If the GOP is really serious about winning back the presidency they need to win the deficit debate. The government of these United States is broke -- flat broke -- and if the nation is to survive as the prosperous nation it has long been, Republicans must restore fiscal sanity and call a halt to spending money we don't have!
That's what the Republicans promised us they would do last November, and largely on the strength of that pledge we let them take back the House. After all, it's obvious that we can't trust the Democrats to spend the public's money wisely and well.
President Obama is promising to seek $3 in spending cuts for every $1 of new taxes, exactly as my father Ronald Reagan sought to do. When he passed away in 2004 he was still waiting for that $3. Barack Obama can expect the same dismal outcome.
Ask the first President George Bush how it worked out when he cut a deal with the Democrats in 1991 to reduce the deficit by $500 billion. All he had to do was go back a little on his "Read my lips -- NO NEW TAXES" pledge and raise taxes just a little bit.
The Democrats promised not to use the tax issue in the 1992 elections. They promptly hung President Bush with it. So I say to the Republican leadership, as Margaret Thatcher once said to GHW Bush, "Now is not the time to go wobbly." Stick to your guns and call a halt to spending non-existent dollars.
Unlike the Democrats, who have long been able to win elections by buying votes with lavish government programs paid for with phantom dollars, Republicans have for the most part demanded that fiscal sanity play a large part in determining the wisdom of enacting new programs or financing existing ones.
Democrats have no problem with spending what I like to call "tomorrow money," big bucks stolen from future generations, who aren't around to protest having enormous debt loads placed on their shoulders even before many of them have even been born.
Tragically, we have now reached the point where it's time for Peter --that's this generation -- to pay Paul, yet unborn, by paying for the cost of government programs with today's dollars. That would require that we stop spending tomorrow's dollars. Of course, in that case Democrats would start losing elections.
In this era of the Obama recession, Republicans had better stiffen their spines, stand erect and challenge Obamanomics before the president drags us over an economic cliff.
As I said, for the GOP, this is no time to go wobbly.
- Michael Reagan, the son of President Ronald Reagan, is the founder and chairman of the Reagan Group (www.reagan.com).