How quick the message fades
By Frank Salvato
web posted March 8, 2010
It is stunning to find out that there are still some elected officials in Washington DC especially on the Right side of the aisle who dont fully understand the message being sent by the American citizenry regarding their grotesque spending addiction. No, Im not talking about earmarks or pork barrel spending, which in and of themselves should be egregious enough to warrant defeat in the next election. I am referring to how US Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) was thrown under the bus when he demanded that his fellow Senators actually allocate existing funds for a program they wanted to implement.
As reported by Fox News:
Kentucky Republican Jim Bunning had been holding up action for days but conceded after pressure intensified with Monday's cutoff of road funding and extended unemployment benefits and health insurance subsidies for the jobless.
Bunning wanted to force Democrats to find ways to finance the bill so that it wouldn't add to the deficit, but his move sparked a political tempest that subjected Republicans to withering media coverage and cost the party politically. Bunning's support among Republicans was dwindling, while Democrats used to being on the defensive over healthcare and the deficit seemed to relish the battle.
In other words, Bunning was trying to do what the American people are demanding that government be fiscally responsible; that government stop adding to the deficit; that Congress stop spending borrowed money and the Congressional Republicans threw him under the bus, frightened of how supporting his effort would appear.
If fiscal responsibility has to take a backseat to appearance then we have at least two problems that we have to address immediately.
The Bundling of Legislation
The habit of bundling legislation taking a group of bills and combining them into one so that they would all be passed in a single House or Senate vote needs to be abolished. It facilitates the very backroom deals that are being decried as inside the beltway business as usual; a never-ending circle of Ill wash your back if you wash mine, good-old-boy politicking.
We are witnessing a perfect example of why the practice of bundling legislation should be abolished in the so-called, Doctor Fix, an approximately $250 billion measure to address Medicare reimbursement fees to doctors.
The Doctor Fix is most definitely a part of the overall healthcare insurance reform issue. But because Congressional Progressives and Leftist Democrats are playing numbers games to hide the true cost of healthcare insurance reform from the American people, they moved this $250 billion item from the healthcare insurance reform bill and attached it to the so-called Jobs Bill to keep the perceived cost of the healthcare insurance reform bill under $1 trillion. The Jobs Bill also included provisions for extending unemployment benefits and health insurance subsidies for the long-term jobless and providing stopgap funding for highway programs.
By bundling these pieces of legislation together, Congressional Progressives and Leftist Democrats were able to not only establish plausible deniability for their continued spendthrift ways, they created a vehicle for demonizing anyone who would take issue with any one provision in the bundle of bills.
In the case of Sen. Bunning, they accused him of being heartless and against those who are unemployed, simply because he demanded that Congress acquiesce to the demands of the American people in that they allocate existing funds to pay for their proposed legislation. Republican Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) typified the cowardice of the moderate Right when asked if Bunning was hurting the GOP brand: "He's hurting the American people."
I would ask which is worse, which is more hurtful, which is more detrimental to our nation, saddling the American people with more debt or being fiscally responsible?
Forcing the responsibility-challenged members of the Legislative Branch to vote on pieces of legislation in a stand-alone fashion would not only expose the spendthrifts, pork-barrelers and good-old-boy opportunists, it would eliminate plausible deniability, hold each and every legislator accountable to their constituents for the votes without the cover of excuse and slow the legislative process to the pace our Founders and Framers intended. It would eliminate the disingenuous legislative tactic championed by the Progressives and Leftist Democrats: crisis politics.
Delivering the Message
The idea that the facts, or that the demands of the governed, must take a backseat to appearance should raise a red flag for each and every American. This notion ferrets-out those who would put the well-being of their political parties above the execution of good government.
It is the responsibility of those elected to office to communicate effectively with their constituents. If an elected official cant accurately and effectively explain a piece of legislation, his position on an issue or why he voted a certain way on any given piece of legislation then he is delinquent in his duties and unqualified to hold office.
That the Republican Party especially on the national level has so-far failed to neutralize the Progressive and Leftist Democrat media advantage is pathetic. They were given a leg up in the new media from the get-go and they have squandered that advantage. Not only can they not effectively utilize the Internet as a fundraising tool, they havent even harnessed the vehicle for the effective delivery of their message. If it werent for fact-oriented new media outlets like the one your reading including our publication The New Media Journal and talk radio, the GOP, which traditionally would be described as more cerebrally oriented than emotionally oriented, would still be relying exclusively on antiquated message delivery vehicles that deliver the message too late and without and passion.
It is well past time that the GOP set itself to engaging the new media both financially and organizationally so that they can create a communications vehicle a community of honest, fact-disseminating entities that would be able to obliterate any disingenuous attack from the Progressives and/or Leftists Democrats. The Progressives and Leftist Democrats have Media Matters, MoveOn.org, Progress for America and many, many other message vehicles all fully funded by their rank & file and neo-Marxist sugar-daddies and private entities like the Daily Kos and the Huffington Post, not to mention the mainstream media. The Conservative movement is bogged down under the same elitist, click-ish inside the beltway operatives that have been losing ground to Progressives and Leftist Democrats for decades. Until this changes the message will always be diluted by a more responsive, more organized and more vicious Left.
Appearance should never neuter the capacity for any elected official to do what is right by their constituents. That we as a nation are held hostage to unscrupulous spin doctors and Madison Avenue political charlatans is to be denied truth, honesty and transparency. This will never change until elected officials dispense with the need to keep up appearances and have the courage to embrace the facts and the truth...always. This is part of the reason why people are drawn to support Michelle Bachmann, Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor, Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn, to name but a few.
Every elected official, and especially every elected Republican, who didn't stand with Senator Bunning in his honest attempt to execute the will of the people in denying the spendthrifts in the Senate the ability to inflate the debt any further is, politically, a coward. Those who took the thirty pieces of silver just so they might appear to care about the American people neither care about the American people nor did them any favors by saddling our children with even more debt.
Bottom line, anyone who didnt stand with Jim Bunning in his want to rein-in deficit spending even in this singular instance cannot be trusted to keep their word about fiscal responsibility.
You wanted an effective litmus test? Well, here you go...
Frank Salvato is the Executive Director and Director of Terrorism Research for BasicsProject.org a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(c)(3) research and education initiative. His writing has been recognized by the US House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention. His organization, BasicsProject.org, partnered in producing the original national symposium series addressing the root causes of radical Islamist terrorism. He is a member of the International Analyst Network. He also serves as the managing editor for The New Media Journal. Mr. Salvato has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor on FOX News Channel, and is a regular guest on talk radio including on The Captain's America Radio Show airing on AM1220 WSRQ and on the Internet catering to the US Armed Forces around the world and on The Roth Show with Dr. Laurie Roth syndicated nationally on the USA Radio Network. His opinion-editorials have been published by The American Enterprise Institute, The Washington Times & Human Events and are syndicated nationally. He is occasionally quoted in The Federalist. Mr. Salvato is available for public speaking engagements. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.