For those of us who wished to see a conservative ascendancy in Congress this last election it‘s easy to be euphoric about the overwhelming nature of the victory.
The problem is, all those new conservatives have yet to be seated — and the Congress is still in session, and the Democrats are still the majority.
The lame-duck session is considering several pieces of legislation and if we‘re not careful we may find ourselves nibbled to death by lame ducks.
The Republicans are pushing hard to get the Bush tax cuts made permanent before the end of the year and we all take a pay cut.
Now, the Dems are trying to tell us that they don‘t want to raise taxes and that they‘re pushing for a middle-class tax cut.
None of that is true.
Should the Bush tax cuts expire, we‘ll all see the largest tax-hike in American history, you can‘t call it anything else when taxes go UP.
What the Dems say they‘re trying to do is extend only those portions they like. Mostly middle class tax rates.
But this is not, despite what they say, a tax-cut for the middle class. It means that the middle class just gets to keep paying what they have.
Harry Reid, (D-Nevada), the current Senate majority leader is currently pushing the DREAM act, which he‘s trying to attach to a defense authorization bill, which would allow illegal immigrants who came here under the age of 16, who spend two years in the military or college to apply for legal status. Amnesty by the back route anyone?
Now the first part of that I actually have no problem with. Certain foreign nationals are already allowed to serve in the military — there are a lot of Jamaicans in the Marine Corps for instance — and it seems to me if you want to serve the country you ought to be rewarded for it. The second part I have big issues with. Two years at the local junior college is not quite the same thing as a hitch in the Corps.
There‘s also a move to ratify a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, this is a bit of a problem in my mind.
First, while Russia is not currently a major strategic thread, Vladimir Putin is reminding me more and more of old Uncle Joe Stalin. Not in the “I‘m a psychotic, sociopathic mass murderer,” sort of way. But he does have a distinct flavor of the old Russian imperialism about him. It is entirely possible that Russia could again be a strategic threat within a few years — especially if we continue to allow ourselves to decline in the manner we have.
China is, and is likely to grow as a strategic threat. The Chinese are pushing hard to be a superpower and we must be able to counter that threat. The biggest problem with the new START treaty is it prohibits the modernization of our current stock of warheads.
While our current nuclear arsenal is sufficient to deter the strategic threats we currently face, it‘s a safe bet that as they age our capability will degrade as our opponents‘ improves.
There are several other bills pending in Congress and some confirmation hearings which would, just as an example, make a highly inexperienced and pro gun control ATF agent head of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms.
Next week congress‘s Thanksgiving break will be over. Before then I suggest people educate themselves on the bills that are pending and start making some phone calls and writing a few letters.
Much of what the president would like to ram through while he still has the ability to do so are things which the latest election repudiated. Let‘s see if we can‘t stop him.
All IMHO, of course.
(Patrick Richardson is the managing editor of the Columbus Advocate and the Baxter Springs News. He can be emailed at email@example.com.)