Gary Hubbell: The Redneck Tree-hugger
Aspen Times Weekly
Aspen, CO Colorado
Barack Obama was feeling pretty cocky in the weeks before this November’s mid-term elections. He made sure to appear before his home base, making the most of every chance to take a whack at Republicans like a prom king at a pep rally.
Personally, I found it intolerable, because it all seemed so phony. Over the past two years, he’s never missed a chance to tell the rest of the country that they’d better like his agenda because it was going to be enacted no matter what. “The Republicans are going to have to ride in the back of the bus,” he crowed. (Let’s just pause and think for a moment what hell would break loose if a white Republican candidate ever uttered that statement about Democrats.)
This week he’s singing a much more somber and subdued song. On Wednesday, after Democrats suffered a world-class thumping, Obama called for unity and bipartisanship. “A shellacking,” is how he characterized the previous day’s losses.
How does it feel to be told “NO”, Mr. President? Has that ever happened to you before? For the poster child of entitlement programs and racial set-asides, a boy who was raised only to age 12 by a single mother, it might just be the first time someone ever told Barack Obama, “NO.”
Those “fundamental changes” that you promised us, Mr. President? NO.
A new stimulus bill? NO.
A single-payer health care bill? NO.
Sending off billions of our taxpayer dollars in the form of “cap and trade”? NO.
Subsidizing unions in government jobs? NO.
Raising taxes on upper-income families? NO.
Giving citizenship to 30 million illegal aliens? NO.
That’s not the same as taking a magic carpet ride through Columbia and Harvard with no visible means of support, is it? It’s not the same as voting “present” in an unremarkable state legislative and two-year Senate career, is it? That’s not the same as showing up in Denver to accept the Democratic nomination, swept in by a fervor of anti-Bush sentiment and airy rhetoric, hailed by throngs of 20-somethings who couldn’t pass an 8th-grade civics class. Is it?
Several of my friends – including my editor at The Aspen Times – have wondered how in the world we can get anything done with a deeply divided Congress and a wildly liberal president. Tell me, dear readers, can you think of any extra laws that we suddenly need? I mean, if “getting something done” means cap-and-trade or another stimulus bill, I’d rather we didn’t accomplish a thing.
Here in Colorado, “new laws” usually means something like charging you a big fat registration fee to get license plates on a trailer that’s been parked for 10 years; tacking yet another “habitat stamp” onto your hunting license, or passing another bond issue for yet another palace of a firehouse.
On a national level, there’s nothing in the Democrats’ agenda that I want to see enacted. I live in a valley that employs 850 coal miners who provide high-quality, low-sulphur coal to worldwide markets. Cap-and-trade would effectively triple the cost of that coal. Tell me there wouldn’t be 850 pink slips in a valley of 5,000 people. Sure, I want to see solar power plants and geothermal heat, but taxing our carbon output to give our money to developing nations isn’t the answer.
Do I want to see amnesty for illegal aliens? No. Send ’em home and watch our tax bills drop as we cease to support their welfare and prison costs. We might see a drop in unemployment numbers at the same time.
The new Republicans showing up in Washington will find it difficult to resist the seduction that’s going to come their way. “This is how it’s always been done,” they’ll be told, and “you’ll have to compromise to get what you want.”
As the rest of the cowboys yell at a friend riding a troublesome bronc, I say, “Don’t weaken!”
There is business that has to be conducted on Capitol Hill. We know this. Military spending has to be budgeted, roads must be built, treaties negotiated. By and large, however, if anyone is looking for compromise on a bill that is fundamentally contrary to the wishes of the American people, they can go pound sand.
Gridlock is good! Two years from now, we can keep wiping the slate clean and work on starting over with Constitutional legislation and lawmakers who represent the majority, not a noisy and well-funded minority.
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