Westmoreland needs fresh ideas

I’m a conservative and have voted and contributed to GOP candidates since the mid-1970s; heck, I even voted for Hal Suit for governor in 1970.

That said, I’m extremely disappointed in our local Republican congressman, Lynn Westmoreland. Together with other Tea Partiers, he chose to follow a wrong-headed strategy that put this nation at grave economic risk.

The point of it all was to get the current administration to negotiate on Obamacare, which most agree is an abominable, costly, and likely unworkable extension of the government into healthcare. That was a commendable goal, but clearly it was an unrealistic one.

Like it or not, Republicans are a minority party in the Senate. Threats, shutdowns, etc., don’t work when you don’t have the votes.

Now, I’m not a Washington insider, but Mr. Westmoreland is, and I believe that he, and his Tea Party brethren, probably knew of their weakness going in.

Yet, they moved forward with their strategy. Okay, we’ve had government shutdowns before; a few days of it, point is made, settle up, and move on, letting Obamacare self-destruct, as it is now currently doing.

But no, Mr. Westmoreland and the Tea Party pushed harder. Despite their complete lack of leverage (see the end result) they held this nation hostage and threatened the worst economic catastrophe since the Great Depression if they didn’t get their way.

Ultimately Mr. Westmoreland cast a vote not to simply continue a government shutdown. He cast a “nay” vote that also meant that the U.S. would default on its obligations.

While I’ve heard the arguments that no, we would not default, the perceptive reality in the world’s financial markets was nothing but default.

So, here’s the bottom line: I am sick and tired of Tea Party supporters adopting an attitude of “our way or be damned.” While I support many of their principles, enacting those principles requires one important element — a majority. When we don’t have it, we negotiate.

By virtue of the 2012 election results, it is proven fact that the Tea Party does not have the political strength to elect a president. Nor can it elect majorities in the House and Senate.

If they could, one would assume that Mr. Obama (the worst president of the past 100 years) would have been voted out of office.

Given these circumstances, isn’t it time for conservatives to point our energies at becoming a majority party again? Isn’t it time to be realistic in our goals so that we can stem the tide of socialistic government?

Doing so means that conservatives — moderates included — quit stepping on their own feet with useless, pointless government shutdowns and threats of default that do nothing but hurt the cause of conservatism.

Political candidates, including Ronald Reagan, are typically elected because of what they are for, rather than what they are against. Successful leaders offer fresh ideas, as Mr. Reagan did, and communicate the benefits of those ideas.

The recent votes and actions of Mr. Westmoreland, and the whining Tea Partiers who took this nation down a very dangerous road, have nothing in common with great leaders.

Mr. Reagan and his good friend, Democrat and Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill, with whom he spoke often, would be aghast that a group of Americans tried to advance their own positions by holding this nation hostage at the risk of great economic peril.

Going forward, let’s hope that Mr. Westmoreland can offer fresh ideas that lead to a majority in Congress, rather than blindly following the lead of those who would allow harm to our nation, all to simply prove a point.

Neil Monroe
Sharpsburg, Ga.

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Mr Monroe
Quote:

So, here’s the bottom line: I am sick and tired of Tea Party supporters adopting an attitude of “our way or be damned.” While I support many of their principles, enacting those principles requires one important element — a majority. When we don’t have it, we negotiate.

I understand your frustration but I have to ask, who do they negotiate with? Did Obama show any willingness to negotiate when this bill was passed by a democratic congress that didn't even bother to read it? Has he shown any willingness to negotiate since? What would you have the Repubs/Tea partiers do while they await the next election? Sit idly as this farce of a healthcare bill destroys America? Please enlighten us as to the tactics that should be used until the next election? You seem to have lots of criticism to offer but no constructive suggestions other then to just sit on their hands until they can gain a majority.

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Based on my reading of Mr.

Based on my reading of Mr. Monroe's letter, he does have a constructive suggestion: Republicans should start right now to build a broad political consensus among conservatives and moderates to win elections.

Of course, that would mean that the Tea Party would have to show a spirit of compromise, which, much like compromise from King Obama, will not happen.

In the process, doing nothing absolutely would be vastly better than shutting down the government and threatening the world economy with a US default.

Obamacare is unraveling by the day; it is a disastrous law. Allow it to collapse under its own weight while building a political consensus that will allow conservatives to have a fighting chance at enacting meaningful changes.

(To those who watch and see all at the NSA: sorry to let the cat out of the bag with the "King Obama" reference. I know his plans for coronation are still hush hush...please forgive me.)

