07.27.2011 0

Courage & Conviction — Not Compromise

By David Bozeman – Why is it that nearly every time there’s a federal budget impasse, Republicans find themselves on the losing end politically? More important, wh is it that our on-going “debate” resembles more a sitting room tiff than a real clash of ideologies? Political talk shows resemble Miss Manners seminars with charges of one side (usually Republicans) being “stubborn” and “refusing to compromise” or throwing a hissy-fit and walking out of negotiations.

So, what follows here is not an endorsement of any candidate for public office but rather a lament, the same one we’ve all heard before and which we will continue to make until the GOP’s leaders finally live up to their designations.

Ilario Pantano, who barely lost to Blue-Dog Democrat Mike McIntyre last year in North Carolina’s Seventh Congressional District, and is planning a re-match (though, personally, I find this up-and-comer, with strong military leadership, business and law-enforcement credentials better suited for the U.S. Senate — the next seat is open in 2014 — and party-spokesman status immediately) recently appeared on a Fayetteville radio talk show discussing the budget stand-off. His comments were passionate, crisp, concise and predicated on background and context.

The man is fearless, not afraid to call excess taxation “theft,” and though many Republicans advance the notion of reducing the debt by growing the economy, he is straightforward and speaks not from pragmatism but a belief system he is longing to share with anyone who will listen.

Economics 101? This is how you teach it. Pantano, responding to bailouts and subsidies, reminded listeners that what you reward, you get more of. Reward failure (i.e., Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and their shoddy lending practices) and moral turpitude and you will get more of the same.

And, of course, punish wealth and risk-taking, and you will surely have less. Why aren’t more of the GOP’s presidential contenders offering moderates and independents the same much-needed refresher course?

Pantano offered not just the cursory denunciations of both parties for pork barrel spending and debt, he boldly chided Senate leader Mitch McConnell for failing to take charge on the issue, and extolled Jim DeMint (SC) and Marco Rubio (FL) for stepping up to the plate.

Despite Republican excesses, he said, the GOP philosophy (which respects risk, incentive and wealth creation) is better suited to lift us out of our economic — dare I say it? — malaise. And the much heralded Clinton 1990’s of wealth and prosperity were made possible, in large part, by Reagan’s tax cuts, military build-up (which made the world safer) and a vigilant Republican Congress.

Current House and Senate Republicans surely deserve kudos for — gasp! — sticking to their promise not to raise taxes.

Once elected, however, Republicans tend to forget that the job of educating voters and defining themselves has not ended, it has only just begun. If you forfeit the task, Democrats and the media will gladly take it up for you.

The conservative Republican economic message is foreign and extreme only to Beltway pundits and bureaucrats. Average Americans understand common-sense conservatism when it is presented boldly and succinctly. If liberty is to thrive, we citizens must amplify those voices that courageously speak out, for they alone are mindful that, among our gravest threats, are our own timid souls.

David Bozeman, former Libertarian Party Chairman, is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer.

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