« Groovy | Main | Blagojevich is Right »

Mike Pence's "Conservative Voice:" Who Does That Voice Care About?

On 9 December, Congressman Mike Pence of Indiana, new chairman of the House Republican Conference, published an op-ed proclaiming that the Republican party must offer a "better hope built on ... the desire of every citizen to live the American dream unfettered by high taxes and government red tape." This is an appeal to the people who are already comfortable - to people who already make enough money that the amount they pay in taxes is big enough to hurt. This is an appeal to people who see their tax bill as one of their biggest problems.

We all should have such problems - but for most Americans, tax payments are not their biggest problem. Pence asserts that the Republican party must take its "vision and agenda to every American regardless of race, creed, or past political affiliations" but it is a message that recalls Anatole France's famous put-down of the supposed equality of the laws: "The law in its majesty forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." ("The Red Lily," 1894). I am white, not African-American, but I suspect that to America's 39-million-member African-American population, the Pence doctrine offers a stone to a family that needs bread.

Pence sets up a false choice when he says that the alternative to the conservative "give them a stone and call it bread" doctrine is "European style paternalism." The Republican party must stand for more than just conservatism.

Government leaders can be a megaphone for change even if they are advocating that the people change themselves, rather than the government force people to change. Government leaders can urge everyone to commit meaningful efforts to racial reconciliation and the development of friendships between white Americans and African-Americans - without at the same time saying that the government has to force people to do this, that, or another thing. I am convinced from personal experience that conservative white men and African-American men have far more in common than either would expect - if only the white men could get over their damnable prejudicial attitudes. The strong Christ-centered theology of the core of the Black churches is far closer to the faith of conservative white men than is the politically-correct preaching of the liberalized mainstream denominations - but because the Black churches worship with the heritage of gospel singing and congregation participation, the white men can't get into it. More could be done for racial reconciliation if African-American men in their churches would politely pretend that "whitey got rhythm" than any government program. And more could be done for racial reconciliation if conservative white men would invite a few African-American men to go sheet-shooting, dove hunting, and bass fishing with them, and not make cracks about bad aim or lack of touch.

It was a Republican president - Teddy Roosevelt - who said that the Presidential office is a "bully pulpit" for declaring the ideals and aspirations of what the American people can aspire to be. It was a Republican president - Ronald Reagan - who was called the "great communicator," using the "bully pulpit" to inspire Americans to use their voluntary efforts to make America an inspiration to the world by being a "City on a Hill" setting an example for the world. The chairmanship of the House Republican Conference is another "bully pulpit" and Mike Pence needs to put some heart and soul into what he says when he mounts that pulpit and speaks to America.

-- written by Edward Sisson ("sissoed")


TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/33432.

Comments (16)

". . . if only the... (Below threshold)
Dodo David:
". . . if only the white men could get over their damnable prejudicial attitudes."

What about the damnable prejudicial attitudes of black men? Racial prejudice has been going both ways, in case you haven't noticed.

"This is an appeal to the p... (Below threshold)
Dave Noble:

"This is an appeal to the people who are already comfortable - to people who already make enough money that the amount they pay in taxes is big enough to hurt. This is an appeal to people who see their tax bill as one of their biggest problems.

We all should have such problems."

I agree. At the risk of touching a sore spot, this was the basis of my objection to the Joe the Plumber campaign. I come from a blue collar family of origin and worked as a factory worker for the first 5 years of my life supporting a wife and two children. I, like my father, was not worrying about what my taxes would be when I made my first quarter million sometime in the future. I was worrying about putting food on the table and a roof over my family's head in the ever-pressing present.

Why not ask how it came to ... (Below threshold)
syn:

Why not ask how it came to be that black Americans duped into believing that the goverment's Golden Entitlement Coins will save them from ruin, have actually been enslaved to the Democratic Party Plantation instead of using racism as the means to free yourself of your own guilt about being a racist towards blacks?

Have you no awareness that you are projecting your own racism onto others for your 'thirty acres and a mule' mentality which rots the minds of guilt-ridden white Liberals.

Perhaps before you continue to ramble on about your thoughts on Conservatism take a moment to read works by Dr Shelby Steele to gather some idea as to why you need to use the Democrat Party Slave Planation platform to ease your racist guilt.

Government leaders can be a megaphone for change even if they are advocating that the people change themselves, rather than the government force people to change

The huge difference between Reagan and your Government Slavemasters is that Reagan INSPIRED Americans NOT TO BECOME SLAVES UNDER THE GOVERNMENT for example when Reagan stated "Government is the problem not the solution" he did not mean "I'm the government and I'm here to help" (words which, by the way, scared the hell out of him and the many Americans INSPIRED by his words of Liberty and Freedom)


Listen to the retread New Deal government today telling you that they are coming to save you and your soul; they believe you hapless and weak ripe to be ENSLAVED by them.

Where is the talk of Freedom and Liberty FOR WHICH WE ALL STAND!!!!!