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TeaParty platform unrealistic, politically untenable

So, what about this is going to inspire the voter surge necessary to create a majority in for conservatives in Washington?

Nothing.

Pulled this quote from the site, which seems to hit the Tea Party and its political absolutists right in the gut:

“Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.” --George Washington

stranger than f...
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News Flash: Tea Party has no new ideas!

On this page of the Citizen, Mr. Monroe and Cal Thomas arrive at the identical conclusion that the tea party has little national influence because they use all of their energies in protest with no positive message or realistic solutions.

What might one expect from a political group so intellectually challenged that they misnamed themselves? Any student of American history knows that the most salient reason that Sam Adams and his cohorts dumped tea into the Boston Harbor was to protest their lack of representation in Parliament, not to protest paying taxes. A more apropos moniker for this anti-tax organization from the pages of America history would be the Whiskey Rebellion.

Don’t hold your breath awaiting anything resembling sensible compromise from the tea party. They are no different from Move On in that they can only articulate what they dislike but have no compelling program beyond this negativity. I hope the Republican Party can distance itself from the tea baggers before it relegates the GOP to the fate of the Whigs.

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Wow....The way you describe the producers of this country

Shameless individual thou art..... nuff said.

PTC Observer
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STF - Hmmmmm

Did you ever read about the Tea Tax?

Guess not.

From the Tea Party website:

http://www.teaparty-platform.com

Sounds pretty positive and simple to me.

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Reply to PTCO - Thanks

To the Seer,

Thanks for your reply, but your response proves the point. The rebellion in Boston in 1773 was centered around taxation without representation by the taxing authority. It was not a protest about taxes in general. The Whiskey Rebellion is much closer to what the modern tea party wishes to accomplish because it protested taxation by the central government of the United States(and it was successfully repealed when Jefferson came into office).

The tea party website link is instructive since it clearly demonstrates the negative philosophy of this group. Half of the "10 Commandments" begin with negative words like "eliminate, avoid, reduce."

I'm merely agreeing with Cal Thomas and many more conservative thinkers. In the minds of the general electorate of the United States, the tea party is a group of pessimists intent on tearing down instead of building up. They are hurting the GOP nationally, but instead of reforming the message to be inclusive, they seem to be doubling down and repelling all but the most ardent right-wingers.

Feel free to disagree with me, but re-read the letter by Mr. Monroe and the editorial by Cal Thomas. They are making valid points.

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STF - The taxation

without representation moniker was used to rally the revolutionaries, but the catalyst for the entire movement was taxes, including the Tea Tax, Stamp Tax, etc. The spark was the established government's reaction to protests over these taxes, including the blockade of Boston Harbor, the landing of troops, housing these troops and military law. As you rightly point out the Whiskey Rebellion was also fueled by taxes. It was a rebellion and not a revolution but most if not all revolutions have their roots in economics. The power of governments to take property from citizens using force and revolutionary outcomes deal with critical mass. Simply put, the more people impacted and overburden by taxes, the greater likelihood of revolution. Unfortunately, the history of the American Revolution is simplified for mass consumption and based on distortions of public education.

As to the Republican Party and Cal Thomas, they are part of the problem and certainly don't represent my views. The vision of a less powerful government is not "pessimistic", in fact seeking less centralized control of our lives is a very positive outgrowth of individuals' desire to be left alone and free to live their life. If the Republican Party, goes out of existence tomorrow it will be primarily because they don't really agree with the notion of smaller government. As to the notion of "tearing down instead of building up", I believe we must dismantle parts of government in order to protect our freedoms. Luckily our Constitution gives us a peaceful means to do this, though it has been marginalized by unwise men with corrupted ideas.

What exactly is your beef with the Ten Commandments? Do you believe they have served mankind poorly? If so, how?

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Reply to PTCO

Thank you for your reply. I appreciate that you have bothered to read an American history book. From the arguments I hear from members, I am convinced that the rank and file tea party "patriots" can hardly speak intelligently about the American revolution. For instance, one might argue that the British had spent a good deal to defend the colonies in the French and Indian War and had a legitimate right to expect tax revenues as reasonable compensation. If this view is embraced, Sam Adams and his henchmen would be seen as terrorists instead of patriots. Most Americans lack the ability to consider alternate explanations of complex issues.

Obviously, we disagree on the appropriate course for conservatives and the GOP to remain viable. You see further proscription of policies that limit government but have not been embraced by the general populace as the answer, and I see more moderate policies that might attract a broader base as the key. I respect your right to this view, but the demographics of our country contend against it.

The Ten Commandments to which I referred were the 10 principles of the tea party on the link you provided, not those offered by Moses in Exodus 20. That is why I placed quotation marks around the words.

