Earlier this year, congressman and former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan released a proposed budget for 2015. It contains an impressive list of cuts projecting a $5.1 trillion savings over ten years. It is also the height of political stupidity and an example of everything that cripples Republicans in their battles with the left.
If you are going to make budget cuts, you do it. You don’t telegraph it. Paul Ryan can’t even make budget cuts unless Republicans win the White House and he has just made it harder for them to do it.
For starters, Ryan’s list of cuts includes the subsidy to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and likely reductions in funding to the Legal Services Corporation. These cuts (and there are many more) may be reasonable from an accounting point of view. Politically, however, what they mean is that the tens of millions of fans of public radio and television will see Ryan and the Republicans as mortal enemies, and so will the poor who benefit from Legal Services, and also their advocates and more importantly all those middle class Americans who have a charitable attitude towards the less fortunate. Republicans should hope that no one hears of Paul Ryan’s plan.
Of course Republicans will be thrilled by all these proposed cuts. But everyone who understands the importance of fiscal responsibility is probably already a Republican.
What Republicans fail to grasp is that Democrats have made the political conflict a moral war, while Republicans continue to approach it as an argument over policy. What policy could Obama run on in the last presidential election? Everyone agrees that there was none. Obama ran against Republicans by charging they were anti-woman, anti-black, anti-poor and so forth. And this battle plan wasn’t even original with him. It is the staple of Democrats’ attacks.
What is the Republican answer? There is none. There is a lot of defensive shuffling. But there is no counter-attack of equal magnitude and force that would put Democrats on the defensive.
Here’s an obvious one. Throw the Democrats’ victims in their faces.
Over the last fifty years the Democrats have trapped tens of millions of poor black and Hispanic children in schools that don’t teach them, because they are run for the benefit teachers unions and to fill the Democrats’ slush funds. Democrats have condemned these children to lives of poverty and hopelessness. But Republicans are too polite to mention it.
And women? Over the last fifty years, Democrat-designed welfare programs have seduced single mothers into accepting a support system that destroys their incentives to better themselves and condemns them to lives of permanent poverty as members of the underclass. A free apartment, free food, and a monthly stipend would kill almost anybody’s incentive to seek out the vast opportunities that America affords its free citizens.
For fifty years and more Democrats have exercised monopoly control over America’s large inner cities, some of which, like Detroit are 85 percent African American, and all of which are centers of poverty and violent crime. The president’s own city, Chicago, is among them. Everything that is wrong with the inner cities of America that policy can affect, Democrats are responsible for. But Republicans are too polite to mention it.
Republicans need to understand that the political battle is a moral battle. The Democratic Party is a racist party whose bootheel is on the necks of poor black and Hispanic children and their parents across this nation.
The Democratic Party is also anti-freedom. It has spent the last six years ramming through a government program that takes away the individual’s ability to choose his or her health care. The government says you can only choose from our plans, and if you have played by the rules and worked hard and earned a reasonable income we are going to stick our hands in your pocket and subsidize somebody who hasn’t. Obamacare is the most anti-American idea imposed on this nation since the end of slavery, and yet every Democrat is behind it.
Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a game plan until you punch them in the mouth.” The Democrats’ lie that Republicans are conducting wars against women, minorities and the poor, is their punch in the mouth. What do Republicans have? They have no punch in the mouth because they are focused on policy rather than politics. If a voter sees you as a racist he is not going to weigh your policy recommendations in a fair-minded manner. Republicans need to punch Democrats in the mouth by using a moral language to describe the atrocities they have committed against minorities and the poor. But they are probably too polite to do so.
David Horowitz is the author of the newly published book, Take No Prisoners: The Battle Plan to Defeat the Left.