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Lessons For Republican Politicians and Political Operatives
Like the emperor in the Hans Christian Andersen fable, our modern day emperor parades before his subjects shrouded in a cloak of fantasy. He tells us the economy is “built to last” and yet it does not grow. He tells us HE “created six million new jobs” when the Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms hardly any have been created and nearly 10 million of his subjects have left the workforce.
The emperor sows the seeds of resentment by proclaiming that he wants to raise taxes on “millionaires and billionaires” and forgets to tell everyone earning a paycheck that their payroll taxes will rise. He does this, in part, to offset tax breaks for favored “millionaires and billionaires” and sweeps tax increases on health insurance, medical devices, income, investment, retirement and death under the rug.
The emperor promised that “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan, period.” Apparently, the emperor forgot to tell Universal Orlando, one of many businesses cancelling health insurance coverage for part-time workers or converting full-time staff to part-time staff to avoid the requirement of providing health insurance coverage. The emperor forgot to tell his subjects that many will be forced to ‘trade up’ to more expensive health insurance plans that include many “free” preventative services often omitted from the less expensive catastrophic health insurance plans they are currently enrolled in.
The emperor tells his subjects that “we’ve already agreed to more than $2 trillion in cuts and savings” when he knows that the inclusion of his 2009 “temporary stimulus” in the federal budget baseline is largely the reason the country is running trillion dollar annual deficits. The emperor claims to advocate a “balanced approach” to balancing the budget, yet strains to find $44 billion in spending cuts notwithstanding that his own auditor finds $125 billion in annual waste.
The emperor seeks to distract us by foisting 'immigration reform’ to the top of the national agenda. He promises to secure our nation’s borders 'this time' despite testimony that "the Department of Homeland Security no longer uses control of the actual border as a measure of how well the Border Patrol is doing its job." In fact, the emperor just busted 2000 criminal illegal aliens out of jail in an effort to “save money.”
Yet, the subjects re-elected their emperor largely because his opposition did not push back forcefully enough and expose these myths. What happens when Republicans in Congress raise taxes in the dead of night? Or when a swing state Republican governor signs the largest tax increase in his state's history into law? Or even worse, Congressional Republicans and Republican governors across the country agree to fund a dramatic expansion of Medicaid under the emperor’s unpopular health insurance law, and a Republican United States Senator and a self-proclaimed fiscal hawk makes a campaign contribution to a liberal Democrat who supports the emperor’s legislative agenda? Republicans dilute their opposition to the emperor’s message of higher taxes, increased regulation and an ever more expansive federal government. As a result, more voters, especially those in states without clear partisan majorities, become less inclined to support Republican candidates since they do not see them supporting clearly articulated principles.
This brings us to Dr Benjamin Carson. Dr. Carson is a world renown pediatric neurosurgeon. He is not a politician or political operative. Nonetheless, the speech that he delivered to a room full of the country’s political elite received dramatic acclaim including over 500,000 views on YouTube, approximately the same number who viewed the emperor’s recent address to Congress.
In a calm and rational tone with the emperor seated two chairs to his right, Dr. Carson spoke of the dangers of moral relativism and political correctness. While the emperor speaks of throwing good money after bad in failing public school systems, he promotes his charitable foundation which builds libraries in schools that have none. He also describes the virtues of family, hard work and personal responsibility crediting all three for his resultant success. While the emperor promotes the expansion of government to ease the burdens many face in life, Dr. Carson promotes personal responsibility teaching that overcoming such obstacles makes people stronger. While the emperor promotes the dramatic growth of the welfare state through his unpopular health insurance law, He articulates the virtues and the feasibility of free market solutions. Dr. Carson admonishes the emperor for all the debt he has accumulated and reproaches the emperor for the seeds of envy that he sows. Dr. Carson expounds on the biblical origins of the fairest system of taxation, one in which everyone pays at an equal rate.
He does not claim to have all the answers and readily admits that several of his ideas might need “tweaking.” Yet, without imposing ideological rigidity or seeking to craft solutions that protect political interest groups, Dr. Carson has lowered the mask on the carnage the emperor has wreaked over the past four years. The author of a book titled “America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great” presents an optimistic and specific vision about how to restore America’s greatness. He does not seek to tear us down and divide us like the emperor, nor does he craft solutions with an eye toward being able to point fingers and ascribe blame as some political strategists do. Like a scientist and a surgeon, he seeks to solve problems and heal a nation.
Washington politicians denigrate the Tea Party movement as uncouth. Yet, it attracts millions of followers because many do not feel their voices are represented in our nation’s capital. Dr. Carson spoke to half a million of us. Imagine how many more would listen if our nation’s leaders started whistling his tune.