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Ah yes! STF

The old French and Indian War argument for taxiing the colonies. This is a rather contemporary argument. The Kings of England and France simply creating a problem and expecting innocent bystanders to pay for the resulting train wreck. Needless to say the the struggle for world dominance by the Royals of Europe was paid for in blood and treasure in the colonies of North America. One could argue that it was the King(s) that owed the colonies for this lack of good judgment and ego run amok.

Samuel Adams was looked upon by the government as a terrorist, but the rebels won the fight and are now looked upon as patriots. If the British had won Mr. Adams would have been another Guy Fox in our history books.

My ideas on the limits of government power have not yet been vetted as we have yet to reach critical mass. The current administration will empower many more people with these ideas to head to the polls. It remains to be seen whether your assertion that the general populace doesn't embrace these ideas holds true. No matter what demographic you look at, at some point in time, the people that are getting robbed by government bureaucrats will "revolt" against it. Just like I believe 2010 was not an illusion or fluke, the era of big government may have seen its zenith with the re-election of Mr. Obama. It is also very likely that we have seen the end of the Republican Party as we know it.

Sorry, I misinterpreted your Ten Commandments comment. I actually didn't read the link as carefully as you did, hitting only the bulleted items of the Tea Party platform. They appear pretty positive from my perspective.

I assume by your comments that you believe a large central government is essential to our happiness and individual freedom?

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PTCO – Thanks for the dialogue

You are correct that the winners always write the history books, and thus Sam Adams reigns as a patriot.

I am not adverse to all of the tea party’s ideas, but very much to their in-your-face, no compromise, take no prisoners, “I dare you to oppose me” tactics. These attitudes and “primarying” all pragmatists repel me (and many voters).

Consider this analogy. In Exodus 20, Moses delivered the 10 Commandments, which are admirable to most Christians but stated as prohibitions. According to all three synoptic Gospels, when Jesus is asked to choose the greatest commandment, he replies that one should love God and treat his neighbor as himself – with this attitude specific commandment are superfluous. Which is easier to sell, Moses’ prohibitions or Jesus’ Golden Rule? Unfortunately, the tea party has chosen Moses’ strategy and hijacked the GOP, forcing Republicans to adhere to a paradigm expressed in negativity.

As a pragmatist, I am unconcerned about ideology in favor of what actually works. A national government is necessary for defense, interstate commerce (e.g., the F.A.A.), and equality under Constitutional Law (e.g., southern states had a woeful history on civil rights until the Kennedy and Johnson administrations required reasonable compliance with Constitutional safeguards on the rights of minorities). However, on most issues, the more local the oversight, the better.

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You're welcome STF

I actually don't know much about the Tea Party's tactics as I have never been to one of their gatherings. I assume you have? Or are you getting your impressions from the leftist press? I am not saying you are, but propagandists are rarely a good source of truth. As for me, I only look at comparative results and not what people say. For example, how much am I paying today in taxes vs. a few years ago? How intrusive is government today vs. a few years ago? Is the economy improving or moving sideways? You get the idea. Either way, ultimately it will be the pain that government inflicts upon its citizens that fosters "rebellion" against its policies. The Republicans are in turmoil because their internal rebellion deals with the old notions of holding socialist gains in place (conservatives), while the "new" Republicans desire to reverse those gains (Tea Party which is not really a party). Thus, the Tea Party outcome of the 2010 elections using the Republican apparatus.

As to Moses, well these we're not Moses' Ten Commandments, these were God's. If you want to say God was a bit negative, you merely need look at scriptures to find out why. You cannot love God, as Jesus instructed us, unless you follow His Commandments. You cannot be happy unless you do. Yes, you are right about Jesus, His message to the world was positive. The Golden Rule is universal. Something the Progressives aka Socialists discount and why their philosophy is so misguided. You cannot take by force another man's property, even using collective "good" as your excuse. It violates one of God's Commandments and the Golden Rule. If you cannot steal a man's bread alone, you cannot vote to steal it using majority rule, no matter how "right" it seems. A group voting to take property using the law is no less evil than an individual with a gun doing the same thing.

The founding of this country was based upon a very basic principle, government exists to protect Natural Rights, among these are Life, Liberty and Property. It wasn't founded on any other principle. I would argue that there are no minority rights, there are simply Rights. If you are a minority, your greatest fears are the power of the Government and the majority to violate these Rights, the same fear as all other men. Americans have always had an uneasiness with government and its ability to suppress Rights, this Government is proving the wisdom of this feeling.