I think "Guest Poster" need... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

I think "Guest Poster" needs to wake-up and smell what he's shoveling.

"if only the white men could get over their damnable prejudicial attitudes", "African-American men in their churches would politely pretend that "whitey got rhythm". Those sir, are the statements of racial prejudice. You just catagorized two groups of human beings as monolithic entities. Go back to your cave and try to evolve!

And, if you think someone representing the Government would be allowed to stand up in front of us all and be your "megaphone for change" without actually doing something substantive, well, all I can say is you must have been very popular with the school teachers out on the playground.

The ability and desire to a... (Below threshold)

The ability and desire to achieve is what is needed. The vision that no matter who you are, through hard work and discipline you can achieve personal goals. This is America, we do not have a class system. You can be born poor and work and achieve some level of success. You can legal immigrate into this country and reach levels of success that are not dreamed of in other countries. The only barriers to achievement are ones that are self-imposed, or those put in place by low expectations . Negro , Caucasian , Asian, Native American whatever race, gender or creed can achieve without a government hand out.

The less government hand out there are the less money the government needs and the more money American can keep.
The less red tape government has the less agency it needs, the less people it has to hire and once again the more money American can keep.

This speech is about the party returning to first principles and renewing the City Hill Vision. It is the AMERICAN PEOPLE that made twas the beacon not he American Government and it by allowing them freedom to fail and succeed that we maintain that vision.

Third, Republicans need to take our vision and agenda to every American regardless of race, creed or past political affiliations. Our party was forged in a war over the principle of equality of opportunity and we need to return to its vigorous defense. The Democrats offer a vision of hope based on increased dependency and welfare-state politics. Republicans must go to every community and offer a better hope built on equality of opportunity, personal responsibility and the desire of every citizen to live the American dream unfettered by high taxes and government red tape.



Finally, Republicans must be the loyal opposition. We will support the president and his party in Congress whenever principle permits us to do so. And we will respectfully oppose the administration and the liberal Democratic majority every time consistency to principle demands. But we cannot make the next two years merely a battle between Democrats and Republicans. We must make the next two years a debate about what makes America great and whether we are still a land of opportunity for everyone willing to dream big and work hard or whether we have accepted a slow decline into European-style paternalism. We must make the next two years an honest debate over the government's role in our lives and how we can best preserve the freedom and material blessings of this nation for ourselves and our children's children.

If Democrats are true to their campaign promises, Republicans will have the opportunity to take a stand on behalf of the American people - to give Americans more access to American oil, to preserve secret-ballot elections in the workplace, to defeat Fairness Doctrine censorship on the airwaves of talk radio and to defeat any effort to overturn reasonable restrictions on abortion at the state level. In these battles, Republicans can be on the side of everyday Americans, fighting to preserve their freedoms, their prosperity and their values.

Republicans have an opportunity to redefine our party with humility, vision, policy alternatives and a willingness to fight for the priorities and values of everyday Americans.

Why are you here? Wizbang B... (Below threshold)
olhardhead:

Why are you here? Wizbang Blue is down the hall, first door on the left. Jeeze!

god bless our troops,
ol'

This is an appeal ... (Below threshold)
FormerHostage:
This is an appeal to the people who are already comfortable - to people who already make enough money that the amount they pay in taxes is big enough to hurt.

No, this is an appeal to people smart enough to realize how much of their work is taken by the government. If tax withholding were repealed and each worker had to cut a quarterly check instead of having it withheld, we'd soon have a tax revolt to rival the Boston Tea Party.

Workers at the lower end of middleclass are hurt THE MOST by taxes! Those below them get free money in the form of Earned Income Tax Credits and all those evil rich can afford lawyers and CPA's to keep from paying the max.

As for your racial harmony strawman, I can only say that once liberals stop using race as an excuse for bad behavior and stop crying racism when called on it, then we can have your dialog. Until then, its only a monologue and the mic is in the hands of the liberals.

This is an appeal ... (Below threshold)
This is an appeal to the people who are already comfortable - to people who already make enough money that the amount they pay in taxes is big enough to hurt. This is an appeal to people who see their tax bill as one of their biggest problems.

Great point. I don't hear many middle class people complaining too loudly about income taxes. They do complain about health care costs, college tuition costs and the awful housing market a lot however. If the R's want to reach these people they need to address these problems.

Pence's statement seems a bit tone deaf in regard to day to day middle class problems.

Also, one thing Republicans seem to have backwards is tax cuts. Without spending cuts tax cuts are meaningless. We have to pay for gov't spending one way or another if it isn't through income taxes it will be some other way.

More guest posters.<p... (Below threshold)
ODA315:

More guest posters.

Thanks.

One of the fundamental adva... (Below threshold)

One of the fundamental advantages of conservatism, properly pursued, is that it doesn't offer a different set of principles for each different set of circumstances.

