Prateek’s Corner

Tom DeLay’s announcement this past week that he would not seek to regain his post as House Majority Leader for the Republican Party signifies a major setback for the task of rank-and-file Republicans to stem the political tide and present a unified front for the 2006 Midterm Congressional Elections. Whether DeLay is guilty of the corruption charges that he faces in his home state of Texas will be decided by a judge and a grand jury; it is, however, obvious that Delay has lost in the courtroom of public opinion and that the American people are suspicious of illegal activities in Congress. Recent polls have shown that majorities of the American public believe that there is a large extent of corruption on Capitol Hill. The GOP must move quickly to eliminate their corrupt appearance as a party, an image that has derailed their efforts to pass conservative legislation. More importantly, the Republicans must unite under new leadership to reset the conservative agenda, not only for the sake of a victory in the 2006 Elections, but more importantly, to resist attempts by the Democratic Party to restate the real American agenda. Unfortunately, majorities in both houses of Congress have done great harm to the Grand Old Party. Corruption charges have destroyed the career of Rep. “Duke” Cunningham from California, and appear to have finished off Tom DeLay for good. The New York Times editorial board believes that there is some sort of web of corruption that spans the entire length of the Republican Party in Washington D.C. Both parties need to make the day-to-day affairs of life on Capitol Hill more transparent so that the American public does not have reason to so cynically believe that corruption has infected our political system. The GOP has wandered far from the Contract with America that brought Republicans back to power in Congress under Newt Gingrich’s astute leadership in the early 1990’s. Republican promises of eliminating corruption, advancing campaign finance reform, and limiting the size of federal government all seem so hollow now in hindsight. Libertarians cringe when they look at the size of the federal debt, knowing that our children will have to pay for the mess made by greedy Congressmen of both parties who pack legislation with pork projects for their own districts. The tax cuts passed by the Bush Administration have helped the economy rebound from the recession, but the lack of a simultaneous cut in spending in the federal budget leaves many Americans in absolute bewilderment. Efforts for Social Security reform have failed miserably, and a lack of a National Energy Policy continues to hurt our nation, both at home and abroad. There has not even been discussion for a stronger National Education Policy, one that could allow American students to once more compete in the ever-smaller world that we live in. Fights over the Patriot Act and secret wiretaps have heightened the hostility of Washington, making it impossible for strong, bipartisan legislation to be passed that will benefit the entire nation. What does the Republican Party need to do to regain the upper hand? The first step will come at the end of this month, as Republicans move to elect a new House Majority Leader. The two leading contenders right now are Rep. John Boehner of Ohio and House Majority Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri. Both have outstanding credentials, and are fine, upstanding men who can reinvigorate the Party. I believe that the post should be given to Rep. Boehner. The importance of Ohio as a swing state, which was recognized in the 2004 Presidential Election, cannot be understated in the 2006 Elections. Republicans should reward Ohioans for returning President Bush to power by boosting a prominent Ohio Representative to a major leadership position. “We need a conference with the courage and confidence to tackle our nation’s problems. This is a critical time for the Republican conference,” Boehner said Sunday, according to a news release. Boehner, in another letter to the Republican conference Sunday, seemed to offer a theme for his campaign, which focused on “Renewal: Renewal in spirit, renewal in principles, renewal in commitment.” This renewal should consist of a return to the Republican ideals of the early 90’s so heavily advanced by Gingrich. Smaller government, less intrusion in the lives of the people, strengthening the private sector of the economy, and respecting the property rights of others. This new leadership should pass corruption legislation that will increase transparency of the affairs in Congress for the average American citizen. The American people seem to lack trust in Congress, and this could cost Republicans dearly if not dealt with immediately. The Democrats still lack national leadership, and Harry Reid’s filibustering is a far cry from the leadership seen by members of both parties over the history of the United States. Republicans still have time to turn the tide, but it is important to rebuild the trust between Congress and the rest of the nation. The average American must once again feel welcome in the capital of the land of the free, confident in a bright future for himself and for his entire nation.