Steering the good ship U.S.A.

    If anybody out there thinks the Democrats are the party of the people, then someone had better tell the people, because they sure aren’t buying it. As the American people mandated on election day, our national interest demands the Republican ideals of limited federal government and strong national defense rather than the Democrats’ ignorance of international terrorism and lust for high taxes and lavish expenditures.

    After all, what has the Democratic Senate accomplished? Militant Islamicists have waged war on us, and our economy is still recovering. The Senate disapproves of the solutions proposed by the White House and legislated by the House of Representatives, but rather than offering their own remedies, they have simply done nothing.

    Therefore, it’s not surprising that Democratic candidates really didn’t have very much to talk about. Congressional Democrats couldn’t even get their act together on the war on terrorism, which for the last year has been the most important topic to most voters. There are basically two factions within the party: those opposed to war in Iraq but too squeamish to admit it, and those adamantly opposed to it but incapable of providing a better alternative.

    The American people are smart enough to understand which side is obstructing the debate, so we chose to elect the real progressives in American politics — the Republicans. A nation at war demands leadership, and President George W. Bush and Congressional Republicans have offered us guidance on national defense and the economy that the Democrats are either unable or unwilling to offer.

    The most urgent legislation impeded by Democrats is the creation of a cabinet-level department for homeland defense. This new agency would directly supervise the more than 100 agencies currently responsible for homeland security, including the CIA, FBI, Coast Guard, Border Patrol, Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The newly facilitated communication will help us rectify our current security threats, thwart future attacks and quickly respond to major catastrophes.

    The House approved the legislation in September by a wide margin of 195-132, but the Senate — in typical fashion — has managed to gridlock the matter. Do the Democrats not understand that in some places, our northern border is protected only by street cones? Or that our major cities would be literally decimated if attacked by chemical or biological weapons due to a lack of antibiotics, much less the ability to administer them?

    Apparently the Democrats have realized the American people really do care. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle has now indicated that he will acquiesce to Republican demands, albeit so he can claim credit for legislation that would undoubtedly be passed by the incoming Republican majority.

    Regardless of the Democrats’ ever-changing, self-serving motives, the imminent passage of Bush’s brilliant plan is one step closer to true protection against those wishing us harm, and we can rely upon this Republican government to ensure its expedient implementation.

    Similarly, the American people clearly approve of Bush and the Republicans’ handling of a terrorist threat many Democrats seem to pretend doesn’t exist. The debate over Iraq is relatively simple: Republicans recognize the failure of previous U.N. weapons inspectors in Iraq, but the Democrats think war can be avoided if the inspectors are granted full access.

    Among several problems, however, is the proven fact that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein owns moving laboratories that can simply evade weapons inspectors, and there is no contingency for that. Coupled with the fact that previous inspectors were forced to divulge their daily destinations to Iraqi officials, their program — which was never permitted to search Hussein’s enormous palaces — was conceptually doomed to failure.

    However, instead of proposing ways to fix that problem, pacifist Democrats insist that for some reason the old methods that never worked in the first place will for some reason work now. If they think war is a poor solution, then they had better come up with a better one because this is a problem demanding an immediate solution.

    Then again, should we be surprised that a party that doesn’t know how to conduct a war doesn’t want to enter one? Former Vice President Al Gore wrote a book more than 10 years ago claiming that our sport utility vehicles are more of a threat than Islamic terrorism, upon which former President Bill Clinton firmly declared war several times — purely rhetorical claims he never actually followed through on, of course.

    Republicans will also succeed on an administrative level where the Democrats failed, probably on purpose: judicial nominations. Of the 32 appeals court judges Bush has nominated, 15 are still awaiting Senate confirmation. That means more than a dozen federal seats across the country are vacant because the Senate chose to table the matter.

    Largely, it’s a matter of ideological disagreement: Republicans want judges who interpret the Constitution, while Democrats want judges willing to reconstruct the Constitution to mean whatever they want it to mean. If the Democrats disliked the nominees, however, they should have simply voted against them rather than senselessly stalling the system; then again, I suppose that would have been far too productive for the antiprogressive party.

    Economic stimulus will also be high on the new Congressional agenda. Thanks to the tax cuts Bush pushed through Congress, all Americans now have more money to spend, which makes the economy better for everyone. The brief recession we entered was mitigated by his tax cuts, and we’re now returning to slow but increasingly steady economic expansion.

    Recognizing that the tax cut added stability to a post-Sept.11 economy many feared would collapse, the Republican Congress may now vote to make the tax cut permanent, which would otherwise expire in 2010. Many speculate that further tax cuts targeted toward investors and businesses are now imminent, which would give our economy the stimulus it needs for rapid expansion; I’ve always found it interesting that liberals fail to mention that all save one of the American economic expansions over the last 100 years have been preceded by tax cuts. A mere coincidence, I’m sure.

    Interestingly, some of the greatest benefits our country will see will result from the Democrats’ probable political suicide in 2004. The blame for their recent defeat has apparently been placed on the moderates, as House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt is stepping down, and ultra-liberal Nancy Pelosi is his most likely successor. This would symbolize a suicidal shift to the left, for the American public is in a very conservative mood right now, and extremists rarely do well in national elections.

    This is fine with me, because the Republicans have so much work ahead of them. The ball is now in the Republicans’ court, and if Bush continues to lead with the same integrity, wisdom and conviction that have characterized his administration, then the Republican Congress will ensure the protection and prosperity of Americans for some time to come.

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