That's one reason why talk of conservatives needing to "do outreach" to particular segments of the electorate often misses the point because it's almost always aboput crafting policies -- which is to say, carving out exceptions to conservative principles -- to address a given group's specific short-term concerns.

That's how we got Bush's "compassionate" conservatism, which has turned out to be every bit the double misnomer many of us feared when we first heard it.

Edward, another well-writte... (Below threshold)
Mike:

Edward, another well-written post, but as others have noted your main premise is off-base.

You say that "'... the desire of every citizen to live the American dream unfettered by high taxes and government red tape.' ...is an appeal to the people who are already comfortable." Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Most people can't directly relate to how much money they lose in income tax because it is taken away from them before they ever get it. I've always said that if you wanted to start a tax revolt in this nation, eliminate monthly payroll tax deductions. Give every worker their full salary, then make them write a single check for owed federal income tax (probably $15,000 or more per middle-class family) to Uncle Sam on April 15, plus whatever else they owe their state or city revenue commission.

The only people who don't have to worry about paying taxes are the extremely wealthy. The middle class family worries about losing 25% - 35% of their income because they have little or no option for tax shelters. And if your family earns $75,000 a year, that 25% adds up to $18,750, which is a very significant amount of money to lose.

On the other hand, if you are extremely wealthy, you can structure your assets in such a way that your total tax liability is easily less than 10% of your income. If you are worth $100 million and earn a 7% return on your investments, you would earn $7 million annually, which minus 10% leaves you with $6.3 million to live on. Most people could get by pretty well on that, regardless of how much income tax they paid on their salary.

Kevin,I don't care... (Below threshold)
kbiel Author Profile Page:

Kevin,

I don't care if a lefty wins the contest and replaces JT, but could we get someone who actually challenges us? Mr. Sisson presents us with shallow arguments and lefty/racial prejudice. We don't need our own personal Alan Colmes.

I should think that the low... (Below threshold)
Bill Johnson:

I should think that the lower taxes request would lead to smaller government, less forced redistribution of wealth, less of all the inefficiencies that only a government can bring.

When you say 'This is an appeal to people who see their tax bill as one of their biggest problems', you show a lack of sophistication. Please cite me any single individual whose 'biggest problem' as defined by them is their tax bill. This person had better be really rich, too, eh? Else maybe Mr. Pence was appealing to someone else.

In actuality this is an appeal to everyone - even those who don't understand the burden taxes place on their income and income producing ability. Or the burden government regulations places on everything - how many refineries were built in the US in the last 35 years? Not like we could use the capacity or anything.

Please understand lower taxes - it isn't just income taxes - it's that 15 percent of your salary taken for Social Insecurity (the only legal ponzi scheme in the US) and Medicare. On medicare, you do realize that today - before the advent of socialized medicine here - the government tells you what doctor to go to, what medicine you can have, and more importantly, what you cannot have, even if you wish to pay for it yourself. This too would go - a benefit of lowering those taxes.

It's also corporate taxes. Let's think of corporate profit. It's taxed at the corporation level and taxed when it's handed out as dividends. Why? that first tax, is, by definition, a cost of doing business, and all costs of doing business are passed on to the customer - that's you. The second time around is on you, directly as a stockholder, or indirectly, if that stock is in your pension fund portfolio or 401K. Who wouldn't want more money in their retirement account? Well, lower those taxes, and the corporations can show more profit, distribute more profit to you, increase their value if they don't distribute it..

Who loses? People who want a nanny state. People who want to control your actions for their own political purposes. People who want to use that tax money to advantage themselves - that, sir would be Senators and Congresspersons - as I believe we can amply demonstrate.

Less money for the government means less power for the government. Less power for the government means more power to you. And me.

As I recall, we were supposed to have a limited federal government, with the ability only to levy tariffs - taxes on trade, not income or capital gains. I vote we go back to that - then, the tax burden will be right out there for all to evaluate. Just like if there was no withholding, and you actually had to cut a check for all your (income/capital gains) taxes at once. That would be a bigger eye-opener.

When you raise taxes on ric... (Below threshold)

When you raise taxes on rich people, they will spend less money. When the rich don't spend money, the poor and middle class lose jobs.

When you cut taxes on rich people, they will spend more money. When the rich spend money, the poor and middle class get and keep jobs.

Is that simple enough for you?

The idea of eliminating wit... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

The idea of eliminating withholding and making everyone write a check quarterly or yearly is intriguing. However, where did you get the idea that a family making $75K pays $18K in Federal taxes?
As head of a family making about that amount, without any shelters except my mortgage-interest exemption, I can tell you I do not pay anywhere near that. Even if you include SS and Medicare.

When I disagreed with Jay, ... (Below threshold)
brainy435:

When I disagreed with Jay, I still respected his opinions and his rational for holding them.


I'll miss that.




Advertisements









rightads.gif

beltwaybloggers.gif

insiderslogo.jpg

mba_blue.gif

Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile

Contact

Send e-mail tips to us:

tips@wizbangblog.com

Fresh Links

Credits

Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login



Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy