Thursday, November 09, 2006

Back to Basics for the GOP

From Investor's Business Daily:

...When the GOP swept into power 12 years ago, it vowed to erase the budget deficit, downsize government, reduce regulation, cut taxes and uphold traditional values. Over the next five years they largely kept all those promises, leading to gains in 2000, 2002 and 2004.

But in recent years Congress lost its way. Its refusal to get rid of pork-barrel spending — with 12,000 earmarks now in the budget and the number rising — or to launch meaningful fiscal reforms make the GOP the party of the big-government status quo.

"After 1994, we were a majority committed to balanced federal budgets, entitlement reform and advancing the principles of limited government," said Rep. Mike Pence, an Indiana conservative who wants to be the next minority leader. "In recent years, our majority voted to expand the federal government's role in education, entitlements and pursued spending policies that created record deficits and national debt."

That's pretty much dead on. Bush manfully took his medicine, taking responsibility for this week's electoral debacle and then letting Donald Rumsfeld go.

It's time for congressional Republicans to do the same.

They won't have the baggage of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist or House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who deserve a big part of the blame for the GOP's ills. Now, they might want to dust off that long-forgotten Contract with America, and get back to basics.