Fool Me Once, Shame On You, Fool Me Twice, Shame On Me

The 2010 mid-term election is less than three months away.  Polls indicate that the President’s approval rating is sinking, but the President won’t be on the ballot this year.  Instead, we will be voting for Senators and Representatives — and polls indicate that the public is very dissatisfied with Congress.   My brother-in-law recently declared that he has decided to vote against whoever has been in office for the last two years, because he is so fed up with how things are going.  I think that view is shared by many here in central Ohio.

What does this viewpoint mean for the Republican and Democratic parties?  Because there are more Democrats than Republicans in Congress right now, any anti-incumbent trend necessarily will work in favor of Republicans.  But Republicans shouldn’t kid themselves that such voters are passionate advocates of the Republican Party.  For people (like me) who are concerned about government spending and government debt, the memories of fiscal irresponsibility when Republicans controlled Congress and the White House are too fresh to be forgotten.  If enough Republicans are elected for that party to assume control of Congress, they won’t be drawing on any reservoir of trust in their first months in office.  If Republicans win and go back to their irresponsible ways, they will be the subject of even more fury than is now being directed at Democrats.

Polling data, confrontations at town hall meetings, and the results of interim elections show that many voters do not support more massive deficit spending, “stimulus” legislation and unending government bailouts.  Nevertheless, Democrats continue to pursue that failed agenda.  The recent approval of a bill to spend billions more in borrowed money to bail out laid-off teachers and overspending state governments confirms that Democrats in Congress aren’t listening to the public, or are listening and just don’t care because they think they know better than voters do.  Does anyone doubt that, if Democrats are returned to office, they will continue to follow their high-spending agenda?  If voters are uncomfortable with the skyrocketing federal debt and the concept of trillion-dollar deficits stretching well into the future, why would they want to vote for members of a party who seem oblivious to that concern?

At bottom, voters like me want our elected representatives to roll up their sleeves, tackle the deficit and spending problems head-on, and make some hard choices.  Democrats have shown they will not do so.  Republicans are the only current alternative.  But because both parties have performed so dismally when they were recently in control, there is enormous mistrust and frustration with both parties.  This is something Republicans really need to understand — if they win come November they had better deliver, or there will be hell to pay.

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