If all the headlines are correct, America is headed downhill, fast. We have been blasted with news that our economy is terrible, we are losing the war on terror and the Democrats are going to retake control of the House. I include that last headline not because it is one political party or another, but because of the method by which that particular party is trying to gain power.
Notably absent from this supposed Democratic revolution is any unified policy that Americans can stand behind. There is little talk of Democrats promising changes except the ever-present threats of tax increases, impeachment and retreat from Iraq. The lack of any proposals isn’t a mistake though, it is a carefully crafted plan implemented by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
The Democratic Party, under Pelosi’s leadership, is employing a strategy of total inactivity. They purposely contribute nothing to the arena of ideas and offer criticism about every subject imaginable. Meanwhile, Democratic leadership hopes that domestic scandal and lack of progress will give them the power to rule Congress.
Time Magazine reported on Sept. 4 that Pelosi’s goal when she became the minority leader was to “embrace hard-knuckle partisanship, even if it meant standing still.” When President Bush announced his plans to reform our failing Social Security system, she told her party to keep quiet about any plans or reforms of their own. Pelosi “told House Democrats they could never beat him (Bush) in a straight-ahead policy-against-policy debate.”
Instead, the Democrats opted to stonewall anything proposed by a Republican and offer nothing but criticism to the proceedings. Under her leadership, Pelosi “demanded that Democrats unanimously oppose GOP bills.” She also “ordered Democrats not to work on bills or even hold press conferences with Republicans whom the party is trying to defeat in November.”
Those are her policies, in her own words, reported by Time Magazine. This elected political leader imposed a policy of complete and utter partisan obstructionism, and demanded that her colleagues do the same. Pelosi succeeded in preventing the Republicans from getting what they wanted, but she also succeeded in preventing the American people from getting what they needed.
Reporters constantly compare the current situation with that of the Republican takeover of the House in 1994. Led by Newt Gingrich and united behind the “Contract with America,” the Republican Party engineered a 54-seat swing to regain power in the House of Representative for the first time since 1954. The cornerstone of this revolution was a proactive, ideas based platform for progress called the “Contract with America.” It contained many common sense policies that were very popular with the majority of American people at the time. Among these were tax reductions, government spending limits, social security reform and welfare reform. This was not a plan to simply gain power, it was a plan to produce the change in America that the country desperately needed.
Putting party affiliations aside, every sensible American can see that Pelosi’s destructive attitude does nothing but harm the future of our country. It stifles debate and, if successful, may encourage every minority party from now on to impede progress rather than produce results.
The U.S. Congress needs to address on the most important problems of our day. Among others, these critical issues include our international war on terror, a near-bankrupt Social Security system and a failing immigration policy. With all of the problems facing our country today, we need leaders that will work together to forge compromise and results rather than partisan politicians that only produce division. This isn’t really a choice between Democrat and Republican; it is a choice between stagnation and progress towards the American dream.
Matt Bushman is a civil engineering senior and Mustang Daily political columnist.