Last night, Republicans, left for dead after the ascendancy of Barack Obama in 2008, reasserted themselves in the U.S. Congress.
Republicans have gained more than 45 seats in the House of Representatives, taking back control from the Democrats, and at least five seats in the Senate, giving the Democrats a slim lead.
Many voters will see this as a repudiation of Obama’s policies, and they would be correct. Many of the administration’s policies have been unpopular, and since the Republicans have opposed virtually every action by the president, they will reap the benefits.
But don’t expect the Republicans to lead any differently.
Democrats and Republicans seem far apart on policy because of their rhetoric. Presumptive Speaker of the House John Boehner said “hell no” to the Democrat’s health-care bill; President Obama called Republicans Latinos’ “enemies.”
Democrats are routinely called “socialists” by the tea party right while Republicans are “theocrats” or even “racists” to some on the far-left.
But reality belies this view.
Both parties basically agree on bailouts: They started under the Bush administration, only to be continued under the Democrats. Both parties basically agree on foreign policy: Nobody in either party’s leadership advocates the rapid withdrawal of U.S. troops from any place on the globe. Both parties are similar on entitlements: Neither will seriously consider cutting them, and Republicans even opposed Obamacare because it would cut Medicare.
It is not for no reason that America’s major parties are called “Republicratic.”
Many have called for a moderation of our political discourse, asking where our nation’s civility went. This is noble, but if our leaders moderate their words while holding the same identical views, nothing in our country will have changed.
What the United States needs is for its leaders to have moderate words accompanied by radical views.
Those pundits pining for a bygone era of political civility are right in their hope for a more moderate tone—partisan bickering should not be a part of our politics. But there should also be evident differences between the parties.
Where is the party that is advocating U.S. bases to be pulled from places like South Korea and Japan, whose people don’t want us there anymore, and Germany, who can defend itself?
Where is the party that seeks an honest conversation on entitlement spending, realizing that our current policy is unsustainable?
Where is the party that will stop worshiping the idols that are free trade and globalization and work to bring back manufacturing jobs to the United States?
Where is the party that will stop the bailouts and unplug the printing presses in the Federal Reserve?
This party does not exist.
What America needs is not more moderation—we have that in spades. We need stark choices. No pale pastels, as Ronald Reagan once said, but bold colors.
The Republicans say they’re ready to govern. They say that they have learned their lesson. They say that they will offer up actual solutions to our country’s problems.
Well, Republicans, here’s your chance. I hope you are right. But color me pessimistic.