Sunday, February 13, 2005

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Debra Saunders is a real piece of work as a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. She and I had a very pointed exchange regarding her venomous attacks on the Club for growth and specifically Pat Toomey. I promised her a complete and detailed rebutle to her column and it is listed below:

The Republican Party rules the White House, as well as a majority in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, which means the party is flying so high that only Republicans can muck it up.

In this first paragraph she is preparing us readers that she wants us to be in the mind of royalty as we read this article, along with a twist of her own bitterness of her Party's loss.

Enter the Club for Growth, a group of supply-side economists on a jihad to bury Republicans they don't deem to be pure enough. Given a choice between half a loaf and none, the club says: none.

So last week, the club's new president Rep. Pat Toomey , R-Pa., announced a campaign to send a "gentle message" to three Republicans -- Sen. Lincoln Chafee, R-R.I., Rep. Joe Schwarz, R-Mich., and Sherwood Boehlert, R-N.Y. -- by airing ads in their districts telling voters to urge their lawmaker to support private savings accounts as part of a Social Security reform package.

The fact that conservative Republicans want to get even their most liberal members to support President Bush seems to get debra seething. However doesn't seem to have a problem with Democrats actually targeting fellow Democrats who may want to support some of the Bush Administration's Policy.

Who cares if no one knows what will be in the Social Security reform package suggested by President Bush in concept but with no details? Not the club.

Yeah Debra, but no elected official in 1934 knew what the package was when Klan sympathizer, FDR "suggested" the original sweeping legislation. He went around the country gathering support just as President Bush is doing. Even when former segregationist, LBJ moved the dedicated accounts of the Social Security retirement system into the general accounts of the U.S. Budget in order to hide costs of the war, liberals today never even mention the aforementioned, much less condemn.

Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., who supports the concept of investment accounts, had the right approach when he told the Los Angeles Times that until a solid plan is in place, "you've got a lot of people debating empty boxes." Which makes the club, as self-appointed enforcer for the GOP, the enforcer of support for empty boxes.

On Friday, Toomey told Chris Matthews of MSNBC's "Hardball," "One of the things the Club for Growth does very well is that it sometimes instills some political courage where it is needed on Capitol Hill."

Debra, so when acts in a similar fashion are they considered "as self-appointed enforcer for the Democratic Party" or does their political affiliation exempt them from your extreme labeling.

Au contraire, only cowardice or stupidity could prompt a member to sign onto a reform package that doesn't exist.

As I said earlier, you could apply the same attitude to the 1934 congress, but I doubt that you will.

"I don't see any downside," said club Executive Director David Keating. The ads aren't "critical" of the three Repubs -- not as critical as past club campaigns, which really hammered wayward Repubs. This is a nice way of getting their attention and drawing them to the light.

No different than those left-wing organizations such as ACT and

But what if the Bush plan isn't fiscally sound -- which is supposed to be important to the club? Does it then run ads taking back the old ads?

Rough transition Debra. You were arguing that it is cowardice and stupid to support a plan that doesn't exist, not one that does - fiscally sound or not. Your argument here lacks focus.

There's also a California Club for Growth. A Club for Growth in California, where John Kerry beat George W. Bush by 10 points and every statewide elected official is a Democrat -- except for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Next, they'll try to grow wheat in a sunless room.

This paragraph is simply an ad hominem attack, ripe with sarcasm.

Former Assemblyman Tony Strickland, who heads the California branch, said his group may well go after any Republican who votes for tax increases. "We will hold legislators accountable if they raises taxes," he explained.

You ignore the math, I countered, citing the need to win two-thirds of the votes in the Assembly and Senate, which are heavily Democratic. No, Strickland responded, the last three budgets had no broad tax increase -- even when there was a Democratic governor. True, I note, but those were not balanced budgets, they were borrow-big budgets.

Finally, some hard hitting, relevant analysis. Raising taxes and extreme borrowing is harsh on short and long-term growth in any economy.

"Here's what frustrates me," said state GOP Vice Chairman Jim Hartman. "I actually supported Ronald Reagan for president in 1976 against Gerald Ford. I consider myself a mainstream conservative Republican, but I'm also a Republican who can look at election results and recognize the realities in this state and what it takes to get elected in this state." Hartman opposes any effort to go after moderate Republicans, or Republicans who cut deals.

The club's Keating is a Reaganite, too.

"If there's anything that Republicans agree on, if there's a common thread, it's Reaganite economic policies, pro-growth policies and fiscal responsibility," Keating continued. "If a Republican doesn't vote that way, I don't see anything wrong" with backing another Republican in a primary when a Repub goes wrong.

Well stated...for the most part. There are some disagreements in the Republican Party as well as there are in the Democratic Party. It is shameful that in order to find some semblance fair analysis. Notwithstanding the fact the it is off topic. Keating does not oppose Republicans who make deals, but republicans who's deals include raising taxes or putting more regulations on corporations which stifle growth.

I know what's wrong with it. The club posts members of the House and Senate whom it deems to be RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) because they voted against the club on a particular bill.

By the club's own definition, Ronald Reagan could be a RINO. As governor, Reagan raised taxes. And you know what: When he did, he was a better lawmaker than the California GOP purists who kept their no tax-hike pledge, but without cutting spending. They were so pure as they borrowed the state into oblivion.

There is nothing wrong with any constituency deciding that there are elected officials who do not support issues that the constituency advocates. Democrats do the same thing. However I get the sneaky suspicion that you may not disagree with the same tactics when Democrats employ them. While Republicans have consensus on Former President Ronald Reagan's pro-growth policies, no one goes back and talks highly of Former California Governor Ronald Reagan's tax hiking policies.

I've known David Keating for years. I respect him tremendously and I agree with him on private savings account. But what the club is doing with this latest campaign shows what is wrong with politics theses days. This campaign may not use critical language, but its underlying message is that lawmakers shouldn't sweat the details, shouldn't deal with the other side, they don't even have to think.

To be a good Republican, in the eyes of the Club for Growth, is to take a stand and cleave to it, even if it means borrowing instead of cutting or, as far as we know, supporting bad Social Security reform.

This conclusion is ripe with inaccuracies. First of all even U.S. Senator Harry Reid agrees with partial privation of Social Security (or at least he did when there was a Democrat in the White House), so that is ceases to be useful measuring bar. It's good that the Club holds Republicans accountable to the same Republican values they promoted in their campaigns. Democrats are even more extreme with their accountability.

To be a good Republican is not as you state. It is however to cleave to the position that one has campaigned on. That does not mean borrowing instead of cutting nor supporting bad Social Security.

The very same principles that propelled Republicans to majority status over the last 12 years across the nation can propel Republicans in California. California Republicans do not lack winning issues. California Republicans lack the stomach and courage legislate that way they campaign thereby making organizations such as the California Club for Growth indespensible in the effort to holding California Legislators accountable.


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