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Friday, November 19, 2010

Bosma Misinterprets the Voters' Message in Indiana

Earlier this month, Indiana voters, along with voters in nearly every other state, gave the power to run government back to Republicans.

Earlier this week, new Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma gave some of that power back to Democrats by appointing two Democrats to committee chairmanships.

Bosma indicated that he believed voters had sent the message, "You've got to do it better. You have to end the partisan bickering. You have to end the overreaching and work together."

He then announced, apparently in the spirit of bipartisanship, that he was appointing Rep. Chet Dobis, D-Merrillville, to head a new committee charged with finding ways to cut government regulations, boards, and commissions; and Rep. Steve Stemler, D-Jeffersonville, to head the committee on commerce, small business, and economic development.

I’ll disregard for now the irony of appointing Democrats to be responsible for tasks such as cutting government size and developing small business.  What really concerns me, though, is Bosma’s interpretation of the election results.

Voters did not give Republicans control so that they could then hand power back to Democrats. We did not give Republicans control because we’re interested in bipartisanship. We gave Republicans control because we’re tired of the liberal policies of the Democrat Party. We gave Republicans control because we want conservatives writing and passing conservative legislation.

Does Brian Bosma really believe that this gesture of bipartisanship will be reciprocated by the Democrats? In 1775 Patrick Henry was addressing the Virginia Convention, arguing the need to prepare for war against Great Britain. Some of those in attendance were of the belief that reconciliation with the British was still possible. To those, Henry said this: “I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House.” Let me modify Henry’s statement to say, “I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the Democrat Party for the last ten years to justify those hopes for bipartisanship with which Republicans have been pleased to solace themselves.”

Democrats have not shown themselves willing to work with Republicans. Their idea of bipartisanship is Republicans moving to the left. Bosma’s gesture of goodwill in appointing Democrats to head two committees has already been met with scorn from House Minority Leader Pat Bauer, D- South Bend. Bauer called the move “an olive branch with thorns” and suggested that it was really a contrivance designed to make Democrats share in criticism that could result from difficult fiscal decisions that will need to be made. Bauer also expressed the sentiment that he, not Bosma, should have selected the chairmen from the Democrat caucus. He even made the contemptuous comment that Bosma apparently didn't think any Republicans were up to the job of handling economic development.

What will it take for Republicans to learn that Democrats are not interested in bipartisanship? What will it take for Republicans to learn that the voters who put them in power are not interested in them giving that power away? On November 2nd the people spoke loudly and clearly. The message to the Democrats was that we didn’t like the direction our state and our country were headed, and that we were holding them responsible. Republicans should have no doubt that voters will likewise hold them responsible if they do not govern as we have elected them to do. Representative Bosma needs to rethink his understanding of the message the voters have sent.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Just One Battle

Conservatives are in the midst of a tremendous struggle. We’re in the heart of a struggle to restore our county to its founding values of freedom, opportunity, and independence; we’re fighting to reestablish in our country respect for life, integrity, and hard work. We seek to resurrect the principles of personal responsibility and limited government. Some have characterized this struggle as the second American Revolution.

In the spring of 2009, the Tea Party was born. The name is an acronym for “Taxed Enough Already,” but you can’t hear the words Tea Party without also thinking of the original Boston Tea Party that took place in 1773. And just as the Boston Tea Party helped to spur the first American Revolution, the current Tea Party is helping to spur the second one.

This revolution is not being fought with muskets and cannons, but with ideas and education. The battlegrounds are not the open fields, but the polling places. And Tuesday’s election was the end of one battle.

This battle was won by the conservative movement, or at least by Republicans who overwhelmingly took control of the U.S. House of Representatives, made significant gains in the Senate, and turned numerous gubernatorial offices and state legislatures from blue to red. Among those winners are many notable conservatives such as Marco Rubio in Florida, Rand Paul in Kentucky, Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania, and Nikki Haley in South Carolina. Many lesser known conservatives recorded equally important victories across the country as well, including people like Todd Young here in Indiana, who defeated Democrat incumbent Baron Hill in the 9th district.

For all the victories, however, conservatives also suffered some casualties. One incredibly disappointing loss was in Indiana’s 2nd Congressional district where Jackie Walorski lost a tight race to two-term incumbent Democrat Joe Donnelly. Out of nearly 190,000 votes cast, Walorski finished just 2,500 votes short. Jackie is a great conservative, ran a tremendous campaign, and came close. But it’s still a loss.

Across the country conservatives suffered other disappointing defeats as well, including Christine O’Donnell’s loss in Delaware, and Carly Fiorina’s and Meg Whitman’s losses in California. Perhaps the most disappointing defeat of all was Sharron Angle’s inability to oust Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada.

One battle is finished, and conservatives can declare a victory. But it’s just one battle. The war is far from over. This is no time to celebrate. It’s time, instead, to begin holding accountable our newly elected leaders. It’s time to begin preparing for the next great battle, the one that will take place in November 2012. It’s time to put all elected officials on notice: Represent the American people, or we’ll find someone who will.

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