed: GOP Congressional leaders had a showdown with Clinton over the budget. Beelzebubba vetoed what they sent him, and the govt once again shut down. Naturally, Newt & gang figured that history would repeat itself.

Boy, were they ever wrong!! Once again, the MSM shrieked that the world was ending because ..... are you ready for this? ..... because the GOP Congress sent a heinous bill to Bill that he could not possibly sign. Ergo it was 100% the fault of the GOP Congress for the shutdown. Again, most voters (not incl. Rush's listeners or FReepers, of course), believed the MSM, blamed Newt & Co, and they had to back down and give in to Klintoon.

If I remember correctly, the MSM in both of those showdowns sent cameras to the entrances of various govt facilities - eg Natl Parks, welfare offices, etc, to show people being turned away by the shutdowns, and played their sad violin tunes at full volume.

But what about 2011? In spite of the slow spiraling downwards of the traditional MSM, with the ascendancy of its rivals (talk radio, FOXNews most of the time, the WWW), the real question here is: Does the MSM still have the power to put 100% of the blame for any coming govt shutdowns on the GOP once more, regardless of whichever branch of the govt the GOP controls at the moment?

I guess we shall see.

18 posted on 01/11/2011 5:28:50 PM PST by CardCarryingMember.VastRightWC (If my kids make a mistake in the voting booth, I don't want them punished with a community organizer)
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To: All; jazusamo
I remember around 1995, Newt being somewhere with a giant pad of paper on an easel. Press were gathered. He took a big marker and tried to explain a reduction to increase was not a cut because the program was going to get more money!

The press didn't care. All they cared about was the Dem talking points that everything was a massive cut that was going to kill grandma or the kids and giddy at the specter of a gov't. shutdown.

19 posted on 01/12/2011 1:03:05 AM PST by newzjunkey
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To: jazusamo

Bump for later reading.


20 posted on 01/21/2011 9:23:12 PM PST by SuziQ
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To: jazusamo

When the media is biased toward the liberals, which is the truth, no matter how conservatives play their cards, the media twists and lies to the people. What are the people to do? Conservative voices are drowned out by media blitz. Over and over again. They whom holds the power over the media wins.


21 posted on 01/31/2011 8:45:08 PM PST by Countyline (God loves you ... He wants you to love Him back; to learn of Him and obey His commands.)
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To: Countyline

Yes, the enemedia is a powerful tool for the libs but not near as powerful now that we have the Internet and a few media conservatives.


22 posted on 01/31/2011 8:55:33 PM PST by jazusamo (His [Obama's] political base---the young, the left and the thoughtless: Thomas Sowell)
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