The late Randy Kemp was my mentor for writing columns. His advice was always timely and on the mark. He told me generally not to respond to another columnist but instead use the time to make your point.
Only once before as I recall, have I gone against that advice. Occasionally a writer goes so far out in left field there must be a response. On the Wednesday, October 12th issue of The Sun Times Rick Holmes’ column can’t be dismissed without a challenge.
He complains about the 112th congress elected in 2010 simply can’t get anything done. He blames this on the Tea Party congress people and believes this to be economic sabotage against Obama. He gets so brave as to blame them for the downgrading of the nation’s credit rating.
Let’s get a few facts straight and bring Mr. Holmes out of his Rip Van Winkle slumber. His first argument is this latest congress is bad because they passed only about one-half of the bills passed by the 2009-2010 congress. What a simplistic way to measure success. Some of the best performances by our federal legislators have, in my opinion, been when the fewest new laws were past.
But let’s play Holmes’ little numbers games. He blames the low numbers on the 80 or so Tea Party congressmen in the House of Representatives. Fact – the Republican House passed over a hundred bills that died there because the Senate refused to even consider them. 38 of these bills had to do with creating new jobs and the Democrats in the Senate ignored them. Does Mr. Holmes need to be reminded that there are two houses of congress and a president? The Republicans control only one-third of these institutions. The Democrat senators and the president have been the roadblock. Obama has gone against the wishes of the public on major issues. Just three examples – Obama’s Health Care Act, the Keystone Pipeline and gay marriage that has been turned down by the voters in all 31 states when it was put to a vote.
Mr. Holmes doesn’t mention congress’ action on probably the most important financial action of any government – a budget. The House Republicans have passed a budget once in 2011 and once in 2012. In spite of a constitutional law to do so, the Democrat Senate has not passed a budget in over three years. Where is the outrage by the American people and the media? Speaking of budgets President Obama’s last budget was defeated by the Democrat Senate 99 to 0 and similarly impressive overwhelming turned down by the House. Now just who is failing to obey laws or even follow the constitutional?
Page 2 of 3 - Holmes then proceeds to praise what he refers to as a rare Republican –
Sean Bielat. He says Bielat is a critic of wasteful spending – codeword he wants to cut defense spending. But what really makes him a hero in Holmes’ mind is his double speak on deficit spending. According to Holmes Bielat supports short-term stimulus and long-tem deficit reduction. Huh? Stated another way liberals believe we can spend ourselves out of debt or alternatively, if you want to reduce the deficit, just pass another 2 or 3 trillion stimulus bill. Sound familiar?
Rick Holmes goes on to describe Republicans and especially Tea Party congressmen as hard to deal with because they don’t think the government should do anything for anybody, even their own constituents. If only we had a few of those congressmen and women with frugal beliefs, we would not have a 16 trillion national debt.
This Massachusetts liberal complains about subsidies for fossil fuels and hopes that some of the uncompromising Tea Partiers will be spanked by the voters in November. How about spanking a few of the congressional spendthrifts and the president who have shamefully put this country to the precipice of a giant financial cliff.
As you probably have noted The Sun Times has given us a plethora of liberal out-of-state columnists in the last few months. It might be a good idea to have a more balanced presentation. Northeastern liberals usually do not express the beliefs of Arkansans.
I hope you have had an opportunity to read and study the political section published last Friday in The Sun Times. This survey was well done and allowed prospective voters to compare the candidates’ response on several different issues. Please compare the answers from various candidates that you are considering. Although not all the major issues were covered in the survey, there were enough to give you a good idea on priorities and emphasis.
As an example – one Democrat candidate responded to a question on the expansion of Medicaid in this manner, “I agree with Governor Beebe’s position to extend Medicare to 250,000 working Arkansans many of which are senior citizens.”
Page 3 of 3 - I believe I would want my candidate to know the difference between Medicare and Medicaid, but he was right on part of his statement – many of those on Medicare are indeed senior citizens.