As I reflect back on 2011, I can’t help but think of the opportunity that Republicans at all levels of government have wasted. In 2006 and 2008, Americans collectively reached the point of having enough of phoney conservatism. The disgust of endless wars, record deficits and big government in areas conservatives and some independent claim to despise (Medicare D and No Child Left Behind) plus an intrusive expanding police state (TSA, the Patriot Act) lead to an election of Democrats who piled higher and deeper onto our problems. Only because the Democrats decided to focus on shoving health care ’reform’ down our throats, rather than ending these expensive ineffective wars, stopping the civil liberty assault and cutting out-of-control spending did Republicans find themselves with a second chance. To say Republicans have blown it is putting it mildly.
At the federal level, the debt ceiling was raised, spending has increased at an outrageous level and the Super Committee failed to put a dent in it. The TSA has expanded beyond airports and the Defense Authorization bill has left many people believing that the military can now indefinitely detain them.
The State legislature had a lot of bills to supposedly crack down on the out-of-control federal government, but most of those either died or are sitting, waiting for next year. One that did pass, was a bill saying that Tennesseans don’t have to buy health insurance. That’s all well and good, but how does the State purpose to protect it’s citizenry when the IRS starts filing liens on people’s homes?
The General Assembly did pass a few education bills that may improve education, such as not allowing 3rd graders to advance when they don’t meet competency standards, although I’d have to ask why this has been allowed for so many years. The collective bargaining bill got a lot of attention. Despite having a Republican controlled legislature, the law was changed from collective bargaining to collabrative conferencing. Big whoop!
The General Assembly failed to pass an actual law banning REAL ID and now the Dept. of Safety has a biometric database, with the pictures taken for our drivers license. Commissioner of the Dept. of
Safety and Homeland Security, Bill Gibbons, teamed up with the TSA to conduct the largest scale VIPR program to date, and is encouraging you to report your neighbors.
The General Assembly passed several tough on crime bills. Rather than cracking down on the federal government and State bureaucrats who conspire with the feds to implement one unconstitutional act after another, the Tennessee General Assembly decided to crack down on we the people.
At the local level, the all Republican Commission increased our property tax rate and recently voted to give the Highway Dept. money it didn’t ask for. The Blount County Commission also spent time cracking down on we the people, by proposing a ban on applause. It almost passed and probably would have, had some tv station cameras not been present at the Commission meeting when it was scheduled to be voted on.
These are just a few examples. There are many more.
So what can we learn from the year of wasted Republican opportunity? That, vacillating between Republicans and Democrats is an exercise in futility, because both parties are full of unprincipled politicians, who are destroying this country at all levels of government. Stop trying to convince yourself that Republicans are better because they spend a little less than Democrats and they let you keep your guns and stop trying to convince yourself that Democrats are better because they care about the working man and personal liberty.
Start looking to individuals instead of people with party labels. If the candidates are not firm in their principles they will be compromisers, regardless of party label, and that’s when we the people get screwed the most.