Predictably, the Republican response to President Obama’s speech before Congress last week was to attack wasteful spending and laud the merits of low taxes and small government. Thankfully, the American public doesn’t seem to pay much heed. It’s not that these are inherently bad positions. It’s just that Republicans have absolutely no credibility left on any of these issues.
Why would we trust Republicans to cut spending when their leadership got us the largest budget deficit in history? Why would we put our faith in more Republican-style tax cuts, when after years and years of them we find ourselves in this recession? And hasn’t our confidence in private enterprise given way to calls for more government oversight in light of the banking crisis?
We always end up with big spending and government. Why not give the reins to someone who might actually put them to good use for a change? I believe this is precisely what Barack Obama was elected to do.
The Republican Party is missing the point. The Democratic Party finally found its voice with the emergence and ascent of Barack Obama to the highest office. He inspired, he galvanized, and he led. Barack Obama delivered a message and a vision. He articulated his ideas and connected with Americans one citizen at a time.
Judging by the Republican Party’s rising stars — vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, a charismatic, under-qualified governor of Alaska; new African-American Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, who wants to give his party a hip-hop makeover; and Bobby Jindal, Louisiana’s young Indian-American governor who was selling himself as the Republican Obama as he delivered the rebuttal to the president’s address — it is apparent that the Republicans got it all wrong.
Obama’s message was one of substance. It is about a new direction for America. It is about inclusion and dialogue. It is about hope and community service. It is about America’s leadership in a turbulent world and a chaotic global economy. Republicans need a message and a vision. Enough of the imitations and the superficial symbols.