Discussion on a minor spat between newly elected Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele and conservative talk radio icon Rush Limbaugh has provided a vital diversion for the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress this past week as it attempts to pass a bloated, $410-billion federal spending plan.
The current maneuvering in Washington is just the opening act for President Obama's $3.6 trillion budget he is proposing for the 2010 fiscal year.
The diversion began a week ago when Steele made a couple of unflattering comments about Limbaugh's style of engagement, which prompted a response from Limbaugh, and ultimately an apology from Steele. This as our country is being sold down the river by politicians from both parties who are engaging in "wealth redistribution" disguised as "change."
Change? Yeah, from democracy and free enterprise to "democratic" socialism, with dictatorial communism waiting on the doorstep. Meanwhile the stock market is tanking, banks are teetering on the verge of collapse, and Americans from all walks of life are losing their savings and retirements.
The discussion on Fox News Sunday this week turned to whether the Republican Party has a leader, and whether that leader is Steele, Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich or someone else. Conservative columnist and commentator Bill Kristol said there is no real leader, but that the current confusion is prompting grassroots activism which in turn is creating a new crop of leaders.
Limbaugh for his part, noted last week that Steele is the head of the Republican National Committee, not necessarily the Republican Party, and that millions of loyal Republicans are hanging up on the RNC when its telemarketers call asking for money. (I agree. I am one of those Republicans and will continue to be, until I am confident that any money I donate will be used appropriately, not wasted as in past years.)
However, from a structural, chain-of-command standpoint, the GOP does have a leader - Steele. But the question now before him, the party, and America, is whether he will lead, or get bogged down in meaningless spats when the times call for strong, dynamic and effective action.
Arizona Senator and former presidential candidate John McCain said on the opening segment of FNS that while Congressional Republicans thus far have managed to stall a vote on the spending plan, they likely won't be able to stop it. McCain noted that Republican turncoats such as Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Olympia Snowe of Maine, are backers of the measure.
"I regret their decisions," McCain said, but also said Congressional Republicans "fought the good fight."
You know where that comment comes from? Losers.
The only good fight is the one you win. Everything else goes in the loss column. This fight isn't over and flushing it down the drain while the issue is still in doubt is a classic loser, or capitulator, or collaborator comment.
McCain also noted that included in the massive bill are billions of taxpayer dollars for projects that are far worse than pork - he noted that some money actually will support a criminal enterprise.
This bill "includes money for 13 projects for a company that has been raided and shut down by the FBI," McCain said.
One of the biggest complaints about the $800 billion so-called economic stimulus plan recently passed by this same Congress was that the thousand-page final version was made available only hours before the vote and virtually no one had an opportunity to read it in full. Then after rushing it through Congress, Obama waited several days before sitting down to sign it.
This time, there is time to review this measure in depth, and what people are finding in this latest assault on the public treasury should give us all pause. While we, and Congress, are pausing we might want to consider McCain's comments that the bill will likely pass due to the defection of alleged Republican Senators Specter, Snowe and Susan Collins.
Here is where Michael Steele needs to step up and take charge. If this bill has this much waste, not to mention fraud, and is likely to pass because of people who claim to be Republicans deserting party principles, Steele should call these people out.
Steele should marshal the forces of the Republican National Committee to highlight the most egregious examples of fraud and waste, and let our elected representatives know that if they don't oppose it and force a restructuring, they will hear about it loud and clear.
The RNC should take out ads in the states where the turncoats live, pointing out just what they are doing to the country and how they are betraying their own party to curry favor with the party in power.
Most people don't like turncoats and traitors. Even people who use the services of such people never trust them. Michael Steele came out strong when he was elected RNC chairman and now is the time to show just how strong he can be.
The country is not going to be better off by bankrupting the taxpayers. It is not going to be better off by spending billions on nonsense.
Barack Obama promised change but it is now obvious to all but his most myopic supporters that he was and is an empty suit.
Real change - as in really representing the best interests of the voters, taxpayers and the country - still is possible.
But as I see it, the best person to bring about this change is not Barack Obama, it is Michael Steele. Now let's see if he has the backbone to do it.
Sunday, March 08, 2009