Wishful Thinking For The New Year
I suppose a lot of what follows falls into the category of fantasy, but that shouldn't stop us from holding on tight to hopes and dreams.
As the new year dawns, we hear much about bipartisanship and how Republicans need to come to the center to get things done. This is Democratic code for: "Yes, we lost the election, because Middle Western American and Southern voters are too parochial to understand the complex issues before them, and we're going to bully Republican troglodytes on a cradle-to-grave welfare state no matter what the public thinks. We're progressives. We know what's best for the American people."
Twaddle! We're a center-right country being run by a bloated federal government spending us into Third World status. Gridlock is better than bowing to those the electorate just squashed, or settling for the murky middle, where no one stands for anything, and compromise enacts bad law. Expedient legislation grows government. It doesn't make it better.
Take Obamacare. It will grow and grow even as it goes broke, just like Social Security and Medicare. Republicans need to de-fund, repeal, whatever it takes to start from scratch on real and private health care reform. John Boehner can cry all he wants, just as long as he escorts Obama, Pelosi, Reid and the IRS out of my doctor's office.
Real leadership recognizes failed policy, stands on principle, and unites to pass laws when it's the right thing to do. And while that requires a heightened respect for common sense and frugality (foreign language words in Washington), it can be and has been done.
For example, just before Christmas, Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe got together and corrected a foolish law that tore apart the siblings of foreign orphans up for adoption. The old law allowed Americans to only adopt the younger children, and the teenage siblings had to stay behind. Under Klobuchar's revision, all the children of a family can now be adopted together.
A minor thing, but common sense, principled law that doesn't tramp all over our individual rights, invade our homes, or shred the Constitution. It shows a government getting it right and staying well within the bounds of what it can reasonably handle.
So can we hope for more common sense in 2011? The following are a few hopes and dreams:
According to current federal immigration law, aliens can only enter the U.S. legally, and get on a path to citizenship when they are lawfully granted green cards or temporary visas by the federal government. Addressing the problem begins by closing the border and then adhering to the existing law.
If you can't match a voter registration card with a valid identification, you can't vote.
All alternative sources of energy must be vigorously pursued, with a closer eye on affordability. In the meantime, regulate oil drilling just enough so that disasters like the BP oil spill are less likely to occur. Then reverse the ban on deepwater drilling immediately. People need work, and we still need gas. Open ANWR and all other potential sources of domestic oil. We cannot afford to be held hostage by the Middle Eastern oil prices and our own environmental cuckoos.
Of the nearly 600 detainees released from Guantanamo, our intelligence estimates that 25 percent, or 150 enemy combatants, have returned to jihad. Can there be anything dumber than this? Obama should drop this leftist political football and admit that Guantanamo will stay open.
We're at war with terrorists. Enemy combatants should be tried by military tribunals.
Get the 1917 Espionage Act out of mothballs and retrofit the thing to deal with Julian Assange. This case isn't about freedom of speech. It's about a foreign creep who received stolen goods from an alleged American traitor.
Get on a path to balance the federal budget. Reduce government spending on itself. Align public sector salaries and pension benefits to fall in line with the private sector, and have the courage to begin tackling the federal debt and unsustainable entitlements. Our grandchildren shouldn't have to pay for our recklessness.
Finally, if we must be bipartisan, someone pass a law which banishes the Palin family from reality television.
Happy New Year!
Geoff Cutler is owner of Cutler Tree LLC in Southern Pines and is a regular contributor to The Pilot and PineStraw magazine. Contact him at geoffcutler@embarqmail. com.
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